Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday November 20th 2018

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Oysters Galore and More

By Emily Richey

Oysters, music and craft beer, oh my. Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend is a great way to celebrate the bounty that our wonderful region has to offer this time of year.

The Cook-Off consists of a craft beer festival on Friday and a food-centric day on Saturday, with the oyster cook-off, as well as cooking demos by over 70 chefs.

This year’s lineup is loaded with big names, such as food network stars Anne Burrell, Marc Murphy and Alabama’s-own Martie Duncan, as well as James Beard Award winners Alon Shaya and Ryan Prewitt. All chefs will be competing in three oyster categories, and attendees will have a chance to try them all.

In order to taste Shaya and Prewitt’s oyster demos though, you will have to spring for the VIP tickets, but the good news is that along with samples from the renowned James Beard Award chefs, the VIP ticket also comes with plenty of other perks. These include admission to the craft beer festival on Friday, two booklets of tasting tickets to the main demos, access to a private shaded lounge, an invite to the “Chefs Only” party on Saturday night, and the opportunity to meet the chefs themselves. Pensacola’s own celebrity Chef, Jackson’s Irv Miller, will also be demoing (at 11 a.m. on Saturday), as well as presenting his new cookbook “Panhandle to Pan.”

While the cook-off starts Saturday, the craft beer festival starts Friday, with brews from over 60 brewers.  Make sure to check out Hoptub Bath Machine, which is a collaboration between Oskar Blues Brewery and local Alabama brewers Straight to Ale, Good People Brewing Co., Cahaba Brewing and Fairhope Brewing Company. Dale Katechis, the founder of Oskar Blues and the namesake of popular Dale’s Pale Ale, began brewing in his dorm room at Auburn and has a soft spot for local Alabama brewing. Hoptub Bath Machine, a light citrusy brew with a slight kick, thanks to the addition of green peppercorns, will be released right before Hangout and will have a limited 6-pack availability in select Alabama markets and along the Florida panhandle.  On top of the beer, The Black Jacket Symphony will also be performing Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.”

And don’t worry if you’re looking for something to wash down those oysters with on Saturday.  There will be craft beer available at the Cook-Off, as well as bloody marys and mimosas. Our tip? Skip the orange juice and go for straight champagne—oysters and bubbly are a classic match made in heaven.

Worried about bringing your kids to an oyster festival? No need—the cook-off is ultra kid-friendly. There will also be a live performance by hit show “Nashville’s” Lennon and Maisy. Any fan of the show knows that this concert will delight more than the kids, though, so don’t miss the opportunity to see this sister duo live.

HANGOUT OYSTER COOK-OFF AND CRAFT BEER WEEKEND
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7
WHERE: The Hangout, 101 E. Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, Ala.
COST: $11.24-$42.99
DETAILS: hangoutcookoff.com

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The IN Catches Up with Lennon and Maisy
Before being cast in “Nashville,” sisters Lennon Stella (16) and Maisy Stella (11) captivated the world and quickly rose to YouTube fame with their cover of Robyn’s ‘Call Your Girlfriend.’

Since then, they have successfully launched their acting careers, playing Connie Britton’s daughters on the show, and have continued in music, playing at the Grand Ole Opry multiple times and appearing on Good Morning America.

The IN had a chance to catch up with the two sisters via email and chat with them about Hangout, “Nashville,” and the ever-lovely Connie Britton.

INWEEKLY: What is it like being so young in the music industry? Obviously you both have proven yourself to be incredibly talented and world-class performers, but did you find it tough at first to be taken seriously?
MAISY: Being so young is hard, because we are trying to balance school and friends, but it is still so amazing.  Honestly no one was ever not taking us seriously…I think that is just because we were in the business, too!
LENNON: It’s a fun learning experience, but it gets hard at times. Being surrounded by really awesome people on the show and in the music industry has definitely made it the most positive experience possible. I’ve never found it tough to be taken seriously, because I didn’t really take myself seriously! I was super new to the industry, and it has been a fun learning experience.

INWEEKLY: How do you feel like your experience with “Nashville” has helped you evolve as artists?
MAISY: It has helped in so many ways. There are so many songs in the show that we love that are presented as “Lennon & Maisy,” which I think has helped us a lot.
LENNON: “Nashville” has definitely given me different perspectives on writing, and all the different writers on “Nashville” has made me aware of how big the songwriting community is. I’ve been writing a lot more and feeling super inspired by the writers on the show.

INWEEKLY: Who are some of your role models?
MAISY: Neon Trees, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez.
LENNON: John Lennon, my mom and Stevie Nicks.

INWEEKLY: Do you have as much of a girl crush on Connie Britton as we do?
LENNON: I have a bigger one!
MAISY: We love her to death, but it’s kind of creepy to have a crush on your mom!

INWEEKLY: How do you balance both your acting and music careers on top of school?
MAISY: It was more difficult at the beginning when we tried to stay in traditional school, but now it’s much better since we are homeschooled.
LENNON: Yes, it is challenging but definitely keeps things interesting in the Stella home.

INWEEKLY: You guys have done some great covers, but do you have any plans for your own original music? Is there an album in the works?
MAISY: We are writing tons right now and definitely preparing work for an album.
LENNON: Yes, at some point soon we are going to start recording for an album. It is  definitely a dream of ours.

INWEEKLY:  Have you ever been to the Gulf Coast before?
MAISY: Yes—once.
LENNON: My best friend is from there.