By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item
BLOOMSBURG — Roll out the barrel and we’ll have a barrel of fun while raising a glass, stein or mug to the wonderful world of beer at Saturday’s Brewfest in Bloomsburg.
The heady aroma of malt will fill the air at the Caldwell Consistory where this makeshift beer garden will showcase a bevy of local brews and wine along with a selection of savory menu items from a multitude of area restaurants.
Of course, when you raise a glass, nothing goes better than to raise the volume on some jam-infused bands and Brewfest has that covered many times over with seven bands performing throughout the event to keep the party going and the good times rolling along.
“Our area is rich with beer and beer enthusiasts so it’s fitting that we should have more beer fests. Brew pubs are community-oriented companies and what better way to get the community together than with great brews, local food and music,” said Andrew Nebel, one of several people involved with bringing Brewfest to Bloomsburg. “Plus the festival supports Downtown Bloomsburg Inc. so it will be benefitting the community with hopes of doing other events like it.”
Providing the suds and expert insight to the world of independent breweries will be area favorites Berwick Brewing Co., Marley’s Brewery, Old Forge Brewing Co, Turkey Hill Brewing Co., Purple Healer and the Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Participating wineries include Shade Mountain, Colonel Ricketts Hard Cider Winery, Pickering Winery and O’Donnell Winery.
Serving up the sizzling and savory aspects of Brewfest will be Rose Marie’s, Reichart’s Mardi Gras, Marley’s, Smokehouse, Balzano’s, Nap’s, La Fontana, Capitol, New Bloom Diner, Prana Juice Bar, Pine Barn Inn, Berry Field Farms, The Inn at Turkey Hill and Pete the Chicken Guy.
“One of the greatest things about this event is that it is local. All the restaurants and breweries represent local entrepreneurs,” said Adrienne Mael, Brewfest coordinator and Downtown Manager for Bloomsburg. “This event is a great way for restaurants and breweries to advertise themselves. Many people never get to experience all the great foods, beers, and wines this area has to offer.”
Mael noted that as soon as she stared her position as downtown manager in May 2012, numerous community members started asking for an outside music event where drinking could be involved too. Due to Bloomsburg’s strict open container policies, that idea seemed unpractical until research revealed a way to host an outside party while still obeying all the liquor laws for the town and state. The answer was to have the event at the Caldwell Consistory where the event could be held both inside and outside.
The outside location, as well as inside, will be the location for the roster of talented acts including Kathlyn Holdren, Jeff Grey, Naive Americans, The Mighty Susquehannas, Steve Gilliland, The Woody Brown Project and The Mike Miz Band.
“This is going to be a great event with lots to do and experience. From 5 to 9 p.m. there will be three tremendous bands playing simultaneously,” Mael said “Attendees will be able to taste more than 30 different regional and national beers, wines from at least five different area wineries, and food ranging from smoked pig to organic farm shish-ka-bobs. There is really something for everyone!”
The cost of admission, $25 in advance or $35 at the door, provides guests with a free cup for brew plus $10 in tickets good for food and drinks that will be priced between $2 and $4.
Guests can purchase additional tickets throughout the evening allowing them to partake in an assortment of delectables and specialized brews.
“We will be taking six beers, our Farmhouse Kolsch, Urban Abbey Apricot Wheat, Journeyman I.P.A., A Mid-Summer’s Night Saison, Espresso Porter and a Cask Conditioned Urban Abbey Amber Ale,” said Nebel, a beer expert and employee at Turkey Hill Brewing Company in Bloosmburg. “It’s a well- balanced selection of light and heavy brews. We are really excited about the Amber Ale. It’s the first one we’ve done and has a perfect blend of malt and hops, citra, amarillo and simcoe hops, and then dry hopped with centennial and cascade hops. The flavor highlights both the malt and hops so you get both sides of the spectrum.”
In addition to being a fun evening out, Brewfest also showcases the high caliber of culinary and brewery options in the area.
“The greatest thing is it’s all local and a great way to revitalize downtown Bloomsburg and the surrounding region,” Mael said. “This event is going to be the hit of the summer!”