STORY WRITTEN BY EVAN BRANDT
@PottstownNews on Twitter
POTTSTOWN >> If you were planning to attend the first-ever Brew Fest in Memorial Park Saturday or Sunday, you might want to buy your tickets soon.
According to organizer Tim Hennessey, reaction to the event has been so positive that as of last Friday, “we’ve already sold more than half our available tickets.”
There is a limit of 1,500 tickets to be sold for the two-day event that has attracted more than 50 of the region’s — and the nation’s — best craft brewers.
The event, which will be completely under cover of a huge tent, begins on Saturday night with a “Meet the Brewers” beer dinner.
The dinner features a two-hour intimate tasting with a limited number of attendees and brewers from Sly Fox and Golden Avalanche and a half dozen of their seasonal beers; food pairings with each; and 3 take-home bottles from among those beers and a commemorative pint glass.
Tickets for that event, held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, are $70.
The main event is scheduled for Sunday and for VIP ticket holders, it begins at 12 noon and, for $70, includes a commemorative tasting glass and unlimited tasting and exclusive access to select rare beers available only to VIP ticket holders.
At 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the general admission tickets holders arrive and, for $45, get a commemorative tasting glass and unlimited tasting until 5:30 p.m.
Hennessey explained that the tasting glass is six ounces and each pour is only four ounces.
“You could literally, taste 75 different beers if you were so inclined,” Hennessey said.
This might be the place to note that there is also a designated driver ticket that only costs $20 and provides complimentary non-alcoholic refreshments and snacks.
Also that only those over 21 are allowed.
For a full list of the brewers that will have samples, visit Brew Fest’s web site — www.pottstownbrewfest.com. You can also purchase your tickets online at the site.
Food at the event — provided by Lily’s Grill, Heart Food Truck and Grumpy’s Hand-Carved Sandwiches here in Pottstown and the Cow & Curd out of Philadelphia — is not included in the ticket price.
The money raised at the Brew Fest will be donated to the Pottstown Elks Club No. 814 for much-needed repairs and maintenance to its landmark building on High Street, once known as the Fegley mansion.
It looks like the Elks may soon have a steady stream of income.
“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and everyone I talk to is really excited about an event like this taking place in Pottstown,” Hennessey said.
“I mean Sly Fox does a great job with their events, but there is only Sly Fox beer there, so people I’ve spoken with are very excited that there will be 50 or 100 different kinds of beer to try,” he said.
Understandably, “they are always particularly interested in the local brewers, because they can go and check them out after trying them at Brew Fest, and that’s why they like Brew Fest, is it will be so close,” he said. “They don’t have to drive two hours to try a place out.”
Hennessey said he undertook the happy task of visiting a number of other established beer festivals to see what they did to make theirs successful, in planning his first one for Pottstown.
“It’s a lot more complex than you might think,” he said. “You need to have power, and tents and toilets, and make sure the trash gets picked up.”
And once it’s over, “we’re going to have a survey to find out what people liked and didn’t like, and get any suggestions for how we can make it even better next year,” Hennessey said.
He has also worked hard to make sure that Pottstown gets the economic benefit of the event.
“We bought our T-shirts here and had them silk-screened here; Celtic Spirit, which will provide the music, is from Rosedale and five of the six food vendors are all in the borough,” he said. “We really wanted as many Pottstown vendors and artists as possible.”
That partnership has also extended to the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority, which helped to set up a shuttle to the event, which will run between Memorial Park and downtown parking lots, where visitors are encouraged to park.
Or, a unique travel experience can be had on the Colebrookdale Railroad’s Secret Valley Line, which is running a special “Pottstown Brew Fest Express” train.
Brew Fest ticket holders can sample beer and ciders offered by Frecon Cidery and The Other Farm Brewing Company, from Boyertown, as they enjoy the ride.
The train leaves Boyertown at 1 p.m. Sunday and arrives in Pottstown at 1:45 p.m.
The Brew Fest is a short walk across the park. Return trains leave Pottstown at 4:30 p.m and 7 p.m.
Tickets for the train ride must be purchased separately, which can be done at the railroad’s web site — www.colebrookdalerailroad.com.
You can also get more information about the brewers and the event on its Facebook page; the Twitter account @PtownBrewFest and on Instagram.