STORY WRITTEN BY ERIC DEVLIN
Digital First Media
POTTSTOWN >> It was a hoppin’ good time in the borough Sunday afternoon.
Despite an early overcast of clouds from the looming Hurricane Joaquin, a partly sunny sky shined down upon the sold out crowd of 1,200 people gathered for first-ever Pottstown Brew Fest at Memorial Park. Taps flowed from more than 50 craft breweries in attendance, as music from the Celtic Spirit kept the mood lively and fun.
Money raised during the event will benefit the restoration of Fegley mansion, that the Elks call their home.
“It needs a lot of work, so I thought we’ve got to do something more than hoagie sales and spaghetti dinners,” said Tim Hennessey, the leading knight at the Elks Lodge in Pottstown, who organized the event. “That’s just not cutting it. So let’s do something bigger.”
Hennessey tried t
o include as many local breweries as he could, like Round Guys Brewing Company of Lansdale, Bruclear Brewing Homebrew Club, out of Pottstown and the Other Farm Brewing Company out of Boyertown, while also lassoing in some bigger names like Samuel Adams, Rogue and Stone brewing companies.
“It is our first year so I understand there may be some hiccups,” Hennessey said. “But I think things are going pretty smoothly.”
In addition to the brew fest, the lodge also held a Meet the Brewers dinner Saturday night for 75 people at Lilly’s Grill in Pottstown.
“It went great,” Hennessey said. “People loved it, they want us to do another one. Hopefully they don’t have to wait a year for it. Maybe we’ll plan one in six months or so and things are going really well.”
For the many beer fans looking to sample the wide selection, Sunday’s event did not disappoint.
Jeff Paffett, of Schwenksville, and Keith Volm, of Limerick, said they were both enjoying themselves as they chatted outside the giant yellow and white striped tent where all the action was taking place.
“We just got here,” Paffett said, holding a cup of Evil Genius Pumpkin Porter. “The fact that there was no hurricane was pretty nice. There’s a lot of breweries, a good variety of them”
“I can’t complain,” said Volm, gripping a pale ale from the Craft Ale House in Limerick. “There’s a lot of vendors, different types of beer, everything from pale ales to hoppy beers. They have all kinds of beers. I really can’t complain.”
Many brewers felt the same way, saying they loved the good turnout and thanked the weather for holding up.
“It looks like it’s pretty well attended,” said Bill Moore, a Pottstown resident and brew master of the Lancaster Brewing Company. “The crowd’s in good shape now. Overall it looks like it’s pretty well organized.”
“It’s pretty crowded, in spite of the weather,” said Tom Foley, from Bruclear. “It appeared that it was going to clear up through Saturday night into Sunday. I figured it would go on. If the hurricane had come inland we wouldn’t be here right now, we’d all be home.”
“Today’s event is fantastic,” said Kevin Wlazelek, of Round Guys. “It’s always a good day for a beer.”