Talking hops at Vlamis’ Craft Beer Festival
Local, regional beers sampled
— Organizers of the Vlamis Craft Beer Festival credit Saturday’s weather for the huge turnout at the second annual event.
“We did about 320 (tickets) last year,” Anthony Vlamis said, noting that about
an hour after the event started at noon Saturday, 550 tickets had been sold, with more coming in the door of the Singerly Banquet Hall.
“We might use the second hall next year too,” he said, observing the standing room only conditions around each of the canopied breweries represented.
Lawrence Colby held a stemmed glass and swished his beer around gently, a move usually associated with wine.
“It’s to release the aroma,” the Elkton man explained.
Holding the glass by its stem is also part of the experience.
“When you hold the stem the beer doesn’t get warm,” he explained.
Devina Colby sipped a blueberry wheat beer. When asked, she said the idea of fruit-flavored beer doesn’t surprise her.
“I used to work at a liquor store. I’ve run into all kinds of stuff,” she said.
Sipping from the argyleprinted commemorative glass, the Elkton woman said she prefers sweet beers.
Laura Palmer, on the other hand, preferred a brew with character and more on the sour side.
“I like this New Belgium Botanical IPA,” she said. “It has good balance, resiny hops.”
IPA means India pale ale and refers to the early 1800s when Britain was colonizing India and the many failed attempts to import beer. IPA beers are generally strong and have higher alcohol content, up to 9 percent.
Palmer and her friend Shirley Griffiths, both from Wilmington, Del., scanned the list of available artisanal draughts to decide which would be tasted next.
“I actually like dark beer better,” Griffiths said. “The Imperial IPAs have a high- er alcohol content.”
TropiCannon, a pirateinspired beer, was getting good reviews from the sipping crowd.
“It’s very citrusy,” Christina Dominick, of Elkton, said, noting the weather can also affect the flavor of a beer during the brewing process. “In the winter, the flavor is sharper. Now that it’s starting to warm up, the citrus comes out.”
Katherine Spencer, of North East, was also enjoying TropiCannon, from Heavy Seas Beer in Baltimore.
“It’s not too strong. It’s fruity,” she said.
Francis Capparuccini had made one trip around the room and was taking a break, eating lunch and listening to the music of local band Take 2.
“I’ve tried all 25. I’m a big fan of DuClaw and Victory,” the Elkton man said of his favorite regional breweries. DuClaw Brewing Company hails from Baltimore, while Victory Brewery calls Downington, Pa., home.
Looking at the huge crowd, Capparuccini said Elkton needs more events like this.
“This brings the community together,” he said. “This is fantastic.”
Lonnie Dotson, Jessica Thomas and Heather Stanley were part of the huge sip and chat crowd Saturday at Singerly Banquet Hall where Vlamis Liquors held its second Craft Beer Festival.