Art of Brew sees record crowd

About 315 tasters at­tend Our Town Foun­da­tion’s fundrais­ing event

Northern Berks Patriot Item - - LOCAL NEWS - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @ham­bur­gitem on Twit­ter

A record break­ing crowd of about 315 craft beer tasters came out for the Art of the Brew at the Ham­burg Field House on April 7.

A va­ri­ety of craft beers from more than 30 brew­eries were rep­re­sented at the Our Town Foun­da­tion’s 5th an­nual craft beer and wine tast­ing event that in­cluded re­gional fa­vorites like Sau­cony Creek, Lan­caster, Yuengling, Troegs, and Ham­burg’s own 1787 Brew­ing Com­pany, plus many oth­ers from across the state and be­yond.

“This is the best year,” said Deena Kershner, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Our Town Foun­da­tion in Ham­burg. “We were wor­ried in the be­gin­ning be­cause ticket sales were go­ing slow but just in the last 24 hours, we sold over 100 tick­ets.”

There was some panic at first in re­ac­tion to the record break­ing at­ten­dance, as the OTF vol­un­teers scram­bled to get ad­di­tional tast­ing glasses out of stor­age and get more food and sold tick­ets to the wait­ing crowd.

“I think it’s great that it’s grow­ing. There’s a lot of com­pe­ti­tion out there,” said Kershner. “Ev­ery­one here think’s it’s great, they like the event. They’re thank­ing (OTF) for hav­ing the event. I know the brewers like to come here, they say this is one of the bet­ter events that they at­tend be­cause Wind­sor Dis­tribut­ing does so much of the work for them and a big thank you to Wind­sor Dis­tribut­ing be­cause with­out them this wouldn’t be pos­si­ble.”

The OTF hosts the event with as­sis­tance from Wind­sor Dis­tribut­ing of Ham­burg. Kershner also thanked the OTF vol­un­teers.

“Thank all of the vol­un­teers for as­sist­ing. It’s a vol­un­teer-driven or­ga­ni­za­tion and with­out those vol­un­teers noth­ing would be happening,” she said.

The event raises funds for Our Town Foun­da­tion, which is Ham­burg’s non­profit com­mu­nity re­vi­tal­iza­tion cor­po­ra­tion.

“It’s a fundraiser for the Foun­da­tion that can turn around and do bet­ter things for down­town Ham­burg and be­yond,” said Kershner. “The next big event we have is Ham­burg-er Fest so hope all these peo­ple come to Ham­burg-er Fest.”

Ham­burg Mayor Ge­orge Holmes and his wife Charlotte Golden were ex­cited to at­tend the Art of the Brew for their sec­ond year.

“The turnout this year is even bet­ter than last year,” said Holmes. “There are peo­ple here from Ham­burg but more im­por­tantly there are peo­ple out­side of Ham­burg and it brings them in and shows them what Ham­burg has to of­fer. And this is a great event to get peo­ple to­gether, get them to talk. I’ve had some great con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple.”

Michael To­phoney from Ashland, Pa, and Tim Rob­bins from Frackville came out to the event two years ago and wanted to re­turn to see how it evolved since then. To­phoney be­lieves OTF is headed in the right di­rec­tion and likes the ad­di­tion of wine and dis­tillery tast­ings.

“We’re hav­ing a good time. The beers are de­li­cious,” said Rob­bins.

When asked their thoughts about Ham­burg, To­phoney said, “I didn’t no­tice how nice Ham­burg the ac­tual town was un­til to­day. I took a lit­tle bit of a walk through and I never knew there were that many small shops. It was nice so I like that.”

An­drew Vo­gel of Kutz­town came out to Art of the Brew with friends.

“This has be­come a tra­di­tion among a small group of friends of mine. We come ev­ery year and sam­ple a few different beers and en­joy one an­other’s com­pany,” said Vo­gel. “Tast­ing different beers is a real de­light but it’s the time with friends” that Vo­gel en­joys most about the event.

“And how awe­some is this build­ing! It’s such an un­usual struc­ture and that’s part of the fun,” added Vo­gel.

Christo­pher Car­va­jal, Brian Dawkins and Ryan Roman from Read­ing came out to taste beer. They missed last year’s event be­cause it was sold out, so this year they made sure to get their tick­ets early. The trio of friends said ev­ery­thing about the event is good.

“Good peo­ple here,” said Dawkins.

“Good vibes,” added Roman.

Linda Steely of Ham­burg at­tended with her sis­ter for a sec­ond year.

“I like see­ing peo­ple that I haven’t seen in a long time and tast­ing good beers,” she said.

Steely tasted Yuengling’s newly re­leased Golden Pil­sner.

“It’s Yuengling and it’s from Pottsville and I was born in Pottsville,” said Steely about want­ing to taste the new Yuengling beer. “It was a good beer.”

Larry Trakes, sales rep for Yuengling, poured tast­ing for at­ten­dees. He ex­plained that the Golden Pil­sner is the first new year-round beer that the com­pany has re­leased in 17 years. He de­scribed it as a Eu­ro­pean style pil­sner made with all hops and malts with a nice gold color and fla­vor pro­file. The re­sponse from the pub­lic has been very good, he said.

“Hon­estly, I had many peo­ple here say­ing it was the best beer they had here at the beer fes­ti­val so I’m happy to hear that. Even for the typ­i­cal non-Yuengling drinker they said they liked it which is good for us,” said Trakes, who has been a ven­dor at the Art of the Brew since its first year. “Sup­port­ing lo­cal, it’s for a good cause.”

Ham­burg’s own 1787 Brew­ing Com­pany in­tro­duced their Black Bridge Amer­i­can Stout and Fern Sholly, an Amer­i­can IPA, which is a sam­ple of the brews 1787 will be of­fer­ing when the mi­cro­brew­ery opens on 4th Street in down­town Ham­burg in May.

“Be­cause we are the only brew­ery open­ing in Ham­burg, for us to have an event that’s lit­er­ally a block from where our es­tab­lish­ment’s go­ing to be is I think a pretty cool thing,” said Steve Mac­beth, coowner with brew mas­ter Jim Gerner. “It’s very sig­nif­i­cant for us to be here and par­tic­i­pate and to al­low peo­ple to try our prod­uct.”

Mac­beth said the IPA is a re­flec­tive of Gerner.

“He’s a big IPA guy, that’s a sig­na­ture beer for him and very pop­u­lar and the Black Bridge Amer­i­can Stout also has been very pop­u­lar to­day. It has a hint of chocolate and a real nice oaky fla­vor to it.”

The stout is named af­ter a bridge they used hang out at when they were kids. The IPA is named af­ter Fern Sholly, a 1940s-50s ma­jor league women’s base­ball player who was from Ham­burg.

“I’m hop­ing peo­ple (at the Art of the Brew) have a different idea about craft beers and the value that they bring to the in­dus­try and the different types of beers. I just hope it opens their minds up a lit­tle bit to all that is out there,” said Mac­beth.

LISA MITCHELL - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ham­burg’s own 1787 Brew­ing Com­pany in­tro­duced their Black Bridge Amer­i­can Stout and Fern Sholly, an Amer­i­can IPA, at the 5th an­nual Art of the Brew at Ham­burg Field House on April 7. Co-owner Steve Mac­beth holds a sam­ple of the Stout dur­ing the tast­ing...

LISA MITCHELL - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

At Ham­burg’s 5th an­nual Art of the Brew, Larry Trakes, sales rep for Yuengling, poured a taste of Yuengling’s newly re­leased Golden Pil­sner for Linda Steely of Ham­burg.

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