photos by Alec Jordan
Bethel, Connecticut’s first annual Beer Fest went off without a hitch last Friday night. [The Bethel Chamber of Commerce advertised Beer Fest on the Mercurial.] The event, which marked the start of Bethel’s weekend-long Summer Fest, sold out at 1pm the day of and featured several local and not so local craft brews.
Organizers set up a large beer “pen” on the lawn of the Municipal Center (isn’t it interesting how people are more than willing to be enclosed in orange construction fencing when beer is involved?) complete with a pop-up tent that protected attendees from the on and off drizzle of the evening. About 150 people attended this Putnam House-sponsored event and a few local food trucks were on site offering barbecue and Italian ices.
Half Full Brewery of Stamford, Beaver Beer Company of Westport, Berkshire Brewing Company of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Cambridge House Beer Company, also of Massachusetts, were on site representing their beers; Summer Fest volunteers were offering tastings of Cisco (Nantucket), Sierra Nevada (California), Brooklyn (New York), and Two Roads (Stratford) beers.
Scroll down for more photos…
Half Full’s booth seemed to be Beer Fest’s most popular; the brewery came with their own draught station and two beers on tap: the smooth and full-bodied India Pale Ale and the refreshing and sessionable Bright Ale, which Half Full Founder Conor Horrigan said is an Americanized take on a pale ale he tasted while traveling in Australia––the one he knew would take Half Full “to the promised land.” Half Full opened in the summer of 2012 and has been taking the state’s shoreline beer market by storm ever since.
Cambridge House offered a few of their award-winning beers for tasting, including the Big Hoppy, which took the gold at the Great International Beer Festival, and the Copper Hill Kolsch, which took third place at the Great British Beer Festival. Cambridge House currently brews in Massachusetts and has a brew pub in Granby, Connecticut, but the folks at the booth said they are currently scouting for a brewing location in Connecticut.
Beaver Beer’s booth was also well-attended, and the company was seeking slogan ideas from the crowd. Considering the name of the company and their three focus beers––the Blonde, the Brewnette, and the Big Red––it’s likely that they got some interesting submissions.
Beer Fest came around full circle when I ran into someone who is in the process of opening a brewery only a few blocks from the Municipal Center. Breweries are all about community, and Bethel is all about community, and, based on the success of Beer Fest, Bethel is all about beer. I look forward to Beer Fest 2, and my first Bethel-brewed beer.
From left to right: Bethel’s First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, Putnam House Owner Daniel Mottola, and Executive Director of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce Bobbi Jo Beers.
Beaver Beer Company.
Conor Horrigan of Half Full Brewery.