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Somerville hosts annual Craft BrewFest this weekend

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  June 13, 2013 12:37 PM

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The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts’ 2nd Annual Hyper-Local Craft BrewFest is coming to Somerville this weekend.

The event, which begins on Friday, promises locavores and beer-lovers unlimited samples from 26 area brewers of beer, mead, cider, and artisan beverages that use locally sourced ingredients.

Nicola Williams, the producer of this year’s BrewFest, said the mission of the event is to encourage the community to explore local options for food and beverages, as well as to meet some of the brewers who live in the area.

“The craft of brew is what we’re supporting, and the people behind it,” Williams said. “At our festival you get a chance to connect with the brewers. The food available and products include local foods, so it’s really aligned with our mission of transforming the local food system.”

This year, the event will offer a homebrew showcase night, which will introduce locals to the resources available to create their own hyperlocal brews. The showcase, which will take place on Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., will also give attendees the chance to sample 28 local homebrews and speak with guests from Four Star Farms, Valley Malt, and The Modern Homebrew Emporium.

In addition to the homebrew showcase, many local breweries will be featuring and debuting brews that include hyper-local ingredients such as hops, berries, chocolate, honey, apples, and oysters sourced in Boston and New England. Williams said the event, which sold-out last year, is encouraging breweries to source even more locally than before.

“We’re seeing that a lot of the brewers are offering more products with local ingredients, which is great, we’re excited about that,” Williams said. “We’re just having the conversation and encouraging people to think of the options available.”

Tom Ryan of Cape Ann Brewing Company, which is based in Gloucester, said he is excited to share their concoctions at this year’s BrewFest. They will be serving their new Sunrise Saison, a Belgian-style pale ale brewed with fresh rhubarb and strawberries that Ryan described as “a roller coaster on your tongue.” Cape Ann Brewing Company will also showcase their Great Wit Whale, a Belgian white, and their Honey Pilsner, which is made with honey from a local farm in Billerica.

Ryan said BrewFest is unique because of its hyper-local focus, which helps the community see the faces of the people who make their beers and gives them an opportunity to ask questions about their favorite beverages.

“It’s great to have brewers there to give direct answers. People appreciate that people from the brewery actually come out,” Ryan said. “They see it’s a local brewery . . . It shows that we’re part of the community.”

Jay Sullivan, the head brewer of Cambridge Brewing Company, will be sharing samples of their HefeWeizen and Le Saisonniere. Sullivan said the brewery is excited to meet and greet people who love to not only drink their beer but learn about the process and who they are as brewers.

“I feel like America’s getting back towards a place where you know your butcher and your farmer, and knowing your brewer is a big part of that,” Sullivan said. “Being able to stand up and pour beers for different people who are interested in our different brews is part of trying to get back to actually knowing where your food and beverages come from.”

Williams said the heart of the event is to support local brewers and local food producers. In addition to beer, mead, cider, and artisan beverages, other area food vendors—such as Valicenti Organico, Five Horses Tavern, Q’s Nuts, and Taza Chocolate—will also be participating in the event.

“You might be surprised that there’s so many local products. We want you to be intrigued with what offerings are available,” Williams said. “It’s a local love fest: Great local food, great local brews, meeting people who are like-minded, and listening to great local music.”

The Hyper-Local Craft BrewFest will take place on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available for three sessions: The Craft of Homebrewing Showcase Night, Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m.; and Saturday night from 7 to 10 p.m. All sessions will take place at the Center for Arts at the Armory, located at 191 Highland Avenue in Somerville.

Event organizers encourage attendees to either take public transportation to the event or utilize the services of their partner Sidecar! Sidecar will provide free rides for attendees to and from the event.

To buy tickets, see a complete list of featured breweries, or learn how to use the Sidecar app, visit the event website.

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