Another round! Ephrata Brewfest back for second year

By on May 31, 2017

Putting together a successful beer festival is a lot of work. Just ask the folks involved with last year’s inaugural Ephrata Brewfest who will bring back the second installment of the downtown event on June 24, at the Whistle Stop Plaza, from 1 to 4 p.m.

“It’s a challenge, like it is every year,” said co-organizer Patrick Reed. “We had a couple brewers who said they were going to return and had something significant [develop]. We had a couple changes, but a good bit of the core breweries are back.”

Proceeds from the Ephrata Brewfest are split evenly between three non-profit organizations: the Ephrata Library, Ephrata Rec Center, and Downtown Ephrata Inc. (DEI).

“That’s a big part of why we do this event,” said Reed.

Once again, the Ephrata Brewfest will focus on local or closely regional breweries for the event.

“That’s really what we’ve been trying to do all along,” said Reed.

Returning from last year are: Black Forest True Tavern Ales (Ephrata); Cox Brewing Company (Elizabethtown); Lancaster Brewing Company; Mad Chef Brewing Company (East Petersburg); Moo-Duck Brewery (Elizabethtown); St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company (Ephrata); Snitz Creek Brewery (Lebanon); Stoudt’s Brewing Company (Adamstown); Union Barrel Works (Reamstown); Wacker Brewing Company (Lancaster); plus Renewal Kombucha of Lititz. Kombucha is a fermented tea espoused for its purported health benefits.

Five new breweries will take to the grounds, which last year were filled with sunshine and merriment. New arrivals from Lancaster County include the popular Columbia Kettle Works and creations from Lancaster Homebrew. From Harrisburg, Boneshire Brew Works and The Brewery at Millworks will bring their capital refreshments. And from West Reading Chatty Monks will provide Belgian-inspired brews. According to Reed, there is just cause in adding five new brewers.

“We [learned] we can definitely fit more people,” said Reed. “So, we do have a larger ticket sale this year.”

The goal is to presell 600 tickets, 100 more than last year. A limited amount of tickets will be available at the event.

Ephrata Brewfest brings friends together to taste new brews from local sources, great food, and enjoy live entertainment. There is a significantly discounted admission for designated drivers.

“It’s not going to be a lot, but we learned from last year there were a few people who came with groups who we could have sold [tickets] to,” said Reed.

Due to the intense sun in 2016, promoters also came to the realization the event needed more shade. Enter DEI. The downtown investment group purchased four large shade umbrellas, which will be used by the Brewfest to shield parts of the music area facing Main Street. Continuing to address suggestions from last year’s Brewfest, organizers have decided to intersperse the food stands with the breweries. In 2016, all food vendors were located at the western end of the park.

“There are less food vendors, but they are going to be dispersed,” said Reed.

New this year, but familiar to many beer fans, is Rocky’s BBQ food truck; they will join Bountiful Feast, who will return with offerings of like smoked cheddar bacon burgers and Costa Rican grilled chicken sandwiches. Also returning this year is The Hill, who will present its slow roasted, hand-carved, prime rib sandwiches with horseradish mayo. The large sandwiches were popular with attendees in 2016.

Tickets are on sale now through eventbrite.com or in person at the Ephrata Library and the Ephrata Rec Center. Advanced tickets cost $40 and designated driver tickets cost $10. Non-drinkers will be able to take advantage of a designated driver tent serving draft soda.

On the day of the event tickets cost $45, but according to Reed these tickets will be “very, very limited … don’t count on there being any if you know you are going.”

Reed also wanted to stress festgoers need to bring a valid ID to the event. Ephrata Brewfest memorabilia — dated with 2017 for collectors — will be on sale. Entertainment will be provided by Mark DeRose and the Dreadnought Brigade, described as a “rootsy, soulful, rock ‘n’ roll band from Lancaster.”

“Our goal is to each year progressively do more,” said Reed.

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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