Clear skies bring great turnout to Bonifest

By on June 13, 2018

 

Billed as a bluegrass band, Colebrook Road extends their set lists beyond traditional Appalachia hits with covers of Paul Simon and Johnny Cash, as well as many original compositions. (Photos by Michael Upton)

St. Boniface was blessed yet again with another beautiful day for their annual namesake festival, Bonifest, Saturday, June 9 as hundreds of Bonifans filled the Ephrata craft brewery’s parking lot to enjoy music, friendship, and special brews.

St. Boniface co-owner Dain Shirey estimated attendance at 875 people. But, the biggest number may be 750 …750 pounds. That is the amount of food the event gathered through donations for local food banks.

“We’re excited about the large turnout with plenty of familiar faces, but many new ones too. We thank Ephrata and greater Lancaster community for their continued support,” said Shirey after the event. “We could not have pulled it off without many hours of planning, prep, and hard work from our staff and volunteers.”

Beyond the show of human generosity, my personal highlight (as a beer taster) was two-fold. I loved getting a chance to try Mr. Balloon Hands, a double-dry hopped sour NEIPA (New England IPA), which is swollen with sweetness from peach puree and made with the addition of lactose for a sublime mouthfeel. It’s a pretty awesome beer. Don’t just take my word for it! Fifty people checked in with the 4.15-scored Mr. Balloon Hands on Untapped during Bonifest.

My second beer-highlight was the special firkin of Hegemony stout released at 1:30 p.m. (Six special brews were released throughout the day.) Brewed with roasted plantains, dried chili peppers, cacao, and cinnamon this version of Hegemony was thick, heavy and put a “Wow!” face on St. Boniface regular Jeff “Chud” Faulds. I missed the cinnamon, but the peppers and cacao made this mole version of a stout something to remember.

St. Boniface co-owners Jon Northup (left) and Dain Shirey tap a special firkin of Hegemony stout brewed with roasted plantains, dried chili peppers, cacao, and cinnamon.

The other special firkins for the event included a bourbon barrel aged Hegemony reserve; Paideia Colada (the brewery’s flagship pale ale made with coconuts and pineapple &tstr; it was more pineapple than coconut to me); a special Mr. Balloon Hands rested over watermelon Sour Patch Kids candy; Theory & Reality (something dry hopped with Pacifica hops, which I never got the full story on-sorry); and Surprise! It’s Another IPA dry hopped with an extra dose of Vic Secret and Ella hops. Vic Secret hops hail from Australia and carry an aroma of pineapple, pine, and passion fruit while Ella hops (also originating in Australia) partner with IPAs for dry hop purposes, but may be readily found in lagers and pilsners.

It may have been the driving force behind many visitors, but beer wasn’t the only reason to make it out to Bonifest on Saturday. I made sure to get to Bonifest early to catch an earful of Colebrook Road, one of my favorite local bands.

Jameson Stoltzfus gets a bird’s eye view of the events at Bonifest from the arms of his dad, Jordan Stoltzfus of New Holland.

Billed as a bluegrass band, Colebrook Road extends their set lists beyond traditional Appalachia hits with covers of Paul Simon and Johnny Cash, as well as many original compositions. The Harrisburg-based group consists of Jesse Eisenbise (guitar), Jeff Campbell (bass), Wade Yankey (mandolin), Joe McAnulty (fiddle) and Telluride Bluegrass Festival banjo contest winner Mark Rast. Colebrook Road kicked off a day of music, sun, and celebration between old and new friends.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

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

 

Hopin’ Around friend and cider drinker Crystal Fox of New Holland waves hello as other Bonifest-goers line up for the tapping of a special firkin of Hegemony Mole.

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