Hop’in Around: A brew fest with a bang!

By on August 21, 2019

Music and food trucks took a backseat to the entertainment provided by cannon fire at the Gettysburg Brew Fest. (Photos by Michael Upton)


On July 1, 1863, day one of fighting in what would become known as the Battle of Gettysburg, Seminary Ridge became the front line between the North and South. On Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, for the sixth year in a row, the site became home to the Gettysburg Brew Fest where cannons sounded only for the delight of attendees.

Seriously, they fire cannons at set times throughout the day! It’s awesome.

“I was luke-warm (to the exact location) at first because it’s a battlefield, but the Seminary said they wanted it there, and it turns out it is a great way to get people to come to Gettysburg,” said organizer Curt Foreman of Wisconsin-based Brewfest Partners; the event benefits the United Lutheran Seminary.

On this sun drenched Saturday, only two breweries represented Lancaster County — Lancaster Brewing Co. and Spring House Brewing Co. — but several (of my favorite) regional breweries like South County Brewing Co., Highway Manor Brewing Co., and Collusion Tap Works mixed with an impressive collection of (some of my favorite) out-of-area brewers like Wicked Weed Brewing (Asheville, N.C.), Evolution Craft Brewing Co. (Salisbury, Md.), and Evil Genius Beer Co. (Philly).

Skies were blue, the sun was out, and beer flowed at the sixth annual Gettysburg Brew Fest.

Standouts for me and my designated drinker were Wicked Weed with Lieutenant Dank IPA and a Watermelon Dragonfruit Burst session sour; South County’s Golden Sky blonde ale; Reid’s Orchard & Winery’s Grizzly Cider, made with Smokehouse apples; Highway Manor’s selection of sours — Mr. Flower sour ale; Manor Lite, a “table sour;” and Bright the Day, a hopped sour ale conditioned on lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges with a wonderful aroma and gentle hop flavor — and Tattered Flag’s Blue Raider Kolsch, which was a perfect beer for the hot day.

Sons of Alchemy, probably the most popular homebrew group I’ve seen at a beer fest, offered beers named Sumatra Stout, Berrya 51, and Regular Everyday Normal Beer. Long lines formed behind the taps manned by the Central PA homebrewing club.

For those new to the area, the folks at Destination Gettysburg were on hand to introduce the Adams County Pour Tour. My Pour Tour passport is already full, but the folks did direct me to the most popular beer at the fest.

Everyone was talking about Wolf Brewing Company’s Double German Chocolate Cake Imperial Stout and the lines proved it. The only problem was, the beer was so popular kegs ran dry almost immediately and since I didn’t get to Wolf as soon as I entered the festival, I missed out. Maybe next time!

Reid’s Orchard & Winery’s Grizzly Cider pours like a champagne-style wine.

A subject for a future Hop’in Around, Wolf boasts brewing since 2011 but does not yet have a storefront. The Mechanicsburg-based brewery promises to open a location in the Market Square portion of the Legacy Park community in 2020. Stay tuned …

Sometimes a fest is all about location. Other times a festival relies on what they offer. The Gettysburg Brew Fest excels at providing both: a beautiful location to enjoy some really good beers. Bring your own chairs, relax, and enjoy.

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.


Beer enthusiasts mingled with history buffs at the Gettysburg Brew Fest, held on the hallowed grounds of the battlefield.

One Comment

  1. Mick

    August 24, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Thanks, Michael, for the shout out. The Sons of Alchemy really enjoy pouring our homebrews for the public, especially at great events like Gettysburg. We calculate that we poured something like 1,700 samples at the event and can’t wait to do it again next year.

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