7th Annual Craft Brewer's Beer Festival

May 25, 2001 at 11:15am

Author(s): Lathe Poland

BeerTools.com visited the happenings at the 7th Annual Craft Brewers Beer Festival held in Naugatuck, CT on May 19, 2001. The visitors were treated to great food and live music. Of course the focus was on the great beer from 20 breweries, 6 brew pubs, and 1 supply shop.

Hundreds of people crowded into the exhibition tents to judge over 60 kinds of beer. Tasting your way through some of the finest craft beer on the east coast can be tough work. Fortunately for the participants, the visitors were eagerly up to the task.

The breweries came from eight states to show off their hard work. Among them were two New York breweries the Brooklyn Brewery and the Ommegang & Saranac Brewery. The four from Vermont were Catamount, Long Trail Brewing, Magic Hat Brewery and Otter Creek. The four Massachusetts breweries were Cisco Brewers (from Nantucket island), the Harpoon brewery, the Ipswich brewery, and Tremont. Allagash showed off the brewing scene in Maine. The New Jersey High Point brewery was at the event along with a Pennsylvania brewery by the name of Victory. New Hampshire was represented by the Red Hook brewery. The Rouge brewery was there to represent Oregon.

Connecticut had 13 different craft beer organizations on hand. Here's the list: Bru RM @ Bar, Classic Rock Brewpub, Colorado Brewing, Cottrell Brewing, Farmington River, Hammer & Nail, Hops Restaurant Bar & Brewery, John Harvard’s Brewpub, New England Brewery, Streich's Brewing, Willimantic Brewing Co. & main street cafe, the Maltose Express, and Hard Lemonades.

The festival was great fun for its patrons, but for these breweries this event was a serious affair. Winning judged contests like this can do a lot to increase the audience of a craft beer. The top voted beer honors went to three different breweries. The “Kilt Lifters Scotch Ale” made by the Bru RM@ Bar from New Haven, CT took the 1st place award. Second place went to the “Hop Devil Ale” made by the Pennsylvania based Victory brewery. Third place was bestowed upon “Ramstein Blonde Hefe-Weizen” from the New Jersey, High Point Wheat Beer Co.

Representing The Maltose Express, the well known brewing authors Mark and Tess Szamatulski were there to show off their new book “Beer Captured.” This new book, the follow up to their 1st book “Clone Brews”, is an in depth look at the art of clone recipe development. “I make a lot of beer when putting the recipes together for one of my books!” commented Mark. “It takes a great deal of trial and error to clone a beer…as a result we always have plenty of home brew on hand at the shop.” Mark and Tess said they make hundreds of five gallon batches in the process of authoring a book.

Peter Hammer of the Hammer and Nail brewery had some good advice for the home brewer. When asking him about sanitizing, he mentioned that he uses caustic cleaners to clean the equipment every week on a specified day. Chlorine is rarely used for it can contribute to some unpleasant flavors and characteristics in beer. While chlorine bleach is cheap, it may be worth the extra expense to use iodine or other common sanitizers specially made for brewing purposes.

There is a lot of knowledge and know how assembled at festivals like this. Most often the representatives of these breweries are happy to share what they have learned. Take advantage of opportunities like this to see what’s being done out there and to hone your craft. Expand your appreciation for the innumerable styles possible…and above all have fun with home brewing.

The event was organized by Terry Boyd and Mountview Plaza Wines &Liquors. For more information about next year’s Craft Brewers’ Beer Festival please contact Terry at TerryLBoyd@aol.com