Bethlehem Press

Saturday, August 19, 2017
Press photos by Dennis GlewClose to 300 people participated in the 2017 Homebrew Fest, nearly filling the Charles A. Brown Ice House. Press photos by Dennis GlewClose to 300 people participated in the 2017 Homebrew Fest, nearly filling the Charles A. Brown Ice House.
Patrick and Wanda Finelli of Bethlehem like beer, but their main reason for attending the Fest was to support WDIY -- and to see friends who would be there. Patrick and Wanda Finelli of Bethlehem like beer, but their main reason for attending the Fest was to support WDIY -- and to see friends who would be there.
Bethlehem resident Fred Miller was one of several people who favor Belgian-style beer. He gave all his votes to Judd Ball and Mark Conners. Bethlehem resident Fred Miller was one of several people who favor Belgian-style beer. He gave all his votes to Judd Ball and Mark Conners.
Jim Parsons of Keystone Homebrew Supply in Bethlehem recruited 26 of his customers to participate in the fest. Many are members of a brew club he founded. Home brewing can turn professional. Hijinx Brewing Co. in Allentown was founded by a homebrewer. Jim Parsons of Keystone Homebrew Supply in Bethlehem recruited 26 of his customers to participate in the fest. Many are members of a brew club he founded. Home brewing can turn professional. Hijinx Brewing Co. in Allentown was founded by a homebrewer.
Grace Hochella of Allentown holds up her miniature beer stein, illustrating the tiny portions served at the fest. Guests enjoyed the beer but did not overindulge. Grace Hochella of Allentown holds up her miniature beer stein, illustrating the tiny portions served at the fest. Guests enjoyed the beer but did not overindulge.
Reginald Springer of Palmer Township, joined by wife Tracie, has been brewing beer for nearly 10 years, starting with English style and moving to Belgian. He featured “Sang Orange Biere Belgique” (Orange Blood Belgian Beer) and “Paysage Eternal Biere de Garde” (Eternal Passage de Garde Beer). Reginald Springer of Palmer Township, joined by wife Tracie, has been brewing beer for nearly 10 years, starting with English style and moving to Belgian. He featured “Sang Orange Biere Belgique” (Orange Blood Belgian Beer) and “Paysage Eternal Biere de Garde” (Eternal Passage de Garde Beer).
Bethlehem residents Judd Ball and Mark Conners also produced Belgian-style beer. Judd has been brewing for two years; Mark joined him recently. Bethlehem residents Judd Ball and Mark Conners also produced Belgian-style beer. Judd has been brewing for two years; Mark joined him recently.
Dan Brady of Bethlehem, joined by wife Debra, has been brewing beer for 10 years. He prefers American-style beers. Dan Brady of Bethlehem, joined by wife Debra, has been brewing beer for 10 years. He prefers American-style beers.

Fest brews up support for WDIY

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by DENNIS GLEW Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

English beer. Belgian beer in many varieties. German-style beer. Even Chocolate Peanut-butter Stout.

Beers of every sort were available to sample July 8 at the Second Annual Homebrew Fest organized by WDIY, the Lehigh Valley’s Community NPR station. Twenty-six homebrewers contributed their wares; nearly 300 guests sampled among the many offerings. One guest described the event as “heaven for beer lovers.” It was also a very successful fund-raiser for WDIY.

The Charles A. Brown Ice House on Sand Island, where the fest took place for the second year, was packed for the family-friendly event. Every guest signed in at the door. Anyone who wanted to sample homebrews were carded, then given tiny beer mugs. Designated drivers were welcome to attend, too. They were offered free non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy.

Brewers stood at tables around the walls of the large main room of the Ice House, offering 2-ounce servings of their beers for guests to sample. Large plastic buckets were available to dispose of any beer that a guest didn’t finish. No drunkenness or rowdy behavior was observed in the large crowd. The vibe was friendly and positive.

The fest also featured a competition to determine the favorite beer offered. Each guest was given five tickets and invited to deposit one ticket, or more, in a cup on the table of the brewer of a beer he or she especially liked. Five judges, one of them a professional brewer, made the final cut.

The winner of the competition was John Litak of Bethlehem. Litak’s beer was “Crustless PB&J on Wheat,” a distinctly American brew. His prize is the opportunity to work with Sam Massotto, the master brewer at Bonn Street Brewery in Bethlehem, to develop his recipe. Sam and John will be interviewed about their experience together on WDIY.

Interviewed after the event, Wagner Previato, WDIY executive director, reported that he and his colleagues were pleased with this year’s Homebrew Fest.

“We plan to be back next year,” he added.