SOMERVILLE, NJ – A few visitors from Germany just happened to be in town last year and stopped by the Somerville Craft Beer Fest to soak up some of the local ambience – and sample some of the craft beers.
Because Germans know a thing or two about beer – their culture, their heritage, their economy is imbued with hops, barley, steins and ‘oompah’ bands - Mike Proske took it as a compliment when they told him how much they had enjoyed themselves at the annual street event.
“They told me they loved it,” said Proske, owner of Tapastre Restaurant and Project P.U.B., sponsors of the event located at the corner of North Bridge Street and West High Street.
Other visitors that stood out in last year’s crowd included a bride and groom and their wedding party that stopped to imbibe and pose for wedding album pictures.
Thousands of craft beer lovers each year descend on the outdoor craft beer fest held on South Bridge Street between Main Street and West High Street.
Proske estimates the combined breweries last year drained at least 90 kegs of their specialty beers both days.
This year’s fest will be held Saturday, June 17 from noon-9 p.m. and Sunday, June 18 from noon-7 p.m.
At last count, Proske had 33 craft beer breweries lined up to pour samples of their fresh drafts, handcrafted and brewed in limited quantities, including:
Flying Dog Brewery, Riverhorse Brewery, Brotherton Brewing Company, Alpine Brewing Company, Green Flash Brewing Co., B. Nektar, Left Hand Brewing Company,Demented Brewing Company, Angry Erik Brewing, 902 Brewing Co., Brix City Brewing, Flounder Brewing, Lone Eagle Brewing, Dark City Brewing Company, Kane Brewing Company, Carton Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Clown Shoes Beer, Captain Lawrence Brewing Company and Tröegs Independent Brewing. There may be more last-minute sign-ups.
Other liquid refreshments will include cider and sangria.
Food and beer tents will line both sides of North Bridge Street, with barricades at either end of the street, creating a plaza for milling about. There will be two breweries beneath each tent, serving four varieties of beer, according to Proske.
There will be live music on stage all day both days; food will be available, with several Somerville restaurants on hand, including Division Café, Court House Sub Shop, Boulevard Seafood and others from out-of-town,including TasteofPolandnj from Great Meadows. Donuts flavored with beer will also be sold.
Here’s the schedule of performances by the bands for both days:
Noon - Chris Hoke, acoustic classics;
2:30 p.m.- Peter Prasa, Singer/songwriter;
3:30 p.m. - Andy Prasa singer/songwriter;
5 p.m. - 4 Flight Rock, classic rock;
7 p.m. - Bob Lanza, blues.
Noon - PD Brody, acoustic classics;
2:30 p.m. - Crash Gordon & Debra Dynamite, rockabilly/classics;
5 p.m. TH and the All-stars
Other entertainment includes a dunk tank and an oversized game of beer pong that uses a volleyball and large red trash buckets.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.eventbrite.com for $10; tickets can be purchased at the fest either Saturday or Sunday for $15.
The event is open to all ages. Anyone under 18 must have parental supervision.
Paid admission also includes a 4-ounce souvenir taster’s mug. Taster pours will cost between $1-4; full pours will cost $5-8.
Wrist bands will be used to control admissions; appropriate age identification will be required by the craft brewers.
This is a cash-only event. No credit cards will be accepted.
No strollers are allowed and unlike previous years, no dogs or pets will be allowed.