Central Jersey Charity Beer Fest
Parker Press park
Woodbridge, NJ

It couldn't have been a more perfect day for a beer fest...the sun shone brightly and the temperature was perfect. We enjoyed a nice lunch at JJ Bittings beforehand and then mosied on over to the park to enjoy the festivities and assist Tun Tavern's tim Kelly to pour his beers for the 1100 attendees who brought their thirsts with them. At the gate we happened upon my good friend and colleague, Kurt Epps, The Pubscout, who I see all too seldom! He is partially to blame for my entering the beerwriting profession. I knew this was going to be a good day!
We walked around a bit before the crowds entered and talked to the brew crews.
Mike Cerami started this fest 3 years ago to help others in need. This year it was to aid Jerome Falcone, a 2 year old afflicted with cancer, who had succumbed to the disease just 3 weeks prior to the fest. Even in his short lifetime, the parents were left with oppressive medical bills and this event helped them in their struggle.
I was happy to meet Brian Boak of Boaks Beverages whom I have spoken to and traded e-mails for my Mid-Atlantic Brewing News column. I also got a chance to taste all his beers and can now report first hand that this guy has a real future in the beer business! His 4 beers: Monster Mash, Two Blind Monks, Abbey Brown Ale and Double BW were all exceptional. The Monster Mash had been partially aged in Jack Daniel Barrels which added to its profile. Unfortunately, his distribution will not make it down to South Jersey, so we'll have to travel more often.
Of course, the hosts of the event were there. Mike Cerami of JJ Bittings started this festival 3 years ago. His brewer, August Lightfoot, has been a great asset for JJB's these last 7 years, but has announced that he is looking to move on to spend more quality time with his family. A great loss to the NJ brewing scene, but a necessary change for a wonderful person. I wish him the best of luck in his endeavors and hope to see him again down the road.

I spoke to Mike Sella of Pizzeria Uno who had brought his famous Octoberfest, Pils and Apricot Wheat. He ruined my day by telling me all the great beers he had collected for his Cask Ale Fest coming up the next week. I can't attend the event and he knows how much I love cask-conditioned beers.
Cricket Hill made a good showing with their great lineup of beers....especially the Festivus.
River Horse arrived with their Lager and Hop Hazard.
Harvest Moon brought a Pumpkin Ale which disappeared as quickly as the crew when the keg kicked.
We poured Tun Tavern's Pale Ale, Light and Dark Lager. We blew the last half keg before 4PM and the lines were still coming!
JJ Bittings, Pizzeria Uno and Boaks carried the rest of the day when the others drained their kegs. I'm sure there was a lot of complaining about the lines and the paucity of beer, but it WAS for a good cause and not a drunkfest. I trust next year, they will be able to garner more support from the brewing/distributor community though times are hitting everyone hard and contributions are down across the board.
Hope you can make it!