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.