NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 20, 2012

Suds and sports

Thousands expected at Brew Fest

Beer aficionados from throughout the area will gather on Saturday at the Amesbury Sports Park for the 6th annual Brew Fest, and organizers expect this year’s festival to be the biggest yet.

Since its inception in 2007, the Brew Fest has become one of the most popular annual events in Amesbury, with more than 5,000 people attending last year’s festival and more than 7,000 expected to turn out this weekend.

Meredith Robinson, the Sports Park’s director of sales, attributed the rapid growth of the event to its accessibility and the fact that it appeals to more than just hard-core beer geeks.

“Our brew fest is a little different from some of the others,” Robinson said. “We have a lot of people that don’t consider themselves beer connoisseurs, but they come anyway because it’s a blast.”

In addition to a huge range of brews, the festival will include live music on an outdoor stage, a Beer Olympics, summer tubing and Zorb rides, in which riders climb into a large inflatable sphere and roll down a hill.

But the focus, as always, is on the beer. This year’s festival promises to offer the widest range of unique beers yet. More than 100 microbrews will be available, including past favorites like Lobster Ale, Smashed Pumpkin and Double Bag, along with new offerings like Stingy Jack Pumpkin, Backlash Groundswell and Monkey Fist IPA.

If all of those beers sound intimidating, don’t worry: A handful of mainstream beers like Coors Light will also be on hand for those who prefer sticking with the familiar.

In addition, representatives from Angry Orchard, Innis and Gunn, Fatty Bampkins, Rising Tide and Dos Equis, who is sponsoring the festival, will be in attendance to discuss the history, brewing process and subtleties of their brews.

“This is our favorite annual event,” said MaryCarol Fowler, president of the Amesbury Sports Park, in a press release. “The first year we held the Brew Fest, we had 300 people attend in the rain, but it has grown exponentially every year. It’s just a great atmosphere outside with fabulous live music, tasty cold brews and scrumptious barbecue.”

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