Massachusetts brewers are teaming up with a local company to beam an all-local beer festival into your living room later this week.
Twenty-five brewers have signed on to the Massachusetts Virtual Beer Festival, Fest From Home, organized by PR firm Kevin York Communications and taking place on Saturday, May 30, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $5, with proceeds benefiting Project Bread, a Boston nonprofit working to address food shortages and hunger.
“We saw a lot of these happening in other parts of the country,” says York, citing virtual beer fests in Oregon, California, and New Hampshire. "We thought, ‘What if we did this to give visibility to an industry that could really use it right now?’ "
At a physical beer fest (think pretzel necklaces), patrons purchase tickets that are good for small pours from brewers of their choice; it's a good way to try a lot of little somethings, rather than a lot of something.
At the Massachusetts Virtual Beer Fest, each brewery is “pouring” one festival beer, which attendees can purchase ahead of time. They include Amherst Brewing’s Jess IPA, Idle Hands’ Edgeworth pilsner, and Cape Cod Beer’s Summer, a seasonal in the hefeweizen style.
"We thought about how we bring some of those tangible elements that make people feel like they're at a beer festival," says York. "The main one is tasting the same beers everyone else is tasting."
The full list of beers is available on the PR firm’s website, along with a list of retailers selling boxes of beers specifically for the event, including Julio’s Liquors and Marty’s Fine Wines. In addition, Brighton’s Brato Brewhouse + Kitchen is assembling VIP meal kits, which include all the ingredients to make your own grilled cheese, along with your choice of either buffalo wings or buffalo cauliflower.
The festival will take place on Zoom and Facebook Live and include nine sessions of live interviews, as well as pre-recorded videos. Some of the sessions will feature multiple breweries that aren't usually paired together, talking about a common element they have shared expertise in, like innovation in making IPAs. Attendees are encouraged to comment and ask questions throughout.
"It's a way to interact with the breweries in a way that you might not normally do at a beer festival, when you stop by a booth to talk briefly about something," says Adam Denny Golab, head brewer at Bent Water, which is bringing hazy pale ale suborbital to the party.
Tickets for the festival are now available on EventBrite.
Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.