Yeah, we’re a little late on getting this down in writing, but so be it. Bethlehem’s Harvest Festival was as good as ever this year, with a check-in process that didn’t make you want to murder everyone and a stellar line-up of homebrews.
We” start with that check-in process. This year they had it divided up a bit more than in the past and the lines weren’t insanely long just to get your passports. Most everything was sold out beforehand, as it usually is, but the whole process was easily the smoothest it’s ever been.
Dina Hall was playing on Main Street as beer lovers, wine trail samplers, and soup eaters meandered around looking for their next target. Pie-eating contestants mashed their faces with pastries (with Bethlehem mayoral candidate Todd Dietrich winning) and wannabe Johnny Depp pirates abounded (see below…we’re not quite sure what the hell that was all about).
But really though, let’s get to the important things, the stuff that everyone waits in an ever-growing line at Harvest Fest for: the homebrew. This year the Lehigh Valley Homebrewers had two tents, which helped alleviate the crush of people trying to get a beer, and showed off their new steampunk tap setup that was quite impressive. At one point a pumpkin was filled with beer and the crowd was getting pours from the gourd touting a tap topped with a severed doll’s head.
Scott Minnich and Bob Piano’s Double Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter, which never fails to impress, made its usual appearance as did the renamed (now March 14th) Black Pepper Porter from Mike Lessa. Steve Zapata sported a fantastic Mosaic Pale Ale that had us coming back again and again for samples until the whole thing pretty much shut down. Tim and Honoree Kerrigan, who have been at the homebrew a while and are working at opening up their own brewery, had their fantastic IPA (which they also poured at the PBS Brewfest this year) as well as a Butternut Spiced Porter, a nice deviation from the typical pumpkin brews. Mel Homik’s Fresh Hop Cascade APA was another solid brew, and Ryan Wieand’s Pumpkin Porter was probably the best homebrew take on the pumpkin beer style we’ve had in a while. Rounding out the favorites of the day was Bob Slonaker’s Strawberry Kiwi Cider, a sweet and fruity drink that was eminently poundable and could result in some debilitating hangovers.
Once again the weather was absolutely perfect and Harvest Fest was a great success.