Two beer tasting events in Lititz May 4

By on April 17, 2019

Jim Hovan (left), a local beer aficionado, gets a sample from a brewer at the 2018 Woodridge Beer Fest. 2019 marks the third year for the event. (Images provided by Fest organizers)


In a town already known for hosting some great beer events, a more intimate festival is gaining a reputation for being one of the most enjoyable beer fests in the area. The third annual Woodridge Beer Fest will take place on Saturday, May 4, at the Woodridge Swim Club, 50 W. Seventh St., Lititz.

The event, managed by club member Jeff McSparran, serves as a fundraiser for the pool.

“A lot of people love this fest because it’s intended to be a little bit smaller, a little bit more intimate,” said McSparran, who is hoping the event sells out soon. “Even if we sell out of the 500 tickets and are at max capacity, people can still talk with the brewers.”

The beer-fan to brewer interaction is something bringing beer makers (plus attendees) back to the fest, said McSparran. I visited the fest last year and it was easy for me to catch up with my pal Francisco Ramirez, the Mad Chef of Mad Chef Craft Brewing (who are returning this year). With limited attendance, the festival is more of a casual gathering. There is little jockeying in line for the release of certain beers. Heck, there were few lines at all! One thing I do recommend: bring chairs, a blanket, something to create a home base where you can relax.

Joining Mad Chef in returning for 2019 are Chatty Monks Brewing Company, Tattered Flag Brewery, Cox Brewing Company, and the folks from the Lititz Homebrew Cooperative.

“We’ve added some new brewers this year. I want to give some of the newer brewers in the area some exposure,” said McSparran. “I look for places that are relatively close to Lancaster, within a 45-minute drive.”

Zeroday Brewing Co. (Harrisburg), Twisted Bine Beer Co. (Mount Joy), Ploughman Cider (Aspers, Adams County), Lancaster County Cider and Swashbuckler Brewing Co. (both part of Mount Hope Estate & Winery) are the event first-timers this year.

“I wanted to have some ciders available for the people who are not big beer and IPA drinkers,” said McSparran. “There’s a variety of different (beverages) here. That is some of the positive reinforcement we have gotten…year after year. People love the variety of beers we get.”

Woodridge Beer Fest attendees must be 21; ID is required. There is no charge for designated drivers (which is awesome) and the event is rain or shine from 4 till 7 p.m. Entertainment this year will feature See You Next Friday, and food will be available to purchase from Crave Catering. Tickets are still available via

Francisco Ramirez (left), the Mad Chef himself, and Woodridge Beer Fest organizer Jeff McSparran have a good time during the 2018 event.

For those lucky enough to grab early admission via sold out VIP passes Stoll & Wolfe Distillery will be serving up the Hammock Helper cocktail made with Lititz Springs Vodka, fresh lemon juice, and maple syrup.

“The event is a lot of fun; we get to see so many friends and neighbors while helping to raise money for a great cause!” said distillery co-owner Erik Wolfe. “We’ll be set up from 3 till 4 to serve samples of our whiskey as well.”

Pretzel Fest

Also in Lititz on the 4th, the popular Pretzel Fest will have “beer tastings and a spirits tasting.” Stoll & Wolfe will provide the spirits here, too, and JoBoy’s Brew Pub will bring the beer.

“We are going with the Dunkelweizen. It goes great with pretzels,” said Jeff Harlass of JoBoy’s.

I couldn’t agree more. Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at and

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