Small fest, big crowd

By on June 17, 2015

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day for a beer festival Saturday, June 6. The second annual St. Bonifest, a micro-festival celebrating the beers of St. Boniface Craft Brewing Company, brought out hundreds of beer fans and aficionados to the Ephrata hot spot. Of course, I was there, but I got there just a little too late.

I was super excited to try the special firkin’ed (cask conditioned) brews, especially the 3lb IPA with habanero peppers. Even though I’m not a huge fan of IPAs, 3lb (Cascade, single hopped) has become one of my favorite beers and is a weekend staple at my house. St. Boniface also brewed up a firkin’s worth of their Hegemony stout with cocoa nibs. Quickly searching for the firkins under the massive white tent in the parking lot, I ran into co-owner Mike Price who broke the bad news. The 3lb disappeared in under an hour and the Hegemony a short while after. [Anyone reading who got to try one of these please shoot me a Facebook message with a brief description.] Brewmaster Jon Northup described the scene, “I had a line of people following me as I carried the firkins out to the tent.”

St. Bonifest enjoyed a great turnout June 6. In addition to the beer, food and live music, patrons donated canned goods to the local food bank.

St. Bonifest enjoyed a great turnout June 6. In addition to the beer, food and live music, patrons donated canned goods to the local food bank.

Returning from its appearance at the Lititz Craft Brew Festival (of which many of the event’s organizers were on hand Saturday to help) was Kettleface, an Imperial red ale collaboration between St. Boniface and Columbia Kettle Works. Inside, the tasting room servers were offering frozen lemonade shandies and a clementine infused Libation double IPA. Having missed the firkin brews I started with a Kettleface –simply because it is a limited release — and followed up with an infused Libation. Despite the large crowd, beer service was rather quick and people headed back to their lawn chairs and outdoor tables.

Anyone who was hungry had their work cut out for them trying to make a decision. The Fridge was back at St. Bonifest with their portable flatbread pizza hearth. I opted for a roasted pork gyro from the Souvlaki Boys. Barbecue was served up by Rocky’s BBQ (those burnt ends always go fast), and for desert Sugar Whipped offered gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan treats.

Sugar Whipped is a favorite food truck for those with a sweet tooth.

Sugar Whipped is a favorite food truck for those with a sweet tooth.

I was sure to make it to St. Bonifest before the Vinegar Creek Constituency duo (meaning the whole five-piece band was not in attendance) took the stage. I love their Americana sound and, from the applause, so did many other festgoers. Providing entertainment the rest of the day were The Last Time and Jake Lewis and the Clergy. Nine dollars (10 at the door) got you into St. Bonifest with a complimentary drink and a souvenir pint glass. Those who brought a non-perishable food item received a raffle ticket. Prizes included St. Boniface shirts and even a pair of tickets to this year’s Lititz Craft Beer Festival. Generous patrons donated a total of 15 boxes of necessities to the Ephrata Area Social Services food bank.

With a turnout like Saturday, I’m sure the folks at St. Boniface will be having a third festival next year. Stay tuned …

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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