EC Brew Fest draws record crowd under blue skies

EC Brew Fest draws record crowd under blue skies

As appeared in The Times Tribune by David Falchek on April 19, 2015.

With blue skies and temperatures pushing toward 80 degrees, almost 3,000 people agreed Saturday was a great day for a beer, or several beers, at the Electric City Craft Brew Fest.

With still-melting snowpack at Montage Mountain Ski Resort looming in the background, the extraordinary weather caught some off guard.

JASON FARMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER From left, Nicole Karausky of Vandling, Hilary Hobbs of Prompton and Erin Oakley of Greenfield Twp. share a toast during the Electric City Craft Brew Fest at Montage Mountain in Scranton on Saturday.

Porter Hopkins of Scranton had to hunt around for a pair of shorts. With a cap and sunglasses, he ended up dressed for the weather as he and Jessica Osborne sat on a bench in the sun, enjoying a banana-bread beer they said tasted exactly like banana bread. This was the craft beer fans’ first time at the event, which they attended with the intention of developing a shopping list of beers they enjoy.

“This is great chance to try before you buy,” Ms. Osborne said.

The festival, in its third year, has become a spring tradition in Northeast Pennsylvania. The weather set the stage for a strong comeback from last year’s event, which was hampered by rain.

JASON FARMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER A large crowd enjoys the Electric City Craft Brew Fest at Montage Mountain in Scranton on Saturday. It was the third year for the event.

Tim Holmes, Times-Shamrock regional director of marketing and event coordinator, said the event was poised to be the best attended yet. The layout of the ski resort and water park proved nearly perfect for the event, he said. The festival also offered limo service from “A Room With a Brew” — the hotels around the Glenmaura and Montage area.

Times-Shamrock, the parent company of The Sunday Times, sponsored the event.

The Scranton Brewer’s Guild held two educational sessions: “Don’t Be a Beer Snob, Be a Beer Connoisseur” and “When Micro Met Macro.”

Mark Lehman, co-owner of the Breaker Brewing Co. in Wilkes-Barre Twp., said he has seen the event grow and the audience evolve over his years of participation. He remembers when people asked for Breaker’s lightest beer. Today, more are asking astute questions and asking for a variety of beer styles.

“The area is making great strides and embracing craft beer,” he said. “This event has been part of that evolution.”

Ed Generose, who lives outside Philadelphia but is from this area, looked forward to trying the new summer beers, several of which debuted at the fest. For some, like Steve Seliga of Taylor, tailgating in the parking lot before heading in, the event is a great party.

“I want to end the night like just like the main character in the movie ‘Rudy,’ ” he said. “Carried off the field.”

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