Micro Brew Fest Highlights Erie's Growing Craft Beer Culture - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Micro Brew Fest Highlights Erie's Growing Craft Beer Culture

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WQLN's 8th Annual Micro Brew Festival brought a crowd of 1,600 to Brewerie at Union Station, drawing people from as far away as North Carolina.

They packed the restaurant-bar to sample more than 100 beers from 33 brewers. With titles like Spraguer Logger (a Märzen lager) to Liopard Oir (floral, hoppy and fruity), these beers were anything but run-of-the-mill.

Micro brewing is a craft booming across the country, and no different for the Erie area.

"In the last 10 years about 1,500 craft and micro breweries just came online. So almost any flavor that you enjoy, you can find it in a beer," said Tom New of WQLN.

Be it apricot, chocolate, or coffee flavored, light or stout, the Micro Brew Fest likely had the beer on hand.

"The appeal of micro brews to the consumer is that whatever taste you have, the beer can accommodate that," said Jack McCullor, president of Erie Ale Works, one of the brewers at the fest.

"It's growing to be a big part of the culture and community. I think it's starting to be on par with the wineries around here and I'm glad to see it's really coming up," said Jeff Slater of Erie. "Lavery and a lot of other local brewers are becoming heavy hitters and recognized throughout the country."

Although Erie County's micro breweries have long lagged behind Crawford County's in number, Erie Ale Works is tying it up as Erie's newest brewery.

"Crawford County has always had four micro breweries and Erie had three. But this year at the micro brew fest, people can taste our (Erie's) newest brew house," New said.

Erie Ale Works is set to open in July at W. 12th St and Chestnut St, making 2014's beer fest their first. But many - some vendors and some patrons - have made it a tradition.

"We come every year, it's a sister thing," said Hope Smith of Erie. "The guys go trout fishing and the girls come here," she said.

It's an event for people with all levels of beer knowledge, novice or expert.

"I think people who don't know a lot about beers would still enjoy this. There's a lot of flavors and there's a lot of people who are willing to teach them," Slater said.

The event raised about $30,000 for WQLN public radio and TV.

 

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