The second annual brewfest at the Fairbanks Museum is happening Oct. 2 from 3-7 p.m.
“Bears and Brews is a celebration of great flavors, innovative businesses, and the beauty of fall foliage in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Adam Kane, executive director.
The tasting event features 10 acclaimed craft breweries in northern Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as poutine by Vulgar Display of Poutine and pretzels by Crumb Bum bakery, both based in Littleton, N.H. Live music by Trittium Well, Chickweed, and the Bald Mountain Boys keeps the afternoon hopping.
“This event grew out of the tremendous interest from our visitors in knowing more about fermenting, foraging, and other aspects of cultivating unique flavors,” said Christopher Kurdek, one of the Museum’s science educators and a part of the Eye on the Sky weather team.
Kurdek helped organize the first brewfest at the Museum in 2019, which featured a range of beers from small and micro brewers.
“What’s unique and exciting about this event is the emphasis on science – we encourage brewers to come so they can explain the process," he said. "This helps visitors get a better sense of what they’re tasting. The conversations also lead to a richer appreciation of the process.”
“This is a small and intimate event, unlike most brewfests. Therefore guests will be able to talk, spend time, and learn about some of the best beers in the region – and in the world — directly from the brewers themselves,” Kurdek pointed out. “The brewers are also very excited to be able to share and personally get to know the people who enjoy their beers.”
The brewfest took a break in 2020 because of COVID-19. This year, the tasting event will happen outdoors, and safety protocols will be in place.
“Our priorities are to ensure everyone enjoys themselves and to do everything we can to create a safe environment for our guests,” said Allison Gulka-Millard, director of programs, who is organizing Bears and Brews. “We’re following the latest guidelines from the CDC and from the Vermont Department of Health.”
Guests will be required to show proof of being vaccinated or a negative COVID-19 test result in the past 72 hours to enter the grounds. “We’ve been monitoring the situation in Vermont closely, and we’re keeping health and safety as a concern at all times.”
Brewfest guests will also be able to tour the Museum’s galleries and take in a planetarium show, setting this event apart from others: “How often do you get to savor a beer then stroll among towering bears and Victorian bird trees?”
The main attraction will be the robust and unique flavors presented by master brewers. Bears and Brews features local favorites and award-winning beer from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and New Hampshire’s North Country, including Hill Farmstead Brewery (Greensboro), Schilling Beer Company (Littleton, N.H.), Red Barn Brewing (Danville, ), Whirligig Brewing (St. Johnsbury), Rek-lis Brewing Company (Bethlehem, N.H.), and Coos Brewing Company (Colebrook, N.H.). In addition, guests will be able to sample beers from distinctive and acclaimed Vermont-based brewers: Wunderkammer Bier (Albany) Foam Brewers (Burlington). Frost Beer Works (Hinesburg,) and Tend Bends Beer (Hyde Park).
Each brewery will highlight their specialized flavors, processes or ingredients, so guests get a sense of how each small batch is cultivated and what local elements ground the taste in our region. “This event blends science with spirit, getting to the heart of the complex operations that give each beer its essence,” comments Kane. “And it’s a lot of fun.”
Tickets are available online at fairbanksmuseum.org or at the Fairbanks Museum (1302 Main Street, St. Johnsbury. Quantities are limited.