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Chester County Press

Bonfires and Beers on tap for Feb. 27

01/12/2021 01:01PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Bright on the horizon of the winter months ahead lies Historic Kennett Square’s “Backyard” Winterfest, which offers an opportunity to enjoy a specially curated case of unique beers. For the full Winterfest experience, organizers say, they’re suggesting that ticket buyers drink these beers outside, around a backyard bonfire—hence this year’s theme of bonfires and beers.

“We’re really excited to be hosting the ninth annual Kennett Winterfest on Saturday, February 27, 2021,” said local architect and “Brewfest King” Jeff Norman. Following the huge success of the 2020 Kennett Backyard Brewfest pivot, Norman said, “Winterfest will follow the same format, offering two specially curated cases of 24 unique beers each. Because of the enthusiasm in the brewing community for this unique COVID-safe event, we were able to assemble the list of 48 breweries in record time. We’re also pleased to announce that seven new breweries will be participating.” 

Brewers appreciate the creative Brewfest and Winterfest pivots that enable them to reach beer aficionados even during this challenging year. 

“The 2021 Bonfires and Beers Winterfest promises to be nothing short of the epic success that we saw with the 2020 Kennett Brewfest event in October,” said James Adams, co-owner of Levante Brewing. “This is an innovative beer festival format that promotes safety first while exhibiting many never-before-released beers. The list of breweries lining up to provide beers for these two cases is stellar, and Levante Brewing is very excited for the opportunity to participate.”

In addition to local favorites like Levante, the list of participating breweries includes some from further afield. “Jeff [Norman] and the team continue to be friends and partners out east,” said Brew Gentlemen co-founder Matt Katase. “Though we don’t distribute in the east (yet), it’s always nice to have an opportunity to share our beer with folks who may have heard of us but haven’t yet tried our beer. This year has forced many to rethink and get creative, and Jeff was quick to accommodate both craft beer fans and the breweries who have been a part of the festival for years.”

In addition to plenty of returning “brew gentlemen,” Norman is excited that woman-owned Naked Brewing Co. is one of the new breweries participating in Winterfest this year. Naked Brewing is 50 percent woman owned, and 100 percent of its production is run by women. 

“We’re really stoked to be included and look forward to sharing our beer with people—even if it isn’t in person this year,” said head brewer Hannah Gohde. “I’m a sucker for a good theme, so developing a beer for Kennett Winterfest was really fun.” 

After a brainstorming session, Naked Brewing decided to brew a beer in their “cat series” of hazy IPAs for Winterfest that will also pay homage to Kennett as the mushroom capital—hence “Cat-a-pillar.” 

“Patrons can expect a fluffy and full-flavored hazy double dry hopped IPA with label art incorporating a mushroom. Think Woodstock-psychedelic-Alice-in-Wonderland-esque,” Gohde said. “At Naked Brewing we’re all about making solid liquid and having fun—two things this beer celebrates.”

Winterfest is about great beer and also supports a great cause. The Kennett Brewfest and Winterfest are key annual fundraisers for Historic Kennett Square. “These events enable us to do a lot of our programming,” said Historic Kennett Square executive director Bo Wright.

“Someone recently described what we do at HKS as ‘making Kennett Kennett.’ We’re very thankful for the community support—for ticket buyers as well as for Jeff Norman and his committee, the ongoing support of Waywood Beverage, and all the volunteers. With such a great lineup of participating breweries, we’re confident that the Winterfest will be just as successful as October’s Backyard Brewfest.”

Norman added, “The spirit of Kennett Winterfest is rooted in the tradition of tasting fantastic beers, outdoors in the ‘elements,’ with friends and family. This year’s theme will be Bonfires and Beers and we fully expect participants to cozy up to a fire and enjoy their cases outdoors for the authentic Winterfest experience.”

All proceeds from the Kennett Winterfest benefit Historic Kennett Square, the nonprofit that works to make Kennett a vibrant place to live, work, and play. Click here for ticket information and listings of participating breweries.