Brothers Craft Prepares For Spring Beer Festival | News

Harrisonburg brewery Brothers Craft Brewing Co. is preparing to hold a beer festival inspired by German tradition.

The brewery will hold its fourth annual Starkbierfest on Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. The festival mirrors the Bavarian tradition of “Starkbierzeit,” according to Josh Harold, taproom manager at Brothers Craft. The festival will include traditional “Stark,” or strong, German beers, according to Harold.

“Starkbierfest is more of a celebration of lent and the Paulaner monks than just an event when you look at it over in Germany and neighboring Bavaria,” said Harold. “For us, we kind of take it and wrap it up into the one day, kind of like you would see in Oktoberfest here in the United States. It’s just kind of a reason to drink and celebrate the winter. That’s always kind of been our philosophy behind it – a nice Spring event set right in lent, where we can take our pilot system and brew small-batch beers of some traditional German styles, to go along with the tradition over there, and then do an American craft beer equivalency.”

In addition, Harold said the brewery has partnered with a local restauranteur to have authentic German cuisine at the event.

“Ott Street Eats is our vendor for Saturday,” Harold explained. “I’ve not gotten to talk to John McMurray yet about his specific menu, but I know he’ll design something that will go along with our beers, and along with the theme,” Harold added, speaking highly of the owner and chef at the mobile business.

Harold said the brewery got the inspiration five years ago, when he had a conversation with a customer from Germany.

“I knew nothing about it at all until, in the Spring one year, I guess it was 2019, I had a couple out for our by-the-fire Fridays, I’m sitting by the campfire with one of our steins from Oktoberfest,” Harold explained. “And the lady was like, ‘oh, you have a very nice stein!’ And, we got to talking, I told her about our Oktoberfest, and she was from Bavaria, and she was like, ‘Would you know about Starkbierfest?` That was the first time I’d heard anything about this celebration. And that intrigued me.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the brewery from launching the festival in 2020, Harold said little has changed since it began in 2021, with the focus remaining on honoring the Bavarian tradition with German beers like doppelbock and (Check recording for more), as well as other beers inspired by German culture like German chocolate resolute, which Harold described as tasting like a German chocolate cake.

In addition to the festival, the brewery will host its weekly Bluegrass Sunday Jam on Sunday afternoon, with its annual Cigar and Barleywine festival following in April.


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