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New location, same libation at Green River Brew Fest

  • Al Maier works with Michelle Maier to gift a pretzel necklace to Deb, center, of Greenfield at the 10th annual Green River Brewfest on Saturday as part of a "tradition" the Maier's experienced at their first brewfest three years ago. Hosted at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, proceeds from the event went to Greenfield Police Department's Public Service Program.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Al Maier works with Michelle Maier to gift a pretzel necklace to Deb, center, of Greenfield at the 10th annual Green River Brewfest on Saturday as part of a "tradition" the Maier's experienced at their first brewfest three years ago. Hosted at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, proceeds from the event went to Greenfield Police Department's Public Service Program.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Benjamin Wood of Pittsfield watches as Westfield River Brewing Company represntative Roy Tracy pours him a sample during the 10th annual Green River Brewfest at the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Benjamin Wood of Pittsfield watches as Westfield River Brewing Company represntative Roy Tracy pours him a sample during the 10th annual Green River Brewfest at the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Patrons gather around sample tables of over 100 brewing companies at the 10th annual Green River Brewfest on Saturday at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

    Patrons gather around sample tables of over 100 brewing companies at the 10th annual Green River Brewfest on Saturday at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.
    Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

  • Al Maier works with Michelle Maier to gift a pretzel necklace to Deb, center, of Greenfield at the 10th annual Green River Brewfest on Saturday as part of a "tradition" the Maier's experienced at their first brewfest three years ago. Hosted at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, proceeds from the event went to Greenfield Police Department's Public Service Program.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Benjamin Wood of Pittsfield watches as Westfield River Brewing Company represntative Roy Tracy pours him a sample during the 10th annual Green River Brewfest at the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Saturday.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell
  • Patrons gather around sample tables of over 100 brewing companies at the 10th annual Green River Brewfest on Saturday at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.<br/>Recorder/Micky Bedell

GREENFIELD — Whether they were craving a hopped-out India Pale Ale, seeking a refreshing wheat ale or yearning for a dark, heavy stout, area residents didn’t need to travel very far this weekend to dive into the growing world of craft beer. At the 10th annual Green River Brew Fest held at the Greenfield Fairgrounds on Saturday, they could get a taste of just about any style they wanted.

This year was the first time the event has been held at the fairgrounds, allowing for a larger, more spacious event that drew roughly 2,000 beer afficionados, according to an estimate by Franklin County Fair President Fred Steiner. Previously, the event, hosted by Lefty’s Brewing Company in Greenfield, was held in the parking lot of Ryan and Casey Liquors on Main Street.

The festival featured beer sampling from over 60 different craft breweries, including local favorites such as Berkshire Brewing Company, Element Brewing Company, The People’s Pint and Amherst Brewing Company as well as a number of other breweries from across the country including Delaware’s Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Baxter Brewing Company of Maine and Founders Brewing Company from Michigan.

Visitors who ponied up the $25 entrance fee were given a sampler glass and promised “all the samples they could legally handle.” They were also given a $2 food coupon to use at food stations set up by Cliff’s Backyard Barbeque and Antonio’s of Greenfield. Live music included performances by local artists Billy G and the BlueZone, The Doug Johnson Band and Escape Route.

Most of those who attended said they supported the move to a bigger location, as did Christie Faufaw, one of the co-owners of Ryan and Casey Liquors.

“We went from tar to grass, from no parking to parking, and from porta-potties to actual potties,” Faufaw said. “It’s still the same brewers and same sample sizes.”

Greenfield resident Doug Fontaine spent the day pouring beer samples for Narragansett Brewing Company, which he said he’s done every year since 2007. He said he was also pleased with the change of venue.

“The location is great,” Fontaine said. “I’m glad they lifted the prohibition on alcohol so now we can have a festival of this size. Everyone is having fun, and I’ve got the coldest beer in the house!”

“I just like the whole experience, and the music is great,” said Dennis Griffin of Northampton, as he enjoyed an Arrogant Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Company at a picnic table under the venue’s pavilion. “I came here two years ago when it was in the parking lot and this is much more spread out. It’s very comfortable with a lot more room to move around.”

Chris Houreas, who traveled from Boston with his wife and their friend Nick Martin to satiate their thirst for new and interesting beers, said he’s been coming to the festival for years. All three approved of the move to the fairgrounds, noting that it felt more organized and less crowded.

“It’s kind of a tradition for us,” said Houreas, in between sips of his shotglass-sized sample of Anderson Valley’s Summer Solstice beer. “It’s a great opportunity to socialize, connect with people and drink beer.”

“When they had it in the parking lot, the tent was always so crowded,” Martin said. “Here, it’s a lot easier to navigate and you’re not bumping into people so much.”

John Lippmann of Northfield came to the event as a first time Brew Fest-goer, and he said it wouldn’t be his last.

“I’m definitely coming back to this one in the future,” he said. “It’s just a good opportunity to try different beers and see which ones you like.” Carie DiLeone, who traveled from New Haven, Conn., to join Lippmann, said her favorite beer was Southern Tier’s Mokah stout, which she said was “like having breakfast.”

Proceeds from the festival will be donated to Greenfield Police Association and Public Service Programs.

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