Manayunk’s 13th annual Brew Fest Extravaganza is Saturday

Some festivals are born as a spark shared among a tight circle of people, slowly attracting more followers as word of mouth spreads year after year. The Manayunk Brewery’s Brew Fest Extravaganza is no such event.

It’s sold out every year since its inception 13 years ago. And owner Michael Rose expects it to sell out this year too.

“We’re expecting 1,000 people this year,” says brewmaster Doug Marchakitus.

But although Rose thinks the $45 tickets for the brew fest – which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday afternoon – will sell out again, he says tickets should still be in supply today and the day of the event.

“Most people hold out and wait to see how the weather acts,” Rose says. And with a prediction for clear, sunny skies around 70 degrees on Saturday, this year’s Brew Fest seems to be slated for the fairest weather of the fleeting spring season.

Local breweries like Dock Street Brewing Co., Lancaster Brewing Company, Yards Brewing and Philadelphia Brewing Company are among the 20 microbreweries on tap for Saturday. And of course, the Manayunk Brewery’s entire selection of house and seasonal beers will be available as well.

“You could ask me what my favorite beer is and I’d have a different answer every day,” said head brewer Marchakitus. Saturday’s brew fest will be Marchakitus’ second with the Manayunk Brewery. He began brewing nine years ago during the weekends as a hobby, and turned professional five years ago.

“I had a job that I hated but I realized I was having a blast every weekend,” Marchakitus says.

At the moment, Marchakitus is especially fond of the Quaker City oatmeal stout, dark beer brewed with roasted chocolate malts. Mr. Rose said he prefers the Krook’s Mill, a copper-tinned pale ale brewed with hops from the Pacific Northwest.

The California Dreamin’ imperial India Pale is one of Manayunk Brewery’s most popular products – Rose says it’s sold at more than 15 establishments in the Delaware Valley – and at 8.5 percent, it’s also the strongest beer that is currently on tap.

This year’s brew fest includes a four hour beer tasting from 1 to 5 p.m., with 50 craft beers from 20 microbreweries, and a live performance from the band Plan B, all held on the Manayunk Brewery’s patio overlooking the Schuylkill river.

“Microbrews have cornered eight percent of the beer market in the past couple of years,” Rose said. “And microbrew fans wait year-round for events like this to come to.”

To purchase tickets, go to www.Manayunkbrewery.com

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