‘End of Oktoberfest’ now fermenting

Rappahannock’s 5th beer (and food and costume) festival

The “End of Oktoberfest,” Rappahannock County’s 5th beer (and a whole lot more) festival hosted by Pen Druid Brewing in Sperryville, will be held Saturday, Oct. 28, from noon to 8 p.m. This fall’s festival promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Apart from a rare release (more on that below) by Pen Druid, festival highlights include the always creative craft beers from Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works, whiskey cocktails by Wasmund’s Distillery, and infused (non-alcoholic) beverages from Wild Roots Apothecary. There will also be a pig roast, fall veggies from Heritage Hollow Farms and the Farm at Sunnyside, wood-fired bread from Little Hat Creek, wild fermentables from Number 1 Sons, and flower crowns (and pumpkin carving contest) from Flourish Root Florals.

“In addition to the food and festivities, my brothers and I will be releasing our first batch of spontaneously fermented beer,” says Pen Druid’s Jennings Carney, the eldest of the three beer-making brothers.

Which means in layman terms?

“Spontaneously fermented beer is a process originally employed by the Belgians in the Senne (Zenne) River Valley — through Brussels, and the beer is called Lambic, or Gueuze, when blended,” Carney educates. “The beer is fermented solely with ambient yeasts and bacteria present in the air — not inoculated with yeast as in all other processes.

“It is then aged for up to three years and can be blended in the same way that non-vintage champagne is blended from multiple years based off of barrel character. Our beer is 16 months old and now blended and in bottles. It’s a sour beer, but very complex and carbonated.”

To date, says Carney, there are only a handful of breweries in the U.S. producing this kind of beer “and to my knowledge only two other breweries in Virginia have produced it. But currently Pen Druid is the only brewery making it available.”

The Sperryville brewer guesses there are only six other breweries along the the East Coast and Midwest making the specialty beer available in Sperryville.

“We will be releasing the spontaneous beer in bottles and on draught at the brewery the day of the festival,” he adds.

Oktoberfest will take place in and around Pen Druid Brewery at 7 River Lane in Sperryville.

“And everyone is encouraged to bring the kids and [Halloween] costumes,” Carney stresses.

Copper Fox Antiques, directly next door to the brewery, will also have its doors open during the festival for early holiday shopping.

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