Latest Houghton Brewfest is biggest ever

Keweenaw Brewfest volunteer Liesl Flannery pours a glass for Zack Farley of Pelkie during the ninth annual Brewfest Saturday. (Photo by Garrett Neese, Houghton Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — An estimated 1,500 people filled the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton Saturday for the ninth annual Keweenaw Brewfest.

The event is a fundraiser for the Keweenaw Community Foundation, which has more than 100 funds dedicated to community programs.

The event has continued to grow each year, said KCF Director Jim Vivian.

“Our online sales more than doubled,” he said. “It’s doing fantastic.”

Attendees gave tokens to volunteers, who in exchange poured some of the more than 200 beers on tap. Those beers came from more than 50 local and national brewers, some from as far away as Seattle.

“It’s been going really well,” said Liesl Flannery, who was stationed at the Brickside Brewery booth. “This is my first time volunteering. It was a really awesome experience.”

While she’d spent most the time at the booth, she’d also gotten to wander a bit and sample beers, including her favorite, the Bell’s Oberon.

Amlan Mukherjee, who was volunteering at Latitude 42, said the crowd had been enthusiastic.

“It’s great community-building,” he said. “Good food, good beer. You can’t go wrong.”

It was the first Brewfest for Mike Simila of Hancock, who bought pre-sale tickets when the Keweenaw Brewing Co. had them at a discount. He had enjoyed Breckenridge Brewing’s Avalanche beer.

“It wasn’t as high in alcohol content, so it wasn’t as hoppy,” he said.

Zack Farley of Pelkie was at the Brewfest for the second year. He liked the Blue Moon Hefeweizen.

“It’s a fun time,” he said. “It’s great when everyone can get together like this.”