The 4th Annual Noah Webster Real Ale Harvest Festival, co-presented by Harvest Fine Wine & Spirits, was held on Saturday, September 8, 2018. Breweries created unique casks of Real Ale for the occasion using ingredients from Noah Webster’s 18th century garden.

Celebrity judges (l to r): Chris Prosperi, John Dankosky, Toni Collins, Ryan Keating

Certified cicerones Paul Zocco (Zok’s Home Brew) and Adam Read (Country Malt Group), teamed up with celebrity judges John Dankosky (WNPR), Chris Prosperi (Metro Bis), Toni Collins (ESPN), and Ryan Keating (Keating Insurance) to determine the best beer of the day.

The title of 2018 Cask Champion went to Counter Weight Brewing Co. for their Brett Saison that utilized lavender and sage from the garden. The 2017 Cask Champion, Brewery Legitimus, came in second place this year with Quincidence, a farmhouse saison made with quince, CT grown malt, and East Kent Goldings hops. Third place went to City Steam for their creative concoction, Our Princess Is In Another Castle, a sour peach ale with jalapenos and thyme from the garden.

Counter Weight Brewing Co. was the 2018 Cask Champion. Photo credit: Tony Stanley

A special Honorable Mention went to Nod Hill Brewery for their cask Another Tune, a beer brewed with borage from the garden, German Munich malt, Hallertau Mittlefruh Hops, house ale yeast, and water from the brewery well.

Event attendees chose New England Brewing Co.’s Fuzzy Baby Ducks Citra IPA as the winner of the Tasters’ Choice Award. This variation of one of New England Brewing’s top brews included hops and strawberries from the garden. Runner upwas Mayflower Brewing Co., who brought two casks of porter – one with brown and chocolate malts and mint, the other with cold brew Speedwell Coffee and cacao nibs. Raspberry Basil Golden Nymph earned Thomas Hooker Brewery a third place finish. This New England IPA used basil from the garden, as well as Citra, El Dorado, and Calypso hops.

The 2018 Tasters’ Choice Award went to New England Brewing Co.

Throughout the day, guests enjoyed the smooth sounds of Sparkplug.  Drummer Bill Carbone (Max Creek, Z3) and organist Beau Sasser (Kung Fu, Z3) spent several years backing legendary soul/jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks and continue to keep his legacy alive with Sparkplug. At the event, Carbone was joined by saxophonist Kenny Brooks (Ratdog), guitarist Jonthan Goldberger, percussionist Moses Patrou, and organist Lonnie Gasperini.

Guests enjoyed a pig roast prepared by Jon Sablon of Team Pig Bark, the co-founder of the Hartford Rib-Off. He was assisted by Eric Michaud of Team Dog Star, the 2018 and 2015 winner of the Rib-Off.

The Noah Webster Real Ale Harvest Fest is a fundraiser for the museum, which is a Real Ale Harvest Fest is a fundraiser for the museum, which is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. 100% of the proceeds, both ticket and food sales, went to the museum.

Jon Sablon and Eric Michaud, barbecue pit masters.

Thank you to our co-hosts Harvest Fine Wine & SpiritsHarvest Country Store, and Harvest Wine & Spirits Elmwood, without whom this event would not be possible.

Thank you also to our sponsors: Keating Agency Insurance, Private Capital Group LLC, Clark Hirth CPAs, Berkshire Bank, and Media Sponsor Yelp Hartford.

A BIG THANK YOU to Ian Halpern, Director of Operations at the Harvest family of stores, and Chris Cowles, who worked tirelessly on this event over the past months!