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Monday, June 6, 2016

When Music & Beer Collide

Until recently, Brewslut and I have spent several of our wedding anniversary weekends attending Philly Beer Week. Sometimes my band schedule interferes with our drinking plans. However, this time my two passions crossed paths when The Heavy Push (one of my many bands) was asked to perform at this year’s Bonifest.

For those of you who are not familiar, Bonifest is an annual festival organized by Saint Boniface Brewing Co. in Ephrata, PA. Brewslut and I attended last year and had a blast, so we had already planned to attend in 2016. Turns out the event had been scheduled on the actual day of our 17th anniversary. Dain (my buddy and one of the co-owners of Saint Boniface) asked if one of my bands wanted to play. The wife was cool with it, and since I was going to be there anyway, I might as well make some scratch, right?

The goat shirt!
To compound matters, my other musician friend Corty Byron (with whom I perform in a Doors tribute band called Ride the Snake) asked me to fill in for his drummer that evening during the final band slot of 6 to 8 p.m. I’d pulled double duty many times before, so it was no big deal. There were plenty of friends attending so Brewslut wouldn’t feel too neglected. Plus I had plenty of downtime between sets to imbibe and shoot the breeze with her and our peeps.

Bonifest festival grounds (ie. their parking lot)
We’d checked out the beer list in advance, and I was stoked to see a bunch of special firkin tappings on the schedule for the day. I was able to get a taste of the bourbon barrel-aged Hegemony Imperial Stout, which was pretty damn amazing, as well as the habanero spiked cream ale, a variation of one of its Offering Series. Unfortunately, I missed the chance to sample the Citra dry-hopped Paideia with blood oranges, which tapped while I was on stage and sold out in less than 15 minutes. Quite a feat! Brewslut said it was awesome. Happy anniversary to me? Hmmm…

Brewslut in the lounge position.
I was also ecstatic to see the Berliner Weisse on tap throughout the day, which is probably in my Top 3 Berliners of all time. Seriously folks, it’s THAT GOOD! Mike (another of the owners) was kind enough to get me some woodruff syrup from his personal stash to complement the tartness of the beer. If you are unfamiliar with woodruff syrup, I won’t bore you with a lengthy description. You can read about it here on Wikipedia. I also downed a couple of Shandys, a concoction comprised of equal parts Berliner Weisse and lemonade, which made for a refreshing thirst-quencher while getting some aerobic exercise on stage (ie: drumming).

Somewhere in the middle of the day, I meandered inside the tasting room and saw another of the Offering series on tap – Molasses Porter. I had this on a previous visit and enjoyed it quite a bit, so I obviously had to order one, right? It offered a nice contrast to the hoppy Paidela and tart Berliners I’d consumed throughout the day. Speaking of Paideia, I also enjoyed a few cans of this gem throughout the day (which by the way drinks amazing well from aluminum). The batch on hand was super-fresh and bursting with citrusy hop goodness! This is their flagship beer, and for good reason too. Pick up a 6-pack next time you see it in the coolers at your local beer shop.

Some nice cans!

Cheers to the fine folks at Saint Boniface for organizing such an awesome event. In addition to enjoying some great beer throughout the day, I’d like to offer myself a well-deserved pat on the back for kicking some serious ass during both bands’ sets. It’s a joy to be able to do what I love while doing something else that I love with the people I love. Is that rampant use of the word love? Perhaps. But you can never have too much love… and I love it when music and beer collides!

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