This week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Ethan Johnson, a homebrewing expert over at Fifth Season Gardening Co. in Carrboro, NC and one of the organizers for the 2nd Annual Homebrew for Hunger festival in Chapel Hill that is coming up on November 17th.
Below is a quick Q&A about this year’s event and some of the things you have to look forward to. For more information and to purchase your tickets or to sign up as a brewer, then check out the Homebrew for Hunger website.
CC: This is the 2nd HB4H event that you have put on. Tell me a little about the first one, what went well, what didn’t go well, and what you’ll be doing differently this time around.
EJ: Well, the first festival was a lot of fun to put together. Working with Janel Beckham, Fifth Season Gardening, and The Splinter Group was a wonderful opportunity and I learned a lot from all of them. We were all very pleased with how smooth the first festival went. There is always a lot of anxiety leading up to a big event like that and this one was no different. I always worry about whether enough people are going to come, or if there will be enough beer or glassware, or some other variable you didn’t take into account. Things went off without a hitch though, for the most part. We sold out pretty early on and had a line out the door for most of the fest. The building was a little crowded at times and things got a little ‘lively’ later on, as they usually do at these functions.
This year we will be dividing the festival into two sessions in order to increase the number of tasters we can serve over the course of the day while keeping things calm and comfortable. We also teamed up with Harris Incorporated and have invited the local craft breweries they represent to pour at the festival. Tasters should definitely look forward to seeing more local breweries at this year’s event.
CC: What are you most looking forward to about this year’s event?
EJ: This year I am really looking forward to the charity that we will be working with as well as our beer lineup. We decided to team up with PORCH (People Offering Relief for Chapel Hill & Carrboro Homes) for this year’s festival and we’re really excited about being able to raise as much money as possible for a charity that supports Chapel Hill and Carrboro. I get really excited when I think about the idea of local brewers being able to raise money for local families by brewing great beer. The number of local brewers that will be at this year’s festival is pretty cool too. I’m looking forward to what they’ll bring to the table.
CC: How many slots for brewers do you have and how do brewers go about registering for the event?
EJ: I believe we will be able to fit about 15 home brewers per session, in addition to the craft brewers who will be featured. We still need to figure out the table arrangement for this year and that will have a lot to do with how many brewers we can handle. If homebrewers are interested in signing up for the festival then there is a page on the Homebrew For Hunger website with a form that they can fill out.
CC: What are some things that brewers can look forward to this year? Will there be another competition with some great prizes?
EJ: This year we will be putting together some pretty sweet Thank You packages together for the brewers as well as providing food and refreshments during the event. The festival wouldn’t be possible without them and we always want to go above and beyond to make sure they feel appreciated and have a good time. We will be having another competition for the brewers this year with some really nice and practical prizes.
CC: For those that don’t want to brew but do want to attend the festival, when will tickets be going on sale and what will the price be? What all is included in the price?
EJ: Tickets are already on sale for this year’s festival and can be purchased through the Homebrew for Hunger website. They will be $20 if purchased before the festival and $25 dollars if purchased at the door. Tasters will have the choice of coming to one of two sessions that day. The first session will be held from 12:00 am – 3:00 pm and the second will be from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. We hope that this will allow us to have more tasters over the course of the day while keeping things comfortable for everyone.
CC: Tell us a little about the charity you will be supporting this year, PORCH.
EJ: PORCH is a Chapel Hill/Carrboro based all volunteer hunger relief organization. They also support a number of programs that revolve around improving school lunches and other hunger relief organizations. Thanks to the help of many local business, schools, churches, and people PORCH is able to assist over 2500 residents in over 165 neighborhoods. Anyone who wishes to make a donation directly to PORCH can visit their website as well.