NEW BRITAIN - After a one-year hiatus, the Connecticut Hops for Hope Brewfest is set to make its return this week.
Beer lovers will have their choice of brews from more than 35 breweries at the festival, which raises money for the Smith-Magenis Syndrome Research Foundation.
The brewfest is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, at Falcon Field, 721 Farmington Ave.
“Our motto is ‘Do good with great beer,’ ” said Nikki Vinci, a volunteer organizer with Connecticut Hops for Hope Inc.
Vinci explained that Connecticut Hops for Hope was formed by a group of friends with a mutual love of craft beer. When Stephen Wood, a mutual friend of the people in the group, had a child diagnosed with SMS, the group decided to raise money for research with a festival revolving around their shared interest.
“Because SMS is not a well-known disease, it doesn’t get a lot of attention,” Vinci said.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, SMS is a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body. Symptoms include mild to moderate intellectual disability, delayed speech and language skills, distinctive facial features, sleep disturbances and behavioral problems.
In 2015, more than $31,000 was raised for the foundation in the first Connecticut Hops for Hope Brewfest. After taking 2016 off, this Saturday marks the second rendition of the beer festival.
For a $55 entry fee, attendees will be given a tasting glass and access to the many local craft beers available.
Connecticut breweries including Fat Orange Cat, Kent Falls, New England Brewing Co., Relic and Thomas Hooker will join breweries from across the Northeast at the festival.
New Britain’s own Alvarium Beer Company will also be on hand serving its craft brews.
“It supports a great foundation, and it’s a local connection to us, too,” said Mike Larson, one of the owners of Alvarium.
Larson explained that Connecticut Hops for Hope has been supportive of his brewery in the past, so it felt natural to return the favor.
“It’s a really well organized event and we’re happy to be a part of it,” Larson said.
Even with so many breweries, organizers promise that the brewfest is accessible. The festival advertises “no lines,” unlike some other festivals that may be more crowded.
“We like to make the festival a little more intimate, with a focus on true craft beer,” Vinci said.
Vinci said the organization was grateful that so many breweries agreed to support a good cause.
For those hoping to taste something with a little more kick, Connecticut’s own Litchfield Distillery will be offering samples of bourbon, vodka and gin at the festival.
Hungry patrons will have their choice of two food trucks: The Whey Station and Smokin’ With Chris. Both trucks will be on hand all day.
Tickets for the festival can be purchased online at tickets.beerfests.com/event/hopsforhope.
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IF YOU GO
WHAT: Connecticut Hops for Hope Brewfest
WHEN: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2
WHERE: Falcon Field, 721 Farmington Ave.
PRICE: $55 single ticket, $50 each for groups of eight or more, $15 for designated drivers