Interviews by RuthAnn Deveney
The 7th annual Kennett Winterfest is coming up soon! If it’s your first time attending this beer festival, you’re not alone because there are always first-time brewers at the event. We did a little question-and-answer session with a few folks who are bringing their brews to share:
- Michael Loveless: Co-Founding Brewer at The Artillery Brewing Company future location TBA
- Kent Steeves: Brewer and Co-Owner at Braeloch Brewing in Kennett Square, PA
- Basil Kershner: Co-Owner and Brewer at Brothers Kershner Brewing Co. in Skippack, PA
- Jonathan Zangwill: Owner, Founder, Brewmaster, and Master Roaster at Stolen Sun Craft Brewing & Coffee Roasting Company in Exton, PA
Let’s get to it!
What prompted you and your brewery to join the 2019 Winterfest?
- Michael (Artillery): We’ve been attending both the Kennett Brewfest and Winterfest for many years, and this is in our ‘backyard’. It seemed like the natural place to make our official market introduction as a brewery.
- Kent (Braeloch): Our brewery is a half block away from Winterfest so it seems more than fitting to join this amazing beer festival. More importantly than our super close proximity to the festival, we are a strong supporter of all events in Kennett Square and are excited to be a part of this festival that supports the Borough.
- Basil (Brothers Kershner): My family and I are local to the Kennett Square area, and this festival has always been on our radar. A group of us attended the Kennett Brewfest in years past, and having a chance to join our friends and fellow brewers on the presentation side is a great thrill for us.
- Jonathan (Stolen Sun): It’s one of the best in the area!
What are you looking forward to at the festival?
- Michael (Artillery): We are excited to be a part of the vibrant local craft beer scene, this time on the other side of the serving table. The Artillery Brewing Company logo and labels invoke images of the rich Revolutionary War history of our Brandywine Valley, and we’re proud to join forces with the Thornbury Farm CSA in offering a unique and relaxing experience in a historic and picturesque farm setting to the community.
- Kent (Braeloch): Meeting new customers and building up the excitement for our opening (our grand opening is the weekend of March 8). I also really like being able to meet other breweries and catch up on things in the brewing world.
- Basil (Brothers Kershner): Meeting and chatting with fellow beer enthusiasts, hanging with and meeting other breweries in attendance and getting our brand out to folks who otherwise may not of had a chance to partake.
- Jonathan (Stolen Sun): Meeting new friends and old friends. Drinking beer.
What can you tell us about the beer you plan to bring?
- Michael (Artillery): We will be bringing four kegs, each to provide a different kind of beer experience: a classic Belgian Golden Strong Ale; a Cabernet- and chocolate-infused Belgian Dark Strong Ale; an aggressively-hopped Mid-Atlantic Double IPA; and a refreshing yet flavorful Session IPA.
- Kent (Braeloch): We are bringing two styles: a Russian Imperial Stout and an Apricot Saison. The Russian is a 9.5% abv body warming stout which is fitting for the festival and time of year. We are complimenting this with an apricot saison to help bring in spring and offer an alternative to dark beers that usually are found at winter beer festivals.
- Basil (Brothers Kershner): Still in the works, but something seasonal, something hoppy, and something special for the festival.
- Jonathan (Stolen Sun): Our beers change so much, so who knows? I can say they will be hoppy.
What got you into the craft beer world?
- Michael (Artillery): Living and travelling abroad in the 90s, enjoying high-quality beers in Germany and Belgium, and then watching with great pride as the US microbrewing scene took off – and one might even venture to say it took over the global leadership role for beer innovation. We wanted to be a part of it!
- Kent (Braeloch): Like many brewers, I started in homebrewing (for more than ten years) and love the constant challenge and excitement of the art and science in brewing. Before that, I got into different kinds of beers when working at a liquor store in the early 80s where I tried any beer available that wasn’t the traditional big box brewery beer. I’ve never stopped exploring since then.
- Basil (Brothers Kershner): A creative spirit, a love of craft beer and the joy of doing something you love.
- Jonathan (Stolen Sun): In the early 90’s, I was studying food engineering at the University of Florida and decided I wanted to be brewer.
What’s your favorite style of beer (to drink or to brew)?
- Michael (Artillery): Belgian ales, IPAs, and German Hefeweizen (both to drink and brew). In our upcoming brewing and beer garden operation, we will also be brewing ‘Battlefield Ales’ (based on historic ale recipes from the Revolution).
- Kent (Braeloch): To drink, I love porters of nearly every variation and at any time of year. To brew, I really enjoy the challenge of making beers that meander off the regular path. As a new brewery, I’m keeping it somewhat simple by starting with white stouts and black Saisons; beers that surprise the drinker relative to what they are thinking about traditional beers.
- Basil (Brothers Kershner): I am falling back on my original love of traditional lagers and pilsners, both in imbibing and the challenge of brewing.
- Jonathan (Stolen Sun): Luckily for us and the market, IPAs!
What would you say to festival-goers who have never tried your beer before?
- Michael (Artillery): Please do stop by the Artillery Brewing Company kiosk for a sample of any or all of our four brews. We’d love to hear your thoughts as we get ready for our beer garden launch at Artillery at Thornbury Farm later this year!
- Kent (Braeloch): We are not trying to shock your palate but we are trying to offer some traditional beers, as well as tastes you don’t try every day. Enjoy!
- Basil (Brothers Kershner): We try and stay true to form, producing clean traditional styles with an occasional variation to a style.
- Jonathan (Stolen Sun): We brew super clean, fresh, hoppy, and crushable beers. Oh yeah, did we mention we also are a roastery and have amazing arabicas? We may even have some fresh coffee to sample!
Be sure to stop by to say hi to these first-time brewers at Winterfest! Cheers!