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Brewfest celebrates beer, music, community

Local brewers discuss plans on using festival, breweries to bring people together safely

Pete+Broyles%2C+owner+and+head+brewer+of+Riverport+Brewing+Company%2C+explains+how+beer+will+be+at+the+heart+of+this+year%27s+Lewiston+Brewfest.
Pete Broyles, owner and head brewer of Riverport Brewing Company, explains how beer will be at the heart of this year's Lewiston Brewfest.

Pete Broyles, owner and head brewer of Riverport Brewing Company, explains how beer will be at the heart of this year's Lewiston Brewfest.

ADAM JACKSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

ADAM JACKSON | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Pete Broyles, owner and head brewer of Riverport Brewing Company, explains how beer will be at the heart of this year's Lewiston Brewfest.

STEPHEN COX, Evergreen reporter

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Alongside a variety of Pacific Northwest beers, the 9th annual Lewiston Brewfest on Saturday will feature music from local bands, food from local restaurants and a street magic performance.

McVey said he decided to host the brewfest to fill a void in the community that other local festivals didn’t.

“At the time there were a few other events doing [big festivals], but … nobody was doing a true, blue brewfest, with food and music,” McVey said. “[The brewfest] really turned into just a big place where 2,000 people see their friends.”

McVey said he brought in as many breweries as possible to preserve inclusivity and, of course, to have as many varieties as possible from across the Pacific Northwest.

“We try to mix up a nice mix of local and national breweries,” he said, “so people can try something they’ve never had before, and they’ll also find a few that are already their favorites.”

Broyles emphasized his goal of educating the masses on the culture, and said beer is not just about beer.

“You can come down and try my beer anytime,” he said. “Try that beer … from the brewery you haven’t been to. That’s why they’re important, because you can discover something new.”

Besides being a celebration of beers, the Lewiston Brewfest looks to give back to the Lewiston community. McVey said the brewfest has supported local charity organizations since its inception, and this year they chose the Asotin & Nez Perce Counties Backpacks for Kids Programs.

“There are just a ton of kids that don’t have anything to eat on the weekends, and that just breaks our hearts,” McVey said. “With their buying power, they can feed thousands of kids with the money they will get from Lewiston Brewfest.”

McVey explained that organizing the festival and coordinating everything with the charity is not a simple task.

“It takes a lot of volunteers to pull it off,” he said, adding that they usually have 70 volunteers to help run the festival.

At the end, the brewfest will donate all tips and a portion of the proceeds to the charity, McVey said.

Riverport will be tapping, for the first time, their new porter. It is named “Ground Control” — a reference to David Bowie’s song “Space Oddity” — in honor of McVey and Broyles’ mutual and recently departed friend, who they nicknamed “Major Tom.”

The event will be held in Lewiston at 2 p.m. at the Nez Perce County Fair Building, according to the Lewiston Brewfest website. To attend, guests can purchase tickets from this website, or at Rosauers and Riverport Brewing.

The festival was created nearly a decade ago by long-time friends Lee McVey, co-owner of Northwest Best Entertainment, and Pete Broyles, owner and head brewer of Riverport Brewing Company.

McVey said tickets would be available in two options. General admission tickets will cost $15 and include a souvenir pint glass, eight tokens and entry to the festival at 2 p.m.

A limited number of VIP tickets will be available for $20 and will include a souvenir pint glass with a koozie, 10 tokens and entry to the festival at 1:30 p.m., McVey said.

McVey said that for one token apiece, festivals-goers can sample a 4-ounce pour of any of the 32 beers that will be present. Guests will also be able to purchase additional tokens for $1 each. However, Broyles cautions attendees not to be overzealous when purchasing samples.

“When you are talking about 5 percent [alcohol] and up,” Broyles said, “a 4-ounce pour of a beer you don’t know anything about might be enough.”

Anticipating the likelihood of attendees overindulging, Lewiston Brewfest partnered with local funeral homes, Vassar-Rawls and Malcom’s, to provide free rides home in the Lewis-Clark Valley.

“They’ll give you a ride now, or they’ll give you a ride later,” Broyles joked, stressing the importance of not getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol.

For Pullman and Moscow beer enthusiasts, McVey suggests carpooling in groups with designated drivers, who will be allowed to attend the festival free of charge.

While the Lewiston Brewfest is primarily about the beer, McVey and Broyles said there will be plenty of entertainment for guests who may not want to drink.

“There is food there, there is beer there, there is entertainment there, and there are good people there,” Broyles said. “When good people and good beer gather in the same place, good things happen.”

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Brewfest celebrates beer, music, community