Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada


In the news: Brantford Beerfest to benefit Grand Erie Chapter

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In the News: Inaugural Brantford Beerfest to benefit Grand Erie Chapter

In the Brantford Expositor

"Chris Wagner still remembers his excitement after successfully making his own beer for the first time in February.

"It was amazing that we had actually made it," he laughed.

Since then, he and his friend, Ben Feuerstein, have gone on to make seven different types of beers, each with its own distinct flavour. They said one of the things they like most about craft beer is the ability to experiment, particularly when making their own beer.

"You can do anything. There are no rules," said Feuerstein, who is also a warehouse associate at Partswerx Distribution.

"I just love the freedom to do whatever I want," chimed in Wagner, who works alongside his friend as warehouse manager.

This love for the craft beer culture prompted the two to organize Brantford Beerfest, a festival happening on August 27 promoting local establishments and craft beer in the city. Several breweries in the area have jumped on board, including Brantford's own Bell City Brewing and Mash Paddle Brewing. Simcoe's New Limburg and Wooden Bear L Winery, Dundas' Shawn & Ed Brewing Company and Cambridge's Grand River Brewing will also be participating in the event.

Craft beer is typically made using traditional or natural methods by small breweries, often in contrast to larger, mainstream brands. Although craft beer's popularity has exploded over the past few years, Brantford's history with craft breweries stretches back to as early as 1845 with the Spencer Brewing and Malting Company.

Beer festivals are nothing new in Ontario, as there are several similar events happening throughout the year in the province. Wagner and Fauerstein recognized this, and they said they've tried to make their event a bit more unique with food vendors, bands and comedy acts. They will also have a homebrewers competition, where submitted alcoholic brews will be judged by some of the breweries at the event. The winner will be announced on the day of the event.

The event will be hosted at Knights of Columbus on Catherine Avenue from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and it will cost $12 to attend. Tickets can be purchased in person at Knights of Columbus, Bell City Brewing, Mash Paddle Brewing, New Limburg Brewing and Janvier Salon.

After paying off their expenses, proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada's Grand Erie chapter. Although they said it is a good cause in its own right, Wagner said giving to the charity was particularly special for him.

"My mom actually has MS, so it's kind of close to me," he said. "It's a bit more meaningful to give back to something that affects my own life." Amy Martin, community outreach & fundraising coordinator for the Grand Erie chapter, said they were excited to be a part of the festival. She said the money will likely be split with 60% going toward MS research and 40% for local community initiatives.

"Every dollar counts and we were really thrilled that they chose to give back to us," she said.

Fauerstein and Wagner said they hope to bring 300 to 400 people to the event and raise around $1,000 for the society.

"It's absolutely fabulous," said Martin.

Feuerstein said they hope to shed some light on some breweries and businesses right here in Brantford.

"We're just excited and looking forward to the day of the event," he said. "It'll be nice the next day to kick back and enjoy one of our own."

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