PITTSFIELD -- There were a whole lot of beer enthusiasts on McKay Street Saturday for the fifth annual Berk toberfest, which drew more than 800 people to the celebration of craft beer brewing.
While packed tents sheltered the crowds on the parking deck from chilly winds and rain, live bands played and people sampled beer from more than a 18 brewers in the region, including Berkshire craft brewers Barrington Brewery, Wandering Star and Big Elm Brewing. There were also brewers from across Massachusetts and New England.
According to Colleen Nixon, co-organizer of the event, every year the sun goes into hiding and rain comes out for the celebration. It has become an expectation.
"We never expect sunshine and we wouldn't welcome it either," she said.
While she spoke, a man behind her rolled an empty keg across the parking lot, knocking over a number of empty cans.
That was the keg bowling event. It was preceded by the stein-holding contest, a competition for which many men and women spend all year unknowingly practicing.
Then there was the schnitzel flinging, a sight that might be somewhat unnerving to someone unaccustomed to the sport.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Elizabeth Freeman Center and Moments House. Some of the proceeds will also go towards next year's Berktoberfest.
"Drinking beer for charity is good for the soul," noted co-organizer Lynn Wallace.
If so, there must have been lots of healthy souls in Pittsfield Saturday afternoon.
According to Kaitlyn Jewell, co-owner of Slumbrew craft brewers of Somerville, for their first visit to Berktoberfest they brought 45 gallons of beer and by 4 p.m. were about to run dry.
"We probably brought more than most brewers and we're running out," she said. "Seems like the craft beer market is really starting to expand here."
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