Pretzel necklaces and sun dresses, boat shoes and big sunglasses—that’s Brew-Ha-Ha in a nutshell. And what a gloriously sweaty nutshell it is, this beer festival now in its 17th iteration. The annual street party takes place on Park Avenue between Mass Ave and St. Clair Street for four afternoon hours each late June.
Put on by the venerable Phoenix Theatre as a fundraiser just outside of its doors, the June 23 event hosted 24 brewers with about 50 beers on tap and numerous food vendors, including the Taco Lassi truck.
>> BONUS: See our gallery brimming with shots of street-festival revelers.
Beer vendors on hand included relative standbys such as Flat12 Bierwerks, Sun King Brewing Company, Triton Brewing Company, Finch’s Beer Co. out of Chicago, and more. Others came in from California and elsewhere as they traverse the nation to appear at similar shebangs. A few experimented with their go-to brews, as Flat12 did with a blonde ale injected with chile peppers.
Phoenix Theatre’s producing director Bryan Fonseca says the 2012 event was exactly what organizers wanted: about 1,400 attendees, with $30,000 netted toward the theater’s operating expenses. “We did want to limit [attendance], and so we met our projections,” Fonseca says. “We concluded that last year was way too crowded, and we cut the number back. We want everybody to have a good time, and you have to be able to navigate around the beer vendors.”
Cover tunes from a few bands found the sounds of The Beatles, Elton John, and more filtering through festival goers’ heads as they sipped or slugged (their choice) the brews on hand.
Have you been to Brew-Ha-Ha, this year or in the past?
Photo by Jonathan Scott
Additional photos by Tony Valainis