Somerville Local First


Clear The Calendar! - Harvest Fest 2012

Sep 06 2:56 pm

by SLF Community Blogger Bob McCarthy

The calendar has been cleared, the date booked. No invitations will be accepted, no offers entertained. Already regrets have been sent and excuses made. Come October 27, I will attend no parties and visit no relatives. It matters not if your child is being born or baptized or wed. I will not be there. All apologies. But a full year has passed, finally, and it is again time for Harvest Fest.

Last year it was a bit of happenstance, my being there. I had never heard of Somerville Local First or Harvest Fest, had no idea what or where the Armory was. But I had an open Saturday and a girl I’d been dating a short time. What I needed was to plan something interesting and unique and fun, something that would impress. I had zilch. Until I spotted an ad for Harvest Fest, an ad that heralded three of her favorite themes—Somerville, support for local business, and autumn—as well as my two favorite pastimes: craft beer and food. Perfect.

Frankly, I walked into the Armory with low expectations. Other than the ad, I had done no research, and so had no idea what brewers would be present or how many, what sort of food would be served and from which restaurants. The part of me that believed twenty dollars admission was too good a price imagined thimbles of warm beer served alongside stale nachos and cold pigs in blankets. Immediately, however, any and all thoughts of being disappointed were abandoned, as first I spotted tables manned by Clown Shoes and Rapscallion and Pretty Things then ones for Highland Kitchen, Foundry on Elm, and Five Horses Tavern.

Rather quickly it became apparent that this would be one of those rare afternoons that you wish happened with frequent regularity. Highland Kitchen served pulled pork sliders that disappeared in a heartbeat, washed down with Pretty Things’ Jack D’Or. Performing a similar vanishing act were pork belly tacos from Five Horses Tavern and a Steel Rail EPA from Berkshire Brewing Company. It being autumn and Harvest Fest, a cup of Butternut Squash soup found its way into one hand, while a Mayflower Porter occupied the other. That was the first twenty minutes. Twenty minutes and fifteen feet and I had sampled amazing dishes from three separate restaurants and beer from three craft breweries.

And that’s what proved most impressive about Harvest Fest. Yes, there was beer and food and music and familiar faces. And certainly that’s a good thing on any Saturday. But whether it was being introduced to Clown Shoes’ Clementine White Ale, discovering Blue Hills’ Dunkelweizen, or sampling dishes that ran the gamut from savory to spicy to sweet, Harvest Fest allowed the opportunity to taste a breadth of local food and native beer that would normally take several months and hundreds of dollars to try. For twenty bucks.

And on October 27 Somerville Local First will host it again. But this year I have been dating that girl a full twelve months and need not worry about impressions or decorum. And so I will not casually stroll from table to table, affecting a refined air, pretending I haven’t been let loose on a personal playground. Nope. Greedily I will mix cannoli with pad Thai with barbecue with every imaginable style of beer. Then I will double back and linger about with brewers, twisting their ears about dry hopping and ABV, offering my services as taster extraordinaire. The calendar has been marked, all other plans postponed. October 27 is booked.

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