Colonial Reenactor Stirs it Up at Brewfest

Rich Wagner knows history. He also knows beer, and stirs the two together in fascinating demonstrations of 18th century brewing methods. He’ll be presenting his techniques—in full period dress—at the Odessa Brewfest on Sept. 10. 

Wagner, the author of Philadelphia Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Cradle of Liberty, recreates the colonial brewing process using historically accurate methods and materials—copper kettles, wooden barrels, hops and grains added by hand. He even uses the track of the sun across the sky to measure cooking times. 

Wagner demonstrates the brewing process from start to finish, giving beer lovers today a sense of the methods and brews known to America’s founders. These methods were no doubt employed in historic Odessa, an important 18th century grain port on the Appoquinimink River in northern Delaware. Today, Odessa offers a national historic district and beautiful homes maintained by the Historic Odessa Foundation.

Now in its third year, the Odessa Brewfest, a fundraiser for the foundation, brings over 50 breweries to Odessa on Sept. 10 from noon to 6 p.m. In addition to craft brews from across the nation (including many from Delaware and Maryland), there will be locally-produced wine and spirits, live music on two stages, vendors, giveaways and food from Cantwell’s Tavern.  

Learn more about the Odessa Brewfest »