Jesse Camille’s CT Craft Brew Fest: A Pleasant Mudpie

Twenty years in craft-beer years is a lot. For anything to last since 1994 in this little world means it’s got to be special. Such is the case with Jesse Camille’s Connecticut Craft Brew Fest in Naugatuck, Conn.

The “little fest that could” still does. Tucked into a grassy corner outside of Jesse Camille’s restaurant, the modest, four-tent area was plenty of room for the hundreds of beer geeks who wandered purposely in search of the perfect quench on Saturday, May 17. The annual event not only helps kick off the festival season, but raises money for the Camille B. Perugini Charitable Trust Scholarship Fund.

The Connecticut Craft Brew Fest isn’t very large, but it has enough offerings to keep the scavenger for new beers satisfied. In the muddy field, on a bright, post-shower day, I ended up drinking samples of nine beers, and gorging on a pulled-pork sandwich.

Here’s my sampling breakdown, in order:

Rogue Beard Beer (Oregon) – This quirky curiosity is known as the beard beer because Rogue created the yeast from samplings found in a brewer’s beard. Turns out that the yeast helps create a bright, citrusy blonde ale. Continue reading

Last call at The Old Corner Cafe

John Woermer

John Woermer

The lunchtime crowd has left, and John Woermer is behind the bar washing glasses.

Woermer’s presence at the Old Corner Cafe in Naugatuck is as connected to the 98-year­old, one-room tavern as the tin ceiling and broad picture window.

The trim, smiling borough native with the calm focus of a diamond cutter was 30 when, after working for a Ford deal­ership, he bought the North Main Street bar. That was in April 1972, when Schaefer, Reingold and Ballentine Ale were on tap; you needed only to be 18 to drink; and smoking was allowed.

This week, the 68-year-old Woermer will pull his last draft as owner of the Old Cor­ner. He has sold the bar to an­other local businessman.

“It’s been a good ride,” he says, relaxed in the nearly empty establishment that is bathed in golden afternoon light. “I’ll miss the people. This is my kingdom.” Continue reading