Mudhook Brewing Co. is one of the breweries that will be at Hibrewnation.
Mudhook Brewing Co. is one of the breweries that will be at Hibrewnation. (FLIPSIDE -- FILE)
Matthew Davis is bringing the beer inside.

The other two festivals he helps organize - Yorktoberfest Wine and Beer Festival and Taste of Pennsylvania Wine and Music Festival - are outdoors and weather-dependent. In October, remnants of Hurricane Sandy crashed day two of Yorktoberfest.

In February, there are usually warnings against being outside for extended periods of time, lest frostbite set in. There are also no beer festivals in the area and lots of people are bored, so Davis said it's the perfect time to have an indoor event.

The initial idea was to wait until 2014, but quick planning and early interest led to the birth of Hibrewnation Festival of Beer, which kicks off Saturday at the York Expo Center.

Davis said he wasn't concerned about winter weather. He figured chances of a large snowstorm coinciding with the festival date were slim. As of Tuesday, sunny skies and seasonal temperatures were predicted for this weekend.

With more than 60 beers - a substantial increase from Yorktoberfest - the festival is not starting small. About a third of the brews will be winter varieties, but Davis said that he made sure other types, including IPAs and Belgians, are poured. Offerings will also include fundraising brews, including Evil Genius Movembeer, a smoked porter to raise awareness about prostate cancer, and Star Hollow Brewery's The Love, a German hefeweizen to support breast cancer awareness.

The ticket setup and flagging system to curb folks from being over-served will be similar to Yorktoberfest.

Hibrewnation will feature more tables and is capped at 700 tickets for the general admission. The 150 VIP passes, which include early entry and other perks, also sold out. The idea is to limit the amount of time waiting to be served, Davis said, though he added that some wait time ensures that people don't over-consume beer.

Food options will include sandwiches, wraps and snacks from Bricker's Famous French Fries. VIPs will be able to order beer floats - dark stouts topped with a scoop of ice cream.

Entertainment options will include music by local artist Ronn Benway and two demonstrations, which Davis said will introduce beer neophytes to chemicals and processes involved in brewing. Beer might even be made at Hibrewnation, he added.

Festival-goers can pose in The Susquehanna Photographic's photo booth and hang out with a life-sized Growler - the tentative name of the event's bear mascot - which is featured on the event's merchandise.

Despite the winter chill, Davis said he's already planning for Taste of Pennsylvania, which was previously held in May. But he added changes could be coming for that event and Yorktoberfest.

FlipSide staff


Hibrewnation Festival of Beer Saturday in Old Main at the York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle Ave., West Manchester Township. It will feature about 60 regional and international craft brews as well as local brew masters.

VIP admission and general admission are sold out. For details, visit


Read more about Hibrewnation on Page 13 of the Going Out section.

Fans are ready to talk about the science of brewing

Ryan Cooper and Nate Fochtman became friends while they attended Drexel University.

After graduation, Fochtman went to work at Ace Distributing and The Beer Ace blog. Cooper, who shared his friend's love of beer, went to grad school at Columbia University, where he's pursuing a doctorate in mechanical engineering.

"I've always been interested in how things work and how thing are made," Cooper said during a recent phone interview. "It extends to all parts of my life, including drinking."

Cooper said he and Fochtman have been trying to combine their knowledge of beer and science. Hibrewnation Festival of Beer, to be held Saturday, offered them an opportunity to set up a booth and talk shop with other beer enthusiasts.

Brewery tours are fun, but for Cooper they never provide enough detail. He sought books and articles for more beer knowledge.

While researching, he noticed some crossover between beer and science.

One example, he said, is the t-test - a statistical hypothesis test used in many scientific areas - which was developed by a man who worked at Guinness brewery.

Cooper said he hopes to give Hibrewnation attendees more knowledge about the science and engineering that goes into the brews they consume.

He plans to share things he's learned through the years and take questions along with Fochtman and another colleague.

"We're going to keep it fun," Cooper said. "There is no test involved."

The plan is to grow the combination of beer and science into something bigger. Cooper and Fochtman will see how the crowd responds to the booth.

"One of the best ways to learn is to try and teach it to someone else," Cooper said.

FlipSide Staff

Breweries on tap

Atwater Brewery

Cricket Hill Brewery

Dogfish Head Brewery

Evil Genius Beer Co.

Goose Island Brewery

Lake Placid Craft Brewing Co.

Liquid Hero Brewery

Mudhook Brewing Co.

Old Forge Brewing Co.

Otter Creek Brewing

Rogue Ales

Samuel Adams

South County Brewing Co.

Spring House Brewing Co.

Starr Hill Brewery

Summit Brewing Co.

Wolvare's Fine Organic Ales

Thomas Hooker Brewing Co.

Yards Brewing Co.