“Music and Mead”: Music in the Mountains features first Sierra Cask Ale Fest

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Unless you’re one of the thousands of patrons who enjoyed the traditional annual Music in the Mountains BrewFest fundraiser that had, for decades, become a can’t-miss event, when you think of beer, you may not also think of classical music. . In truth, many composers were also known to imbibe creating masterpieces, said Jenny Darlington-Person, executive director of Music in the Mountains. “A lot of songwriters really liked their beer, so there’s a nice connection between music and mead.”

Music in the Mountains Chairman of the Board, Terry Brown, and other members of the organization brought the idea of ​​a Brewfest to life 30 years ago. The extraordinarily successful event grew to host thousands of patrons over its run, but rising costs and an increased risk of fire (when BrewFest traditionally took place) prompted organizers to seek alternatives.

This year, Music in the Mountains has upgraded its popular fundraiser from the pedestrian BeerFest to a more sophisticated Cask Fest. Darlington-Person said the shift to selective tasting stemmed from a number of factors, including the large number of similar events and the desire to do something a little different. “It used to be the longest BrewFest in California, but now there are so many, and the costs have kept rising with venue and beer costs, and the increased fire hazard at the end. summer/early fall so we decided to move the event indoors and make it more intimate and really have some special beers The planners say that instead of waiting in long queuing for something average, patrons will soak up unique blends and creations without the massive crowds.



The Sierra Cask Ale Fest promises less waiting and more tasting, with the best cask, barrel-aged and specialty beers from Northern California, including a special selection of house brews.

“It’s for beer connoisseurs, beer lovers who want to sample specialty beers that you would normally have to go to each brewery individually to find,” Darlington-Person said. “When you purchase a ticket to Sierra Cask Ale Fest, you are purchasing an experience unlike any you currently can find anywhere else in Northern California. The nearest similar event is 500 miles from us.



This event promises to be high-end, but not exclusive. Ticket holders will enjoy short lines inside Grass Valley Veterans Hall with food, live music, a Stucki Jewelers-sponsored photo area and designated driver lounge, plus a large selection of cask, cask-aged and specialty beers.

Brewers confirmed for the inaugural event include Grass Valley Brewing Company, Anderson Valley Brewing, King Cong Brewing, Gold Vibe Kombucha, Nevada County Mead, Other Brother Beer, Monk’s Cellar, Nevada County Home Brewers/Sierra Moonshiners and Bullmastiff Brewery, among others .

A wide variety of beers should be available for tasting, including coconut pod stout, bourbon cask stout, salted caramel porter, cassis cider, Nectarian mead and English pale ale, to name a few.

Beer lovers will also enjoy the food, popular jazz music and a fun afternoon with a more discerning selection to sample. “Not stuffy, but a bit more upscale – fun, but upscale,” Darlington-Person added.

The music will be provided by the Joe Mazzaferro quartet. Darlington-Person said, “Joe is a professor of jazz music and trumpet at the Pacific Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific (UOP), and he has several different ensembles. His quartet will be coming to Ale Fest and to come full circle, his big band will be playing our Brass, Brats and Brews on July 9th.

Music in the Mountains was formed in 1982 to bring world-class music to Nevada County and is celebrating 40 years, with their 41st Summerfest kicking off next month. Darlington-Person said the secret to their longevity is great community support. “The secret is great artists and local support, community members in the choir, corporate sponsors of our concerts, many committed donors – some have been with us for 20, 30, 40 years.”

Following this fundraising event, Music in the Mountains kicks off its season on June 18 with Opening Night in the Garden at a private residence with dinner, drinks, dessert and concert and concludes the season with the aforementioned July 9 Brass, Brats and Breaststroke. The group has another half-dozen presentations scheduled in between. It’s an ambitious program that also includes a Disney film and the hugely popular July 3 celebration.

Music in the Mountains believes in the power of music. “We envision a prosperous Nevada county that is transformed by good music. We believe that music transforms people. It gives them new perspectives. It brings them together,” Darlington-Person said. “One of the things I love about music and concerts is that in an age as divided as ours is right now, you can have people who are politically, religiously, socially on opposite ends of the spectrum. spectrum and they can sit right next to each other in a concert hall and have a shared human experience and I think very few things offer that, other than music.

You can support this vision and experience this transformation while tasting unique beers this weekend. Get your Sierra Cask Ale Fest tickets now or check out the Music in the Mountains events calendar at http://www.musicinthemountains.org.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can listen to his episodes at http://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be contacted at [email protected]


Photo by Jenny Darlington-Person

Photo by Jenny Darlington-Person

Photo by Jenny Darlington-Person
Jenny Darlington-Person and Kevin Ross, COO of Music in the Mountains, at Grass Valley Brewing Co.
Photo by Chad Wingo
Attendees enjoy BrewFest 2019 at Nevada County Fairgrounds.
Photo by Jenny Darlington-Person
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