Happy Easter — but first it’s Yeaster!

Sperryville festival features roasted lamb, oysters, fermentables, infusions, creative libations, and Easter egg hunt

Sperryville’s annual Yeaster festival is upon us, scheduled for this Saturday, March 31, noon to 7 p.m. in and around Pen Druid Brewery.

It won’t be difficult for first-time festival goers to locate. Just head down Water Lane, turn into River Lane, and follow your nose.

“We will be roasting Heritage Hollow lambs whole over wood fire this year,” says Jennings Carney of Pen Druid. Paired with the lamb, which will be prepared by Heritage Hollow’s own farmer/chef Mike Peterson, will be organic roasted veggies, compliments of the Farm at Sunnyside and its manager Casey Gustowarow.

“We’re roasting six lambs,” says Peterson. “We’re doing it over open fire, and the Carneys have built metal roasting racks that we will tie the lambs to. And then Casey will be doing the sides again, roasting some veggies.”

Observes Carney: “Having the farmers make the food we eat is truly farm to table and is an important cultural and agricultural link to our food systems.”

Across the parking lot, Copper Fox Distillery will have shucked roasted oysters for its half shell party, all washed down with one of Rick Wasmund’s tasty spirits, while Colleen O’Bryant of Wild Roots Apothecary will be serving her Virginia famous herbal infusions and delicious desserts.

In addition, Aaron Oyster and Emma Dodd-Hensey will be firing up their Woodstone Baking operation to render some wild fermented breads; while Number 1 Sons will be returning with their mouth-watering wild fermentables.

“For libations, we are joined by Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works,” Carney notes, “and Potter’s Craft Cider for a gluten-free option.”

Ale Works’ brewers Sherri Fickel and Kevin Kraditor will be pouring for Yeaster Little Devil Blonde (Belgian-style single), Second Breakfast Stout (oatmeal, coffee stout), Innkeeper IPA (East Coast-style IPA), Mary’s Rauch (smoky, rich ale), Meadow Spring Saison (farmhouse style Saison with orange peel, lemongrass and coriander), Stony Man ESB (bit of malty, bit of hoppy English-style ale), and Pass Mountain Porter (Imperial Porter aged in a Copper Fox rye whisky barrel).

Apart from the Carney Brothers’ always surprising, always refreshing lineup of Pen Druid brews, what’s this rumor about a rare (and colorful) new release timed to coincide with the festival?

“We are very excited to be releasing our Spontaneous on Wild Blackberries,” reveals Carney. “The beer was spontaneously fermented in the spirit of Lambics — but you cannot call them that because we are not in Lambic — and aged in oak for 2 years with wild-picked blackberries by our friends Dave and Jean.

“It’s a wonderful purple color with acidity and a wild fruitiness from the berries,” he says. “To my knowledge we are the only brewery on the East Coast who has released this kind of beer.”

“Good weather permitting we are expecting a big crowd this year,” Carney adds,, “and to start the whole thing off Flourish Root Florals will be hosting an easter egg hunt, which is sponsored by Union Bank here in the county. The hunt will begin at noon.”

The festival will be held rain or shine, although weather forecasters are predicting the latter. Unless you’re in Lambic.

About John McCaslin 288 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.