BY REBECCA GALLERY
The drizzling rain stopped not a moment too soon for Takoma Park to celebrate Independance Day with not only a parade, but with Republic restaurant’s second annual Freedom Fest.
Freedom Fest celebrates not only the thirteen colonies claiming independence from England on July 4th 1776, but the recent passage of a new Montgomery County law enabling microbreweries to self-distribute. The event was brimming with live music, craft beers galore and a vast food buffet fit to delight foodies of all varieties.
Left to right: Republic manager Brett Robison and server Matt Lichnar. Photo by Bill Brown.
“If ever there was a holiday to celebrate beer, the 4th of July is it. This is a celebration of the deregulation of the monopoly that has been beer sales in this area. It is unifying our local community of beer geeks.” states manager Brett Robison.
The all inclusive admission cost allowed guest to have free-flowing beers from local breweries.The Brewer’s Art, Denizens Brewing Company, Jailbreak Brewing Company, ReAle Revival, Atlas Brewing Company, and Hellbender Brewing Company set up mobile taps offering a delightful variety of seasonal, draft and cask beers.
Fest guests at one of the outdoor tables. Photo by Bill Brown.
Julie Verratti, Co-Owner of Denizens Brewing Company attended the event and said “Denizens has had no better partner than Republic since we opened our doors last year. In fact, this Freedom Fest was particularly meaningful for me because it marked the one year anniversary of our first brewery sale, which was to Republic for the inaugural Freedom Fest. We are proud to be a part of a community that celebrates the diversity of local business.”
Some of the headlining beers of over 25 offered at the event included Home Rule by Atlas Brewing Company, South Side and Trainspotting by Denizens Brewing Company, Ella KPA by Hellbender Brewing Company, Black Dinosaur by Gordon Biersch, Baltimore Pale Ale by Full Tilt Brewing and Minelayer by ReAle Revival.
The individual brewers’ presence heightened the event and transformed it into an informative experience for the revelers. Each brewery’s representatives spent all afternoon answering questions, providing samples and engaging each guest in hoppy conversations.
Full Tilt Brewing representative hands out a sample. Photo by Bill Brown.
“I just got my licenses for self-distribution, so it was great being able to bring my Gordon Biersch beer to Takoma Park for the first time.” Says Gordon Biersch Head Brewer Christian Layke. “I love the fact that Brett organizes this event to celebrate the changes that our county council and state legislature have made to make this possible. Between Republic, Olive Lounge and, soon, the co-op we have such a fantastic selection of local craft beers in Takoma Park. Let’s keep drinking local, Takoma Park!”
Volker Stewart, founding partner of Brewer’s Art said “Brett at Republic has been part of the vanguard in developing local craft beer awareness in Montgomery County. I was excited to be a part of the Freedom Fest, where so many locals came out to sample and support Maryland and DC beer. Can’t wait to return next year!”
Left to right: Volker Stewart of Brewer’s Art, Gordon Biersch Head Brewer Christian Layke, J.T. Merryweather or ReAle Revival, Julie Verratti of Denizens Brewing Company, and Republic manager Brett Robison. Photo by Bill Brown.
Fest guest Tommy Parle described the party as “Great people and great food in a relaxed atmosphere at my favorite restaurant in Takoma Park, what a wonderful day!”
In addition to the ‘free-flowing’ beer samples, Republic provided Freedom Fest guests with a delicious buffet style spread of pulled pork BBQ, Peruvian chicken, Zito’s half smokes, Mexican grilled sweet corn, cucumber and tomato salad, watermelon, feta and basil salad, cole slaw with pickled peppers and cheddar jalapeno corn muffins.
Yamomanem Jazz Band. Photo by Bill Brown.
Musical acts Yamomanem Jazz Band and Jonny Grave and the Tombstones entertained the crowd throughout the day.
“I love Freedom Fest” exclaims long time Republic server Matt Lichnar. “ It’s a neighborhood event filled with love, happiness, friendship and amazing music to celebrate the DMV area and who we are.”
Republic restaurant is located at at 6939 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park, MD.