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Beer lovers unite in Kendall County

DFayfar Yorkville takes charge distributing beer all beer lovers Yorkville's Harvest MoFestival Saturday September 29 2012 Yorkville IL.  |

Don Fayfar of Yorkville, takes charge of distributing beer to all the beer lovers at Yorkville's Harvest Moon Festival on Saturday, September 29, 2012 in Yorkville IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 1, 2012 9:49AM

It was a battle of the beer festivals this weekend in Kendall County, as Yorkville and Oswego duked it out for the best event.

The craft brew fests, both in their first year, drew big crowds to their scenic Fox River parks where drinks, food and music set the stage for a perfect weekend.

“They used to call (Kendall County) the ‘dead zone’,” said Karen Jewula, who held enjoyed the early afternoon at Oswego’s Hudson Crossing Park with friend Betty Burke for Saturday’s Brew at the Bridge fest. “But, there’s a lot more happening here now.”

With small sampler glasses in their hands, Jewula and Burke sipped on a Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, a beer crafted at the Langunitas Breweing Company in Petaluma, Calif.

Fifteen dollars got Jewula and other spectators a small pilsner glass and five tastings. Additional tickets were $1.

With more than a dozen breweries serving up several of their favorite craft beers, there was no shortage of choices. From California to Colorado, breweries took the long trip to share their concoctions, while other brews hailed from closer to home.

The Solemn Oath Brewery, from Naperville, was serving up it’s Oktoberface, while Brewmasters Zach Schultz and Mike Gostkiewicz, of Granite City in Orland Park, had several beers on tap.

“These are the best of the best,” Schultz said.

Gostkiewicz agreed. “There’s a lotta beer, and a lotta fun. You can’t go wrong with that.”

Across the county, Yorkville’s Harvest Moon Festival kicked off Friday night under the giant, rising moon, and continued from noon to midnight on Saturday.

“The Harvest Moon signifies hard work, and we’ve put a lot of hard work into this. It’s a celebration,” said fest coordinator Boyd Ingemunson. Ingemunson and local brewmaster Jason Leslie teamed up to bring the best of craft beer and musical acts together for the festival, which drew hundreds of beer lovers from near and far.

Yorkville’s Jennifer Dial planned on attending both events, and found herself sampling some local brews from Leslie’s Three Angels Brewery in Yorkville on Friday night.

“I like that (the festival) is something different to do in Yorkville. We’ve never had anything like this,” she said. Her first tasting (patrons got five tastes with their tickets) was of the local brewery’s Harvest Honey Wheat. The brew is made with local wheat and honey.

“It’s very good,” she said. And the masses seemed to concur.

Chad Alves came from California to revel in Ingemunson’s glory. The two have been buddies since their college days at University of Illinois.

“Boyd’s pretty good at putting on parties,” he said with a mischievous smile. And this party was one for the record books.

“This is big,” he said. “There are more beers than I was expecting. Lots of stuff to choose from, and lots of decisions to make.”

In Oswego, Jewula wasn’t worried about making the hard decisions. It was sunny and 75 degrees by mid-afternoon, and the drinks were plentiful.

“It’s a perfect day in the park,” she said.

“And there’s good music to boot,” Burke added with a smile, and the sound of steel drums echoing in the background.

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