Join the fun at Recess for Adults this Saturday; not your typical brewers festival

Who didn’t love recess as a kid? Kickball, foursquare, swings, some sort of tag, mazes … whatever; it was the best part of the day, hands down. But once you leave elementary school … where does recess go?
Well, this Saturday is our lucky day, because recess is back! And this time it’s only for adults. Yup, “no kids, no pets and no teenagers with fake IDs.” Says so right on the website, recessvt.com.
The first 21-and-over Recess for Adults starts on Sept. 2 around noon at the fairgrounds in New Haven and wraps up around 8 p.m. — unless you want to spend the night, camping is an option. There will be all sorts of free games like kickball, three-legged races, sack races, a water balloon toss and board games if you get tired. There will also be some higher stakes, pay-to-play games like the pro and amateur tournaments of disc golf, the Vermont State Championship of foursquare (winner gets a pair trip to the National Championship in Maine this February), the Vermont State Championship of corn hole and the legendary Beer Mile.
Hilary Casillas, her 25 volunteers from the American Cancer Society and others will be on site organizing and running the games. Casillas oversees all the fundraising for ACS in Vermont and has been with the organization for the past 14 years.
“I’m trained to help spread the word,” the Monkton resident explained. “This event appealed to me because it’s in Addison County and also because it’s a demographic we need to reach … Our melanoma rates here in Vermont are the highest in the country. Twenty-one- to 35-year-olds are at the highest risk of melanoma, so we’ll be at the event handing out sunscreen and information.”
Part of the proceeds from Saturday’s event will be donated to American Cancer Society, which provides assistance to people in cancer treatment and “leads the fight to find cures to all cancers.”
After getting your bracelet (confirming you’re 21 and paying the $10 entrance fee) from one of the volunteers, head on out to the fields and find some fun.
Music by The Welterweights, David Gerald (the frontman for the Vermont-based band Crazyhearse) and Elephants of Scotland will fill the fields; and food sold by Bar Antidote of Vergennes will fill bellies.
Besides the fact that it’s just plain fun, the main reason for throwing this party is to thank Vermont breweries.
Specifically, Andrew Peterson of Peterson Quality Malt in Monkton wants to say thank you to his customers.
“A few years ago, I had the idea to do some sort of open house to thank the brewers I’ve been working with,” he explained during a recent interview in his renovated barn turned malthouse. “There’s a brew-fest like every other weekend throughout the summer, so I thought, instead of just standing around with a small glass of beer in your hand listening to music … let’s do games!”
The other thing that makes this brew-fest different is that the brewers won’t be working the event. They’ll be there to play and hang out with fellow beer-makers and beer-lovers. Bar Antidote will be handling all the food and pouring drinks from 15 Vermont brewers, two hard cideries and more.
Peterson once had a dream to make his own craft beer. But after moving to Vermont in the late ’90s from North Carolina, raising two boys with his wife and a career in IT stuff, the time had passed. “By the time I got around to putting a brewery together, others had already done it,” Peterson said. “So I got to figuring out how I could make a local product for those breweries.”
He came up with malt — grain used to make beer. And launched his company almost five years ago with a few small batches for home brewers.
Fast forward to today, and Peterson has 150 acres of grains growing mostly in Ferrisburgh, with some in New Haven, Monkton and South Burlington. Brian and Bill Van De Weert, owners of Pleasant Acres Farm on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh, help Peterson farm the grains and Jamie Dragon of New Haven is Peterson’s right-hand-man at the malthouse. Together they produce roughly 180 tons of malt per year or about 2 tons per batch and sell to commercial brewers. Seems like a lot, but it’s not really. To give you some perspective, the companies of Anheuser-Busch use about 250 tons of malt in each batch.
“I make about 1.6 percent of all the malt used in Vermont,” Peterson said, a market share he hopes to grow.
Foam Brewers in Burlington, Frost Beer Works in Hinesburg and Foley Brothers Brewing in Brandon have been consistent clients of Peterson’s. Hired Hand Brewing (Bar Antidote’s brew) in Vergennes and Hogback Mountain Brewing in Bristol are new to Peterson’s malt. These five brewers, as well as the debut of Cousins Brewing in Waitsfield, will be on tap at Recess.
“My goal was to create a new pallette for them,” Peterson said, while munching on a few grains of malted barley in his “lab” as a three-foot Darth Vader action figure looked on from the windowsill. “Malt from me is more expensive, but it’s been kilned in the last month and has a fresher flavor.”
Plus it’s local.
“I want people to pick up a six pack and think, ‘Oh, that came from the grains growing on the side of the roads I drive by every day,’” said the die-hard localvore (and Star Wars fan). “I want people to know when they buy beer made with my malt it’s supporting farmers and open fields.”
So even though we adults don’t head back to school this week, we can certainly enjoy a cold brew and a good game at recess. See ya Saturday!
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