Hockanum Brew Fest seeks to redefine Rockville

A portion of the proceeds will go to the American Legion Rockville Post 14. Ticket sales and a full list of vendors in attendance can be found on the Hockanum Brew Fest website. (Screenshot via website)

27 breweries, distilleries and wineries are coming to Vernon this weekend for the first Hockanum Brew Fest, a craft beer event focused on bringing new life to Rockville.

Set alongside the Hockanum River, this brand-new event will feature a wide variety of Connecticut craft breweries, such as New England Brewing Company, Stony Creek and Hanging Hills, as well as larger out-of-state breweries, including nationwide powerhouse Sam Adams and Ontario-based Collective Arts Brewing.

For those who prefer wine, cider or liquor, options include 90+ Cellars, Angry Orchards, Asylum Distillery and more. The festival will also host six different food trucks with a variety of options available for purchase, and live music from local classic rock band Grand Avenue.

While many craft brew festivals are focused on showing off great beer, organizers of Hockanum Brew Fest want this event to bring new visitors to historic Rockville.

“[Rockville is] a classic, old New England textile city, where its glory days were a hundred years ago,” event organizer Drew Crandall, said. “In the past few years, Rockville has been resurging in a major way.”

“We asked, ‘What can we do to make Rockville a tourist destination?’” Crandall said.

The Rockville Community Alliance, the nonprofit organization hosting this event, decided that with the recent explosion in popularity of craft beer, a brewing festival would be the perfect draw to bring outsiders to Rockville.

Crandall and other event organizers decided on the location for the event in large part due to the nearby Hockanum mill, a renovated textile mill that is currently the home of Kaplan Cycle. Crandall said Ken Kaplan, the owner of Kaplan Cycles, plans to open a motorcycle-themed brew pub in the mill.

“We want to bring people to that particular site, so they can get interested in being involved with its future,” Crandall said. “We want to bring vibrant economic activity back to Rockville.”

He hopes those at the festival, visitors and brewers alike, will come back to enjoy what Rockville has to offer.

“People who may never have stepped foot in Rockville before will come and look across the street and see this amazing transformation of an old mill,” Crandall said.

An opportunity to return to the Hockanum Brew Fest will come again this time next year, as the event is currently planned to be held annually.

“With the amount of work that went into this, if we did this just for a one time shot, we would be idiots,” Crandall said.

Tickets are available online before the event, and remaining tickets will be available for purchase at the entrance. The event is 21-and-over, and IDs will be checked at the gate. Tickets cost $40 for a full pass or $20 for a non-drinking “designated driver” ticket. Full tickets will come with a 4 oz tasting glass and samples from the breweries, wineries and distilleries in attendance.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the American Legion Rockville Post 14. Ticket sales and a full list of vendors in attendance can be found on the Hockanum Brew Fest website.


Will Harris is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at will.harris@uconn.edu.