Annual Powder Keg Beer & Chili Festival (Minus the Chili)
Cheers! Nearly 3,000 people attend re-launched
Powder Keg Festival in Exeter
By Alexander LaCasse, Portsmouth Herald
Fall officially kicked off in Exeter with the return of the Powder Keg Festival on Swasey Parkway Saturday, October 2nd.
Nearly 3,000 people from around the Seacoast and beyond attended the re-launched festival benefitting the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce and the Parks and Recreation Department after a COVID-19 hiatus last year.
“We had such a beautiful day,” said Jennifer Wheeler, president of the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’re grateful to the town, our sponsors and volunteers who made this possible. We appreciate the community for supporting this event, which provides us the funding to offer Exeter Parks and Recreation and chamber programs and services.”
“The Powder Keg is the epitome of our community and lets us celebrate the breweries and restaurants who struggled during COVID,” said Oot. “It’s great to make new friends while having a drink by the water.”
The festival had plenty of beer and a number of food trucks on hand. Guests were treated to small pours of a beer and some stacked their compostable cups by the dozen.
Greg Bisson, Parks and Recreation director, said approximately 50 breweries were in attendance, with some brewers coming from as far away as Connecticut. He said the proceeds received by Parks and Recreation will go toward scholarships for recreation programming.
Ben Moaratty, of Exeter, said he appreciated the variety offered.
“My favorite so far has been Sam Adams’ hazy India Pale Ale,” Moaratty said. “But I’ve only tried five so far.”
“The Powder Keg is casting a wider and wider net, this is an event that is on peoples’ calendars as far away as Concord,” Bisson said. “It’s a win-win, it’s a great community event and it gets people out in downtown Exeter.”
The one item missing from this year’s festival was chili. Due to the economic and staffing struggles restaurants are currently facing, organizers said they didn’t want to call on restaurants to donate chili.
Some attendees said they were dedicated to honoring the full spirit of the Powder Keg by going home and having chili cook-offs of their own.
“The Powder Keg is always a great time with friends,” said Val Castonguay, of Exeter. “We’re still going to celebrate with chili for lunch.”
Castonguay’s friend Deanna Bowen said it was nice having the tradition of the beer festival back after missing last year.
“Coming to the Powder Keg is a tradition for us,” Bowen said. “It’s our favorite event of the year. There’s good beer, good food, plus pretzel necklaces.”