The annual Bratfest for the Peoria German American Society filled Hickory Grove Park with the smells of brats and beer Sunday afternoon. The music and dancing rang through the tree covered garden as hundred indulged in traditional German fair, and of course, beer.
People from all over Central Illinois flock to Bratfest every year, including the cooks behind the secret schnitzel recipe who come all the way from Decatur annually. Others like Will Baar who lives in Peoria came to share a special message. Baar is the president of the local Homebrewers of Peoria or HOPs. The craft beer tasting featured over 50 specialty brews, and Baar helped educate fest-goers about brewing their own.
Baar said its actually a pretty simple process. “You take some grain, you stick it in some hot water and let the enzymes convert all those starches to sugar, boil it, add some hops to get some good flavor. And you pitch some yeast and the yeast takes over and does all the work..It’s a pretty easy hobby to get into,” explained Baar.
For more information about Peoria German American Society and upcoming events you can find their website here. Homebrewers of Peoria meets on the second Wednesday of every month, and are looking to bring in new members. Their next meeting is Wednesday August 14th at 6:30 pm at Sullivan’s in Peoria Heights. You can find more information on their Facebook page.