September 23, 2012
Sly Fox Brewery first Can Jam in Pottstown a big success

Sly Fox Brewery rolled out the welcome mat and the beer lovers flowed into Circle of Progress for the annual Can Jam festival Saturday.

Although Sly Fox has hosted the festival in the past, this year marked the inaugural event at Sly Fox’s new brewery location in Pottstown.

“We are super excited,” said Sly Fox Brewmaster Brian O’Reilly. “This is our first big event in our new brewery. We’re excited to be in Pottstown.”

O’Reilly said the folks at Sly Fox “love talking very seriously about our beer, but we don’t take ourselves seriously.

“Having the music and the beer makes us happy,” he said, explaining that Can Jam is an opportunity to “take a deep breath,” and relax and have a good time with good people and good beer.

And hundreds of others, locals and those from out of state alike, came for the beer, as well as the food and music. O’Reilly said people came from New York in the north and Washington, D.C., in the south, and from everywhere in between to take part in the Can Jam festivities.

“We’re real champions of Pottstown, so we’re really excited to bring people from as far away as Syracuse and D.C. to Pottstown,” O’Reilly said. “People have a real affinity for our beer and our brand.”

In addition to all the good things to drink and eat, Can Jam also brought some serious competition to Circle of Progress Saturday, as the annual Kan Jam tournament got under way. Kan Jam, a game similar to horseshoes but with flying discs, has quite a following, and some people enjoy spectating as much as those who play enjoy playing.

Corey Reid, Sly Fox beer ambassador, was introduced to the game by New Yorkers Jason Troske and Don Alcott, both of whom made their way from Rochester to the festival Saturday.

Alcott explained that he manages a bar in New York and met Reid through their respective work. He introduced Reid to the game, and Reid brought Kan Jam to Sly Fox because the game is fun, and also because Sly Fox cans its beer and the name is a perfect fit.

Alcott and Troske competed in the Kan Jam tournament, but were knocked out by the eventual winners, Brian Keeth and Andy DiFronzo, the “Mint Berry Jammers” of West Chester, who went home with their combined weight, 390 pounds, of Sly Fox beer. Alcott and Troske took home some beer, nonetheless, because they traveled the farthest distance to compete.

Keeth explained he and DiFronzo play disc golf, which is how they’ve honed their Kan Jam skill. With the obligatory can of beer in one hand, they managed to rack up points quickly in the finals and made quick work of their opponents from Skippack. Their win assures they’ll have plenty of beer to drink for a while as they continue practicing their Kan Jam.

Reid said one of the hopes of Can Jam is to pay homage to the can, the “superior vessel for beer.” With that in mind, Sly Fox presented Crown Cork and Seal, the company that provides them with their packaging, with the Cantacular award. The award is given to a person or company that promotes craft beers.

With regard to festival eats, Sly Fox offered the menu items they typically serve in their tastin’ room, but also brought in a barbecue treat, the Philly Pigs.

Chuck Schlager, a partner in the business along with Jim Boggs, said Philly Pigs was created in 1994 by “a bunch of guys who went to Villanova.” Since then, they’ve garnered a lot of praise and some awards for their barbecue.

Schlager said they don’t typically do vending, but O’Reilly asked him if he’d be interested in coming out for the Can Jam festival. Being a fan of Sly Fox beer and the Sly Fox people, Schlager agreed.

“It’s a good situation,” he said, “beer and barbecue go well together.”

Schlager said the festival was “awesome,” and although he was too busy serving up food to catch much of the Kan Jam tournament, he said the bands were great entertainment all day and night long.

Most everyone else at the festival agreed it was a good time, but it seems likely no one knows that more than the locals in attendance who are happy to have Sly Fox so close.

“This is fantastic,” said Chris Branagh, of Upper Pottsgrove, who was out with friends and family, including his wife Paula. “I’m so happy Sly Fox is here and I hope they never leave.”

O’Reilly said he got a lot of great feedback from those in attendance Saturday, and he heard lot of suggestions that the location would be a great place for a concert.

“But I don’t know,’ he said. One thing is for certain, he said, “We hope to grow this as an annual event.”

The Sly Fox Tasting Room is open Wednesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

There are brewery tours Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 4 p.m. Those interested in a tour should call ahead, 484-524-8210. For more information, visit www.slyfoxbeer.com.

Story Credit: The Mercury - Brandie Kessler
bkessler@pottsmerc.com
Photo by John Strickler/


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