Gray's Brewing to host Blarney Bash this weekend

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Greg Little
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

JANESVILLE—A little green, a little Gray, a little beer to brighten your day.

This weekend, Gray's Brewing Co., invites all lads and lasses—and those with no Irish affiliation whatsoever—to its first-ever Blarney Bash at the brewery, 2424 W. Court St.

The event goes from 3-10 p.m. Friday, March 17, and from 12:30-11:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18.

The party, which Gray's owner Fred Gray says evolved from past “Shenaningans” fests at the brewery, will be decidedly Irish. Because of his own heritage, however, Gray has added a taste of Scotland with a kilt contest and through his food menu.

“My great-great-grandfather came from Belfast in Northern Ireland, and I would hazard to guess that probably somewhere in my lineage there's somebody from the Scottish highlands,” Gray said.

So, even though he's proud of his Irish forefathers who opened the Janesville brewery back in 1856, you should expect to see Fred in a kilt this weekend.

“I wear a kilt every year, and I love it. I just feel free,” he said.

“There's plenty of leg room. I've been saying for a long time that women had that thing (legless pantswear) right from the get-go, and I don't know when men decided it wasn't fashionable to wear them.”

Along with the chance to see Fred's legs and eat Scottish eggs and shepherd's pie, attendees can listen to live music, take part in the keg toss and Irish jig contests and enjoy a series of specials on Gray's beer.

There has even been talk of bagpipers (remember, we said a Scottish twist).

For those interested in learning more about the brewery, there will be tours, the tasting room will be open and the owners—Fred, his wife, Sue, and their daughter Sarah and son Jake—all will be on hand, as usual.

“Any time you're in the brewery, one of us is going to be there,” Gray said. “That's important. People come to small craft breweries to meet the people and hear their stories. I don't think anybody cares about how much beer we make or how we make it.”

Business aside, Gray wants the party's main emphasis to be on St. Patrick's Day and the city he calls the “epicenter” of Gray's Brewing.

“This is just an opportunity for Janesville to celebrate a little bit of its Irish heritage,” he said. “I'm Janesville's No. 1 fan, and I think we need to remarket ourselves as a great town where a lot of fun stuff happens.

“We want to show people they don't have to drive 80 miles away to have a good time.”

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