Brew Haven 2011 Craft Beer Festival (one attendee's wrap up)

About a year ago I was pleasantly surprised to discover a local bar called The Trion Tavern which served up a variety craft beers on tap. Actually close to fifty taps and a small bottle selection too. There are other bars in the Fort Wayne area which sell craft and world beers, but not this amount. I stepped into the place last September and ever since it's been my "go to bar". The Trion is only place I frequent on a regular basis. In just a few short weeks the always friendly and knowledgeable staff knew my name and treated me as if I've been a coming into the establishment for years.

The Trion may not be perfect but it's certainly a fine establishment if a person is looking for a great beer selection at a fairly reasonable price, some good food, and normally laid back atmosphere. In fact, I travel all over the country for work quite often and always try to search out a good craft beer pub while on the road. Trion's selection ranks right up there with the best. That is no joke. When I talk to friends across the US, they cant believe the amount of different brews on tap and are quite impressed.

So if you're a fan a good beer and in the Fort Wayne area, do yourself a favor and stop in at The Trion Tavern. Now enough of me gushing over my favorite bar, though Greg probably doesn't mind the free advertising, but this post is about Brew Haven 2011 Craft Beer Festival.

Excitement poured over me when I was told The Trion would be hosting a beer festival. At first I wondered how successful a festival in this area could be. I had hopes as the 2011 BrewFest, which was mainly a small craft brewery and homebrew festival held this Spring was met with a decent turn out. Knowing The Trion didn't have a website nor did they use social media outlets, I hoped they wouldn't just rely on word of mouth to tell people. Luckily soon after the Brew Haven announcement the bar opened a website, Facebook page, and Twitter account and used them to promote and update the event. Every week the list grew with choices as did my excitement. For a mere $25 a person got a meal, unlimited beer samples, and a souvenir tasting glass. What a deal!

The day of the event had arrived. With five hundred presale tickets gone the before the event I decided to get there early. Attendees were let in the tent early but because of the permit serving could not begin until 2pm. I surveyed the land and worked out a game plan. There were a lot of choices of beers. Many I have had not drank before and several which had crossed my lips. What would I try first? Which samples would go the quickest?

There were plenty of local distributors at tables including World Class, Aalco, and Five Star. They served up a plentiful variety of bottled beer from several different breweries in the US including Brooklyn Brewery, Dark Horse Brewery, Bell's Brewery, Coney Island Brewing, Schlafy Beer, Boulevard Brewing Company, Goose Island Beer Company, and many more. Trion had a table with a couple of pours. The beer truck had taps of rare Samuel Adams beer and some of the usual from stuff New Belgium.

The brewery representation was a bit underwhelming. After reading the list of breweries I had hoped for there to be more on site. Those who had tables were Mad Anthony Brewery, Granite City, Sun King Brewing, Upland Brewing Company, Flat12 Beirwerks, and Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company. Again there were plenty of different choices to be had.

The local home brewers club Mad Anthony Serious Homebrewers had a table with several samples from these mad scientists. I had to alter my game plan as I thought these would be passed over for the breweries and distrubitors. I was dead wrong. The lines were some of the longest of the day. I ended up only making it through three times and should have tried to get more. I sampled a Chai Latte Stout, a Jack Daniels Rye IPA, and Double Stout. All were good. Forgive me for forgetting the brewers name who brewed these beer, but in my opinion all of you get credit for a job well done.

Also at a table was Brewers Art Supply Store giving out information on how to brew your own flavors.

And not to be forgotten were local coffee brewers Old Crown Coffee Roasters. They provided a couple of good and much needed cups at the end.

People poured in the tent. Soon it got jammed packed quick. And when the sun came out it got warm and uncomfortable. You was better off outside. Despite this, the longest I waited in a line was fifteen minutes and that was the food line. I had more than my fill of beers in three hours as I sampled twenty new to me brews and about ten old favorites. Then I chose to stop and drink coffee to finish the day. After all, I needed to drive home safely. Always important. So is drinking plenty of water before and during the event, which I did, especially on a hot and sunny day.

Overall I had a great time. It was a kick ass atmosphere as is usually the case with big groups of similar interests. I saw a few people, met a few people, drank a lot a tasty samples, and had an excellent pork sandwich.

A bigger tent with the tables spread out more to help the congestion would have been helpful. Live and learn. Would have also liked to seen more actual breweries have tables such as Three Floyd's, Bells, Dark Horse, Founders, and some others within a few hours drive. I know that can be hard to coordinate and even difficult to reps to show up.

For a first time event of this caliber I think it was excellent. My thanks go out to The Trion owner Greg and his staff, all the breweries who showed up, the distributors, the MASH club, and all the other involved with organizing and pulling off this event. Have a brew as you all deserve it.

This was a big step for the craft beer loving community of Northeast Indiana. The number of attendees, both men and women, was impressive. This proves there's a demand for great beer in the area. I look forward to next year's event. Hopefully it's bigger and better and will constantly continue to improve. Mark your calendars as the date is August 4, 2012.

Until then, you can go to the Trion Tavern website for more information on the pub, follow Trion Tavern on Twitter at @brewhaven and check out the Trion Tavern Facebook page at Brew Haven Craft Beer Festival

Personally I hope The Trion starts using these social media outlets more to inform the Fort Wayne craft beer drinking community of what's on tap, what's coming down the pipeline, future events, and just general information. By doing so it will help more people discover great beer and bring more people to this nifty bar in New Haven.

See you at the bar.

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a new blog

So in the world of my ever changing website, I have decided to update once again. It's a constant work in progress. Part of this process is deciding to refocus the themes and make my main page/posts more about personal thoughts.
I occasionally contribute on my wrestling thoughts at my friends blog Two Spot Monkeys.
Now the majority of my horror ramblings will be found at the new blog Fringes of Horror, which is also a page on my main site.
I'll see how this goes. Hoping it will keep me writing more as I will do individual reviews with slightly more depth.

By the way, if anyone is interested in making a logo Fringes of Horror that would be super. I cant pay anything but will gladly give you credit, a post with you information, and link any of your sites. Email me if interested.

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Horror Movies Watched & Books Read (July 2011)

July 2011


Eyes of the Mothman
Eyes of the Mothman (2011) ****
A very in depth documentary on the legend of the mothman and the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia who had its share of sitings in 1966-1968.
This covers what the monster could be, the strange events in the town during these years, and the general creepy history of Point Pleasant.

The Prowler (1981) *1/2
A crazy man comes back to a college years later to pick up where he left off.
I only watched this bad 80's slasher because Tom Savani did the special effects. I wished that I would have skipped it though.

Unholy Women (2006) **1/2
A Japanese anthology film with a theme of haunted women. As in most movies like this, certain segments stand out more than others.
"Rattle, Rattle" - A woman gets chased down by the ghost. The ending & beginning were rather cool. The middle part was simply running around and screaming.
"Steel" - A girl is wrapped in a burlap sap from the waist up. Her father lures boys in to date her. One falls for her and gets to see underneath the sack, which leads to his demise. The girl remains lonely. This was my favorite segment as it simply bizarre and unique.
"The Inheritance" - A grandmother is hiding a secret from her young grandson. This was one the creepiest and more in the traditional J-Horror.

The Frankenstein Syndrome (2010) ***
A group of scientist illegally work on a serum to revive the dead. They have a breakthrough but with dire consequences.
This movie exceeds its B movie budget with an good cast and interesting script. Plus the lovely Tiffany Shepis stars.

The Screen At Kanchamod (2007) ***
A doctor tries to recreate an incident which occurred in 1987 as a group screened a movie in the jungle to a seemingly empty audience. When the film ran out, the group sees spirits.
Like many Thai movies the good guys aren't necessary good and the break up in linearity storytelling makes for a good mystery as you are trying to figure out how all the pieces come together. A nice ending too.

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror
Halloween: 25 Years of Terror (2006) ****
A documentary covering the success and failures of the Halloween movie franchise.
I cant believe that I never watched this before as it's a few years old. A tad on the short side, as most horror fans cant get enough of this stuff, but excellent none the less.

Chawz aka Chaw (2009) ***
A giant boar roams a muck and terrorize a small Korean village. The police call in hunters to help kill the beast.
This Korean movie has some strange this happening in it and plays many scenes for comedic value. A nice blend which works. I have no idea why America distributors but a 'z' on the end of the title.

Prowl (2010) **1/2
A group of kids have a breakdown. They get a rid from a trucker. He dumps them off in an abandoned warehouse where they get hunted. If that part sounds cliche, well, it is. The hunters are actually a subspecies of human. And it turns out that one of kids is actually part of the pack, but she didn't know it.
I loved the concept of this movie with the hunters/pack. But I have to think if story was centered on the pack instead of teens in peril it would have been far better.

Spasmo (1974) **1/2
An Italian giallo where a man rescues a woman on the beach. They spend some time together and weird stuff starts happening. Like people getting killed and missing corpses. Is it all in his mind?
A good mystery but it felt like nothing more than standard giallo of its time.

Cherry Tree Lane (2010) ***
Some local hoodlums bust into the house of a couple. They are looking for their son, who they have an issue with. They hold the couple hostage while they wait for his return. Tension fills the air as night goes on and ends up in a violent outcome.
In new subgenre of urban terror this movie does provide a good premise and acting. But I really didn't like any of the characters, including the victims, who are basically bound and gagged after the first ten minutes while the hoods sit around talking and acting tough. Take a shot at it, maybe you'll like it better than me.

Demon Seed (1977) **
This movie, based on a Dean Koontz novel, is about super computer locks a woman inside house and wants to mate with her.
Not even Julie Christie could save this thing. Like many films where new technological advances are the center piece, they quickly become outdated.

Diagnosis Death (2010) **
During a cancer clinical drug trial two test subjects start think the medical facility is haunted.
The movie tries to be a dark comedy and doesn't really succed. Some parts are amusing and some parts are slightly creepy but they dont play well in this New Zealand flick. It does have cameos from the Flight of the Conchords members though.

Cannibals (1980) *
A man loses his daughter to some jungle natives. Years later he tries to retrieve her.
This is the worst Jess Franco movie I've ever seen. Nothing was enjoyable about the movie and not sure why I stuck it out until the end.

Torchwood, Season 1 (2006) ***
It's another one of those sci-fi, adventure, horror hybrid shows like you'd find on SyFy except this series comes from the UK. This Doctor Who spin off is about a team of people who battle alien and supernatural things.
Not being a Doc Who fan, I didn't know what to expect. Overall I found the series to be fun. It's a well mixed concoction of the things I tend to like. I'll probably continue on to season 2 before long.

Feng Sui (2004) **1/2
A movie from the Phillipeans about a mother who finds an charm that brings her family good luck. Of course for all the amount of good luck it also brings equally bad luck later on. The mother must solve the mystery behind the curse before its too late for her family.
Kind of a typical Asian haunted item movie. It's not bad but not anything special either.

The Last Wave: The Criterion Collection
The Last Wave (1977) ****
A lawyer must defend a group of Abrigonies who commited a ritual killing of one of their members in this Aussie classic.
Combine a court room drama with mystery and creepy supernatural elements and its makes for an unique flick. Highly recommend.

Scarce (2008) **
Some kids get lost in lower Pennsylvania during a blizzard. They wreck their car. They search for help and stumble into a man's cabin, who gladly gives them shelter. What they dont know is he's a cannibal.
An ultra low budget movie with a couple slick twists and turns ultimately falls short due to no one to cheer for. I hoped for the hillbilly to feast on Jersey college kids.

Horror Express (1972) **1/2
An anthropologist find a frozen creature. He transports it via the Trans-Siberian railroad where the creature thaws out and starts brain melting people.
A cast of greats pack this wildly bizarre flick. It is campy deliciousness.

Beneath Still Waters (2005) **
On the 40th anniversary of a dam being built strange things start happening around to towns people. Perhaps its the abandoned village which got flooded because of the dam many years ago.
Nothing riveting about this Spanish flick. In fact some parts just dont make any sense.

Shadow (2009) ***
A ex-soldier is biking through the woods of Germany where he meets a girl biker and a couple of brutish hunters. After an altercation the hunters want payback and chase the other two into part of the woods supposed haunted by crazies. Well, the rumor is true and the crazies capture the others. Then the fun begins.
Even though the movie has flaws I ended up enjoying it. It's nothing new, especially the ended. And the wood scenes are beautiful.

Ban the Sadist Video (2005) ***1/2
This documentary deals with the UK's ban on the "video nasties" in the 1980's. Movies deemed too violent, gory, and sexual for view. It's fascinating as both sides are laid out fairly equal and shows the kind of power a few can hold over the many.

Don't Look Back
Dont Look Back (2009) ****
A woman starts to see changes in her apartment, her family, and eventually herself. Is she going mad? Is there another reason behind all of this?
I loves me a good mental breakdown film. When you add the lovely Sophie Marceau and Monica Belucci (playing basically the same person) then I am surely on board. The movie is full of cool special effects, powerful performances and pure emotions.

Amusement (2008) **1/2
Three woman are captured by a man they dismissed as weird when they were children.
This familiar plot goes slightly above the norm slasher flick with some good kills and set ups.

Burned at the Stake aka The Coming (1981) **
A small girl is possessed by the spirit of a witch in modern day Salem.
I've never seen a child actor have such a command over a character yet be so damn annoying. Probably that is where the film lost me.

The Final Destination (2010) *1/2
A group of people once again escape death only to have it catchup with them.
The usual from the franchise. Some decent sequences but once again watching a movie made for 3D in 2D makes the movie look terrible.


Dead Man's Song
Dead Man's Song by Jonathan Maberry ****1/2
Book number two in the Pine Deep Trilogy picks up where number one ends.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ***1/2
In the near future North America is divided up into a capital and 12 districts. Each district's main reason for survival is to supply the capital with resources. Each year, the capital holds The Hunger Games as a reminder to the districts never to revolt against the capital again. One boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 from each territory are selected to fight for survival against the others where there is only one winner. Katness Everdean volunteers for the games after her younger sister is chosen. And the games begins.
I admit to getting sucked into this story as the familiar tale had enough twists and turns to keep it interesting.

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