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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