Brew Haven 2012 (It's All About the Beer)

It's all about the beer.
Tasting craft brews from breweries one can't normally get to and the creations from local home brewers.

The Trion Tavern hosted Brew Haven 2012 over the weekend. In only its second year the beer festival grew by leaps and bounds from the inaugural event. As a drinker of craft beers and a fairly frequent visitor to The Trion, I was eager to see how the event would improve. And partake in more than a few new to me beers in the process.

The brewery representation listed before the event was impressive and almost tripled from last year. A lot of Indiana flavors showed up from the emerging craft beer culture including Triton Brewing, lechyd Da Brewing Company, Figure 8 Brewing, Bare Hands Brew, Four Horsemen Brew Company, Mad Anthony Brewing Company, New Albanian Brewing Company, Flat 12 Bierwerks, Barley Island Brewing Company, Summit City Brewerks, and Upland Beer. The state of Illinois was represented by Goose Island and Finch's Beer. Kentucky had samples from Against the Grain Brewery and Bluegrass Brewing Company. While Michigan brewers Greenbush Brewing, Founder's Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Company, Bell's Brewery, and Dark Horse Brewery were all on hand. Basically every bordering had some sort of brewery except Ohio. I'm not sure why because Great Lakes Brewing Company, Hopping Frog Brewery, and Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. all produce good products and can be found in stores in the area. Other notable breweries with multiple samplings up for grabs were Colorado's New Belgium Brewing and Breckenridge Brewery and Great Divide Brewing Co., Boston's Harpoon Brewery and Samuel Adam, Saint Louis' Schflay Beer, Granite City Food & Brewery, New York's Six Points Brewery and Schmaltz Brewing Company, and California's Mendocino Brewing Company. Plus there were lots of other bottles from other breweries across the nation available to try and the local MASH (The Fort Wayne Homebrew Club) with their array of concoctions. All in all if a person couldn't find a beer they liked or wanted to try then they just shouldn't have been there.

I ended up buying a VIP Pass. It cost more but for me it was plenty worth it. In addition to the sample glass for their unlimited tasting and a meal ticket, the VIP's also got a lanyard to hold the glass and a tee shirt. More importantly for me the VIP's got in an hour earlier. Plenty of time before the masses can congest the area.

So I entered the area about 12:45pm and started scoping things out, getting free gifts from the brewers, and checking my hit list (yes I printed off a list as all serious drinkers should and I was far from the only one). There was lots more space this year with two tents and a large spaces to walk around in. It was a much improved layout. When the drinking began at 1pm I started checking off my first tier choices and talking to the brewery reps. It was then that I discovered not everyone was associated with a brewery. There were lots of workers from the distributors merely pouring select brewery samples. Unless you wanted to discuss beer with them, a person wouldn't notice or probably care. The actual people working for the breweries are so much more passionate about their product and always seem willing to talk. If I had to guess there were maybe fifteen to twenty people actually working for breweries. I could be wrong and it's still far more than last year. One minor complaint about being a VIP. There were suppose to be a select few beers poured only during this time. These were never announced and we were never informed to what these special brews were. Maybe it never happened.

My second tier choices started about 2pm when General Admission started coming in. The GA'ers were lined up around the corner and down the block. My VIP decision  proved to be a worth wild investment. About an hour later the tents were getting pretty full of people. If you didn't know what was where before hand you might have a hard time navigating through the people standing around. The lines still moves at a decent rate. The MASH seemed popular again this year. Unfortunately I missed out and failed to try any of their creations. There were just too many other items on my list. At around 3:30pm I barely managed to hear the Dragon's Milk firkin was being tapped. So I made my way to the New Holland area and waited. Some more speakers for the PA system next would be a wise move.  Around 4pm I needed a breather and went inside the Trion to cool out for awhile a sip on a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. As the hour neared 5pm I decided to go eat and went back out to consume an always delicious pork sandwich. About a half hour later I decided it was time to head home. I left the festival content and happy.

As I knew it would, Brew Haven 2012 was a fun Saturday afternoon. I meet some new people who share a common interest of drinking craft beer and saw a few familiar faces to share a sample. I did miss a few things on my hit list. I'm not sure if these were poured later in the day and I missed them or if the breweries changed it up at the last minute. In the end, it's not a big deal as I was able sample many new to me beers and have some standard favorites. 

The second year far surpassed the inaugural event. I feel like there is some minor tweaking to do for the next year's event, as there will always be if it continues forth and keeps growing. But for the cost of a ticket and selections of beer one can try the Brew Haven event simply cannot be beat. Especially since there is nothing like it in the immediate area.

An amazing job by Trion Tavern owner Greg and his always pleasant staff for pulling off a spectacular event. Hopefully word will spread and more people will come and more breweries will want to be at this event in person to mix it up with the increasing circle of craft beer drinkers of Northeast Indiana. I know us beer enthusiasts would love to have them.

Mark your calendars because Brew Haven 2013 is being held on August 3, 2013

Beer of the Day: Founder's Fragelic Mountain

Other Notable Brews: Bare Hands Imperial Porter, Greenbush Anger Black IPA, lechyd Da 1635 English Dark, Flat 12 Belgo Porter, Triton Four Barrel Brown 

On a side note: Greenbush, Triton, and New Albanian are three breweries that have impressed me greatly this year. I have yet to drink a bad beer from any of them and all are rapidly shooting up my list favorite breweries.

And now a plug for the Trion Tavern. If you're a fan of craft beer then you need to check out this place. The bar has a great look, the staff is awesome, and the food is tasty. Plus there is the 58 rotating taps which is always revolving and many are hard to find in this area.

Yeah! Beer! Good!

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