Thoughts on Brew Haven 2013

I think Brew Haven is hitting its stride in the festival's third year. It has grown and gain reputation amoung beer enthusiasts and breweries not only in the area, but around Indiana and the surrounding states. They organizers has listened to suggestions and learned from year's past. Plus the weather ended up being fantastic. All of those factors made this one great festival.

The area expanded this year and it was needed to help with the amount of attendees. It was a nice layout which provided a good flow. But also, more space was needed because far more brewery reps showed up. All were excited to share their brews and talk about them with you. Many of these brewers were in the area for the first time including co-event sponser Tinman Brewing (Evansville, IN) and some others like Bloomington Brewing Company (Bloomington, IN), Big Dawg Brewhaus (Richmond, IN), Thr3e Wisemen (Indianapolis, IN), Cutters Bewing (Avon, IN), Destihl Brewery (Bloomington, IL), Ohio Brewing Company (Akron, OH), and Hunters Brewing (Chesterton, IN).

Lechyd Da
Plus other breweries you might have seen around but never tried such as co-event sponser Iechyd da Brewing Company (Elkhart, IN), People's Brewing Company (Laffayette, IN), Flat 12 (Indianapolis, IN), Mt Pleasant Brewing Company (Mt. Pleasant, MI), Figure 8 Brewing (Valparaiso, IN), Crown Brewing (Crown Point, IN),  Evil Czech Brewery (Culver, IN), Greenbush Brewing (Sawyer, MI), Against the Grain Brewery (Louisville, KY), Mad Anthony's (Fort Wayne, IN), Lexington Brewing Company (Lexington, KY), and Sun King Brewing (Indianapolis, IN).

Sierra Neveda
And let's not forgot the names you know probably know such as co-event sponser Sierra Neveda & New Belgium, Bell's, New Holland, Harpoon, Founder's, Granite City, and Samuel Adams. I'm sure there's a few I forgot, but that's a pretty impressive list.

The distributors were clearly marked (Five Star, Aalco, Starlight, and Cavalier) were also pouring samples of many different brews with Goose Island, Triton, New Albanian, Finch's, Shoreline, and more were amoung those. The local MASH Club had their own corner and once again was a big crowd hit... possibly the unsung heroes of the event. I sampled a couple of different ones. These guys can make a good beer. A few vendors such as Brewer's Art, Cheeseman Store, Hops N Harvest, Old Crown Coffee Roasters, and Cap 'N Cork had tables as well. The food had its own seperate tent with lots a tables and a long line early, as usual.

Overall it was a great layout. Which allowed people to clearly see if what brewery, vendor, or distributor you were walking up to, though I think a couple of breweries ended up being a no show or came very, very late. For the most part, there was plenty of room to move around and converse with other beer junkies and friends.

 My only slight complaint was the middle of the tent was extremely populated with people as both sides had people lined up. Not sure there is really a good solution for this problem because at some point with that many people gathering in a small place, an area or two will get bunched up. Also a suggestion would be better "beer table" map online or available at the festival would help people navigate and find the brewery they want to go to. Both are minor things.

Once again, I got the VIP enterance. For me, it's just worth it to sample a lot of different beers, talk to with breweries, and get the feel of the land before the masses start coming in. This is also my downfall because I sample so much, so quickly that I keep my head on strait.

Evil Czech
So what did I enjoy? Well, count me in as a fan of Evil Czech. I will defintely be making the short drive to Culver soon. The Vanilla Rye Porter was amoung one of the best samples I had. And the White Reaper and Dracula's Bite Habenero Black (the habenero taste lasted about three beers afterwards) were both excellent. I was really impressed with Big Dawg's Downtown Brown and Tin Man's Pear Sour Shady were excellent and both had impressive selections. All three these brewers were more than excited to chat up their beers and seemed to having a blast.
Big Dawg

Speaking of having a blast...the guys from Flat 12 made it their mission to have fun. And they brought a couple of specialty brews, Espresso Infused Penny Ale and Cask Conditioned Saison with cranberries, both of which were great. Mount Pleasant blew my mind with the Peach Gruit and the Blackberry Ale. These were the most impressive new to me brews of the day. I had many others and some old favorites.

By about 4pm, my belly full of deliciousness it was time to head out. One of these years I will pace myself a bit better and close it down. Or may be not....

Congrats to Trion Tavern and Greg for another excellent festival. And a special thanks to all of those who helped make it possible from the workers to the volunteers to breweries to the distributors to any one I may forgot to mention. I'm sure more lessons were learned and will be applied to the 4th Annual Brew Haven on Aug 2, 2014!

I'll be there.

And maybe I will be able to get a review out a bit sooner.

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Observation of An Illogical mind by Sean Kimmel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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