Brew Haven 2014 (the place for craft beer lovers in Northeast Indiana)

It's that time of year again in Northeast Indiana. Time for a craft beer festival called Brew Haven! Another massive crowd lined up and invaded downtown New Haven, IN for a tremendous amount of beer samples.

The first thing I noticed this year is how smooth and well organized the event was. Much better than in years past. The area was well laid out with a food tent, a larger tent for the majority of brewers, two smaller tents, and two tap trucks (one with 15 Three Floyd's). It was spaced out where with enough walking room to help avoid the being overcrowded. There was a decent amount of brewery representation as I always find it fun to actually talk those making the beers and a lot of beers to try.

This year I finally talked a couple of friends in joining me on this adventure. They had a great time and will be returning. We had VIP tickets as I personally like to get in ahead of the big crowd and find it to be worth the extra cost. With my hit list in hand and marked, I had forty I wanted to try, the first couple of hours I hit it hard with samples and grabbing free swag. Then spent the last few hours calming down a bit and talking to people. I never got to all the new to me beers I wanted to sample (very close though).

There was a VIP section of the back tent this year where the sponsors came and talked about their beers. I thought this was a neat idea, but didn't seem to be a big hit. I had fun chatting with a couple of them. The area could have definitely used a few chairs to go along with the tables and about half the area was actually used. I would be surprised to see it return next year.

Shortly after the general session folks started coming in, the hard rain fell for about thirty minutes. People packed in under the tents. Luckily, one still could move around. After the sun came back and it was a nice afternoon. It seems the Fort Wayne Homebrew Club (MASH) were once again a big hit and with good reasons. This group knows how to brew good beers.

Indiana has a growing scene for craft beer. Nice to see drinks from Triton, Iechyd Da, New Albanian, Granite City, Big Dawg, Quaff On, Tin Man, Daredevil's. Taxman, Flat 12, Great Cresent, Burn Em, Mad Anthony's, Fountain Square, Carson's, Shoreline, New Day, Three Floyds, Sun King, Cutters. Upland, Summit City Beirwerks, Bloomington Brewing Co., Three Pints, People's, Chapman's, New Boswell, and Olde School Brewhaus being poured. Maybe a few Hoosier breweries will come back or join for the first time next year.

Now mostly I give praises here, but not were a couple of glaring issues to me that I  have to bring up a couple of things.

First off, as a VIP ticket holder you are suppose to get a shirt. We were about the number fifty in line and the XXL shirts were gone when we got to the stand. I am not sure if they simply did not order enough or their was a shipping problem, but its a tad annoying. I'm really not certain how you dont have enough bigger shirts available. And they had a cool design too. A voucher or something would have been nice since it is part of the package.

Second, there needs to be more bathrooms. The lines were terrible for the second year in a row. Good news is I have already heard there will be more next year. So that will help big time.

Third (final and minor), I was really looking forward to trying some samples from Evil Twin and Clown Shoes as they are two of my favorite breweries right now. They were suppose to be on the larger tap truck, but I never found them there or anywhere. It is a possibility that I I just missed them.

Favorite New To Me Breweries:

Burn Em Brewery - Hands down my favorite brewery which I never had before. These guys out of Michigan City are doing very unique and outstanding beers. They are very friendly and chatty too. Combinations like a coffee wheat (Joey Wheat) and coconut pale wheat ale (Coconoats) does not sound appealing at first read but are simply amazing once they hit the palette. The Boomerango (mango IPA) and MCA (IPA) both hit the mark as well. Watch out for these guys! Hopefully a tap house and further expansion to this side of the state will be coming in the near future.

Taxman Brewing Co. - This brewery on the South side of Indianapolis brews Belgium style beers. La Maison (a farmhouse ale), Deducation (dubbel), and Exemption (tripple) all made the mark for delicious. Another brewery that I would love to see distribute up this way.

My Favorite New To Me Beers:

Apricot Sour Ale by Tin Man Brewing. An explosion on sweet apricot in taste and aroma quickly followed by a slight puckering tartness. I could drink a lot of this beer.
This Evansville brewery, and co-sponsor for the 2nd year, is doing things right. And if they start selling there product this far North, then I will be buying it.

Good Game by Oskar Blues. This abbey quad is simply one of the best American style quadruples I have ever tasted. Period.

Overall, another fantastic Brew Haven. Big thanks go out to the Trion Tavern and their staff, the co-sponsors (Brewers Art Supply, Sierra Nevada, Tin Man Brewing, Iechyd Da Brewing Company, MASH Club, Five Star Distributing, and Daredevil Beer), and all of the volunteers for the event. An outstanding job was done by all.

I look forward the fifth annual Brew Haven in 2015. My calendar is already marked!

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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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MIla-Wau-Kee (That's how Alice Cooper pronounces it)

Once again, late to write about travels and what not. I've comes to term with my problem. I am a lazy writer. The ideas would rather swirl in my head than be put down in written form. At least on here, the Fringes portion gets good attention. But I digress...

About a month ago I had the chance to work in Milwaukee for about a week. This was my second time to the city but the first time for more than just an overnight.

We were working a conference at the Wisconsin Convention Center. Luckily we had plenty of time to patrol the area on our down days. I found a lot of pleasant surprises in this town and despite being right in the middle of Summer Fest there was never too much traffic or over mass of people crowding the streets.

These are a few of the places where I ate well and drank even better. I suggest any of them if you are in the downtown area.

Milwaukee Brewing Company - Drank a lot decent amount these guys over my stay. The large brewpub had a cool vibe going on. The food was better than good "bar style" eats and the beer surprised me. The Columbian Saison and Sheepshead Stout topped my favorite list.

MKE Brewing flight

Hinterland Gastropub - Two things that go well together are charcuterie and beer. This place has both and much more on the menu. The food is a tad on the pricey side but excellent. The beers flowed down my gullet easily. I have tasted some of their beers back home before with a mixed results but this time around everything hit the spot. The cherry wheat was the best of the four I drank down.
Hinterland Gastropub

Old German Beer Hall - Authentic German food, live polka style music, fun bartenders, and multiple styles of Hofbrau directly imported from Germany. What is not to love about this place!

Old German Beer Hall
Build a Breakfast, Build a Burger - I ended up here more times than I wanted to during my stay. Not because it wasn't a great place, I like to spread out a bit and explore, but sometimes you take what is close by and opened. The food here was absolutely amazing. Several different and not the standard burgers to choose from or a gigantic breakfast list. You wont go wrong either way. Throw in a handful of taps and a great staff to help the experience. I think this place has something for all to enjoy.

Miller Time Pub & Grub - This was the hotel bar. The only reason I kept going back was the really good beer selection in both draft and bottles. I was very surprised by a few new to me beers including New Glarus Spotted Cow, Futhermore Fattyboombalatty, and Lake Louie Warp Speed Scotch Ale. Typical bar food menu did the job but was far from spectacular.

Milwaukee Public Market - Eat. Shop. Drink. This market is so awesome. It's not large, but packed full of vendors either selling food or making food. Wish we had something similar to this market where I live.

MKE Public Market

I left Milwaukee thinking it'd be a decent place to spend time long as it wasn't winter. I enjoyed much of what I stumbled upon. Wanted to get to a couple of the more famous craft beer bars and Lakefront Brewery, but just didn't have the time or means to travel.

Maybe next time.

Creative Commons License
Observation of An Illogical mind by Sean Kimmel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Please feel free to share the link but contact me for any other uses or publication. Thanks.