14 Mar 1st Annual Barks, Brews & Barbecue A Tail-Wagging Success
If you are anything like me, you are a dog lover, and a craft beer drinker. For people like us, dog-friendly patios are great, and many breweries such as Flat12 and Taxman welcome canines with love and treats. Well, now we have dog-friendly brew fests, and on Sunday, March sixth, the first Bark, Brew, and Barbecue was held in downtown Indianapolis, and it was truly a tail wagging good time.
Accompanied by my wife, and dogs Bella and Finney, I joined over five hundred human attendees, and a few hundred dogs at the Pan Am Pavilion for the inaugural Bark, Brew and Barbecue put on by 317 Events to raise money for the Hamilton County Humane Society. As we entered, we were given two beer vouchers, and a bandanna for our puppies. From the get-go, it was busy with dogs everywhere. Part of the outside was made into a grassy lawn for the dogs. Inside was a large stage, a center table area, with vendors and booths alongside. The breweries were along the far wall. City Barbecue was beside them with the food for the event. There was so much to do, but my wife and I decided a beer was in order.
Five local breweries came, and each brought two different beers. Flat12 brought their Walkabout Pale Ale and Half Cycle Pale Ale, and Tow Yard had their Goldie Hops and Double Pale. Bier sent their Kolsch and a Session IPA, and Sun King graced the festival with Wee Mac and Osiris. Upland brought their Dragonfly IPA and Wheat. This was a decent mixture of brews, and I was pleased with the choices, but the diverse crowd that attended was not craft beer drinkers, so the Kolsch and Wheat were gone first. I went with the Double Pale, and I was pleased as I sipped it on the lawn as my puppies made new friends.
The event was from noon to six, and it was busiest in the early part of the afternoon. It was a jovial mixture of dogs and people, and I am sure my dogs felt like celebrities as people kept coming up to meet them. From this respect, it was one of the friendliest brew fests I have attended. Everyone I spoke to had a great time. There was a wiggle contest, and it was amusing to see pets and owners perform onstage. The wiggle contest was won by a dog named Lady, and she was in a tutu! Later followed a dog and owner look alike contest, and it kept the mood light.
After visiting most of the vendors, I had a chance to speak with Bryan Schmidt at 317 who is their events director. He reached out to over a dozen breweries, and was pleased that five came. Attendance was great, and they hope to have a follow-up Bark & Brew festival in late October or early November.
As the event wound down, I sat at a table with Bier’s Session IPA with my dogs resting at my feet. The beer tasted superb, and I felt content like there was no other place I wanted to be. It was after all, a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and I had a delicious beer in hand surrounded by dogs. Every brew fest has its strong points, but combining craft beer and dog lovers was certainly an awesome idea, and it was for a good cause. The Hamilton County Humane Society is a no-kill facility, and it works hard to find homes for animals.
So I am looking forward to the next Bark, Brew, and Barbecue, and encourage other dog lovers in our craft beer community to watch for it in late fall. It was like combining a pet expo with a brew fest, and this dog lover enjoyed it.