Brews On Buckeye: A Great Festival and A Great First Step for Fall 2020

Brews On Buckeye: A Great Festival and A Great First Step for Fall 2020

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Aaaaahhhhhhh… that felt good. Brews on Buckeye was Saturday evening in Kokomo, and though it was smaller than normal it was still great. Yes, it rained – who cares. Yes, there were cool temperatures – who cares. The air smelled fresh, the rain was only intermittent, people didn’t even need jackets. In different times, these wouldn’t have been perfect conditions, but after five months without a festival, it looked like paradise.

The attendance was limited, the number of vendors was reduced, and the spacing on Buckeye Street was increased. Many people wore masks when in big groups or in line, and the vendors wore masks the entire time.

Spacing was good out in the open, but the rain sometimes drove people under the tents – I think it would be a good idea for future events during the Covid-19 era to forego the tents and keep people better spaced even if it rains. Like it or not, Brews on Buckeye was a trial run to see what worked well, and what could be improved in the future.

Best beer festival wristband ever according to Walter. image credit: Walter

Walter and I elbowed bumped more people in one evening then in our previous combined lifetimes. It was so good to see people we haven’t talked to in so long, especially in an environment where people were happy instead of discussing how bad things are. Yes, attitude does make a difference in the long run; I think this was an opportunity to combat the downward emotional spiral that people have been experiencing.

The beer was served mostly from cans/bottles, and from pitchers if from a jockey box. Most people either held their glasses or put them down on the table so that the vendor could pour for them without touching their glass. It wasn’t a burden at all for either the attendees or the vendors. Regardless the way it was delivered to us, the beer choices were very good.

Mid-America Beverage brought several beers that are rarer or hard to find, like the 2019 Bourbon County Café de Olla and the Lemon Radler version of the Ol’ Tavern. Elm Street brought more of their innovative beers, like the Nuka Gose Quantum and the honeydew, cucumber, and mint sour called Doom Zumba. The Guardian Brewing brought out the Neon Viking and the Rainbow Pop amongst other beers. Craftroads Beverage had a fantastic selection, including a fruited lambic from Funk Factory Geuzeria in Minnesota.

It was a scaled back Brews on Buckeye this year, but still a bunch of fun. image credit: Walter

Metazoa poured the Matriarch Pale Ale that hasn’t been out very long, and Hoosier Brewing brought four great beers, including their Indy Independent Relief Fund west coast IPA called Back On Track, using Crazy Horse Hops and Sugar Creek malt. Half Moon Brewing from Kokomo had a new Sabro hopped IPA called Bro! that I liked a lot. All the producers did a great job bringing top notch product, including McClure’s Orchard & Cidery, Centerpoint Brewing, The Devil’s Trumpet (that new DIPA, Binary Galaxy, is great), Bier Brewery, Four Day Ray, Bare Hands Brewery, People’s Brewing, and Bad Dad Brewing.

It was nice to see such good beers on our first festival of the summer, especially so many refreshing summer beers. I’m convinced that despite the shutdown and all the angst of trying to stay open, the breweries are on the top of their game in brewing. The only regret was that there wasn’t much food to go with the beer – the organizers had several food vendors pull out on the day of the event. Walter and I feel that the current environment has made it easier for vendors to pull out at late dates, but we stress that a promise to show up is just as important now as it is in normal times. If you say you’re going to be there, then be there.

Congratulations to Kyle Gibson, The Coterie and all those involved in organizing and volunteering for Brews on Buckeye. It’s a weird year, but there’s nothing weird about this being a great festival. A fan favorite for years, Brews on Buckeye has shown us all the way for fall 2020.

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