04 Jun Fest of Ale Brings Craft Beer Fans Together For Good Cause
Welcome to Southern Indiana. On Saturday, May 30th the sunnier side of Louisville became home to the Keg Liquors Fest of Ale.
Keg Liquors Fest of Ale seeks to bring awareness and monetary gifts for Crusade for Children as part of the event objective. Additionally, they want to further craft beer in Indiana by providing a premier tasting event that embodies the craft beer lifestyle. This event featured sampling of more than 100 craft beers in a grass roots beer festival environment. Each year, the proceeds from Fest of Ale go to WHAS Crusade for Children.
I think it is important to understand the above information. Yes the beer was great. Yes the crowd was great. The weather? Great. But the cause behind this festival is something so awesome, words can’t really do it justice. In short, this is above and beyond.
Now, it was a humid day in beautiful Southern Indiana but that didn’t stop the hordes of thirsty craft beer fans from flocking to St. Anthony’s for the 10th annual Fest of Ale presented by Keg Liquors.
The gates opened a tad bit before 3:00, and so it began.
I was very fortunate to be accompanied by my fiancé and future mother-in-law, whose sharp eyes and motherly instinct directed us in the opposite direction of anxious festival goers, allowing us to sidle right up to some of Indiana’s awesome breweries with zero wait time.
First up was Quaff On! Brewing Company, who brought their core lineup (Hare Trigger IPA, Yellow Dwarf Wheat, Six Foot Blonde, and Busted Knuckle). The Yellow Dwarf went perfectly with the rising temperature and I could have stayed put in front of their booth for the remainder of the day, but I forced myself to move on. However, before I wandered on to the next booth, I was able to sample the reworked version of Busted Knuckle. It still has that great porter/stout hybrid taste but the mouthfeel is now smoother and creamier. Quaff On! took an already stellar beer and made it better.
The next stop brought us to one of my personal favorite breweries – Bloomington Brewing Company. Along with the infamous Rooftop IPA, they were also dishing out samples of 10 Speed Hoppy Wheat (a crowd favorite). Of course I couldn’t help but sample the delicious Ruby Bloom Amber – a rich, creamy amber ale that had me smiling like I was a high school kid again, experiencing a feeling similar to the first time the cute girl from Home Ec. flirted with me.
After the nostalgia at BBC passed and I was brought back to the sobering reality of actually being a 31 year-old middle school teacher, my fiancé (the cute girl from Home Ec.) and I visited Upland Brewing Company. Former Indiana on Tap alum Jon McNabb hooked us up with pours of Kiwi Lambic and Peach Lambic. The tartness of these beers were absolutely perfect on a day such as this. There is a reason that Upland is nationally renowned for their sour program and I hope that the assembled crowd took note on how lucky we are to have a brewery like Upland representing the great state of Indiana.
Our friends from Carson’s Brewery out of Evansville showcased their stellar offerings and even brought a special Amarillo Falconer’s Pale Ale. Of course I had to try it and was impressed by the hop explosion and drinkability of this particular beer.
Tin Man Brewing continues to impress and raise the bar with their outstanding lineup. In addition to Adam Schick’s personal favorite – Overlord Imperial IPA – the Evansville brewery brought Czar Russian Imperial Stout, Circuit Bohemian Pilsner, and Megawittt, a Belgian style witbier. I tried the Megawitt and walked away more impressed (and I was already super impressed) by what is happening with the Evansville beer scene.
When we visited 450 North Brewing Company, my fiancé sampled the Citrafest Session IPA. Our own Adam Schick also recently reviewed this outstanding beer and his words certainly do it justice. I, on the other hand went a bit off the beaten path and tried their Gnarly Cider. With the rise in popularity of ciders, I can see no reason why this one isn’t mentioned with the very best.
At the Fountain Square Brewing Company tent I met brewer Eileen Martin, a wonderful representative and person, while having a Hop for Teacher (as a teacher I absolutely love the name and beer). For those of you who haven’t been by Fountain Square Brewery, please make time to swing in. The space off Barth Avenue in historic Fountain Square is really cool and their beers are top notch.
Scarlet Lane offered the poetic Lenore Pale Ale and Dorian Milk Stout. Both were just exceptional (as they are each time I’m lucky to sample them). I’m glad that Southern Indiana beer fans were able to try Scarlet Lane. Everyone I talked to Saturday was really impressed with both beers and seemed eager to make a pilgrimage to the McCordsville brewery.
Flat12 showed off the Walkabout Pale Ale which recently has been gaining a lot of traction in Southern Indiana (Be sure to stop in at the Jeffersonville location to grab a pint or growler!) Another standout from the Indianapolis based brewery was the invigorating Cucumber Kolsch – a refreshing concoction that finishes clean with the lingering hints of crisp cucumber.
My entourage finished up at the high gravity tent (10% and higher beer) where I tried Upland Stoaked. I’d been wanting to sample this Belgian Quad aged on oak for quite some time and the anticipation paid off. It finished clean with a lingering sweetness.
Despite a ten minute lull when the skies opened up, the 10th annual Fest of Ale was perfect. Yes, the day was hot, but with the sun shining for a majority of the festival and the beer pouring, what else could we have asked for?
My answer: nothing. We were blessed with a great day to bask in the ambience of being a craft beer fan.
Plain and simple.
Until next time Indiana craft beer fans, this is where I leave you.