Nearly 300 Different Beers From Near and Far Highlight the Fest of Ale in New Albany June 2nd

Nearly 300 Different Beers From Near and Far Highlight the Fest of Ale in New Albany June 2nd

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

From 100 attendees the first year to a sell out each of the last few years and capped at 2500 this year, The Fest Of Ale in New Albany has a storied history and has built a solid reputation over its thirteen years. The 2018 event will be held on June 2 at the New Albany Amphitheatre, a great outdoor venue along the Ohio River and the greenway.

The Fest of Ale is organized and run by Keg Liquors in New Albany and Clarksville. Owner Todd Antz takes advantage of his connections in craft beer brewing around Kentuckiana as well as their extensive work with craft beer distributors to put on a beer festival with a staggering number of beers to sample. This is a festival that is both brewery- and distributor-driven, and both components are large enough to make for a very interesting afternoon because Keg Liquors is an award winning craft beer and liquor store that has been named the state’s best by for the last ten years.

Keg Liquors carries beer from many breweries in Indiana, but that doesn’t limit their invitations for the festival. No fewer than two dozen Indiana breweries will be on hand to pour their beer and discuss their craftsmanship with attendees on June 2nd. From the local favorites like Donum Dei, Floyd County Brewing and New Albanian to central Indiana stalwarts like Metazoa (off their recent double medal performance at the World Beer Cup), Black Acre, and Quaff On! Brewing, to the northern stars of Indiana beer Three Floyds and 18th Street, there is enough Indiana beer for everyone.

With just Indiana alone there are more breweries and beer than many festivals have in total, but that’s just the beginning for the Fest Of Ale. The Fest Of Ale website breaks the breweries down by region of the country or imported beer, so keep checking back to see who has ben added. Southern breweries from just across the river and from the Deep South complement those from other regions and around the world.

This is the benefit of the having so many distributors showcase their beer at a single festival. You go to the craft beer store or bar and perhaps you try a beer from here or there. But does that help you determine which breweries are your favorites and who you want to buy more of? Not really, it would take a month of Sundays to try even a fraction of the breweries that will be represented at Fest Of Ale. But here you can try beers from dozens of breweries in an afternoon and then have an idea of who you want to look for again.

Beer geeks and people who have been to Burgerfuel in Broad Ripple may have tried some Yeastie Boy beers from New Zealand, but the average attendee will be learning about them for the first time. The same is true for Old Speckled Hen from Greene King in the UK and Brouwerij De Molen from the Netherlands. Even more appealing to some, Fest Of Ale will be a coming out party for Maine Beer Company, just now starting to be distributed to Indiana. Their beers are amazing, and now you’ll have a chance to try several in the course of a day.

For those who like to mix in some other types of beverages, Fest Of Ale will have you covered. Wineries, cideries, and meaderies will be represented; there will even be some hard sodas on display. Hopefully, New Day Craft Cider and Mead will bring some Breakfast Magpie to sample. This 14 year veteran in craft production just one of the sponsors of the festival; if you know them, you’ll look for them. And if you don’t know them, you should look for them.

The charity partner for Fest Of Ale is the WHAS Crusade for Children. This non-profit group from nearby Louisville works to improve the lives of children with special needs on both sides of the border. The craft beer festival aligns with the yearly telethon each first weekend of June to raise funds, and the Fest Of Ale now complements that strategy. Ever since the inception of the charities efforts in 1954, local fire fighters have been instrumental in helping to raise funds.

Todd Antz’s father, the founder of Keg Liquors was a Jeffersonville fireman himself and was part of the effort by the local firehouses which accounts for 50% of the money which is raised each year. This makes it natural and fitting that Fest Of Ale, a festival started by Todd all those years ago. Make sure to take some time while at the festival to browse the silent auction and raffle tent to bid on brewery swag packages and larger items that will also available to help WHAS Crusade for Children. In total, the Fest Of Ale has donated over $100,000 to this worthy cause.

Tickets are now available for Fest Of Ale, but they are expected to sell out before the festival so you should get your ducats soon. People can save $5 by purchasing tickets at either Keg Liquors location, while online tickets (available here) are $45 plus ticketing fees. Day of event sales go up to $55 if any tickets are still available.

Parking will be available all over downtown New Albany, but there are also shuttle buses just like for Tailspin Alefest. For a price of $15, one can get a round trip ride from either Drake’s in the St. Matthews part of Louisville or from Pearl Street Tap House in Jeffersonville. These tickets must be purchased online prior to the event.

A festival achieves longevity if it is intriguing to attendees, well run, and links the community to craft beer. The Fest of Ale has grown over its 13 year history because of Keg Liquors’ commitment to providing the beer of many breweries to sample, has a location and amenities that shows that the organization is top-notch, and has a charity partner that does good in the community. It won’t be a surprise when they are celebrating their 20th or 25th festivals.

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