So let me begin just by saying that The Fest of Ale is one of my favorite beer events I have ever been to. The only other annual event I look forward to just as much is Gravity Head at NABC, if that puts it into perspective. The Fest of Ale is not only great for the myriad of beer to choose from, but also because it raises money for the Crusade for Children. Win win. Next year you can use that as an excuse with your spouse. Honey, I’m drinking beer for the kids! In all seriousness, though, this year they raised over $10,000 to donate to the Crusade. Pretty impressive.
Another great thing about this festival is that it is simultaneously lively and vivacious, but it’s also laid-back and easy-going. People are there because they care about the craft, and not to the extent of hurting someone to get the last drop of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (I got the second to last pour, don’t hate). People are encouraged to bring chairs, which further promotes an air of comfort and relaxation. People can grab a few samples and relax for a spell, instead of feeling rushed to sample everything in a blind whirlwind in order to escape the horde of sweaty beer nerds (I use that term in a complimentary fashion, I promise).
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the event is the fact that it is in Indiana. Though we are fairly close in terms of distance, the wonderful world of beer distribution does not operate the same in Indiana as it does in Kentucky. That being said, some awesome beers are available in Indiana, and not in Kentucky. My first order of business for the Fest of Ale is usually to sample as many Indiana breweries as I can. This year I was able to try Cutter’s, Fountain Square, Oaken Barrel, Sun King, and some New Albanian I hadn’t tried yet. Though this festival is not a showcase of all things Indiana or solely Indiana breweries, it does a great job of including as many as possible. Not to mention that there are numerous wineries present for those wanting to switch things up or for those not so privy to the beer scene.
In case you were too lazy to read all of the previous paragraphs, the Fest of Ale is an awesome event because of many reasons, but the three main ones include: it raises money for the Crusade for Children, its festive ambience is a perfect balance of chill and lively, and it has a superb selection of world-renowned beers as well as a wide array of Indiana-centric brews. Now you see why the Fest of Ale is unparalleled. See you next June!