Washington Park Pavillion in Michigan City was saw its 2nd annual Midwest Brewers Brawl on the last Sunday in July. People came from all over to try out the offerings of some of the breweries that call Northwest Indiana home.
The event was created by the NWI Leaders (Young Professionals Network), which is a group of young professionals ages 21-39 whose goal is to bring together emerging professionals all over NWI to network, share insights, create and grow relationships and strengthen our communities, and in this case, have some really good beer.
Two individuals from NWI Leaders, Sean Gertsch and Andi Baruffi were in charge of bringing this year's Brewers Brawl to life.
"We built this from the ground up," Baruffi said. "It's a great way to give recognition to local breweries. It's one of the most amazing industries around here. There is huge collaboration, huge creativity, they all work together and support each other and I think that is important and empowering to young professionals."
"We worked very closely with the United Way of La Porte County to help our beneficiary, Minds in Motion," Gertsch said. "This is a great way to get people out to the beach, out to enjoy some good brews and get some good networking."
Minds in Motion Program is a program that is in schools through the United Way of La Porte County. It integrates the mind and body by helping children be successful in school socially, athletically, and academically. Click here to learn more about Minds in Motion.
The day began at 1pm when the VIPs were allowed to enter. These individuals got in earlier than those who purchased general admission tickets and the excellent chefs at the Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa fed them. To cap it, the VIPs all got neat T-shirts. Who doesn't love a neat shirt?
When 2pm rolled around the general admission ticket holders were admitted and people came in to the Pavilion. Live music played, brews were poured, and everyone enjoyed themselves whether they were there as a beer connoisseur or just to hang out and enjoy the day with friends.
The competing breweries at the brawl were:
Pleasant House Three Oaks & Pleasant House Brewing Company
Evil Czech Brewery
Burn 'Em Brewing
Iechyd Da Brewing Company
Round Barn Brewery & Public House
Four Fathers Brewing LLC
Official Judges were: Simon Barrios, National Brand Manager of Journeyman Distillery; Tiffany Daugherty, General Manager of Journeyman Distillery; and Mark Sheppard of Chicago Foodies.
"We came to this event last year," Jason Lacny, one of the Brewers/Owners of Four Fathers Brewing LLC in Valparaiso said. "We really do love this. It's on the beach, the weather is great, the people are great, and the beer is great. We just opened up in April so brewfests like this are great for marketing."
"We're growing slowly so this event will help us grow even more," Colin Oswald, another Brewer/Owner of Four Fathers said.
There was a special guest at the Brewers Brawl, Petty Officer 2nd Class R. J. Pate of the United States Navy. Pate is the son of Kris Pate, Executive Director of the La Porte County United Way and he just finished a five year stint with the Navy. In fact, he arrived back home only two days prior to the Brewers Brawl and he helped to hand out all of the awards to the winning breweries that day.
"I came out to support the United Way," Pate said. "I love everything that they do in the community and my mother is a big part of it so I know a lot about it. It's good to be here and it's good to be back."
- Best Stout: Shoreline Brewery, Lost Sailor Imperial Stout
- Best Wheat: Burn 'Em Brewing, Krankenwagen!
- Summer Saison: Burn 'Em Brewing, Fallen Swine
- Best IPA: Round Barn Brewery, The Hop Dealer
- Honorable Mentions: Four Fathers Brewing LLC, 1776'er
- Best of Brawl (aka People's Choice): Burn 'Em Brewing