We All had a Ball at the Midwest Brewers Brawl

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: July 29, 2013

A sunny Sunday afternoon in Michigan City’s Washington Park was the setting for the first inaugural Midwest Brewers Brawl. The event was created and carried out by the NWI Leaders Young Professionals Network, which is a group of young professionals ages 21-39 who makes is a goal to bring together emerging professionals all over Northwest Indiana to network, share insights and empowering leadership, create and grow relationships and strengthen our communities all at once.

The event started at 2pm in the Pavilion at Washington Park. The first hour of the Brewers Brawl was for VIP only. For an extra fee, guests got to enjoy an extra hour at the Brewers Brawl along with free food provided by the excellent chefs at the Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa and a really sweet T-shirt.

Charlie Roberts, the Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager at Horizon Bank, was greatly involved in the event as he is the co-chair for the La Porte County United Way 2013 Campaign and a board member for the NWI Leaders.

“This is a fundraiser to help the Minds in Motion Program,” Roberts said. “It’s a program that we put in the schools through the United Way of La Porte County that will integrates the mind and body by helps young kids be successful in school socially, athletically and academically. And all proceeds from his event will benefit the United Way. They’ve been great as they helped us set up the whole event. They are one of the reasons why we were able to make this possible. They really believe in building NWI Leaders in the next generations so it’s been a great partnership.”

Click here to learn more about Minds in Motion. 

NWI Leaders partnered with the United Way of La Porte County and to bring the event to the people, and bring it they did. Besides the many beers provided by excellent local breweries like Crown Brewing, Evil Czech Brewery, Four Horsemen Brewing, Iechyd Da Brewing Company, Shoreline Brewery and Four Fathers Brewing; guest were able to partake in some ear candy with music that was provided by Jim Post. The food from Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa was available for purchase for those who bought general admission tickets; everyone was given a spiffy commemorative mug with the Midwest Brewers Brawl’s logo emblazoned on the outside – perfect for sampling craft beer.

“The United Way has connections with a lot of influential people and they do a lot of work with the community so we wanted to bring everyone together to both have fun and do something good for the community,”Neil Mangus, Director of Marketing at Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital and also a board member for the NWI Leaders, said. “It’s a good time. We’re expecting around 200 to 250 people. We gave away bottle caps to people so that they could vote for their favorite brewery. We’re also having a panel of judges do a tasting as well. There will be winners of best in class for three different types of beers as well. We really tried to hit this from all angles to benefit everyone involved.”

Judges for the event were Rob Austin of Burn 'Em Brewing in Michigan City; Aaron Winey of Kosciusko Kettleheads; Jason Bodley, beer & wine menu manager of Cerulean Restaurant in Warsaw; Terry Zych, Ivy Tech Culinary Arts Program Director in Northwest Indiana; Brian Black, Food & Beverage Director of Blue Chip Casino Simon Barrios, National Brand Manager of Journeyman Distillery.


Best Stout: Iechyd Da Brewing Co., Dragon's Lair Imperial Coffee Stout

Best Wheat: Four Fathers Brewing, Neptune Weizen

Best IPA: Iechyd Da Brewing Co., Revolution American IPA

Honorable Mentions: Evil Czech (Chamomile Wheat) and Crown Brewing (Orange Wit)

Best of Brawl (aka People's Choice): Four Fathers Brewing

So guests enjoyed themselves as they chatted and laughed and sipped all sorts of beer. There were citrusy IPAs (India Pale Ale), rich and creamy stouts, and refreshing seasonal ales. Along with the aforementioned breweries, libations were also available from Goose Island Beer Company, Round Barn Brewery and Kona Brewing Co.

It took many volunteers to make the Brewers Brawl a success. One such volunteer was Ryan Hecimovich.

“We help set things up, distribute beer, pass out beer and help people to have a good time,” Hecimovich said. “We’re having a great time trying all the different beers and enjoying the day.”

It was a great day and the NWI Leaders and anyone else involved should be proud of the work that they did. We can’t wait to hear the words, “Second Annual Midwest Brewers Brawl”.

Be sure to attend the NWI Leaders in their next event on Sunday August 18, 2013 for “It’s Comedy, Baby!” at the Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa.

{laporte}Click here to view more photos from the event!{/laporte}{nwindiana}Click here to view more photos from the event!{/nwindiana}

Sponsors for the Midwest Brewers Brawl: United Way of La Porte County; NIPSCO; Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa; The Antique Market; Scotty's Dynamic Designs Sauers Auto; La Porte County CVB.