Jason and the Beer Geeks did it again. Pulled off a massive (6,000 people) Microbrewers Festival at 90° heat. They did it with plenty of portapotties – most in the shade, more room used than last year, a great program again, a good variety of good food, hundreds of volunteers, and of course, great beer, made here. Picture time:
Rivertown from Cincinnati is new and new to Indiana.
Finch’s from Chicago hopes to be distributed in Indiana in their 16oz cans.
T-shirts available included Microbrewers Festival, Hoosier Beer Geeks (plus muffler),
Yesterbeer’s large lineup, Hopapalooza ($10), and many breweries had their own for sale.
The Keg Toss continued all afternoon.
Winners were, in the women’s division, Holly Bing,
and in the men’s, Kurt Eckstein – a 3-time winner. Our two observations for the organizers to use next year are:
- The lines were too short. Yes, that can happen. The increased space gave everyone more horizontal room to serve more beers at one time. Quite a few were pouring 6, 8, or more beers – Flat 12, Bier, Sun King, Mad Anthony, People’s, etc. Some serving stations had no line at all sometimes.
This meant people could drain their 2(+) oz taste and move directly to the next. This meant some people were more inebriated than usual – the people who don’t have a lot of experience with craft beer but more experience with inebriation.
- The security forces were the other problem. Past Microbrewers Festivals and Winterfests have had adequate uniformed symbols making the unmistakable message “keep yourself sane”. These particular rental cops spent much of the day standing in the shade in the ivy at the 67th St. crossing but when the 7:00pm bell rang and all (!) the vendors shut down, they continued to stay in place rather than do what needed to be done – sweep the field. Move slowly, go from one end to the other, gently urge the punters to leave. The field will be emptied in 15 minutes. This is how it’s been done for years and it works.
These guys didn’t do that. They just stood around until the shouting of the second near fight roused the whole blue group to run across the baseball diamond brandishing a sparking taser and shouting. It added to the confusion. Very nearly an arrest. Very nearly a hospital visit. And
surelyhopefully a violation of police policy about the use of weapons, at least while off-duty.
Of course the punter was in the wrong. He was drunk. His friends were trying to move him to the gate but the volunteer pourers (in both near fights) were the physical aggressors. Yelling “get out of here, you MF”, jumping over the table, and trying to lay hands on the drunk isn’t the way to handle begging for a last after-hours pour or even someone trying to steal souvenirs from the table.
These volunteers should be identified and not asked back. The off-duty officers should also be identified and not hired again. It was their lack that caused the incidents.