26 January 2009

Winterfest 2009 - You Came, You Saw, You Drank

Saturday's Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest was a smashing succcess - so much so that the event sold out. Here's are some photos:

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the event: what you tasted and liked most, ideas for improvement next time, and even any complaints. Leave a comment!


  1. I had a great time, although I didn't get to try nearly any of the beers I wanted to due to the horrific layout and crowd management.

    That being said, I'm hoping there were many lessons learned from this first time event, and that it will be back next year. I'll be happy to go next year!

  2. I've heard a few complaints about the layout, and my question would be "Was it better or worse than the Broad Ripple Brewfest?"

    I didn't notice a lot of long lines, which I'd think is a good thing. But I wasn't out on the floor all that much. I know it was crowded..

  3. Didn't get a chance to go since I had to work late, but I'm not too disappointed from what I've heard. Hopefully next year they'll have things managed better. I didn't enjoy BRB last year because of how crowded it was (and the weather).

  4. I don't know that I'd consider an event that had to turn hundreds of paying customers away a "smashing success." Since none of the advertising or websites said anything about capacity issues or limited tickets, we showed up at 4:00...and were turned away. I was in a group of 7, and know many others that drove from around the area and were denied entry.

    It may have been a success for those who got in, but for many of us, it left a bad taste.

  5. The lines for beer themselves weren't horrible I suppose if you could actually get to the table.

    With the size of the room, they really should have lined the outside walls with booths. Perhaps put the non-beer drinking stuff in the middle of the building or something.

  6. Gregg, the Brewer's Guild definitely didn't want to turn anyone away - they were hoping for half the crowd they actually got. As this was a first time event, I don't think anyone really knew what to expect. I'm sure it will be handled better next time.

    But I don't speak for the guild, so don't put too much stock into what I say. Perhaps a guild spokesperson will weigh in shortly.

  7. Mike -- I, too, am glad it was packed! Hopefully that means more events like this...just seems like the possiblity of high attendance wasn't planned for. As I type this, their website STILL says tickets are available.

    I'm just looking at the pictures yelling, "THAT SHOULD'VE BEEN ME!"

  8. I feel really bad for anybody that wasn't able to make it in. On the bright side, the huge turnout is proof that craft beer appreciation in Indiana is WAY up.

    I think one factor in the huge turnout is that there's generally jack to do around Indianapolis as far as festivals go in the winter. Lots of people are more than ready to head out and taste some beer on a cold January Saturday. During the summer, the Microbrewer's Festival is just one of many, many things going on.

    I'm sure the relatively cheap entry fee was also pretty enticing.

  9. I had a great time. A couple of things:

    1) I would tend to agree that the layout could use some work. I would go with the booths around the edges with 20 foot gaps between brewers/tables. Have the concessions end open with more tables.

    2) Beer of the day: Stone 11th Anniversary Ale. WOW! Hops beyond anything I could have imagined! Disappoinment of the day: Three Floyds running out of pretty much everything. I was all pumped for some Oatgoop, but it was gone when I got there.

    3) I expected to have a couple hundred people milling around, sipping beers, chatting with the reps from the breweries. That was totally not what happened. The pourers had no time to discuss anything unfortunately. I will say I am super happy that the turn out was awesome. Keep it going!

    4) A little more communication on selling out the festival probably could have kept people a bit happier. A warning on the website saying that tickets were limited or something.

  10. I was very excited to attend however when I arrived, I was turned away due to not selling any more tickets. Should have been an event to buy only in advacne if turning going to turn people away. It only said while supply lasts, maybe should have said only allowing certain number of peeps in the door!! I wouldn't have guessed all vendors were out of samples by 4ish!!

  11. Again, I'll say I'm sorry to everybody that wasn't able to get in.

    However, I'm going to take the opposite stance here and say that I'm actually fairly impressed that the Brewers of Indiana Guild planned enough overhead to accommodate as many as they did. You have to realize that BIG made their best guess as to how many people might show up and they squeezed in roughly double that. They didn't rent the "infinity room" so obviously there was a maximum capacity even if they didn't explicitly state that.

  12. I liked it very much. The FFF Bird of Prey, Stone 11th, the Mikeller and De Struisse stuff Cavalier was pouring and the firkin stuff was fantastic. Founders was MIA. Hoppin Frog was MIA and a few others. Feel sorry for the people turned away. Real bathrooms was a plus over BRBF. Hopefully BIG can make the Winterfest a smashing success next year too. It will improve I am sure.


  13. yeah, I'm a little surprised at the posts complaining about not getting in due to capacity. When you show up day of show and the concert venue is sold out, what happens?

    I think that since this was the first year such an event was hosted, by and large it went really well. Whoever mentioned crowd control must not have been at the same Winterfest I attended; or better, must have never attended the one in Broadripple. There was much less of a d-bag/line cutter quotient at this one by far.

  14. I thought that this was an amazing event. As a "first time" (to either event) attendee to either event, I was surprised even before I got in at how many people were there walking toward the door from the parking lot.

    The sheer amount of beer was overwhelming, but that's a good thing. I think that things went remarkably well for as many people as were likely expected to attend as opposed to how many people actually attended.

    I offer congratulations on a stellar performance for this event, and I think that it will only get better in the future.

    Yes, I think that the organization would have been better in rows or more spread out, but all things considered, it was great.

  15. I'd agree-the Stone 11th Anniversary, for me, was the beer of the ball. Special beer. Great effort from New Albanian with their wonderfully complex Elector as honorable mention in my book.

    The biggest bungle of the day, I think, came from Oaken Barrel. How long have these guys been around making the same tired old beers? And you never hear much by way of excitement out of them. They finally start getting some buzz for their Epiphany, even making the pre-Winterfest Indy Star article on Friday as a "must try." Then...they don't even BRING Epiphany to the show? I can only assume (hope) there was a very, very good reason. Real missed opportunity for them.

    Nice work by all you Beer Geeks for staffing the festival. Hope to do this again next year.

  16. My friend went to the festival and was trying out Lafayette Brewing Co's brews and got their Noel Belgian Dubbel and said, "wait a minute, this is awful hoppy for a Dubbel!" Turns out they had their Barleywine and Dubbel on the wrong taps and had to switch them.


  17. The whole thing was great. Obviously a ton of people congested stuff, but it didn't stop me from trying a huge amount of great stuff thanks to Allan from World Class and Steve from Sierra Nevada. Even though it was so busy truly enjoyed the experience.

  18. I couldn't go. Bummer. The good thing was since the HBG were at Winterfest there was plenty of HopSlam left at Deano's for me today.

  19. Early on during setp-up I asked Oaken Barrel if they brought Epiphany -- they said they are out...dried up...drank out of it. I know that feeling :(

  20. Some nice beer guts in those pictures, not that I an talk ha ha

  21. Yes, including mine. I'm gonna have to revoke Mike's press credentials.

  22. Time for the "Official Guild Comment"

    1. Thanks to everybody. Volunteers, festgoers, ISF, the Academy.....

    2. Wayyy beyond our expectations as far as turn-out. A first year event that doubles its projections is in a good place, unfortunately at the expense of some very upset people. My Sunday inbox had some rather uh - colorful - emails.
    Anybody been to the Great Taste of the Midwest? It sells out in an absurd amount of time. Like minutes. So, while I apologize profusely to those that were denied entry simply because I feel badly, we all need to understand that a sellout is the ultimate goal.

    3. Layout - I thought it was a perfect layout..........for 1500. There was a certain feng shui about it. Do not worry about layout next year. We will design it to accommodate the masses.

    We all learned a ton this first year. Next year will come together much more smoothly (this year was about a squillion times more smooth than I had anticipated actually - probably because of HBG) and I can assure you those breweries will be back. And they will bring their friends with them. As a brewery owner, I can tell you one thing that is certain. Deliver to me 3000 engaged, interested and eager beer drinkers - and I'll be there.

    And as a bit of parting advice for us all - listen to all of the comments. Truly listen. Absorb it. Think of ways to incorporate the ideas that will help us better ourselves and our fest. Then, after all of this retrospection and looking within, seek revenge to those who betray us with their stupid comments! That was a joke. Thanks all!

    Crazy Kegs