Standing applause for another well-organized and successful Columbus Summer Beerfest. Perhaps the biggest craft beer festival for Columbus this summer, microbrew maniacs had plenty to choose from and were welcomed with more-than-generous pours of some local and national favorites.
The LC Pavilion was the scene of more than 70 breweries offering not only their tried and true brews, but also some new creations for craft beer fans to try out. There were more than enough IPAs for the hopheads, but there were also some other interesting microbrews such as Fat Heads' Bumble Berry Ale, which was described by beerfest attendee Michael Higgins as an "alcoholic blueberry muffin." If you like blueberry muffins and you like alcohol, I'd say this one is right up your alley. Another eclectic choice was Abita's Strawator and 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon. Both raised an eyebrow in interest, but were definitely more for the craft beer connoisseur who is looking for something besides the ordinary.
Local favorite The Elevator brought many of their award-winning brews to taste, including their Horny Goat Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter and Three Frogs IPA which won them a gold medal at the 2013 World Beer Championships. Columbus Brewing Company offered a cask of Bodhi with toasted coconut as well as a revised batch of Bandit that was created with HBC 344, a new and unique type of hop that is described by CBC as having a "unique green apple and tropical" aroma.
Other well-known breweries included Founders, Dark Horse, Great Lakes, Ithaca Brewing Co., Magic Hat, New Holland, Oskar Blues Brewing and Southern Tier. Some up-and-comers were also drawing lines, including Jackie-O's out of Athens, Weasel Boy (Zanesville), North High Brewery (Columbus), Four Strings (Columbus) and Rockmill (Lancaster). Columbus craft beer followers hope to see appearances by Zauber, Seventh Son, and The Actual Brewing Company.
The location for this event was perfect, giving festival attendees room to spread out, sit down and enjoy their beers. Some of the breweries may have been overlooked or were hard. Many pour stations only had hand-written signs on regular typing paper to indicate their presence, which hopefully the festival organizers will improve for next time. The musical performances were just as varied as the beer, and offered everything from bluegrass to reggae to entertain the large crowd. Music, of course, was one of the driving factors of this festival in raising money for the Big Joe Duskin Music Foundation which helps fund musical performances and education by professional musicians within Columbus-area schools.
Another summer beer festival has come and passed, with organizer Craig Johnson making sure we all were able to eat, drink and be merry, eagerly anticipating the next beerfest.