A beer festival that benefits a good cause? How could we refuse?! On Saturday, February 11th the Brewers of Indiana Guild held their 14th annual Winterfest event, and we had the opportunity to attend (strictly for work purposes of course! Wink wink). Here are our thoughts on our 2023 Winterfest BeerFest experience.
First Things First: Winterfest Does Good
While you don’t technically need a reason to sample dozens of different beer from local craft breweries, it doesn’t hurt to have one…and Winterfest has a great one! The Indiana Winterfest benefits Joy’s House, which is a clear list-topper of good things. Joy’s House is a not-for-profit organization that helps provide relief to families and individuals who have found themselves in the position of caring for a loved one. Whether someone finds themselves in need of physical, mental, or financial help caring for their loved one, Joy’s House is there to offer assistance, and has been doing so for more than 20 years. With two locations in the Indianapolis area, Joy’s House provides more than 10,000 days of service and care for individuals annually.
So, when you really think about it, the good starts as soon as you buy your Winterfest Indy ticket! Now, on to the good, the bad, and the ugly of our Winterfest 2023 beer festival experience.
The Variety of Indiana Craft Breweries at Indy Winterfest
When putting together the line-up of craft breweries for the Indy Winterfest beer festival, the Brewers of Indiana Guild did a phenomenal job of selecting a variety of Indiana breweries. Indiana craft beer heavy hitters like Upland Brewing Co. made an appearance alongside the always popular Scarlet Lane Brewing Company (who served their suds from a casket!), and craft beer cult favorites 450 North Brewing Company (and their incredible, colorful inflatables!). Indy Winterfest also introduced us to new Indiana craft breweries like Blockhead Beerworks, and fell head over heels in love with Luther from Windmill Brewing as soon as we saw a picture of him (before we even tasted his beers!) And speaking of different beers…
The Range of Craft Beers at Indiana Winterfest
The Indy Winterfest experience is all-inclusive in terms of beer styles. While people typically associate stouts and other dark beers when it comes to winter, Winterfest had a style for everyone. Participating Indiana craft breweries brought kegs of fan favorites, and served them alongside some limited-edition brews. Winterfest attendees could sample styles of all sorts from IPAs, sours, porters, DIPAs, lagers, European-style options, and more; a visit to the 10-56 Brewing booth could even get you some PiePA (a pizza-infused IPA), and/or some Southern Boil Red Ale (infused with crab boil spices).
You Can Experience Hoosier Hospitality
At Indy Winterfest you can experience some Hoosier Hospitality for yourself! In addition to a coat-check (it is February in Indiana after all), Winterfest also offers Designated Driver tickets. For $10 you could enter Indy Winterfest and enjoy the festivities, but with unlimited fountain drinks instead of beer samples (obviously…you are driving!). Perfect for non-drinkers (be they temporary sober or long term teetotalers) who still enjoy chatting with friendly beer lovers (or the one in the friend group who drew the DD straw).
The Location of Indy Winterfest
Finally, the location of Indy Winterfest! Obviously the Winterfest location impacts the Winterfest experience, and the Indiana State Fairgrounds West Pavilion was a great choice. It’s indoors (since we all know the February weather in Indiana can be unpredictable), has plenty of bathrooms (the permanent kind, not portable toilets!), is accessible, and is only a brief walk from the parking lot to the Winterfest beer festival.
The Broken Glassware at Winterfest
We know, it can be difficult to hold onto your glass when you’ve had a few. But that didn’t make it any easier to hear the sound of glass shattering on the concrete floor over…and over…and over. When you experience Indy Winterfest, consider wearing closed-toe shoes with sturdy souls to keep your feet safe from shards.
Not Knowing When to Leave Winterfest
When you are enjoying 3 ounces of beer at a time it can be easy to underestimate exactly how much you’ve had to drink, which can make it hard to know when to head home. Don’t be that dude who hurts himself (and sometimes innocent bystanders) by getting wasted at Winterfest and acting a fool.
Overall we had a fabulous experience at the 2023 Winterfest beer festival. Did you attend Indy Winterfest? What was your experience like? Let us know by commenting below!