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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Zach Learnard serves a sample of his father’s craft beer to Phil Brown on Saturday at Parkview Field during the Rock n’ Brew. More than 200 beers were available to taste.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Zach Learnard and his father Rodger go over the many flavors they off in their craft beer line at Parkview Field during the Rock and Brew event.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Usman Khan pours samples of his craft beer to Heidi Lang and Jim Powers at the Rock and Brew event at Parkview Field Saturday night.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette The Jon Durnell Band performs at the Rock and Brew event at Parkview Field Saturday night.

Sunday, May 13, 2018 1:00 am

Hundreds celebrate beer, rock music

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

It was a big challenge, but for more than 800 patrons, the burden splashed lightly into their clear plastic samplers.

The fourth annual Rock n' Brew at Parkview Field, sponsored by radio station 98.9 FM, The Bear, was a celebration of two American classics – rock 'n' roll and beer.

As the heavy rock downbeat blared from a band shell and Bear radio station personalities announced raffles and ticket giveaways, people waited in line to try out more than 200 different kinds of the popular libation.

It was the first year at this brew fest for Dustin Grogg and his brothers-in-law Chad and Nathan Breininger, but they were prepared. All three wore a necklace strung with largish pretzels and beef jerky, the better to cleanse the palate, Nathan Breininger said.

He said he found it unusual that the beer was poured from bottles rather than pumped from kegs, the usual way beer is served at other such festivals. He liked the checklist in the printed program, handy for enthusiasts to check their favorites and make notes.

About an hour and a half into the four-hour event that started at 4 p.m., Chad Breininger and Grogg, both of Fort Wayne, had selected Brewdog's Nitro Jet Black Heart beer as their first choice while Nathan Breininger, of Valparaiso, picked Rekorderlig, Crabbies & Stiegl's Ginger beer.

Well-known beer brands such as Heineken USA, Guinness, Yuengling and Miller Coors shared space with the lesser known Lefthand, Merchant du Vin and Stone, among others.

Rock n' Brew started as a way to get people downtown, Jim Allgeier, the Bear's station manager said. Outside Parkview Field, the Bear organized a free block party featuring six food trucks and a large television screen showing the Indycar Grand Prix race. The block party with competitive games like cornhole drew about 300 people on a day when the skies were gray and rain drops fell off and on.

“It's a home run out there,” Allgeier said. O'Daniel Automotive Group, a major event sponsor, exhibited Jeeps and other vehicles, and ran a truck drawing.

Later this year, someone will win a Dodge Ram truck, said Craig Ruskaup, sales manager.

Doug Hearld of Columbia City said it was his second year at Rock n' Brew, but this year he brought his wife, Jeanette Hearld. Everything was good, Doug Hearld said, as he stood in shorts and running shoes while the wind blew and rain started.

Meanwhile, Jeanette Hearld was shivering in her sandals and clutching a coat around her. She wasn't sorry she was there, though.

“I love beer,” she said.