It was back to business as usual with the Brewed IN the Fort Craft Beer Festival, a sold-out event at Headwaters Pavilion, the perimeter solidly packed with breweries, meaderies and cideries.
The pandemic sidelined the popular beer fest last year, said Josh Volz, marketing director for Mad Anthony Brewing Co., the event's founder.
Forty vendors set up tasting booths for appreciative beer lovers Saturday, who also gravitated toward the stage where music was on tap.
The event, founded in 1998, moved to Headwaters Pavilion in 2017, Volz said.
For three years, Emily Mock and her best friend, Drew Schenk, have made it a mission to get to the beer fest, where Mock sees her favorite server, Robin.
“She remembers me every year,” said Mock, who visited the MASH Fort Wayne Homebrew Club booth for some homemade brew.
“We don't sell. We just give it away,” said MASH member John Sims, adding that a lot of the club's members go on to become professional brewers.
The name is an acronym for Mad Anthony Serious Homebrewers, linked to the eponymous brewery at Taylor and Broadway.
Mock said she likes orange beers, while Schenk said he really likes Biway's bourbon ale. Biway Brewing Co. is in Hammond, but there were many breweries from the Fort, including Fortlandia Nano Brewery, Gnometown Brewing Co., Kekionga Craft Co., Trubble Brewing, Hop River Brewing Co. and Junk Ditch Brewing Co.
Other breweries hailed from Indianapolis, Warsaw and Valparaiso.
“I love the music. I love all the beers and I love being able to see people every year,” Mock said.
Newlyweds Andy and Krissy Klein of Fort Wayne are craft beer lovers.
“Our first date was at Junk Ditch,” Andy Klein said.
He was also happy to find out some of the local beers are sold at local liquor stores and Meijer, he said.
The couple also like to patronize Trubble Brewing on Broadway.
“We prefer this over Coors Light,” Krissy Klein joked.