The triumvirate of St. Charles/Geneva/Batavia was treated to its first beer festival this past Saturday with the Tri-Cities Craft Brew Festival touching down at Lincoln Park in St. Charles. While the sun, heat and humidity continue to challenge keg coolers at festivals this month, the park’s plethora of trees and shade made for an idyllic event setting. Brew Avenue Events did a tremendous job in choosing this location and overall with running the fest.
More than 30 breweries poured at the festival, including some “old” favorites such as Goose Island, Founders and Lagunitas, and newcomers like Tocayo, Black Belt and Antithesis. One glaring absence was that of brewers or reps; instead, volunteers poured samples. While I can sympathize with it being another busy fest season and resources are thin, the ability to talk to someone with knowledge of the brewery and their beers is invaluable – especially when it comes to new craft beer drinkers or new breweries trying to make a name for themselves or drive traffic to their taprooms.
A great feature of the Tri-City Craft Brew Festival was the Home Brewer Tent, which allowed four local groups of homebrewers to pour their beers. Not only were these crews the most engaging with attendees, they truly represented what makes the craft beer community so exciting right now.