Winterfest 2017: Beer, Beer, and More Beer

Handing your $40-$60 ticket to a yellow shirt for a double shot glass doesn’t seem worth it, until you realize there is well over 400 beers on tap in the next room. With over 7,000 people and over 101 Hoosier breweries coming together in one place there was an excitement (and smell of yeast) in the air.

Courtesy of the Brewers of Indiana Guild

Courtesy of the Brewers of Indiana Guild

The event took place on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, in the West Pavilion, and started at 2 p.m. (for those who had the early bird pass) and brews were handed out until 7 p.m.

There were well over 100 breweries at Winterfest this year, bringing seemingly countless varieties of beer for everyone to sample. Some of the breweries present at this year’s Winterfest included Broad Ripple Brewpub, Flat12 Bierwerks, and Centerpoint. Many of these breweries were veterans to this event while some had their first Winterfest experience this year.

Just like the breweries, there were many veterans and newcomers within the crowd at this year’s Winterfest, and The Campus Citizen had the opportunity to speak to a few of them.

Tim, a man from Rockford, Illinois, had his first experience at Winterfest this year from hearing about the event from his son who lives in Indianapolis. Asking him about what he liked most about the event, he commented, “The early bird is really nice. You don’t have to stand in long lines, and everyone is very nice.” He also admired the location of the event on how easy it was to get there.

He recommended the porter beer from the Crown Point Brewery, but he said that all of the drinks he had were great and would definitely come back again next year.

If someone wasn’t in line trying out the vast amounts of beer, they were either getting food at the concessions spreaded around the booths, playing cornhole or giant Jenga, get their face painted, or accidentally breaking their double shot glass. The most important thing to remember is if you break your glass the whole crowd will cheer at your party-foul and nothing is worse than a room of 7,000 drunk people shouting for you.

Steven's outfit

Steven's outfit

Steven, who’s been to Winterfest about four or five times (with the amount of beer he had it was hard to remember), wore an eye catching outfit that made him look like Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”. Every year, the people from Black Acre Brewery dress up as characters from a certain theme they pick, this year being Disney Princesses. Previous years included themes such as “Top Gun” and “Wayne’s World.”

Steven really enjoys the event because he has the chance to catch up with friends who are all from different parts of the state, making it difficult for them to hang out on a regular basis. He left me with a tip for anyone going to Winterfest, “Make sure you eat before you come. A lot of people crap out early because they don’t eat enough.”

Other activities to be a part of at Winterfest include making a gif at the NUVO booth, participate in movie trivia at the Flix Brewhouse booth where someone could win a movie poster from films such as “Sully,” “Silence,” and “Split,” and sharing the experience with the friendly beer lovers of Winterfest.

Michael's outfit

Michael's outfit

Michael, a five-time veteran of Winterfest, loves the fact that Winterfest has such a huge library of different beers for everyone to try out. He’s a big fan of IPA’s.

He wore an outfit that consisted of pants that appeared to have another man underneath him who is holding him up. His mom got it for him for Christmas and the outfit came a week before the event, so he was very excited to show off his getup.

Another tip for newcomers of Winterfest, Michael advises to anyone who loves beer to pay extra for the VIP. “That first hour there’s not that many people and you can try a lot of different things. And make the pretzel necklaces so you can last the whole time.”

With my first Winterfest a hazy memory I plan on coming back, but bringing a pretzel necklace this time and a more refined beer pallet.