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Brew Haven grows in popularity

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Brew Haven Craft Beer Festival tickets are available at the Trion and are $35 in advance and $45 on the day of the event. The cost includes unlimited samples, a souvenir tasting glass and food. A limited number of VIP packages are also available for $60 ($70 on Aug. 3) and include early entry, a T-shirt and a choice between two gifts. Designated driver tickets cost $5 and include a meal and unlimited soft drinks.
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About 2,000 people expected at one-day craft-beer festival.

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 12:01 am

For one Saturday afternoon in August, New Haven will turn into “Brew Haven” – and thousands are expected to enjoy the temporary change of identity.

The Brew Haven Craft Beer Festival, which drew about 800 guests when Greg Jacquay began the event in 2011, may attract nearly three times that many beer lovers when it resumes for the third consecutive year 2-6 p.m. Aug. 3 at Jacquay's Trion Tavern, 503 Broadway in New Haven.

“The home-brew club meets here, and with what I do with beer (at the Trion), it was just something I always wanted to do,” said Jacquay, who put the inaugural festival together in just three months but attracted 1,400 in 2012, when draft beer from 47 breweries was available, with about half the breweries represented in person. All told, 50 homebrews and 157 commercial beers were available last year. Although interest in so-called microbreweries and the wide variety of “craft” beers they produce is on the rise, beer aficionados made the Trion one of Allen County's premier destinations even before it was trendy. Beginning with fewer than 10 little-known brews, the Trion today offers 58 different beers of all hues and flavors, and the numerous tap handles that move from the wall to the bar depending on what's available offer proof that the beer lineup is constantly changing.

An even larger selection is expected to be available Aug. 3, Jacquay said, including samplings from Indiana's 56 microbreweries with names like Sun King, Upland, Wise Men, Flat 12, Fountain Square, Bloomington and Tin Man. Regional beers such as Bell's, Founders and New Holland will also be available, along with quality beers made by breweries with more-familiar names such as Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Sam Adams.

This year, Jacquay said, Brew Haven may offer visitors from several states the chance to sample more than 300 different beers.

Although Jacquay acknowledges a “passion” for beer, the brews available at the Trion reflect more than his personal taste.

“I study beer and talk to customers,” he said, and some of that feedback is reflected in the beers available at Brew Haven.

Brew Haven is co-hosted by the Trion and the MASH (northeast Indiana home brewers) Club. A portion of the proceeds benefits downtown New Haven and the city's Police Reserves and Fire Department. About $3,500 has been donated to date, Jacquay said, with the Trion picking up many of the event's expenses.

“But the bottom line is (Brew Haven) promotes the Trion and New Haven,” he added.

And that's good for the city, Mayor Terry McDonald agreed.

“It's a great way to draw 2,000 or so people to New Haven, to show that not all the fun stuff is in Fort Wayne,” he said. “The craft beer thing is just going crazy.”

And despite all those people enjoying all that beer, “We haven't had any problems (associated with Brew Haven),” he added.