Thousands of craft beer lovers gathered on Saturday as Blue Chip Casino held their Official Brewfest at the Stardust Event Center in Michigan City. The line into the event spanned the length of the Casino as eager party-goers waited patiently to receive their glass and sample what the over 80 breweries in attendance had to offer.
“Today is our 6th Annual Blue Chip Brewfest,” said Jack Elia, Blue Chip Casino’s Assistant General Manager. “This thing has grown from 600 people six years ago, to today where there’s going to be well over 2200 people here!”
“We’re actually still selling tickets,” said Elia as the event was just getting underway. “It’s crazy! Today we’ve already done our Brewmaster Luncheon where we actually had John Leinenkugel upstairs. He’s fifth generation Leinenkugel and he came to speak at the lunch. He’ll be coming downstairs to talk with people. Also going on upstairs we have the World of Lagunitas where Lagunitas has about ten of their special brews that they have.”
This year’s Blue Chip Brewfest featured 45 breweries in the Stardust Event Center and another 40 in a large tent setup outdoors.
“We’ve got 85 breweries here today and over 300 beers,” Elia said. “It’s just a fun day for all to have! There are a lot of local breweries from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan that are here but we do have breweries from all over.”
Six years ago the craft beer craze was in full swing and Blue Chip Casino decided to get involved by hosting their first ever Brewfest. Some of the finest beers you’ll find are brewed right here in Northwest Indiana so the Blue Chip thought it was a great idea to feature and bring together those local, as well as national, breweries for one huge event.
“It’s just a great event,” said Blue Chip’s Director of Marketing, Joel Giannetti. “We have a lot of our regional breweries here and a some who made distinct beers just for today so it’s pretty cool.”
“We don’t have the best weather but look at it!” Giannetti said. “It just keeps growing and the number of breweries here in the Region has grown too. It’s a great thing craft beer and it’s just exploding. I think it goes along with some great food too. A lot of these breweries are matching it with farm to table food and there are some great pairings out there. I hear there’s beer in here with Sriracha!”
One local brewery at this year’s Blue Chip Brewfest was Burn’Em Brewing from right here in Michigan City. Burn’Em co-owner, Matt Zakrzewski, spoke about the wide selection of brews they brought along with them.
“We brought sixteen different styles with us today,” said Zakrzweski. “We’ve got ten drafts and six different styles in cans. The draft that we’re highlighting today is called ‘Smooth Creaminal’ and it’s an Imperial Cream Ale, 11.2% and it’s brewed with white chocolate, fenugreek and a few other spices. That’s the one that we’re highlighting here and there’s only five kegs of it around the state and we decided to bring one of them here with us today.”
A portion of the proceeds from the Blue Chip Casino Brewfest and the sales from the silent auctioning of promotional items donated by the various breweries, including everything from signs and T-shirts to basketball hoops and bicycles, will go to the United Way of La Porte County.