Hundreds of region residents this weekend made their way to the Radisson Star Plaza in Merrillville for the third annual BrOOfest, a party thrown by the Hobart Chamber of Commerce.
As anyone who’s taken more than a moment to research the local nightlife scene here in Northwest Indiana could tell you, the amount of local breweries is astounding, and the selection of craft brews has never been better.
The BrOOfest, sponsored by the Hobart Chamber of Commerce, with the generous cooperation of many of those breweries, gives local residents the opportunity to sample hundreds of the finest offerings from around the area.
“We bring in local craft brewers and wineries. Everyone who comes here tonight will receive a lanyard with a glass for unlimited sampling. They’ll get to talk with the brewers. We also have food available and entertainment as well,” said Lisa Winstead, executive director of the Hobart Chamber of Commerce.
Live entertainment for the event was provided by region bands High Street Band and Nawty Lite. High Street Band performed a set in the VIP room during the early preview for VIPs, who also enjoyed Chef-crafted chicken wings, Custom sliders and more while Nawty Lite set up stage in the main room for the general admission crowd.
VIP tickets were available for $75/person, with general admission tickets going for just $45/person. There was also a special, discounted admission of only $10 for designated drivers.
Proceeds from BrOOfest go to finance the daily operations of the Chamber of Commerce, and also helps to fund the chamber’s annual Teachers’ Awards and the Fourth of July celebration.
“Basically, this event was inspired by the explosion of craft brewers here in Northwest Indiana,” said Jason Beres, chairperson of the BrOOfest. “One of the primary goals of the chamber of commerce is to promote small businesses, and this is a great way to maximize those businesses, to help them increase their exposure, and to give local residents the chance to come out here, sample some delicious beers and wines, eat some great food and enjoy some terrific music.”
“We’ve got some great people here tonight. I’ve seen some pretty crazy costumes. We hope to see as many people here tonight, and if you’re not here this year, we hope that you’ll come see us next year,” Beres said.
La Porte resident Aleah Bates said that this was her first visit to BrOOfest, and to the Radisson.
“This is my dad’s band,” said Bates with a smile. “I wanted to come here for the experience. It’s just beautiful here, this is just such an amazing place,” said Bates, as she rocked out to the beat before getting ready to offer tickets for the night’s 50/50 raffle.
Wondering if your favorite brewery was there? Providers of local suds included: Bells, Dark Horse, Tenth and Blake, New Holland, Greenbush, Upland, Flat 12, Schlafly, Sun King, Ballast Point, Evil Czech, Vander Mill, Pabst/Small Town Brewery (i.e. Not Your Father's Root Beer), Eighteenth Street, Burn'em Brewing, The Devil's Trumpet, Ironwood, One Trick Pony, St. John Malt Brothers, Journeyman Distillery, Cauldron, Misbeehavin' Meads, Cooper's Hawk Winery, and Oliver Winery.
Snacks were provided by Chicagoland Popcorn Company and Jill Marie’s Gelato of Crown Point. TJ Maloney’s catered the VIP early-entry portion, with chips and pizza made available by Star Events.
If you missed this year’s event – and you’re frightened that this is the end – take a deep breath and relax.
“We’ll definitely be back next year,” said Winstead.