We were fortunate to attend the first Sun King Brewing CANvitational in Indy this past weekend. Jason from Hoosier Beer Geek graciously invited us to come over and, better yet, gave us a couple of tickets to give away. Jenny Hilgefort was the lucky winner chosen at random from those who commented on the post announcing the giveaway. We ran into her and her honey at the festival. We were all having such a good time we forgot that a picture of our winners would have been nice.
It was a beautiful day and a great location. Georgia St. in downtown Indy has been renovated so it’s easy to turn into a pedestrian plaza. Here you can see the tents set up on the left side. There were some tents in the center, but there was a lot of space off to the right if you wanted to bypass the crowds to get from one end to the other.
Here’s another view a little later with setup well underway. We go to a lot of these things and it’s hard to imagine one that’s easier to access during setup and tear down.
As is the case for most events, there was a VIP tasting hour that was much less crowded than later in the day. It did get crowded later, but it was never overbearing by any means.
One thing that was nice is that the portions being poured were definitely tasting portions. Even if you asked for your “mug” to be filled, it was just a small pour. You could try a lot of different beers and still be OK. The event was also a good length. It ran from noon to 5PM. The phrase that kept going through Tom’s head all day was “human-sized.” There was a lot of variety, but it wasn’t overwhelming.
The point of the event was to celebrate craft beer in cans. Sun King was one of the pioneers of the practice that’s becoming more and more common among craft brewers all the time. Here are offerings from Tin Man Brewing Company in Evansville, IN. They’ve been open since last November and are starting to be distributed around the state. There were several breweries (Tallgrass from Kansas, Marble from New Mexico, Baxter from Maine, Cigar City from Florida, SanTan from Arizona) that aren’t distributed in Indiana, much less Ohio or Kentucky, so it was a real treat being able to sample stuff we normally can’t get.
You never know what the last weekend of September is going to be like. The weather was nice, but it got warm if you were out in the direct sun. Not to worry, there were plenty of cans — of course — of water on ice free for the taking.
Another nice touch the organizers came up with was leaving a large area for mingling and socializing at the west end of the festival area. It was shady for much of the day and there was a stiff breeze.
All in all this was a well-organized festival that we hope will become an annual fixture. You never know how things are going to go the first year and Sun King seems to have done everything they could to make sure the first year was a success. Next year we hope things work out for MadTree, Rhinegesist and other Cincinnati breweries to be represented.
[Obligatory disclosure: we attended the festival using free media passes. They were given to us with no conditions attached.]