Typically I find myself at the local Cincinnati beer festivals once or twice a year. Fun! However, I’ve found that I’ve already tried most of the beer, or at least had something from that particular brewery already. Since I’m one to continually try new beers and breweries, it’s not the best scenario for me personally. Though I will say, the VIP tickets for Cincy Beerfest do help a bit so definitely consider those! So this year I switched it up and tried a new beer festival- CANvitational sponsored by Sun King in Indianapolis.
I really like Indianapolis. It has a lot to do downtown (bars, mall, museum, etc.) and is just nice all around, while still being a manageable size. It reminds me of an upscale version of Cincinnati. Don’t worry Cincy, I still love you. Anyway, we typically frequent Indy for concerts, breweries and the B1G championship, so when CANvitational popped up we thought why not.
The event started at 1pm and we arrived just 5 minutes later to find a line wrapped around the block. Luckily it moved quickly, however in retrospect, it may have been good to invest in early admission tickets as we found beer ran out towards the end of the event.
Overall, I loved the event. First of all, there were no beer tickets. That’s right, all-you-can-drink with your wristband! At first, this was slightly terrifying. You mean I can drink ANY beer, as MANY as I want?! I accepted this responsible drinking challenge and can proudly say I succeeded. I’ve been training for this day 🙂
Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts (Survive Your First Beer Festival) it’s best to have a plan and priority, even without beer tickets. I was able to try every brewery I wanted to, then looped back around to try every brewery. Since beer ran out towards the end, it ensured I had everything I was dying to get and anything else was just a bonus.
The best part about this festival was getting to try highly-loved, hard-to-obtain beer from other places, like Other Half in Brooklyn. My ultimate goal! There were quite a few breweries there I’ve been dying to try (thanks Instagram) like Creature Comforts and Lord Hobo. I’ll add the full list of breweries at the end.
For event logistics, the event was set up rather well on Pan Am Plaza and Georgia Street. Tents/booths were spread out enough that everyone wasn’t crammed and the lines moved pretty efficiently. There were 8 breweries per tent, two to a side so you could easily circle around and move to the next. There was no shortage of food with an ample selection of food trucks. While the portapots has semi-long lines, they also had the nearby convention center open for use of the glorious, flushing toilets. Workers even came around to people in the lines to share this wonderful news. THANK YOU SIR!
My only negative was the water situation. Tasked with this great responsibility of drinking in moderation, it would have been nice to have more water stations. There was one truck at the front entrance, so it was a bit of a walk if you were at the plaza up and around the side. Plus, it was 80 degrees outside. It’s a miracle I wasn’t hungover!
In summary, I’d highly recommend this event. If you’re thinking of going next year, we stayed at The Alexander, a hip boutique hotel, which was just a short walk to the plaza. There was an amazing breakfast place next door called Yolk- a must have the next morning. Also, if you’re coming from the Cincinnati area, take a quick detour to visit 450 North Brewing in the middle of nowhere AKA Columbus, Indiana. They have some AMAZING beer.
One additional note I wish I knew in advance- We were planning to use the next day to visit a bottle shop and buy up the local beer. Who knew that Indiana does not sell alcohol in stores on Sundays?! WHAT DO THEY DO FOR FOOTBALL?! That’s some advance planning I’d surely fail at. You are however allowed to buy beer from taprooms that brew the beer onsite. We went to lunch at a brewpub and the steady flow of people coming to fill growlers was pretty comical. What an absurd law.
Here’s the full list of breweries that were at CANvitational this year:
SUN KING BREWERY INDIANAPOLIS, IN • 18TH STREET BREWING HAMMOND, IN • 21ST AMENDMENT BREWERY SAN LEANDRO, CA • 4 HANDS BREWING CO. ST LOUIS, MO • AGAINST THE GRAIN LOUISVILLE, KY • AUSTIN BEERWORKS AUSTIN, TX • BELL’S BREWERY KALAMAZOO, MI • BOULEVARD BREWING COMPANY KANSAS CITY, MO • BREWERY VIVANT GRAND RAPIDS, MI • BRICKSTONE BREWERY BOURBONNAIS, IL • BROOKLYN BREWERY BROOKLYN, NY • CENTRAL STATE BREWING CO. INDIANAPOLIS, IN • CIGAR CITY BREWING TAMPA, FL • COUNTRY BOY BREWING GEORGETOWN, KY • CREATURE COMFORTS BREWING CO. ATHENS, GA • CROOKED STAVE ARTISAN BEER PROJECT DENVER, CO • DARK CITY BREWING COMPANY ASBURY PARK, NJ • DC BRAU BREWING COMPANY WASHINGTON, DC • DESTIHL NORMAL, IL • FIRESTONE WALKER BREWING COMPANY PASO ROBLES, CA • FOUNDERS BREWING CO. GRAND RAPIDS, MI • HALF ACRE BEER CO. CHICAGO, IL • HAYMARKET PUB & BREWERY BRIDGMAN, MI • KENAI RIVER BREWING COMPANY SOLDOTNA, AK • LORD HOBO BREWING CO. WOBURN, MA • LOST FORTY BREWING LITTLE ROCK, AR • MADTREE BREWING CINCINNATI, OH • MARBLE BREWERY ALBUQUERQUE, NM • MAUI BREWING COMPANY KIHEI, HI • MELVIN BREWING ALPINE, WY • OFFSHOOT BEER CO. (THE BRUERY) PLACENTIA, CA • OSKAR BLUES BREWERY LONGMONT, CO • OTHER HALF BREWING BROOKLYN, NY • PERRIN BREWING COMPANY COMSTOCK PARK, MI • PINEY RIVER BREWING CO. BUCYRUS, MO • PIZZA PORT BREWING COMPANY BRESSI RANCH, CA • PLATFORM BEER COMPANY CLEVELAND, OH • PROOF BREWING CO. TALLAHASSEE, FL • RAHR & SONS BREWING COMPANY FORT WORTH, TX • RED HARE BREWING MARIETTA, GA • REVOLUTION BREWING CHICAGO, IL • RHINEGEIST CINCINNATI, OH • SAN TAN BREWING COMPANY CHANDLER, AZ • SHORTS BREWING COMPANY ELK RAPIDS, MI • SIERRA NEVADA CHICO, CA • SNAKE RIVER BREWERY JACKSON, WY • SOLEMN OATH BREWERY NAPERVILLE, IL • SWEETWATER BREWING COMPANY ATLANTA, GA • THREE WEAVERS BREWING INGLEWOOD, CA • THIRD SPACE BREWING MILWAUKEE, WI • TWO BROTHERS ARTISAN BREWING WARRENVILLE, IL • URBAN CHESTNUT BREWING COMPANY ST. LOUIS, MO • VANDER MILL CIDER GRAND RAPIDS, MI • VICTORY BREWING COMPANY DOWNINGTOWN, PA • WARPED WING BREWERY DAYTON, OH • WARPIGS BREWING MUNSTER, IN • WEST SIXTH BREWING LEXINGTON, KY • WISEACRE BREWING MEMPHIS, TN