Big Brews and Blues returns to benefit Diabetes Dayton

By Jim Witmer

Photo: The 8th Big Brews and Blues offers 60 draft beer selections May 20 at RiverScape; photo: Sarah Browning

Blues is a distinct American original, and so is the craft beer movement. It seems natural that they should go together.

And what better way to honor American Craft Beer Week than with 60 draft beers, live blues, food trucks, silent auctions, brewing demonstrations, and to top it off, 100 percent of all proceeds going to benefit a local, independent agency, Diabetes Dayton.

RiverScape MetroPark Pavilion will host the 8th annual Big Brews and Blues (BB&B) Saturday, May 20 as a fundraiser for Diabetes Dayton, with an emphasis on local and state breweries, and jams from local and regional blues artists. And much more.

Diabetes Dayton benefits to the tune of approximately $30,000 from this event, the signature fundraiser to provide supplies for the uninsured, free diabetes education classes, community screenings, an annual Diabetes Expo and camps for kids with diabetes. As a small, independent non-profit agency, this worthy cause relies on grants, donations and fundraisers to support their much-needed programs. (In fact, a person with diabetes can be a craft beer aficionado with proper information with which to manage their disease.) The Diabetes Camp for kids is a valuable experience to get them on the right track early on in life.

“We planned BB&B to be an event that kicked off the summer festival season where folks could enjoy an upscale, fun evening of great beers and wonderful music in a beautiful outdoor setting while at the same time supporting our mission,” says Executive Director Susan McGovern. “We wanted to promote local businesses because that’s who we are. The rate of diabetes continues to climb and because of the negative stigma often attached to it, it doesn’t get the attention it should. For 54 years, we have been providing Dayton area folks affected by diabetes with what they need to live quality, healthy lives every day. Unlike other diabetes associations, 100 percent of our dollars remain right here to do just that.”

Local breweries will naturally be among the standout participants in this event. Fifth Street Brewpub is brewing an interpretation of the Gose style to celebrate the anniversary of Link Dayton Bike Share: Pedal Power Gose (4.8 percent). With a low ABV, it is slightly tart and moderately fruity. In addition to the coriander and salt that is traditional for a Gose, sweet orange peel was added to the boil for an extra kick of citrus to make it crisp, clean, and overall refreshing.

“It’s the perfect post-ride beer designed to help replenish your electrolytes while supporting two great Dayton organizations,” brew master Darren Link says.

As in the past, Eudora Brewing will have a new brew to showcase. This year will be Blues Haze IPA in the trendy New England IPA (NEIPA) style crafted to be hazy or cloudy, with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel, which contrasts the West Coast IPA style that is more dry, bitter, and dank. Eudora will provide the recipe for their brew-on-premise facility in Kettering.

“I thought it might be a good opportunity to try a new recipe for the customer brewing facility, and I’ve been meaning to add a NEIPA recipe. It will likely come out to about 8 percent ABV. Hazy, hoppy [about 100 IBUs] and slightly boozy would be the best way to describe the beer,” says Neil Chabut, owner and brew master.

The unique thing about beer festivals is that an extra effort is made to bring in rare beers that you would otherwise need to travel and experience in a brewpub somewhere. That’s where David Boston, co-creator of the event, uses his 40 years of experience as a local pub owner to locate selections that are not typically distributed in our area. One such rarity will be from Great Lakes—a barleywine-style ale aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels that is only available at the Cleveland brewpub. “This is going to be one of the cat’s meows,” Boston says.

Kevin Gray, in his third year helping coordinate the beer list for this event, says, “In picking the beers, we wanted to show the range and depth of the Ohio beer scene. We have amazing IPAs, like Rhinegeist’s Juicy Truth, and stouts, like Jackie O’s Dark Apparition. But we wanted to introduce attendees to styles they may not be all that familiar with, like 50 West’s Scotch ale, Thirsty Dog’s Flanders Red, Little Fish’s saison, or Figleaf’s schwartzbier. We encourage guests to explore the different beer styles as they explore the music.”

The Blues will begin as a solo act, then build to a three-piece band, and end with a five-piece band with horns, all artists making their first appearance at BB&B. “These are real, authentic veterans,” says Martin Romey, the talent buyer/ stage director in his sixth year for the event.

Like craft beer, the blues are as original to Americana as one can get. Certain styles can develop within regions and develop their own identity. Musically, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus will be well represented.

“This could be one of the best blues shows ever with all three Ohio areas being represented,” says Romey, an experienced bass player who played last year when a band needed a fill-in.

Big Brews and Blues provides an opportunity for craft brewers and blues musicians alike to share their originality, creativity, and passion for making crowd-pleasing art for a worthy cause. And being under the RiverScape Pavilion roof, the brew tasting and blues music will go on rain or shine.

Sonny Moorman (Cincinnati) 4 & 5 p.m.

More than just a blues-rock artist, award-winning guitar player Sonny Moorman balances his signature smoking hot riffs with a hard-rocking precision and feel born deep in the blues ethos. Moorman conjures up masters like Duane Allman, Lonnie Mack, and Freddy King.

Eldorado Brown (Dayton) 6:15 p.m.

With a lifetime of professional music experience behind them, guitarist Byron Crews and bassist John Hughes have played together for over 10 years. Completing the band on drums is multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Friend, another longtime veteran of the music scene. From Muddy Waters to ZZ Top, Eldorado Brown will have you nodding your head with their own special brand of groove-infused blues. Very representative of the Dayton area, Eldorado Brown is probably one of the most popular.

Sean Carney & The Joint Rockers (Columbus) 8 p.m.

Veteran blues guitarist Sean Carney with The Joint Rockers is what Carney calls “Columbus blues.” Internationally known bluesman Carney is entering his third decade as a professional blues guitarist and vocalist. He is a noteworthy, sophisticated master of tone and taste with a broad appreciation for the music before him and around him and a knack for turning out interesting songs.

Big Brews and Blues takes place Saturday, May 20, from 4-9 p.m., at RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave. in downtown Dayton. VIP tasting tickets are $50 online or at the Diabetes Dayton office. These include one hour earlier admission at 4 p.m. with five additional tastings (20) total.Pre-sale tickets are $35 online and include 5 p.m. entry with 15 beer sampling tickets. Tickets at the gate are $40 day of the event and include 15 beer sampling tickets. General admission tickets are $20 available online, at the gate, or the Diabetes Dayton office. Tickets are non-refundable. All admission includes a tasting glass. For tickets or more information, please visit


2017 big brews and blues breweries and beer offerings:

10 Barrel Brewing Company: JOE IPA

21st Amendment Brewery: Blood Orange BFOD

50 West Brewing Company: Going Plaid Scotch Ale

ACE: Pineapple

Alaskan Brewing Co: Big Mountain Pale Ale

Anderson Valley Brewing Co: Gin & Tonic Gose

Ballast Point Brewing Co: Unfiltered Sculpin

Barley’s: Blurry Bike IPA CASK

Bell’s Brewery: Mars

Blank Slate: Ryesing Up

Boulevard: American Kolsch

Braxton Brewing Company: Kentucky Home

Breckenridge Brewery: Summer Pils

Carillon Brewery: Porter

Cellar Dwellar Brewery: Copperhead

Christian Moerlein Brewery: Thirteen/164

Crooked Handle Brewing Company: Roadside Peanut Butter Porter

Dayton Beer Company: Barrel Aged Ale

Dogfish Head: Alternate Takes #4

DuClaw Brewing Company: Sweet Baby Java

Elysian Brewing: Space Dust IPA

Eudora: New England Blues Haze

Fat Heads: Bonehead

Fifth Street Brewpub: Pedal Power

Fig Leaf: Schwartzbier

Great Lakes Brewing Company: Buffalo Trace BA Barley Wine

Hairless Hair: Rye The Hell Knot

Jackie O’s: Dark Apparition

Kindred Artisan Ales: Hawaiian Shirt

Listerman’s: Nutcase

Little Fish: Saison Du Poisson

Lock 27 Brewing Co.: Lock Tender

Lucky Star Brewery: Black Hole

MadTree: Sol Drifter

Maumee: S’More’s Braggot

Moeller Brew Barn: Blackberry Prairie Wheat

Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company: Belgian Blonde

Mt. Carmel Brewing Co: Hops & Wheat

New Belgium: La Folie

North High: Stardust to Stardust

Nowhere In Particular: Wee Heavy

Ohio Brewing Co: Smokin’ Scotch Ale

Pigskin Brewery Co.: Golden Bear

Platform: Tripel The Fun

Rhinegeist Brewery: Juicy Truth

Rockmill Brewery: War on Wheat

Samuel Adams: Chai IPA

Sixpoint Brewery: Puff

Southern Tier: Thick Mint Imperial Stout

Star City Brewing Company: Dry Lock IPA

Stone/Maine Beer: Dayslayer

SweetWater Brewing Company: Old Man Johnson’s Farm

The Brew Kettle: El Lupulo Libré

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company: Cerasus Dog

Toxic Brew Company: Abby XXXX

Urban Artifact Brewing Company: Pinwheel

Victory Brewing Company: CB Coffee

Warped Wing Brewing Company: Baltic Argonaut

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing: Daybreak Coffee Vanilla Cream Ale

Yellow Springs Brewery: Prowler

JAFB: Spring Fling Mild Ale


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Reach DCP beer writer Jim Witmer at

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