Bring On The Brew

Beer Fest Patrons Having Fun Beer Fest Patrons Having Fun

Second Annual Beer Fest Benefits Resident Home Association

By Kyle Melton

Beer Fest Patrons Having Fun

For any craft beer enthusiast living in Dayton, 2010 has been a pretty stellar year. From AleFeast to Oktoberfest to the inaugural Dayton Beer Week, the stream of craft beer-related events seems to be endless. This weekend continues the trend with the Second Annual Miami Valley Beer Fest, in the Roundhouse at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.

Building upon the success of their first year, Pamela Skelly of the Resident Home Association along with Mike Schwartz of Belmont Party Supply seek to continue building upon the quality of the first Miami Valley Beer Fest.

“It actually went off better than we expected,” Schwartz said. “Fortunately, it was a class A event. We had security in place and didn’t have anything go wrong there. All of our volunteers were educated prior to the event, so they knew what they were pouring. We got a lot of positive feedback in that regard. With the distributors and the pouring sponsors, they provided us with professional bartenders and in return we got a donation. They were able to have an opportunity to get some face time with their marketplace. In return, the RHA benefited by a donation. So, it worked out great for everybody.”

While the debut of Miami Valley Beer Fest was a success, Schwartz and his team decided to rethink their strategy in selecting beers for this year’s event. Rather than continue the theme of 2009, Big Beers and Barleywines, this year will feature a wider array of styles showcasing regional breweries such as Brew Kettle, Mt. Carmel, and Dark Horse, as well as bigger names like Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams, and Goose Island.

“We’re not going to only be serving things over 7 percent. ABV,” Schwartz explained. “There’re some big beers out there that are less than 7 percent. There are some Belgian specialties that are rare, but are under 7 percent. Also, there’re some people that said they just couldn’t handle that many big beers, so we’re going to put in some smaller beers, but they’re going to be big in nature because they’re going to be special.”

For the second year, Miami Valley Beer Fest returns to the Roundhouse at the Montgomery Country Fairgrounds. While Skelly and Schwartz were pleased with the accommodations at the inaugural event, they admit that in the cool fall months the space presents a unique set of challenges.

“There’s plenty of room, plenty of space, and it’s dry, but it’s not heated,” Schwartz said. “A sweater would be required if it’s cool outside. I’m hoping it’s still on the cool side because it would create a fantastic serving temperature for the type of beers that we have. I really don’t like to ice them down, because that’s too cold. If I can store them outside and then bring them in if it’s 55 degrees outside, that would be the perfect serving temperature for the barleywines and stouts.”

Although it’s easy for craft beer enthusiasts to get excited about Miami Valley Beer Fest for its menu alone, the event serves as an important fundraiser for the Resident Home Association, which has provided residential services and support for people with developmental disabilities in Montgomery County since 1966. While raising over $6,000 for the charity last year, Skelly is hopeful that this year’s event will continue to raise the charity’s profile.

“We’re not a huge organization,” Skelly said. “We’re a small local non-profit. That’s how we maintain such great services. I think more people have heard about us (through Miami Valley Beer Fest). I feel that the proceeds were great for our first year. The turnout was great. It was a really high quality, wonderful first year event.”

With so many craft beer events dotting the calendar in the Dayton area, Schwartz and his team feel that the Miami Valley Beer Fest further builds upon the events throughout the year, adding a different flavor and context that enthusiasts will enjoy.

“I believe it complements everything else that’s going on in Dayton as far as beer festivals and beer shows,” he said. “It completes the puzzle with Beer Week, AleFest, AleFeast, and the tastings that are going on around town. This fits a niche market of rare and premium beers.  If you drink beer, Dayton’s a great place to be. The people that run the Great American Beer Tasting, AleFest and Miami Valley Beer Fest, we all know each other and we want to complement each other and grow Dayton as a beer market. We all talk and nobody fights. There’s room for complementing each other’s festivals and events.”

The second annual Miami Valley Beer Fest will be held Saturday, Oct. 9 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Roundhouse at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 1043 S. Main St. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door, which includes a commemorative tasting glass and 20 samples of craft beer. Tickets are available for purchase in advance from Belmont Party Supply, 2621 S. Smithville Rd., participating bars and pubs, or online at Designated drivers may attend and purchase a ticket at the door the day of the event for $10, which includes a water and commemorative glass upon exit. For more information, visit online at

Reach DCP freelance writer Kyle Melton at

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