Yellow Springs transforms into music, craft-brew haven at SpringsFest

Yellow Springs Brewery’s special-release SpringsFest American pale ale will be available again July 8; photo: Hayley Fudge

By Hayley Fudge

Live music and beer. Does it get any better than that?

Actually, yes.

Throw in one of Ohio’s liveliest, most eclectic, arts-centered small towns, a hot summer day, and a variety of food vendors in a park atmosphere, and you have SpringsFest.

In its second year, the festival celebrating all that is Yellow Springs will be held in John Bryan Park on Saturday, July 8. The Yellow Springs Brewery and Great Guys Entertainment have teamed up to deliver this premier annual gathering, giving craft beer and music lovers “a full day of heaven,” according to its organizers.

Early in 2016, Yellow Springs Brewery (YSB) co-owner Lisa Wolters was approached by Conor Stratton of Great Guys Entertainment to see if she wished to partner with them on presenting a music- and beer-centric festival in the Walnut Street brewery’s parking lot.

“We recognized early on that idea wasn’t feasible because of our location, but decided to present it along with the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce at the John Bryan Community Center a few hundred steps down the bike path from the brewery,” Wolters says. YSB aims to “craft truth to power,” and part of that stems from keeping as many parts of the process as possible local. By sourcing quality ingredients from as close as possible to its Yellow Springs home, the beer produced is fresh yet remains rooted in traditional methods. YSB Brewmaster Jeffrey McElfresh ensures accuracy, while the brews produced become classics and experimental favorites.

“This year, we’ve decided to take a different role with the festival and simply be a sponsor rather than one of the presenters,” Wolters says. “We decided to leave the music portion of the festival to the professionals, and our involvement is all things beer-related.”

And YSB does indeed know how to do beer. The brewers have concocted a special beer to commemorate the festival, the SpringsFest American pale ale. Described as a hazy, unfiltered pale ale, the citrusy brew is packed with Centennial hops and a yeast strain that pushes fruity esters to the maximum.

“SpringsFest’s pale ale’s smooth malt profile makes this beer the perfect accompaniment to the SpringsFest summer music festival as this beer is light, very juicy, and super fresh,” says Chris Hutson, events coordinator for YSB.

In addition to the special SpringsFest offering, YSB will be on site serving its Wit, a wit Belgian beer, as well as Zoetic American pale ale and Springer golden ale—all ideal, seasonable selections. Zoetic, at 5.2% ABV, bursts with Citra hops, but remains grounded by earthy English malts. Springer, 5.4% ABV, tastes like it was tapped from a breezy summer day, a floral treat with a hint of grass.

“SpringsFest gives us an opportunity to create a beer specifically for the event—one that is meant for drinking with friends on a hot summer day while listening to some great music. It’s a day for folks to come to Yellow Springs and experience the true vibe of our town in a relaxed setting. We are a music and beer town, and this festival celebrates that notion,” Wolters says.

To pair with the music and beer there will be three food vendors: Harvest, The Wicket Wich of Dayton, and Aleta Cafe. If the beer gets the best of visitors, lodgings at The Springs Motel, Mills Park Hotel, and the park itself are available.

So, of all things you could do on an ideal summer Saturday in July, why this?

“The music. The beer. The bands are exceptional and it’s a great way to check out a little of the local music scene as well as some national acts,” Hutson says. “And the beer, well, what can we say? We think it’s a great compliment to great music.”

SpringsFest takes place Saturday, July 8, from noon-10 p.m., at the John Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St. in Yellow Springs. Tickets start at $35. For tickets or more information, please visit Yellow Springs Brewery’s taproom is located at 305 N. Walnut St., Suite B in Yellow Springs. For more information, please visit 

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Hayley Fudge is one of Dayton City Paper’s Resident Beer Geeks. An enthusiast of craft beer and the culture that surrounds it, Hayley aspires to share her love of beer with others by whipping up beer-infused cupcakes on the regular. Reach Hayley Fudge at

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