Crafting a Beer-Lover’s Dream: The Third annual Winter Brewfest coming to Fifth Third Field

. December 20, 2016.

Raise a glass, Glass City area craft beer enthusiasts. Literally hundreds of samples will be available at the third annual Toledo Walleye Winter Brewfest, coming to Fifth Third Field on Saturday, January 14.

The event will feature over 250 craft brews, from nearly 50 local and national breweries. Each attendee will receive “taste tickets” for brew samples. Live entertainment will enliven the festivities.

Tapping in

The Brewfest began in 2015 as an event to spotlight the burgeoning craft beer marketplace. “We conceived of a beer festival years ago, but didn’t envision it being as big as it has become,” said Joe Welker, Mud Hens catering director. “We certainly didn’t figure it would be that big right off the rip in the first year.”

The festival has drawn upwards of 2,000 attendees in each of its first few years, and Welker said he could see it drawing double that in the future. “We do pre-sales, so we had a pretty good bead on what we were going to do, but the walk-up sales were phenomenal,” Welker said.

Help from their friends

Welker credits the vendors and breweries involved with making the undertaking more manageable. Local breweries such as the Black Cloister Brewing Company, Great Black Swamp and the Maumee Bay Brewing Company will have a large presence, while the event will also feature breweries from California, Colorado, Georgia and Vermont.

“They bring the knowledge to the table,” Welker explains. “They bring depth with the brewery reps: there’s always somebody to give a description of a style or flavor from their brewery. So it expands beyond simply serving beer samples.”

“We want everyone to have fun. That’s really what we do this for. Having the Mud Hens involved with it means that it can be that much bigger,” Welker said. “With the venue and the people involved, we can put on a big show that people can really enjoy.”

The 2017 Toledo Walleye Winter Brewfest will take place 5-9pm Saturday, January 14 at Fifth Third Field, with an after party at Fleetwood’s Tap Room and NINE. 419-725-4367.