CROWN POINT - About 50 breweries and more than 200 beers will welcome 3,000 thirsty craft brew fans for the eighth annual Crown Beer Fest June 10 at the Lake County Fairgrounds.
Ten of the participating breweries set up shop at Crown Brewing recently for a preview event for what Crown Brewing's Barb Smrecansky said is one of the least expensive beer fests in the area as well as one of the longest running.
"We know how to do this," she said. "The craft beer industry is exploding so we're excited to bring all these breweries together in one place for our local area to come and enjoy, although we have people buying tickets from all over the place including Kentucky and Florida."
Smrecansky said there will be about 10 new breweries at the fest this year and breweries represent Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.
Crown Brewing owner Dave Bryan said the fest grows every year. He said the VIP area has been expanded so 330 of those tickets were sold.
Among the breweries at the preview event was Indianapolis-based Sun King, which plans to have its core products like Osiris on hand for the fest but also a few seasonals offerings like Pachanga, a Mexican-style lager.
"It's a great time," said Nicole Haworth, Sun King distribution manager. "It's well attended. It's a nice opportunity to hang out with a lot of other breweries throughout the state — breweries and meaderies."
Haworth was referencing Misbeehavin' Meads, a craft winery that opened in downtown Valparaiso in 2016. Owner Clint Wadsworth said this will mark his second appearance at the Crown Beer Fest. "We had a great response," he said. "Our line was massive the entire time."
Wadsworth said he is bringing some of his core brands and cider, "which is always popular," to the fest. It also marks the second year for Saugatuck Brewing Co., which will feature beers like Starburst Wheat and it's current best seller, Blueberry Maple Stout.
"It's good exposure for the brewery," said sales rep Brendan Bank. "It's always good to be at the fest."
VIP tickets are sold out but designated driver tickets are available for $20 and include unlimited sodas and a collector's tasting glass. General admission tickets are available for $35, which gives participants access to the festival from 2:30 to 6 p.m., unlimited sampling and a collector's tasting glass.
Participants can also enjoy live entertainment from the band Fresh Hops.
For more information, call 219-663-4545 or visit www.crownbeerfest.com. Tickets can be purchased online or at Crown Brewing. The Lake County Fairgrounds are located at 889 S. Court St.