Brewfest takes over Black River Land­ing

Mi­cro brew­eries show­case new fla­vors

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Reynolds kreynolds@morn­ingjour­nal. com @MJ_KReynolds on Twit­ter

The hearty smell of hops and the joy­ous sound of ex­cite­ment were in the air Au­gust 11 at the fifth an­nual Brewfest Wa­ter­front Dis­trict in Lo­rain.

Chris Nabakowski, one of the event or­ga­niz­ers, es­ti­mated about 3,500 peo­ple would fill Black River Land­ing, 421 Black River Lane, for the one-day event.

“We have 53 brew­eries, winer­ies, cideries and mead­eries,” he said count­ing off the at­trac­tions. “We’ve got three live bands. We’ve got mul­ti­ple food trucks, mul­ti­ple food ven­dors. We’ve got games ga­lore. “You name it, we’ve got it.” Ac­cord­ing to Nabakowski, the even found its roots in the Lo­rain Growth Cor­po­ra­tion.

He said his fa­ther, Ron Nabakowski, and Bob Mc­Don­ald were a part of the cor­po­ra­tion and ap­proached him and Howard Ross with the idea, but had no idea how to im­ple­ment it.

“Howard runs Franklin Brew­ing with a friend of his, they do awe­some beers out of Elyria, so he knows that side and my dad kind of tapped me be­cause he said I’m a beer-drinker and a mil­len­nial and that’s who they were try­ing to bring down to Lo­rain,” he said.

The plan was to bring peo­ple who could be in­ter­ested in start­ing busi­nesses but who don’t have much startup cap­i­tal for a build­ing to down­town Lo­rain, Nabakowski said.

“That’s why we de­cided to do a brewfest, to give peo­ple who don’t nec­es­sar­ily live in Lo­rain a rea­son to come down and see how much po­ten­tial

there is in the city,” he ex­plained. “Add on top of that a whole lot of happy beer and why not? It’s a great sum­mer ac­tiv­ity.”

This year’s fest drew a record num­ber of brew­eries which is quite an uptick from the first one where there were 10 brew­eries, a cup­cake shop and a cou­ple food trucks, ac­cord­ing to


Sev­eral lo­cal brew­eries were well-rep­re­sented, in­clud­ing Bas­cule Brew­ery and Pub­lic House, 1397 Colorado Ave. in Lo­rain, which was draw­ing the largest crowd to­ward the be­gin­ning of the event.

Chris Kambouris, co­founder, owner and brew­mas­ter of Bas­cule Brew­ery,

said the pub still needs some “lip­stick and some blush” but is open to the pub­lic.

“We are more than ready to ac­com­mo­date our pa­trons,” he said.

This was the sec­ond year the brew­ery has taken part in the fest which he de­scribed as hav­ing a cel­e­bra­tory mood.

“It’s great,” Kambouris said. “You can kind of feel the en­ergy. It’s a very fes­tive at­mos­phere.”

The brew­ery pre­sented their Big Bot­tom Ber­liner Vice and their Co­conut Mango IPA with real co­conut and mango on tap at the fest, but were wel­com­ing pa­trons back to their premises for an af­ter­party for their Hazy IPA.

Kambouris said that events like the Brewfest are good for the city.

“I don’t know if we have enough time to go over why it is so im­por­tant,” he said. “Just as I was pulling in here I was re­flect­ing on how much at­ten­tion it’s bring­ing, not just to Lo­rain, but all the lo­cal in­dus­try out here. It’s def­i­nitely show­cas­ing one of the high­lights of Lo­rain, which is Black River Land­ing.

“Hope­fully this is just light­ing the fuse for Lo­rain’s up­com­ing ex­plo­sion of in­dus­tries com­ing in here.”

But, Brewfest wasn’t the only event shin­ing a spot­light on the city’s crown jewel.

A few hun­dred feet away, along the Black River, hun­dreds of peo­ple of all ages gath­ered to watch Dragon Boat Races hosted by the Cleve­land Dragon Boat As­so­ci­a­tion.

The boats, about 40 feet long, car­ried teams of 22 peo­ple pad­dling for a 250-me­ter race on the wa­ter to the de­light of spec­ta­tors.


Vis­i­tors crowd around the Bas­cule Brew­ery and Pub­lic House on Aug. 11as part of the fifth an­nual Brewfest Wa­ter­front Dis­trict at Black River Land­ing, 421 Black River Lane in Lo­rain.

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