Brewfest takes over Black River Landing
Micro breweries showcase new flavors
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.