The courtyard of the Mellwood Arts Center was a great place to be last night. There was plenty of good people-watching, amongst the large, well-dressed, independent business-supporting crowd. The weather was nice, the beer was flowing, and the eardrum-shattering noise of the band inside the main hall was muffled. The bands weren't bad, they just overwhelmed the indoor space so much that the people pouring the beer could hardly hear the orders, and conversation was impossible.
I had plans of sampling all 13 beers offered by local breweries, but I didn't get there until just before 9, an hour before the event ended. I still bought 10 $1 tickets for beer samples, plus the red plastic mug required for sampling. I thought the samples were going to like the ones at most tasting events- about the size of a shot glass.
My sister and I went first to the Falls City table, handed the guy there a ticket each, and he filled the mugs three-quarters full of Falls City Ale. I thought maybe he was just feeling particularly generous, but we got the same treatment at the New Albanian  and Cumberland Brews tables. Both of us are fairly small people who, at the rate we were going, would pass out before sampling all 13 beers. So we traded some of the beer tickets for food tickets. She had Valu-Market's Cuban Sandwich, and I had Browning's Portobello Wrap. (They threw in a free grilled chicken wrap since it was the end of the night.) So we walked out of there having gotten almost three full beers each, generous portions of food, plus the souvenir cup. We only spent $12 each, so it was a great deal.
I loved the idea of this event as the opening of "Independents Week" and I hope they continue it for a third year in 2011. I just hope they turn the music down a notch.