The end of July brings the annual Belgian Ale and Food Festival. Arguably the most underrated beer fest in the Miami Valley, this event brings a treasure trove of Belgian and Belgian-inspired beers to the majestic and historic Miami Valley Golf Club on July 29th from 4-7 pm.
The affair is intimate in scale but features a staggering 21 different beers, including Trappist ales from La Trappe and Spencer (the only U.S.-based Trappist brewery), Belgian mainstays like Rodenbach, Duvel, and Boon, and New World interpretations from Unibroue, Ommegang, and Dogfish Head. The Miami Valley shows off its Belgian-style chops, too, with beers from Fifth Street Brew Pub, Toxic Brew, Mother Stewart’s, Woodburn, and more.
The club’s Art Deco-style ballroom provides an ornate backdrop for the tasting, which maxes out at 200 people. The Belgian food menu, selected to pair with the beers, adds to the elegance of the room and the ales. The food is included with the ticket price and, like the beer menu, provides a sampling of the best of Belgium. Nibble on cheese and sausages, or go for something heftier like the Gratin of Brussel Sprouts, the Flemish Ragout of Rabbit, or the Belgian standard, Steamed Mussels. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Liege Waffles—pearl sugar waffle bars with fruits, flavored whipped cream, and syrup.
For the last six years, the event has raised funds for the Salem Avenue Peace Corridor, a community group dedicated to the redevelopment of the neighborhoods along Salem Avenue. The groups’ efforts have helped stabilize the area, in part through the money raised by this event. Organizer Jule Rastikis explains that, “The whole corridor is maturing–it keeps evolving.” As a result, Rastikis’ group is able to be more targeted in their efforts, this time focusing on branding of the neighborhoods. “One of the things that the event helps is that the Peace Corridor is doing a Gateway sign. It’s going to be at the corner of Salem and Riverview.” (You can see a rendering of the sign, and get tickets to the event, at www.baffdayton.com.)
A portion of ticket sales also help kickstart the Gem City Market, a food co-op grocery store planned for Dayton’s west side. The Gem City Market seeks to end the food desert on that side of the river and will function much like other cooperatively owned stores. It will be open to the public, but members will receive discounts. Think REI or Fifth Street Brew Pub, but with apples and oranges, not backpacks and pints—although if Rastikis has his way, a brewery won’t be far behind. “The Northwest Dayton market is an untapped resource,” he explains “There are 22,000 people in the area, so we’re trying to let beer people know–distributors, brewers, that, look, it would be pretty smart to get involved here.”
You can get involved by purchasing tickets at www.baffdayton.com. Tickets are $50 each ($40 for designated drivers who are eating but not drinking) Attendees can also purchase raffle tickets to win the Holy Grail of Trappist Beer—a basket stuffed Trappist beers and glassware, including the coveted Westvleteren 12.