Dayton is in the midst of a craft beer explosion. There are daily notifications that new breweries are opening or that current breweries are planning to expand. In Montgomery county alone, there are well over a dozen breweries. From Crooked Handle in the south to Hairless Hare in the north, breweries are popping up all over. However, the fuse for the craft beer movement was lit on the West Coast. Anchor Brewing Company was bought by Fritz Maytag in 1965, just as the brewery was going to sink quietly in a sea of macrobrews. He resurrected the brand, inspiring other west coast beer enthusiasts to take their home brews and start offering them to the public. It has now been fifty years, and the west coast still rules the roost when people look at raft beers. As of 2014, roughly one of every four breweries were located in California, Oregon, and Washington. It would take all the breweries in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio to make a comparable amount. That is a lot of breweries. A wide variety of beer. The Montessori School of Dayton thinks that the Midwest has come a long way in the craft beer game, and is ready to put breweries head to head at the 6th Annual Dayton Brew-Ha-Ha on January 28th from 6 to 9 PM.
Most years have had a theme focusing on the flavors of the Midwest. Kevin J. Gray, curator of the beers and co-chairman, laid out the format: “We thought it was time to go head to head with the giants—to pick a bunch of really interesting beers from the Left Coast and pit them against the best that Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and the other Midwestern states had to offer.” In a Montessori school, the environment is important. They want students that are “eager for knowledge, who will initiate learning in a supportive, stimulating, and thoughtfully prepared learning environment.” Mr. Gray asserts that they will be creating an environment that is welcoming to everyone, from those just dipping their taste buds into craft beer to those who have explored every style and flavor profile. There will be Beer Ambassadors there to answer questions and direct you to the beers best suited for your tastes. For the home brewers looking to do a little research, members of DRAFT will be there to answer any questions you may have.
Three hours is a long time to be sampling beer. Fortunately, there will be some other events at Brew-Ha-Ha. Chicago’s Gyros And Dogs will be offering hot dogs, gyros, pita sandwiches, and other delights to compliment the beer. There is an online silent auction running now through the end of the event, where you can pick up some fantastic gifts and help support the school. Some items listed are from Proto Build Bar, Day Yoga Studio, Sherwood Florist, Dayton Funny Bone, and more! This festival has been growing every year, bringing beer lovers together from all over the Miami Valley and educating them about the amazing craft beer options in the region.
This year, they are working hard to expand that knowledge to the fine breweries on the Pacific coast.
Tickets for the event are on sale right now! General Admission is going to be $40, with a limited amount of VIP tickets costing $50. That extra $10 get you in to the event at 5 PM, giving you one more hour to sample the beers they are providing. Proceeds from the event will go to the school’s improvement fund. The funds from this year’s event will be going to help install an energy efficient roof on the school.
While the west coast has created some iconic beers, the Midwest has crafted beers that can stand up to anything that is being brewed there. On January 28, the Montessori School of Dayton hopes you join them in deciding where the best beer in the country is brewed.