It’s no secret that combining good music, good food, and good drink can add up to a very good time. People have always enjoyed matching foods with wines, but now RiverRoots Music & Folk Arts Festival is expanding that experience to include the best combinations of craft beer and gourmet “food truck” fare.
“There is a really cool ‘foodie’ scene going on at RiverRoots this year. It is a festival within a festival,” said Craft Beer Committee Member Nick Ellis. “We are doing our best to match the best of our craft beers with the best of the food offerings. It can be a magical interplay between them.”
Five Indiana micro breweries with 15 different brews will be at the festival. The list of craft brewers includes Sun King from Indianapolis, Upland from Bloomington, Power House from Columbus. The New Albanian from New Albany, and Great Crescent from the Aurora / Cincinnati area.
“The greater reward is to find foods and beers that enhance and modify each other,” said New Albanian Brewing Company owner Roger A. Baylor. “Hoppy beers often pair well with spicy food not in the sense of quenching, but in the way that hop flavors and aromas weave in and around the spicing. My general rule of thumb is to seek balance and a degree of interplay. The only way to know for sure is to practice, which is the fun part.”
The addition of gourmet food trucks offers exciting food options to match with the beers. The trucks specialize in a wide variety of burger and ethnic selections from fine cuisine to BBQ and Bavarian Style Hand Rolled Pretzels. They use local ingredients whenever possible, and have vegetarian offerings. Eat your way through the festival (Like I’m going to do.) and try a Cuban pork sandwich from the Caribbean, or travel to Bavaria for a pastrami and Swiss with coleslaw and Sierra Nevada Spicy Brown Porter on a large Pretzel Bun.
Some of the brewers already have experience with some of the food truck menus. “Upland has worked with Taco Lassi in the past through our Tasting Room in Indianapolis, and there isn’t much of better pairing than our Dragonfly IPA and their Chicken Tandoori,” said Outreach & Education Manager Cari Crowe of Upland Brewing in Bloomington. “Don’t get me wrong, German style pretzels from Der Pretzel Wagon is a match that never goes out of style.”
Craft brew at RiverRoots is becoming a tradition for some of the brewers. “Great Crescent Brewery has been attending the RiverRoots Festival for the past few years and we are excited to see the selection of Craft Beer growing,” said Dan Valas, owner Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora. “RiverRoots is a perfect venue for our hand crafted beers and the reception has always been great. The addition of the Craft Beer/Food pairing is a terrific idea that goes hand-in-hand with what we do best – create a unique and memorable experience.”
Another highlight of the RiverRoots Craft Beer Tent is a book signing by Bob Ostander and Dick Morris, the authors of “Hoosier Beer,” the first complete history of brewing in Indiana, where beer is as old as the state itself. This event will take place on Saturday from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m., at the craft beer tent.