By GUY D’ASTOLFO
If you go
What: The Big Tap In craft beer festival
When: 2:30 to 6 p.m. April 24
Where: Shepherd Event Center (the former Sam’s Club building), 7469 South Ave., Boardman
Tickets: $40; call (330) 782-5877; or go to thebigtapin.com
It’s being billed as the largest craft-beer festival between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.
The Big Tap In will be April 24 at the Shepherd Event Center (the former Sam’s Club building). It will feature more than 100 beers from more than 40 breweries from across the United States, plus one each from Canada and Germany.
Vintage Estate, which was recently voted No. 1 beer retailer in the world by a fan-based industry Web site, is the primary organizer. VE, as it’s known, sells more than 800 labels of craft beer at its Boardman store and tasting room.
For the price of a $40 ticket, festival-goers can graze for hours on samples of beer and food. There also will be entertainment.
Phil Reda, owner of VE, explained the way the festival will work.
“For $40, each person will get 20 drink tickets and a four-ounce tasting glass that they can keep,” he said. “There will be more than 20 local food vendors who will have tables set up and will give out tastes for free.”
Entertainment will be provided by three musical acts: Tom Todd, the Larry Shankman band and Piano by Todd Cutshaw. “It will be a little bit of eclecticness,” said Reda, who added, “We’re working on some entertainment surprises.”
The motivation for the festival actually came from customers of Vintage Estate. “They were putting pressure on us to organize a big craft-beer festival,” said Reda. “We’re big promoters of craft beer, and this is going to be a real craft-beer festival. There will be no big commercial brewers. This area needed a huge festival like this.”
Representatives from many of the brewers will be on hand to talk about their products, said Reda. For a complete list of participating brewers, go to the festival’s Web site, thebigtapin.com.
Demand has been strong ever since word of the festival got out. “We’re seeing ticket sales coming from multiple states,” said Reda. A VIP session with more unique beers will run from noon to 2 p.m., but it has already sold out.
All proceeds from The Big Tap In will benefit HandsOn, the volunteer network of the Mahoning Valley.
Tickets can be purchased online at thebigtapin.com; by phone at (330) 782-5877; and in person at Vintage Estate (cash only). The event is also looking for additional sponsors, and those interested can call HandsOn at the above number.
The Big Tap In will run from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Personnel from DD4Hire car service will be at the event to drive attendees to their homes or nearby hotels.