A celebration of pumpkin beer at Union Jack Pub 

Union Jack adds a home-brew competition to Pumpkin Beer Fest

click to enlarge The entrance to last years Pumpkin Fest - UNION JACK PUB
  • The entrance to last years Pumpkin Fest
  • Union Jack Pub

Union Jack Broad Ripple 4th Annual Pumpkin Beer Fest
Saturday, Oct. 8, 2-6 p.m.
Get your tickets. 

In 2013 Jay and Chelsey Wetzel walked into Union Jack Broad Ripple full tilt to learn the business before becoming owners in 2014. In the midst of dealing with everything else their 1st Annual Pumpkin Beer Fest surfaced in Oct. 2013.

click to enlarge UNION JACK PUB
  • Union Jack Pub
NUVO: What prompted that 1st Annual Pumpkin Beer Fest; what did you hope to accomplish?

Chelsey Wetzel: We saw the love for all things pumpkin and knew that the love for pumpkin beer was quickly coming to the top of the list for people. A similar (but MUCH larger) festival exists on the West Coast with Seattle’s Elysian Brewery, so we had an idea that this type of event could work. The first year, we hoped to get 50 people to come to our festival, taste some excellent beer, and be reminded that the Union Jack IS a beer destination. (We were blown away when 150 people walked through our door that first year!)

NUVO: What's been "the magic" to bring attendees back for the now 4th Annual?

Chelsey Wetzel—: I think the “magic" is the beer. We have an incredible line-up each year and having the opportunity to compare and contrast such a niche beer — plus try all different styles of pumpkin brews that you would otherwise have to travel to multiple establishments to find — as been really fun for people. We have worked hard to make the event a fall festival with hay, campfire, games, and music and it all makes for a really fun day in the (usually) crisp fall air.

NUVO: What has been the best parts of building relationships with brewers and distributors for this seasonal niche?
click to enlarge UNION JACK PUB
  • Union Jack Pub

Chelsey Wetzel: This is probably our favorite part of this event. Brewers (and distributors alike) are always so excited about this seasonal favorite and, as the event grows, we get phone calls as early as spring making sure we know what their plans are and can get our hands on some of the most unique brews out there, plus Scarlet Lane brews a special Dorian Pumpkin just for us which is awesome! This is THE place to showcase pumpkin beer in Indiana, so it's been awesome to work with brewers who are proud to share what they've created.

NUVO: How has the line up of breweries changed in relation to Indiana brewed versus brewed elsewhere? What is happening with the expansion of more Indiana breweries?

Chelsey Wetzel
: While this is not an exclusively Indiana event, we do our best to support as many local breweries as we can. As luck would have it, the event continues to grow, which means we continue to need to order more beer so we are up from 40 beers last year to 50+ this year. This allows us to support the ever-expanding market in Indiana. As for out-of-state beer, there are some incredible options and we are proud to share those with attendees as wellthis year, in particular, we are getting 7 Elysian Brewing beers that are EXCLUSIVE to us in this market. This event is the only place to try them. Elysian is home to the original Great Pumpkin Beer Fest ... these are one-of-a-kind and will be worth it!

NUVO: Who is expected this year? How many sleepless nights have you spent brooding over narrowing down the list to a manageable number of beers in the space you have?

Chelsey Wetzel
: We are so excited to have Indiana breweries Quaff On, Scarlet Lane (with their special Dorian), Flat12, Tin Man, Carsons, and (many people's favorite) Bier this year. New this year: Against the Grain, Boulevard, Ballast Point, Salt Creek, and of course Elysian. Perennial favorites Schlafly, Shipyard Smash Pumpkin, and Southern Tier — both Pumking and Warlock are also returning. We do lose sleep asking questions like: do we have too much, too little, did we include everyone, are all styles represented? We do our best to get everyone represented and make sure that our attendees receive a diverse and excellent line-up to try!

click to enlarge UNION JACK PUB
  • Union Jack Pub
NUVO: Engagement beyond beer has included games and other fun pursuits. How have the activities changed over the years? Who dreams them up?

Chelsey Wetzel
: The first year we hosted this event, we hosted it on the East side of our restaurant and didn't have any events (except the beer sampling). After that, we moved it outside to our parking lot and added fall décor, games, and music. Jay (my husband) and I dream up the games ... from pumpkin bowling to pumpkin painting, we are always looking for something fun our guests can do while sampling these excellent beers.

This year we are incredibly excited to add a home-brew competition. If anyone wants to submit their brew, it's FREE to enter. Just email Chelsey@unionjack.pub

NUVO: Please add anything else NUVO readers should know about 4th Annual Union Jack Pumpkin Beer Fest.

Chelsey Wetzel
: This is THE place to sample new pumpkin beers and revisit old favorites, all in one place and in the crisp fall air! What better way to kick off the fall season? As small business owners, Jay and I (and our daughter, Sylvia) cannot begin to express our gratitude to everyone who supports this event.

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About The Author

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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