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A taste of craft beer: Brewed Live is back

Over 35 local, regional and national breweries offered beer tastings Saturday, Jan. 29 at the third annual Brewed Live.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Craft beer lovers were able to spend Saturday, Jan. 29 sampling beers from dozens of craft breweries. 

The third annual Brewed Live returned to the QCCA Expo Center after being cancelled in 2021 due to the pandemic. 

Brewed Live featured over 35 different local, regional and national breweries. Around 600 people attended this year's event. 

"We have about six brewers here that are discussing about their different brews, so it's very educational for the people that are interested in that kind of thing," said QCCA Expo Center show director Robert Junker. "They have a glass and they get two ounces per station. And they get to try out different kids of brews and (decide) 'I like this one. I don't like that one.'"

Attendees were also able to taste some of the breweries' newest creations. 

Crawford Brew Works was one of the breweries in attendance, sampling four different beers, including a rum barrel-aged stout. 

"There's just so many varieties. It's not all just Bud Light," said server Kurt Allemeier about the craft beer celebration. "It's a spectrum that you can run across. I had a beer that's purple here today."

Bent River Brewing Company was also kept busy at Brewed Live. At one point there was a line spanning the width of the room, everyone waiting to taste its Blueberry Marshmallow Sour. 

"We poured that constantly until the keg blew in 20 minutes, 25 minutes and then people were screaming about it when it was gone," Josh Lodico said. 

The brewery industry is bouncing back after shutdowns during the pandemic. Both breweries agreed that they're seeing more and more customers come out. 

"We're doing pretty well, we've been very busy. We've had a lot of tappings," Allemeier said. "People want to get back out and see people and enjoy craft beer."

Lodico added that Bent River Brewing Company spent the pandemic remodeling and refreshing its food and drink menus. 

"A lot of people want to get back out because of being shut in for so long, and yeah, we've definitely seen that with our sales and our numbers," he said.  

Lodico said the best part about Brewed Live is getting to talk to all the other breweries and help the attendees find their favorite craft beers.

"The most fun part is having fun with the customers and you know, it's a brief chit chat right?" he said. "They come up, they want their beer, you pour them their beer and then they're gone. But if you can just smile, say something nice, say something funny or witty, I mean, it makes lasting relationships."

News 8 is a proud sponsor of Brewed Live. To learn more about Brewed the television show, produced by News 8, visit its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages @brewedtv. 

Brewed airs on Saturdays right after News 8 at 10 and on Sundays at 9:30 on MyTV 8-3.

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