On Tap: Kale & Ale Festival

Nicholas Dekker

The Kale & Ale Festival is making its debut in three Ohio locales this summer: Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

The first stop is in Columbus on Saturday, June 2, in Genoa Park along the Downtown riverfront. (The Cleveland and Cincinnati editions are July 7 and 21, respectively.) The purpose of the festival is to showcase local craft beers alongside area restaurants with a farm-to-table focus.

Amy Sparks, the founder of the Kale & Ale Festival, was seeking to combine her passion for volunteering, craft beer and local restaurants sourcing ingredients from around the state, and figured a festival would be an effective way to bring them all together.

“I set out to combine some of my favorite things, and create an event that showcases the best of each community that we visit,” Sparks said. “Through each Kale and Ale Festival, I want to offer people a way to get involved in the community, experience new music, and discover new local beers and how amazing food prepared from fresh, whole ingredients can taste. I don't think there's another festival quite like it, and it's my hope that I can deliver an amazing event which will be something that people look forward to and are proud to be a part of year after year.”

At the Columbus festival, 16 different breweries are slated to serve nearly 40 different brews; a majority of the breweries represented are from Central Ohio, including Sideswipe, Rockmill, Knotty Pine, Mad Moon Craft Cidery, Loose Rail and Four String, among others.

While the festival isn't exclusively serving kale to go with the brews, the culinary angle is inclusive to diners of all dietary considerations, whether carnivorous, vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. An assembly of local restaurants will provide the menu: Rockmill Tavern, Knotty Pine, The Crest, Local Roots, Freedom a la Cart, Westies Gastropub and Portia's Cafe.

Sparks also wanted there to be a giving component to the festivals, so each festival across the state will partner with a local charity. Proceeds from the Columbus stop will benefit Freedom a la Cart, a local nonprofit that operates a catering and boxed lunch service to both employ and benefit women who are survivors of human trafficking.

Rounding out the food and drink festival is a selection of live music from locals Hebdo and Doc Robinson.

Kale & Ale Festival

2-6 p.m. Saturday, June 2

Genoa Park

303 W. Broad St., Downtown