Good beer for a good cause

Twins Justin and Jared Younce, aka Reflektion, take a break from their music to offer a toast during Saturday’s Down A River Down A Beer event in Piqua.

PIQUA — The shadow of the old Piqua Power Plant provided a cool escape from the summer heat during Piqua’s sixth annual craft beer tasting festival Down A River, Down A Beer on Saturday evening.

Down a River, Down a Beer moved down along the Great Miami River to the trail path and sitting area behind the old power plant off of South Main Street and North County Road 25-A due to the construction at Lock 9 Park.

“This is a beautiful setting. We’re very happy to be here,” event co-chair Dr. Jim Burkhardt, also known as “Dr. Beer,” said.

Burkhardt picked out the 99 types of beer featured at the nearly 30 beer stations, which were manned by almost 100 volunteers pouring drinks in the three-oz. souvenir glasses attendees received with their tickets. Burkhardt noted he tried all of the beers for the event, just not all in the same night.

The event also featured live music from ReFlektion and the flaming River Fire Rings created by the French Oil Mill Machinery Company.

“We’re just really excited to be able to have a fun event,” Burkhardt said.

Burkhardt thanked the sponsors of the event and also said the city of Piqua was great to work with while putting the event together.

Proceeds from Down a River, Down a Beer support and promote Piqua’s river and bike trail systems. To date, nearly $25,000 has been contributed to local organizations such as Protecting Our Water Ways (POWW), Edison State Community College, and Upper Valley Career Center for river stewardship programs and trail improvements.

Representatives from Edison State and the Upper Valley Career Center were on hand during Down a River, Down a Beer to talk about how they are building their river stewardship programs and also utilizing funds to teach students about water quality and environmental health.

Dr. Jessica Chambers of Edison State said Edison State was grateful to receive funding from Down a River, Down a Beer that was used to purchase 20 kayaks along with life vests and paddles.

“We wouldn’t have all of this without this program,” Chambers said.

Chambers said the college is working with student life groups in order promote river stewardship, and one way they will be doing that is with a Float and Learn event on Sept. 27. Chambers said they hope to incorporate their science professors into the river stewardship programs to help teach students about environmental health and the importance of the river.

“We’re very thankful to Down a River, Down a Beer,” Chambers said.

Jim Metz, Environmental Occupations instructor at the Upper Valley Career Center, said they are incorporating river stewardship in their Environmental Occupations program.

“We’re going to tie in water quality education,” Metz said, adding they will also be training students in paddle safety.

Metz said the river stewardship aspect of the Environmental Occupations will culminate in students organizing and participating in a waterway cleanup project in collaboration with community organizations. Funding from Down a River, Down a Beer went toward 12 kayaks and paddles, water-testing kits, and other education support.

Down a River, Down a Beer is produced by volunteers and sponsored by Mainstreet Piqua. Major sponsors are Unity National Bank, McColloch-Baker Insurance, and the Great Miami Riverway.

For more information, visit Down A River Down A Beer on Facebook or downariverdownabeer.com.