Inaugural May Daze Craft Beer Fest at Wright State to showcase local breweries, alumni

“Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.” —Dave Barry, humorist

Dave Barry would enjoy the first-ever May Daze Craft Beer Fest at Wright State University. Not only will there be plenty of beer to sample, but also explanations of the science behind it.

Sponsored by the Wright State Alumni Association, the beer festival will feature 14 local breweries. The event’s eventual goal is to raise funds for student scholarships.

The Craft Beer Fest takes place on Saturday, May 18, in the Apollo Room of the Student Union from 1 to 5 p.m.

Tickets are $40 and include 20 beer-sampling vouchers, a tasting glass, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, a T-shirt and admission to educational sessions featuring a Wright State neuroscientist who is also a beer judge. For $10, designated drivers receive snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and admission to the sessions.

Admission to the event is limited to 200 people. To register visit

Volunteers are also needed to staff the event. Sign up to volunteer on the Alumni Association website.

The event is open to all, not just those with a Wright State connection.

The idea behind the May Daze Craft Beer Fest grew from a similar event at Appalachian State University, where Wright State President Sue Edwards, Ph.D., had been on the faculty.

“She gave us the idea, and we took it and ran with it,” said Greg Scharer, executive director of alumni relations at Wright State.

There’s precedence: The Alumni Association’s annual January beer tasting following a Wright State men’s basketball game has been popular, and the association routinely offers wine and bourbon tours that are well-received by Wright State alumni.

The May Daze Craft Beer Fest, unlike the post-basketball game events, will be composed of solely local breweries, some of which are owned and operated by Wright State alumni.

While Wright State does not offer a degree in brewing, those alumni benefited from “their education here because they learned how to create and market a business,” Scharer said. “They have gone into other majors that contributed to running a craft brewery.”

One of those alumni is James Williams, co-owner of Southern Ohio Brewing in Beavercreek. Williams, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1991, attended the post-basketball game beer event for several years. He is excited to participate in the beer festival as a proud supporter of Wright State.

“Bringing alumni back to campus is a good idea,” he said, “to connect them with the college that helped them get to be where they are today.”

The following breweries will participate in the beer fest:

  • Alematic Artisan Ales
  • Bock Family Brewing
  • Branch and Bone Artisan Ales
  • Crooked Handle Brewing Company
  • Dayton Beer Company
  • Devils Wind Brewing
  • Fifth Street Brewpub
  • Heavier Than Air Brewing Co.
  • Little Fish Brewing Company
  • Nowhere In Particular Cabinet of Curiosities
  • Southern Ohio Brewing
  • Wandering Griffin Brew Pub
  • Warped Wing Brewing
  • Yellow Springs Brewery

Christopher Wyatt, Ph.D., associate professor and associate chair for education in the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology, will conduct an educational session at 2 p.m.

Wyatt, a former home brewer and certified beer judge, said, “The title of my talk is ‘The Science of Beer,’ about the components of beer – water, yeast, hops, barley, and malt — and about how to get those wonderful flavors. It won’t be a cold, boring talk.”

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