Dig IN Indiana is not just beer though. It is all things Indiana. Beer, Wine, Food from local farms, prepared into small portioned meals by Indiana chefs and finally treats from Indiana Artisans. Put on by Indiana folks and entertainment by local entertainment. Seriously the biggest Taste of Indiana anyone could have. I've grateful to volunteer with this festival for the past four years.
But this is about the beer!
I was already anticipating all the beer I'd get to sample after my volunteer shift. Especially since my duties for the day was directing all the vendors to their parking and as each brewer came through and we said hello or had a quick catch up chat, my excitement grew.
As the breweries grow in Indiana, the options for beer in Dig IN have grown along with the demand. It was nice to see seasoned vets like Flat 12, Sun King and Brugge there along with some of the new guys like Scarlet Lane and Tin Man Brewing.
My first stop was to Tent C and I visited TaxMan with their saison, Bloomington Brewing Company's hoppy wheat, Thr3e Wiseman and their blonde, but my favorite from Tent C was Indiana City's Yacht Rock. I've had this belgian wheat ale many times but either it was the hot day or the work of Ray and the rest of his crew at Indiana City Beer getting better as time goes by, but it was a nice and smooth beer.
After filling up again on my food ( which was all delicious and I had to use two hands to count how many different kinds of meat was used ) I headed over to Tent B.This time to get my hands on Pooka, which was poured at the Brugge table. It is no secret that Brugge's sours (Harvey and Pooka) are two of my all time favorite beers. It once again did not disappoint during Dig In.
I popped over the next table over to say hello to Rob at Flat 12 and was surprised to see that Flat 12 was offering their Flat Jack. I also love pumpkin ale and I've been seeing a lot of it popping up in liquor stores. I was surprised it was at Dig In but still delighted to give it a try once more. It must be me, cause when I posed a question on Facebook about seeing pumpkin ales early, it seemed to be the norm to have it on the shelf in July.
Lastly Tent A was my last stop. (obviously my beer palate wanted to work backwards when it came to tasting). There I ran into good friends from Bier and has some Weizengoot. Tried the ale that Figure 8 had to offer. I wish I could remember their ale but in the midst of tasting I heard someone in the table over ask for TinMan Brewing Co's Apricot Sour and I honestly downed the sample I had in my hand and popped over to TinMan's table.
I'm not a huge fan of apricots but this sour was the exception to my dislike of apricots. It was perfectly balanced, slightly creamy but with an appropriate zing that I love at the end of my sours. It almost made me question my love of Pooka that day. I have had TinMan Brewing Co's beer before and wasn't really sold, but they have me wanting to come back and give them another shot after that apricot sour.
I didn't get to all the beer at Dig IN unfortunately. (I had a small food challenge of finishing the food passport and after that I had no room for beer) but what I did have was definitely delicious. I also learned a valuable lesson, don't dismiss the newbie breweries, like TinMan. Cause they make sneak up on you with a great out of the box beer.
Thank you Dig In for another year. Now that I'm getting back into the swing of things, it is time to start planning some brewery trips and tracking down some of those new breweries I've let slip through my fingers and give them a try!
Yes, it is that time of the year again for Mad Anthony Brewing Company's annual Oktobeerfest at Headwaters Park West in Downtown Fort Wayne. The festival begins at 2p.m. and here is information that I received about the festival:
Mad Anthony Brewing Company
Join Us for the 16th Annual Oktobeerfest
Fort Wayne, IN, September 13th
It’s time to say “OK… to Oktobeerfest” and make plans now to join over 35 Indiana breweries for the 16th Annual Mad Anthony Brewing Oktobeerfest occurring September 13th at Headwaters Park West.
MABC Oktobeerfest is dedicated to promoting and celebrating locally crafted products: from beer and cider to food and entertainment. At Mad Anthony Brewing Company, we believe that there are a lot of great things going on in our own backyard and want to use this festival as an opportunity to showcase them.
New to this year’s festival is the Mad Brewers Challenge, hosted in conjunction with Fort Wayne’s very own Brewer’s Art Supply. This Challenge allows one homebrewer the chance of having their beer recipe commercially brewed and served within all MABC brewpubs. The top ten entries will be served at the festival and voted upon by attendees. Join MABC in making a homebrewers dream come true. Full contest details are available online at madbrew.com.
Another new addition to this year’s festival is the Oktobeerfest Food Truck Alley, established to showcase Fort Wayne’s growing food truck culture. This year’s alley will feature local favorites: Bravas, Big John’s Ragin’ Cajun and Affine.
Make plans to attend Oktobeerfest and enjoy all the flavors our amazing state has to offer.
Tickets for Mad Anthony Brewing Company’s 16th Annual Oktobeerfest are available online at brownpapertickets.com.
Looking for some great craft beer fun before the festival? Check out these other great Oktoberfest festivities:
• September 10th: Craft Beer Dinner at Old Crown Coffee Roasters
• September 12th: Oktobeerfest Golf Outing at Bridgewater West Golf Course, Auburn
• September 13th: Gears & Beers Pub Pedal starting at a TBD location in Fort Wayne
For more information on Oktobeerfest and all its events visit www.madbrew.com or facebook.com/MadAnthonyBrewing.
Also, here is the link for a list of the breweries whose beers will be available for your sampling pleasure:
Come out for a great time and some tasty brews!
130 TAPS of Indiana Craft Beer -- in Broad Ripple this weekend! Rotating Taps means more beers to come!
Hoosier craft beer lovers won't be let down by the continual offerings of Indiana Beer. For now, Corporate Beer Manager Trevor Mapes and Indiana Beer Director Andrew Skirvin tell us the HopCat Standard 30 will consist of the following: Cutters Lost River Blonde, Mad Anthony Auburn Lager, Mad Anthony Raspberry Wheat, Fountain Square Workingman's Pilsner, Sun King Sunlight, Sun King Osiris, Bier Brewery Weizengoot, Evil Czech Gypsy Chamomile Wheat, Upland Wheat, Oaken Barrel Alabaster Wheat, Thr3e Wide Men Two Lucy's Blackberry wheat, Bier PDG pale, Fountain Square Hop for Teacher APA, Daredevil Lift Off IPA, Flat12 Half Cycle IPA, Oaken Barrel Superfly IPA (yep, the only place other than Greenwood you can find this), Quaff On Hare Trigger IPA, Triton Rail Splitter IPA, Upland Helios APA, Triton Sin-Bin Belgian pale, Taxman The Standard Abbey Blonde, New Albanian Black & Bluegrass Belgian spiced ale, Sun King Wee Mac, Upland Bad Elmer's porter, Powerhouse Diesel Oil stout, Flat12 Pogue's Run porter, Thr3e Wise Men Hubbard & Cravens Coffee stout, Bloomington Brewing Ruby Bloom amber, People's Mr. Brown Ale, and Carson's Brown Cow. (if you count more or less than 30, that represents my bad eyes and typing .... that is a LOT of beer!) According to Mapes and Skirvin we can expect some Michigan beer to rotate on given the HopCat stores in Michigan.
Patrons on Saturday will be rewarded with FREE Crack Fries which are a crazy spiced french fry served with fabulous cheese sauce. The first 200 through the door on Saturday will get a one-year (1 order, once per week, 52 weeks) prize. Expect some lines. However, local managers don't know what to expect since this is the small chains first venture outside of Michigan.
What food we were able to try was terrific. The prices are reasonable. And though just getting set up the beer temperature in our preview was good and servers were hustling to make things right. Lovers of beer on nitro take note, they will eventually settle in to several (maybe 5) served this way, but their set up would allow them to do a special tapping with THIRTY beers on nitro!
I don’t know if any of you may have noticed this but I’ll let you in on a little secret…craft beer is starting to
get sort of popular. There, I said it. I know, blind-sided you didn’t I? I can give you a minute if you need to recover from this startling revelation. It’s true though, it would seem that more and more people are slowly catching on to this craft beer thing.
- Lafayette Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer features Indiana breweries showcasing some of their heavy hydrometer offerings
- The Friendsof Downtown will be hosting the 3rd annual Beers Across the Wabash festival in less than two weeks (click here for event info & tickets)
- People’sBrewing hosts their annual Fall Bash, featuring People’s beer, BBQ, a beer schwag raffle, and plenty of local music
- Finally, this spring the Tippecanoe Arts Federation hosted their 3rd successful TAP at TAF event, highlighting the artisanship of craft beer
Following the completion of this year’s Brewers Cup competition, I thought it would be fun to solicit recipes from some of the winning homebrewers. Reviewing information like this is a great way to gain ideas that inform your own brewing and help you create a unique version of your own award-winning brew. And if you’re not interested in these styles, it’s still pretty cool to see what your fellow colleagues are up to in the brewhouse. But I think you will be interested – we’ve collected everything from session beers to heavy hitters, and a range of styles from relatively popular to obscure and historical. If you have a question for one of the brewers, please leave it in the comments and I will try to draw their attention to your query. And with that, away we go……in order by style category………
“Why So Bitter” by Tim Palmer
BJCP Style Category 8A: Standard/Ordinary Bitter
for 5.5 gallons
|7.5 lbs. Maris Otter|
|7 ounces Crystal 120|
|0.9 ounces East Kent Golding 5.8% Alpha (60 minutes)|
|0.5 ounces East Kent Golding 5.8% Alpha (30 minutes)|
|0.5 ounces East Kent Golding 5.8% Alpha (5 minutes)|
|1 tsp Irish Moss (15 minutes)|
|0.5 tsp Yeast Nutrient (10 minutes)|
|1 gram gypsum (add to mash)|
|1 mL Phosphoric Acid (add to mash)|
|1 gram gypsum (add to boil kettle)|
|1 gram CaC12 (add to boil kettle)|
|Wyeast 1968: London ESB Ale)|
|Original Gravity: 1.037|
|Boil Time: 60 minutes|
Brewing water was comprised of 6 gallons RO water and 6 gallons filtered tap water. Mash in with 10.93 quarts of 164.4 degree water and hold mash at 152 degrees for 1 hour. Fly sparge with 5.96 gallons of 168 degree water. Ferment at 67 degrees for 14 days.
“The Scottish Loveknot” by Nathan Compton
BJCP Style Category 9E: Strong Scotch Ale
for 5.5 gallons
|9.5 lbs. Golden Promise malt|
|4.5 lbs. Maris Otter|
|1.5 lbs. Munich Light (~9 Lovibond)|
|6 ounces Crystal 40|
|4 ounces Chocolate malt|
|2 ounces Roasted barley|
|1 ounce Peated malt (optional)|
|1.5 ounces Fuggle 4.2% Alpha (60 minutes)|
|0.5 ounces Fuggle 4.2% Alpha (20 minutes)|
|0.5 tsp Yeast Nutrient (15 minutes)|
|1 pack Wyeast 1056, 1 pack Wyeast 1728 (1.5 liter starter)|
|Original Gravity: 1.084|
|Final Gravity: 1.020|
|Boil Time: 2 hours|
Mash grains at 156 degrees for 1 hour. Collect the first gallon of mash runnings in a small stock pot. While collecting the remaining wort from the mash in your brew kettle, separately boil the first runnings for 30 minutes or until thick and mildly syrupy. Add boiled first runnings back to the brew kettle before beginning the 2 hour full boil. Ferment at 62 degrees for approximately 3 weeks. Transfer to secondary and bulk age for 6-8 weeks, or longer if your carboy space will allow. This beer will benefit from 1-2 years of aging……or longer if you have more patience than I do.
Note: I’ve found that a small peated malt addition adds subtle complexity to this beer. Some will tell you the addition of any smoked malt in a Scottish is inauthentic and therefore “wrong.” So decide for yourself - it’s your beer, make it how you like it! For post-brewing fun, look up the title of this beer if you enjoy adult-oriented cinema.
“Knuckles’ Brown” by Dave and Nate Bordenkecher
BJCP Style Category 10C: American Brown Ale
for 5.0 gallons
|9 lbs. 2 Row Pale Malt|
|1 lb., 4 ounces Victory Malt|
|8 ounces Crystal 40|
|5 ounces Crystal 120|
|4 ounces Chocolate Malt|
|0.66 ounces Cluster 7% Alpha (60 minutes)|
|1.0 ounces Mount Hood 6% Alpha (20 minutes)|
|0.33 ounces Cluster 7% Alpha (15 minutes)|
|1.0 ounces Mount Hood 6% Alpha (5 minutes)|
|1.0 ounces Mount Hood 6% Alpha (1 minute)|
|Wyeast 1272: American Ale II (1 liter starter)|
|Original Gravity: 1.059|
|Boil Time: 60 minutes|
Mash in with 15.54 quarts of 162.6 degree water and hold mash at 152 degrees for 1 hour. Batch sparge with 3.44 gallons of 168 degree water. Ferment at 68 degrees.
“Dybbuk” by Jeremy Dunn
BJCP Style Category 18D: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
for 6.0 gallons
|11 lbs. Belgian Pilsner Malt|
|1 pound Munich Light|
|1 pound White Wheat Malt|
|4 ounces Acid Malt|
|2 ounces Caramunich Malt|
|1 pound Cane (Beet) Sugar|
|2.0 ounces Sterling 4.5% Alpha (60 minutes)|
|1.0 ounces Willamette 5.1% Alpha (added at flameout)|
|Wyeast 3787: Trappist High Gravity|
|1 pound Golden Candi Syrup (added to fermenter after 2 weeks of primary fermentation)|
|Original Gravity: 1.072|
|Boil Time: 90 minutes|
This recipe uses a multi-stage step mash. Add 18.72 quarts of 118.7 degree water to hit 112 degree mash temp. Hold at 112 degrees for 20 minute Acid Rest. Heat mash to 136 degrees over 15 minutes. Hold at 136 degrees for 25 minute Protein Rest. Heat mash to 145 degrees over 15 minutes. Hold at 145 degrees for 30 minute Amylase/Maltose Rest. Heat mash to 153 degrees over 10 minutes. Hold at 153 degrees for 15 minute Saccharification rest. Heat to 168 degrees for Mash Out. Ferment at 66 degrees for the first week, allow temp to rise to 72 after a week. Add the Golden Candi Syrup after 2 weeks in primary.
“GTO” by Kyle Vester
BJCP Style Category 21A: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer
Specific Style: Cucumber Kolsch
for 11.0 gallons
|17 lbs. Pilsen Malt|
|1.5 ounces Hallertauer 4.8% Alpha (60 minutes)|
|1.5 ounces Hallertauer 4.8% Alpha (45 minutes)|
|White Labs WLP029: German Ale/Kolsch Yeast|
|1 pound Cucumber per gallon in secondary**|
|Boil Time: 90 minutes|
Mash at 148 degrees with 6 gallons of water. Fly sparge with 10 gallons of water at 170 degrees. Ferment at 62 degrees. If desired, lager for a month or so.
**Notes on the cucumber addition: I used English Cucumber (seedless) and cut the ends off, chopped them up and threw them in. I didn't bother peeling them, however next time I make it I will. I didn't do any freezing or pasteurization of the cucumber. Left in the secondary for 1 week, then transferred to the keg to age.
“Mumms the Word” by Hugh Gardner
BJCP Style Category 23: Specialty Beer
Specific Style: Mumm (historical style)
batch size not specified, but likely 5 gallons
|4 lbs. Light Liquid Malt Extract|
|3 lbs. Wheat Dry Malt Extract|
|1.5 lbs. Flaked Oats|
|12 ounces Briess 50/60 L Crystal|
|4 ounces Chocolate malt|
|4 ounces Rye malt|
|4 ounces Black Patent|
|0.5 ounces Northern Brewer (60 minutes)|
|1 pound honey|
|German Wheat Yeast|
|Herbs and Spices|
|1 ounce licorice root|
|2 tbsp juniper berries|
|0.5 ounce chamomile|
|0.25 ounce marjoram|
|0.25 ounce elecampane root|
|0.5 ounce rose hips|
|Boil Time: 60 minutes|
Add all spices with 30 minutes left in the boil. Add the honey with 10 minutes left in the boil. Chill wort and add German Wheat yeast.
“Goat Holler Amber” by Steve Kent
Brewers Cup Category 99: Indiana Specialty Beer
Specific Style: Kentucky Common
for 5.5 gallons
|8.5 lbs. Rahr 2 Row Malt|
|3 pounds Flaked Corn|
|1 pound, 2 ounces Muntons Crystal 60|
|9 ounces Muntons Pale Chocolate|
|2.45 AAU of Willamette (60 minutes)|
|4.1 AAU of Palisade (60 minutes)|
|2.9 AAU of Willamette (20 minutes)|
|4.9 AAU of Palisade (20 minutes)|
|Wyeast 2112: California Lager (2 liter starter)|
|Original Gravity: 1.053|
|Final Gravity: 1.011|
To make the sour mash, take 35% of the grains (approximately 4 lbs, 10 oz) and mash the grains directly in your kettle for an hour at 152 degrees at 1 qt/lb. Cool the mash down to 130 degrees and carefully transfer the mash to a cooler large enough to accommodate it (2 gallons should work). Be careful not to introduce any oxygen at this point because it can spoil the mash.
Style Notes: Kentucky Common is an antiquated style popular in the Louisville area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since the style originated in bourbon country, it employed a sour mash and a healthy proportion of corn. The resulting beer is crisp, refreshing and mildly tart. The sour mash takes two days. While you are doing it, make a two quart yeast starter to ensure a high enough cell count for pitching. This is an all-grain recipe using thebrew in a bag method. Estimated efficiency is 60%.
Hope you’ve enjoyed checking out these recipes! Thanks to Dave and Nate, Hugh, Jeremy, Kyle, Steve, and Tim for sharing their expertise with everyone. Happy brewing!
The Indiana State Fair starts Friday and runs through August 17th. Beer and wine will be available for the first time since the post-WWII crowd got unruly in 1946 at the first post-war fair. In the statehouse, bill number 1 in 1947 was to dry the Fair.
So what goes? The industry has some friends and with the help of Fair officials there WILL be beer and wine although it’s not going to be easy on the fairgoer – or very available. Here’s the rules:
Where? in the Grand Hall (across from the Coliseum).
When? 1-9pm with last call at 8pm.
Only Indiana Beer and Wine.
A booth in the xxxxxxxxx building will hold all the alcohol. No roaming the grounds.
Everyone heading for that booth will be carded and get a wrist band.
Three drink maximum (of 3 sets of samples). Basically 36 ounces of beer or 15 ounces of wine.
Price: $5 per 12-oz glass (or 5-oz wine) or 3 samples,
What beers will be available? 3 different breweries per day. Here’s a schedule.
Tom Wallbank unearthed this picture from the 1946 Indiana State Fair. The Fair went dry in 1947.
Hoosier ciders lovers rejoice: Oliver Winery has brought out BeanBlossom Hard Cider. From “gently pressed Midwestern apples”. That’s good, we’d hate to think apples were abused. Hey, there’s also a peach blend in the lineup. 25oz bottles. 9%ABV.
Mother Jones says Bud and Miller Are Trying to Hijack Craft Beer—and It’s Totally Backfiring but they are using the number of breweries as a basis for success.
Andrew Luck thinks Indiana beer is just fine. Especially Sun King and Flat 12. articleSixty monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA is making “certified” Trappist Beers. They hope it goes well so they can pay the health bills of their average 70-year old brothers. article
The convenience stores (Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association) are going to try again to get cold (mass market) beer on their shelves. So they brought a suit. A Federal Judge ruled that Indiana has legitimacy in the the state law allowing only warm beer “to go” except in liquor stores, breweries and pubs.
The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers (the liquor stores’ lobby organization) wants to keep the current way of doing things. They point out there is no age restriction at grocery and convenience stores.
The AG’s office defended the law in the Federal Court and says the fight should be done in the legislature, not in the courts. The IPMCSA is filing an appeal and has also filed a [state] suit in a Superior Court.
The brewer’s trade association (BIG) hasn’t much to say but I claim cold sales in convenience stores would eliminate some sales since cold beer buyers would have availability of BudMillerCoors and wouldn’t have to stop by a liquor store for the evening’s libation. On the other hand, a bit of Indiana Craft Beer would sneak onto the gas station shelves.
Kickstarter beer keg/tap by Steve Young. Wanted $250,000 pledged 648,535. Gotta wonder about those type of numbers.
Is Seaweed Beer The Next Big Thing? (think Kelpie Seaweed Ale with real seaweed).
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Arguably the biggest event on the annual Indiana beer festival calendar, the 19th annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival was one to remember. Well, at least we found a few staff members who claim to remember. Here are some pictures, observations, and beer picks from the big day.
Saturday July 19th, the Optimists Park and the Indianapolis Art Center once again welcomed the Brewers of Indiana Guild, Indiana Microbrewers Festival. With well over 75 breweries represented, the vast majority from our Hoosier state, there was no shortage of great beers.
After some 5 hours of sampling and getting to know the friendly faces pouring those samples, there were far too many to list. There were a handful of standouts that remain in my befuddled post-festival memory though… and in no particular order, some of my personal favorites from this years event:
Flat12 – The Good Wood. I liked the concept here. A standard, approachable base beer style separated into small batches and aged on different types of wood. We tried the beer aged on Maple side by side with the same beer aged on Ash. Picking out the differing flavors/aromas imparted by the wood was a lot of fun.
Stone – Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers. I know, Stone isn’t exactly local, and this beer may not be one of those special one-off-you-can-ONLY-get-it-at-the-festival beers for the elite crowd. But it WAS really quite good. All of the components were there, but not muddled and not the palate wrecker you might expect from a beer with peppers and smoke.
Rhinegeist – Zen. Look for a little more about Rhinegeist and their great beers in future IndianaBeer blog posts. Having made the journey to Cincinnati a couple of times this summer, we’ve become quick fans. And of all the great beers in the Rhinegeist roster, Zen is my favorite. If I could purchase it here in Indy I may well hang up my mash paddle and meager homebrewing habit. This is the beer I dream about when it’s June and I’m working in the yard or manning the grill. Zen is a hop forward, refreshing 4.8% session beer. I highly recommend the trip out to OH if you weren’t able to sample this beer at the festival.
Taxman – We were fortunate to try both the wit and the saison from Bargersville’s latest brewery venture. Both were very solid beers. Slightly tart, refreshing on a warm day. Worth stopping by the next time you find yourself South of the capital city.
Zwanzigz – We counted ourselves fortunate indeed to get a sample of the Rye-Ice Bock, Aged in a Rye Barrel. Rumor has it there may be a small amount of this beer available in the tap room in beautiful Columbus, IN. If you’re anywhere nearby, drop what you’re doing and go there. Now. Order this beer and count yourself in the number of fortunate sons who got to experience it before it’s gone. Complex isn’t really a big enough word, and a simple description from a simple blog writer won’t do it either. You need to try it for yourself to really get it.
All told, this year’s festival was a wonderful event. Maybe a bit on the crowded side once General Admission ticket holders were on the grounds.
But with the explosive growth of the industry, one can hardly complain about sharing beer passion with several thousand like-minded folks. We had great weather, great food, excellent beer, and made memories that will last a lifetime. Thanks to the Brewers of Indiana Guild for hosting such a great festival.
And now, let the planning for Winterfest commence!
About half-way through the Microbrewers Festival at Opti-Park in Broad Ripple I saw the B.I.G. Director Lee Smith and new Communications Director Tristan Schmid to tell them I was not sure if it was the weather or maybe my attitude but this seemed like the best festival in a long time. The weather was perfect, and while there were plenty of people, lines seemed to flow quickly and most people looked happy! My personal goal is to find unusual beers or new breweries but also to talk the brewers and owners since this is like a “Brewery Reunion.” This was a great day for all of that.
Zwanzigz Brewer Mike Rybinski had told me a week earlier he would have a special beer at this festival; but then he ALWAYS has a special beer at a festival. His Barrel Aged Scotch Ale had all of the delicious caramel and malt of the style with added vanilla and oak from the barrel where it aged for over one year! The German style Gose, rare style, has a truly interesting saltiness with sour. I would not go for the Cucumber Lime Kolsch served with a cucumber slice (just me) but hundreds were handed out.
Figure 8 brewer Mike Lahti created quite a stir serving local Valparaiso ice cream with his own Root Beer – or did you get yours with the Rye Pale? Mike’s Camp 4 nut brown ale with chocolate, caramel, and cask conditioned (no exaggeration) coffee was a really complex offering at the firkin tent!
Black Acre continued (as did Flat 12) the concept of a theme. While I always appreciate their beer, this time I was particularly struck with their pirates costumes. The guys were almost all dressed as female pirates! Turns out a bra can be a good glass holder – or so they told us! I almost forgot about the tasty RyePA seeing the bellies sticking out of their outfits! Thankfully there was one real pirate girl, at least her outfit made it appear so.
Flat 12 went with a baseball theme. I somehow missed the “Shelled” Rye stout aged in Canadian whiskey barrels aged on cocoa nibs and peanut butter (really!) but enjoyed the George Brett B, APA with Brett and hopped with Bravo, Magnum, Chinook, and Citra. Brewer Sean was on hand to talk us through the beer while Head Brewer Rob Caputo told us he just spent a lot of time working on their new Jeffersonville, IN, facility.
I finally got a Vacation, Kolsch that is, from Daredevil. I’ve been looking for that one all summer and it did not disappoint. This version is a delicious light ale, appropriately effervescent, with just a touch of a hop finish, far less than any other ale that is pale.
Bare Hands Brewery of Mishawaka was a focal point for me, partly because I got the Mango Habenero 574, with a huge taste of mangoes but a nice spice from sliced, raw habanero peppers right in the cask. They doubled up this year with a Double Thai PA that had all we’ve come to expect of this beer in seasoning but the extra hops. Yet, what made this tent so special was Bare Hands owner Chris Gerard has recovered enough from his terrible accident to be there serving beer. The brewers of Indiana really pitched in to hold events which helped contribute to paying Chris’ hospital bills.
Scarlet Lane brewery is one of our newest with their tap room actually opening the day after Microbrewers Festival. Three medals at the Brewers Cup 2014 shows they are getting early credibility for owner Elise Lane and Head Brewer Chris Knott. Their Paeonia uses the Indiana State flower, peony, in a delicious saison that won silver this year. Their Dorian stout, a base for award winning coffee stout, is one of their regular beers and exhibited a great roast character.
Sun King offered special tappings with one of my favorite, Lonesome Dove, bourbon barrel aged triple that delivers plenty of the flavors from the barrel supported by some sweetness and nearly bubble gum character of the Belgian style.
Upland’s Head Brewer Caleb poured Light Synth for us! Light synth is a collaboration of 50% New Belgian Brewery’s Felix (an oak aged sour ale) with 40% Upland Sour Reserve oak aged plus 10% oak aged cherry lambic with cherries added. The complexity of this beer is amazing.
Big Dawg of Richmond offered their Freya’s Chosen Viking Ale a Norse beer with heather tips, juniper berries and honey using grains soaked in birch wood. Unusual may not be a strong enough word.
Bloomington Brewing had the Ol’ Floyd’s Belgian Dark Strong aged in bourbon barrels alongside a randle infused Quarrymen pale ale. Of course they had their silver award winning Ten Speed Hoppy Wheat and their Gold from last year Rooftop IPA.
I tip my hat to Carson’s brewery of Evansville to my first beer of the festival, their delicious Brown Cow English brown ale. Brewer John Mills walked away with 3 awards this year at Brewer’s Cup.
Tin Man of Evansville had the Pink Peppercorn IPA that took a silver this year at Brewers Cup. The spice is truly amazing.
The grounds are very nice and provide a pleasant atmosphere to walk around, yet this festival is so large and spread out with clusters of brewers making it easy to get sidetracked with talk or from the crowd. I missed a few beers that I truly intended to try.
“Quality over quantity”……it’s a familiar refrain in the world of craft beer drinkers. Sure, it may be just a bit disingenuous to dismiss the quantity aspect when a massive crowd descends on Broad Ripple to binge on 4 or 5 hours of beer drinking. But it actually seems to apply to the experience at this year’s Microbrewers Festival. First the good: I can’t think of another Microbrewers Festival where the overall quality of the beer I sampled measured up to this year. Now the bad: Who the hell had any beer left in the six o’clock hour this year? Not many it seemed, so the few that did attracted a sizable crowd. The most disappointing aspect is several of the breweries on my “must try” list for this year ran out of beer before I could get there. Ah well…can’t really say I didn’t get my money’s worth in the first few hours anyway.
To the committee who planned the Port-a-Johns this year…..bravo!!! It’s amazing how beer festivals across the country chronically underestimate the need for bathroom space when thousands of people are there for the primary purpose of drinking beer. Listen up festival organizers….this ain’t rocket science….people are going to need toilets. And if you need an example of how to do it right – look no further than Indiana’s own Microbrewers Festival. Rather than being centered in a huge cluster with even larger lines, the facilities were well spaced and plentiful throughout the festival grounds. Lines ranged from minimal to virtually nonexistent. What a rare pleasure to attend a festival that didn’t require a half-hour wait for the privilege of peeing in a plastic box.
These festivals have grown to the point where a comprehensive review of the breweries is impossible. So we always try to target places that are outside the Indy area and find the up-and-coming Hoosier brewers that we just can’t visit everyday. These folks end up receiving well-deserved accolades in posts like this, but they also become destinations for future beer trips. It’s the large festivals like this which have introduced us to the likes of Bare Hands, Iechyd Da, and Zwanzigz. Word clearly gets around and the lines for these breweries have grown longer with each passing festival.
Well, add a new one to the list this year as Culver/Mishawaka’s Evil Czech Brewery was the day’s winner in my book. They hit the coveted festival combo of offering a diverse, unique lineup (Belgians, Specialty IPAs, Peppers, Coffee, etc.) with solid technical execution. I sampled four of the beers at their table and all were excellent. Their line was minimal when we passed through the area – that will change in the future and you need to check them out if you haven’t recently. I suppose it probably didn’t hurt that Poppi had a lady boner for the server’s vintage dress. But I digress…..on to the beer picks:
Pick of the Day: Evil Czech White Reaper (Belgian White IPA with honey and lemongrass)
|Bare Hands Brewery - Pineapple 574 DIPA|
|Figure 8 Brewing - Black Corridor Imperial Stout (served with a scoop of ice cream)|
|Iechyd Da - Fearless King (Smoked Rye Porter)|
|Shoreline Brewery – Barrel Aged Big Bella Scotch Ale|
|Three Floyds – Evil Power Imperial Pilsner|
|Zwanzigz – Gose Beer (wheat beer with coriander and salt)|
Here are some questions to think about before you go!
Where will I park? That is a very important question with 6000 people descending upon a park where there is no direct parking lot in the cute little area known as Broad Ripple. There is a parking garage at 62nd & College Av. within a few blocks. Go to an online map and at least get an idea where you might park.
What can I bring in? The B.I.G. answers that and a few other questions here with other FAQS
Where do I start? It seems so many people enter and just go get in some line. We suggest you decide what types of breweries you MOST want to sample from! Here are some thoughts:
- Do you want to try those you are less likely to ever drive to? If so, look for the breweries that are farthest away. If you live in Central Indiana, maybe you start with 3 Floyds of Munster, Bare Hands of Granger, Evil Czech of Mishawaka, Carsons of Evansville, Tin Man of Evansville, Iechyd Da of Elkhart, or Big Dawg of Richmond.
- Do you want to find the most unusual beers? That might be Bare Hands ThaiPA, Figure 8's CAMP coffee carmel, Flat12's surprises, Burn 'Em Smoked Pork Porter, Books&Brews Soba buckwheat, and BEER LIST HERE
- Do you want to try new breweries? Start with Mashcraft of Greenwood, Scarlet Lane of McCordsville, Chilly Waters of Indy, Taxman of Bargersville, Tow Yard of Indy, and on to Daredevil.
- Do you want to visit the biggest so you don't miss what your friends talk about? Sun King, Upland, 3Floyds then Flat12, Triton, etc.
- Do you want to visit award winners? See our recent list of gold medalists for Brewers Cup READ HERE and start with Upland and on to Bier Brewery!
- Do you want to revisit the "Tried & True," Some of Indiana's oldest breweries? The Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Barley Island, Oaken Barrel, The Bloomington Brewing Co., Mad Anthony, New Albanian, Lafayette Brewing.
Maybe you have your OWN thought such as shortest lines, beer other people talk about at the event, the ability to get exercise by walking back and forth.... just think about how you will approach this.
Remember, you have a small tasting glass and even a 2 ounce pour means 6 samples equals one legal bottle of beer. The body can handle one bottle per hour for most of us (some a lot more, some less) so 20-30 beers to try is very possible, just which ones? With 80 breweries you can't even get one from each place! (Hey, that was NOT a challenge.)
And our own Nathan Compton had a great blog with some other thoughts (Potty break, anyone?) for the Winterfest so rather than repeat it all, just check out Nathan's thoughts HERE.
Go, enjoy, experience, look us up! The weather should really cooperate this year!