Half Moon Brewery Visit

Our Memorial Day Weekend kicked off with a trip up 31 to Kokomo for Poppi’s performance at a burlesque fundraiser. While the performers prepared for their Star Spangled Tease, I had a few hours to spare for a long overdue visit to Kokomo’s own Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery. Cheers to my old friend Justin for making the trip over to share some beers.http://www.brewersofindianaguild.com/-/media/uploads/members/photo_16.png

The City of Firsts has had some fits and starts in launching their craft beer scene (the Brass Monkey was an awesome place if you never made it), but Half Moon is going strong and making waves in the Indiana craft beer scene with four medals in the 2011 Brewers Cup. If you choose to order the sampler tray on your visit, you’ll be treated to a sample of every beer currently on tap rather than selecting 5 or 6 from the menu. That required working my way through samples of ten beers….it’s a tough job. Good conversation tends to make my note taking habits rather lazy, but here are some highlights from the evening:

The KokoMonster – Probably their signature beer, Half Moon describes the KokoMonster as a strong ale but it drinks like a much smaller beer. Forsaking the typical assertive amber ale bitterness, this beer emphasizes smooth malt flavor complemented by moderate citrus hop aroma and flavor. The alcohol is present but very smooth and enhances a dry finish that contributes nicely to the drinkability. You could be forgiven for thinking you’re drinking a standard amber ale, but be warned that the 8% ABV will be less forgiving if you tackle more than one of these before your drive home! 20 IBU 8% ABV

Elwood’s IPA – The 2011 Brewer’s Cup silver medal winner is a bit on the darker side of the style but the malt character never gets in the way of your hop buzz. The aroma and initial flavor are strong on citrus notes of grapefruit and tangerine which fade into more of a piney character with lingering bitterness. Half Moon does a great job of avoiding any harsh alcohol characteristics, and the 6.7% is barely perceptible here. 60 IBU 6.7% ABV

Cole Porter – Another silver medal winner, Cole Porter qualifies as a fairly aggressive Robust Porter. A strong malty aroma that emphasizes chocolate and roast malt character gives way to creamy, slightly bitter chocolate flavor backed with just a hint of citrus hops for balance. The alcohol is a bit evident here, but is still smooth and does not detract from the overall flavor profile. 30 IBU 7% ABV

Stop Light City Red – Brewed to the style of an Irish Red, Stop Light City has a sweet caramel malt aroma. The flavor has a slightly nutty character to complement the caramel malt with a slight floral hop character in the aftertaste. Favoring a more subtle approach, none of the characteristics particularly stand out when paired against their more aggressive offerings, but it embodies the style description of an “easy-drinking pint”. 25 IBU 5.7% ABV

Big Black IPA (seasonal) – Another offering of the wonderful, relatively new style of Black IPA, Cascadian Dark Ale, or whatever you want to call it. It’s black and it’s hoppy. Just the way I like my…..nevermind. This one hits you with a blast of citrus hop flavor that fades into pale chocolate and an assertive lingering bitterness. The hop flavor was a perfect complement to the chocolate malt, but the bitterness was a little too overpowering here. 75 IBU 6.4% ABV

K-Town Brown Ale (seasonal) – Made with a base of Golden Promise malt that is the signature of Scottish ales, the K-Town Brown is reminiscent of those styles with a smooth, nutty malt character and slightly sweet finish. There is a slight citrus hop finish, but the beautifully rich and smooth malt made this my favorite beer of the evening. A bit more hop character may have put this beer into mind-blowing range, but I’m nitpicking now. Definitely one to try if you can make it in before they run out. 25 IBU 5.6% ABV

The food menu is wide-ranging with pub food, salads, seafood, pasta, and steaks. Half Moon places a particular emphasis on slow smoked barbecue and homemade Sweet, Smoky, and Spicy barbecue sauce. Check out all their food offerings to whet your appetite here.

Overall, the Half Moon is offering up a good mix of diverse selections for a market where local beer is a relatively new phenomenon. I probably could have passed on the MILF-n-Honey if it weren’t for the name, but there were a lot of winners in this lineup. This will definitely be a destination for me on future trips to Howard County. You can find Half Moon on the west side of US 31 just south of the Alto Road intersection. It’s an easy and fairly quick commute from the north side of Indy to pay them a visit or for a pit stop if you’re passing through the area. And remember to seek them out and try a few offerings at the Microbrewer’s Festival this summer.

Cheers, Nathan


Anonymous said...

Half Moon just flat out rocks! My wife and I have made more than one trip from our home in West Lafayette just to drink and dine there. Never been dissapointed with with any aspect of our visits there. In addition to their fantastic beer line-up, the food is top-notch also with one of the most diverse menus you will find anywhwere.Very spacious, clean and the service is always great.
No, I have no affiliation with them at all, my endorsement comes as a satisfied customer who appreciates all that the owners and staff do to make it one of the best brewpubs I've had the pleasure of visiting.

Anonymous said...

They are also a very strong supporter of the local homebrew club (Howard County Homebrewers). They host the monthly meeting, donate wort for an annual Big Brew event in May, and work to get us invited to city festivals and other events.


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