Trion Tavern Event - June 29

Mark your calendar for Friday, July 13th, as the Trion Tavern, in New Haven, IN, will be hosting a Customer Appreciation Day from 11a.m.-3a.m.  Beers will be $3.50 from their 58 taps plus they will be having some giveaways as well.  Join in the fun and drink some great beers for only $3.50/beer and remember Trion Tavern becomes a smoke free establishment starting July 1st.

Fort Wayne Area News - June28

Belmont Beverage at the Shoppes at Scott Rd. and Illinois Rd. in Fort Wayne are hosting an Independence Tasting tomorrow, June 29th, from 6p.m.-8p.m.  Come out and sample some beers along with some food from Chef Eric and cheese samples from the Cheeseman Store.  (Must be 21 yrs. of age or older with valid government-issued photo ID)

Belmont Beverage at Dupont Crossing in Fort Wayne will be hosting a beer tasting this Saturday, June 30th, from 4p.m.-Midnight.  According to their Facebook post, the beer selection will vary throughout the evening so stop in to see what is available for sampling.

Trion Tavern has added the following beers to their beer list since June 24th:

Coors Banquet by Coors Brewing Co.
Red Tail Ale by Mendocino Brewing Co.
Shiner Ruby Redbird by Spoetzl Brewery
American Amber Ale by Roguie Ales

In other Trion Tavern news, starting July 1st, they will be a smoke-free establishment.  That's great news for those patrons who like myself like to take notes of the beer I am drinking there and will no longer have to deal with the smoking issue.  I foresee myself and probably some of my other beer rating friends showing up at Trion Tavern more often since smoking will no longer be an issue.

Dash-In in downtown Fort Wayne has tapped the following beers:

Dark Horse Brewery: Crooked Tree IPA (6.5% abv)

Dark Horse Brewery: Scotty Karate Scotch Ale (9.75% abv)

Dogfish Head Brewery: Red & White Witbier (10.0% abv)

Sierra Nevada Brewery: Hoptimum Double IPA (10.4% abv)

Sierra Nevada \ Ovila: Golden Abbey Ale (8.5% abv) 

Southern Tier Brewery: Mokah Imperial Stout (11.2% abv)

They have also brought out the following aged Dogfish Head beers from their cellar:

Raison d'Extra (bottled at 18.0% abv)

World Wide Stout (bottled at 18.0% abv)

Midas Touch (bottled at 9.0% abv)

Remember to check the Calendar section of this website to keep up on what is going on in Indiana and beyond.

Stay cool everyone during this very hot weather and remember to use sunscreen and stay very hydrated!!


National Homebrewers Conference Recap

My first experience with the National Homebrewers Conference was 2008 in Cincinnati when there were an estimated 950 attendees. We registered and headed over on kind of a last minute whim since it was so close to home, and I’ve been hooked ever since. By 2011, as the popularity of homebrewing continues to skyrocket, the conference was up to a sellout capacity of 1900+ attendees. Facility limitations at the hotel this year kept the attendee count around 1800, which resulted in registration selling out in less than two days and unfortunately leaving a lot of people behind. Accommodating the popularity will clearly be an issue for the American Homebrewers Association moving forward, but they still consistently put on a good show once you’re there.

The best reasons to attend this conference are (in order):

1) You’re looking for a serious party vacation.
2) You still honestly believe homebrewers that talk about valuing quality over quantity.
3) You actually want to learn something.

This year’s conference was held in Bellevue, WA near Seattle. It’s a beautiful area but I have to say it more than lived up to every stereotype you’ve ever heard about dreary weather. The conference follows the same basic format each year, so here is a recap of this year’s event that will give you an idea of what to expect in the future. The local committee always organizes pre-conference events for the two days prior to the conference that typically involve brewery visits, beer dinners, and unique local offerings like this year’s visit to Yakima Valley hop farms.

Thursday. Thursday morning kicks off early with judging of the National Homebrew Competition Final Round for those who have signed up for judging. I made it in from Portland that morning to hit registration and pick up my commemorative beers. The first collective event involves getting beer for the Welcome Toast followed by some afternoon seminars where you will likely be served beer. If seminars aren’t your thing, there is an Exhibitor Hospitality Suite where you can learn about great homebrew products from retailers like Lafayette-based Blichmann Engineering, sample beers from commercial sponsors, and sample more beers from the two homebrew clubs working that shift. Did I mention there is a lot of beer at this conference?

But my afternoon took a slight detour to respond to the Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Challenge. Lagunitas sent around their recipe for Hop Stoopid, an Imperial IPA, prior to the conference and challenged attendees to brew it at home and bring the results to a reception Thursday afternoon. Tom Wallbank and I accepted the challenge and headed down to consume some free food and beer on the dime of one of the largest craft brewers in the country. The “reception” was held in a very crowded hotel suite that reminded us of an old college apartment party. The bedroom was turned into a dining hall with a sandwich and fruit spread, while (many) buckets of ice had been retrieved the turn the bathtub into a makeshift cooler with multiple varieties of Lagunitas beer. It was not a competition, just a sharing event, so the best I could do was a “good job” from Lagunitas head brewer Jeremy Marshall. Of course, he’s somewhat obligated to say that. But we managed to get our hands on enough free beer that an inadvertent nap resulted in being tardy for Pro Brewer’s Night. And I do have five gallons of Imperial IPA that’s quite enjoyable and would cost a fortune at the store.

The main event for Thursday is Pro Brewer’s Night which I used to describe as attending the Indiana Microbrewer’s Festival with no lines. Except there are now some lines. This event provided the first clue on limitations of the hotel’s facilities as the Grand Ballroom could not hold all the breweries and the festivities spilled out into two adjacent hallways. Because of some strange local law that prevents breweries from serving unless they are located in or distribute to Washington, the emphasis this year was squarely on local breweries. But it gave us a chance to skip the bigger boys and sample great beers from the likes of Black Raven, Chuckanut, Ninkasi, and Pike Brewing.

As with every night of the conference, you then have the option of the late-night hospitality suite that serves beer until 2am. In the past this had consisted only of a single suite where beer was poured by homebrew clubs. This year a second suite was added where distributors poured samples of commercial beers. This is basically the place to go when you want to hang with new best friends that kind of look at you funny the next day because they can’t remember your name either.

Friday. For some attendees, the day starts with seminars at 9am. For others, it starts with holding your head and finding a beer in your room for a little hair of the dog. No comment on which category I fall into. The keynote address that afternoon was delivered by Pike Brewing founder Charles Finkel. Before starting in commercial brewing, it turns out Charles was one of the first American importers of British and Belgian beers so there were some very interesting stories behind the early days of working in that business. And he wore a bowtie. To finish off the afternoon, I did attend a few seminars and am now very interested in the ElDorado hop which has a flavor reminiscent of blueberries. And there was more fun to be had at the Exhibitor Hospitality Suite.

But we’re really here to talk about Club Night. It’s one of those things in life that probably can’t be properly described until you experience it. Kind of like Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras – but way more geeky and with slightly less public urination. The simplest way to describe it is a massive beer festival that only serves homebrew. But that would ignore the elaborate booth themes, costumes, videos, gadgets, and all the assorted pranks and prizes that homebrewers can imagine. Themes this year included monks, mad scientists, ghostbusters, The Big Lebowski, and my personal favorite…..#OccupyNHC from the creative geniuses of the Arizona Society of Homebrewers. And the beer is the most unique collection of brews you’ll find in one place from creative minds all across the country. My observation over the years I’ve attended is that the beers served have evolved to become a little less weird, but better….which probably makes sense.

What results is the biggest homebrew party you can imagine with something odd occurring in every part of the room you wander into. I’d love to tell you I took detailed notes of my favorite beers from the evening, but I was handcuffed to another person for most of it. I can only say that if session beers are becoming trendy, that seemed pretty lost on this crowd. The late-night hospitality suites were hopping again, and after a full night of homebrew we managed to find the suite where commercial beers were being poured. It’s always interesting to see who’s still standing at that point, and we managed to find Pete, the youngest member of the Blichmann Engineering team. The poor guy still had to work the Exhibitor Hospitality Suite the next day.

Saturday. More seminars at 9am for some. More holding of head and hair of the dog for others. My eventual seminar schedule for the day featured a Water Panel that included Indiana’s own Martin Brungard, author of the Bru'n Water utility that you should really check out if you homebrew. The AHA did a nice job of mixing seminars that appeal to all experience levels of brewing from Brew in a Bag and Brewing World Class Extract Beers to the Water Panel and Exploring Fermentation Attenuation if you wanted something a little more technical.

The conference concludes Saturday night with the Grand Banquet & Awards Ceremony which features a menu created by Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton and five varieties of beer donated by Rogue Ales. It’s become sort of a tradition to line up and tailgate outside the banquet before the doors open and you never know who you’ll bump into. Last year we ended up next to the founder of Alesmith in San Diego and this year we received pours from a brewer at North Coast Brewing. You can also bring in an assortment of beers to the banquet to share at your table in case the Rogue beers just aren’t enough. I’ve found the entrees here to be a little hit and miss, but this year’s salmon brined in Cap’n Sig’s Northwestern Ale, brown sugar, and thyme was outstanding.

You spend a while after dinner listening to the local organizers talk about how great every member of their group is, and then the AHA Governing Committee Recognition Award is presented. The event is capped off with the final round medals for the National Homebrew Competition. Congratulations again to Indiana winners Robert Heinlein, Rob Meinzer, Michael Pearson and Bill Ballinger, Kevin Pritchard and Matthew Oakley, Bill Staashelm, and Tom Wallbank. These beers are literally 1 in a 100 (or 200).

This is my chance for an annoying tangent about how great the homebrewing scene is in Indiana. Taking 6 of the 69 medals awarded for beers that spanned all 50 states and Canada is an outstanding showing. I don’t know if many around the country think of Indiana as having a great beer culture, but by my count we tied Texas for the second-highest number of beer medals after California (yes Minnesota, I’m conveniently excluding meads). The scene here is very strong and very competitive.

Next Year. Next year’s conference will be held in Philadelphia on June 27th – 29th. The exact location is yet to be announced and it will be interesting to see how they handle it. The AHA clearly needs to be concerned about welcoming as many people as possible, but it seems hard to imagine the event would have quite the same feel inside a non-descript, cavernous convention center. But maybe that’s just the old man in me wanting to hang on to what I’ve become familiar with. Regardless, I remain of the opinion that every homebrewer owes it to themselves to do this once in your life.

Cheers, Nathan 'meet up and tweet up' Wednesday, June 27, 6PM at Tomlinson Tap Room has its first Meet Up (and Tweet Up) EVENT at Tomlinson Tap Room in the Indianapolis Historic City Market this Wednesday, June 27, 6 PM

Win stuff!
Meet some of your local professional brewers.
Talk with bloggers.
Buy some Indiana Craft Beer from this cool downtown location that focuses on Indiana brewed beer.
Win stuff (oh, wait, we said that).
Buy Bob O's book on the history of beer in Indiana.

Come on down and join us!!

NHC 2012 – Indiana Winners!

Greetings from Seattle! Forgive my possibly drunken typing, but there were a number of Indiana winners in the final round of the National Homebrew Competition to pass along. I’ll have much more on the conference next week after I get back home and sober up. You can find the full results here.

Bill Staashelm – Indianapolis – Silver medal in Light Hybrid Beers out of 303 entries.

Rob Meinzer – Zionsville – Bronze medal in English Pale Ales out of 265 entries.

Michael Pearson/Bill Ballinger – Indianapolis – Silver medal in English Brown Ales out of 198 entries.

Robert Heinlein – Crown Point – Silver medal in India Pale Ale out of 553 entries.

Kevin Pritchard & Matthew Oakely – Indianapolis – Silver medal in Strong Ale out of 279 entries.

Tom Wallbank – Zionsville – Bronze medal in Strong Ale out of 279 entries.

So yeah, kind of in an altered state of mind at the moment, so please forgive any errors. But congrats to the Indiana winners – this is a huge accomplishment for all of them!

Cheers, Nathan

Indiana Beer News June 23 12 is having a "meet up and tweet up" at Tomlinson Tap Room in the Indianapolis City Market this coming Wednesday, June 27, 6 PM. Visits from some of our professional brewers, free gifts, and surprrises and a chance to grab a pint of great Indiana beer on tap at the TomTap Room! C'mon down! We'll also have a few copies of Bob Ostrander's book "Hoosier Beer...Tapping into Indiana Brewing History" for sale!
Visit FIVE central Indiana breweries on the first Indy Brew Trek bus! On Saturday, July 7, participants will meet at Thr3e WiseMen in Broad Ripple and be transported by bus to Triton brewery, Flat12 brewery, Fountain Square brewery, BlackSwan brewpub, and back to Thr3e WiseMen. All for $25 for the bus ride and most of the breweries will provide a taster or two and your chance to buy a pint or more at each place. Call Jeff at 317-432-8798 to find out Tickets on E-Bay

Triton Brewing is participating in the Lawrence 4th Festival with beer available.

Downtown Brew Pubs
Gettin' downtown to stroll around and find a pint?

RAM downtown has three seasonal beers on tap. The Ghost King IPA is a session IPA and a great Summer beer. Both the wit and the California Common (Steam) beer are very tasty for the Summer. The RIS is complex with appropriate high alcohol.

Rock Bottom downtown has a Summer honey blond for the season. There are actually EIGHT beer on tap right now.

Brewer Jerry of RB was busy getting his entries ready for the Brewer's Cup competition of the Indiana State Fair when we visited. Credits to Anita Johnson and Tom Stillabower for making this one of the top beer competitions in the U.S.

Just a short distance from Downtown, though not a brew pub,there is plenty of seating room at Fountain Square Brewery. the Summer offering would be their hefeweizen. But they just tapped a nugget IPA that is pretty tasty too.

Fountain Square, like most near-town brewers, has free parking.

SunKing -- remember, SunKing tap room will be closed starting July 4 until July 18 for renovation but right now they have their regulars plus Seasonals: Bitch'n Camaro and

Flat12 is at the Chatham Arch/Mass Av Brew-Ha-ha today until 7. with Cycle IPA, F12 Amber, Karousel Kolsch, Bourbon Barrel-aged Big Black Dog (68),Rye Stout, Moustache Ride Red, Bourbon Barrel-aged 12 Penny Scottish Ale, El Blanco Diablo Roble (The white oak devil – chili blonde aged in an oak barrel), Glitter Walkabout, Belgo Porter,
Fire Fly Wheat

Greenwood Freedom Fest includes a micro-brewery and wine 'garden' this year June 29-30, click for details

Again, meet up with us Wednesday! 6 PM TomTap at City Market!

Dribs and Drams - June 21

Both Beer Nuts and The Beer is Good review the newly opened Iechyd Da Brewing Company in Elkhart.

Dollar General has applied for beer/wine permits at their Indy locations. article
"As recently as Monday, an alcoholic beverage board in Indianapolis denied a permit for one Dollar General to sell beer and wine after opposition came from community groups; two other company stores in the city were turned down in May, although some other locations won approval"
Oh wait, this doesn't affect craft beer, Indiana-brewed beer or IndianaBeer readers. Sorry. Never mind.

Eh? Aren't Philip Michael Thomas and Phylicia Rashad going to be asking about this?

Diego says every day is a good day to drink responsibly - especially Smirnoff Ice. The latest WCTU incarnation says that means everyone should drink every day. We'll let Jay Brook's rant speak for itself.

Three Floyds has put a 2-case limit on carry-out from the pub.

Headline: St. Louis: Homebrew is illegal at Heritage Festival. article

Amsterdam legalizes stand-up drinking - soon. article

52 seconds of The Sparkling Beer Mug. Need more head?

Beer Recap Deluxe!

As many of you already know, or maybe you don't know, but it is almost summertime which means the Season of Beer is here and boy, have I been drinking my share of it - gladly of course!

However, drinking it is easy, writing about it takes longer, so I'm going to do a small recap of most recent beer times that I've missed writing up for your reading and maybe even your drinking pleasure. 

1. - Thr3e Wise Men Tapping - Children of the Corn  Cream Ale

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Thr3e Wise Men has the best tapping party. Why? -- simple -- 8oz free sample.  Of course, the beer is good as well. This cream ale is refreshing, a little too high on hops, with a tang of bitter, for my tastes as far as cream ale goes, but having it come from a nitro pour was a nice touch to add some creaminess.  Next tapping party is July 2nd - Sanctaneous Hefeweizen. I'm curious as to what Omar has in store with that one. 

*FYI -- As of today you can get Thr3e Wisemen beer at all of the Scotty's Brewhouse locations and Growlers will also be available for carry out. $14 fills / $7 for Growlers. Specials - $12 fills on Tues & Fri
However -- If you go to Thr3e Wisemen Brewery - Growlers are $6 and Fills are only $10 (with $8 fills on Tues & Fri )*

2.  Tap N' Run

On June 9th, Broadripple experienced the newest phenomenon of exercise and beer drinking. About 1700 hundreds runners in their finest, funkiest and silliest costumes to run a 4k around the streets of Broadripple, while stopping to chug 4oz glasses of Goose Island - 312.  The race started with a countdown chug and they were off!  My role in all this? Starting Line chug station. The beer flowed smoothly from keg to pitchers to cups to runners.  It was nice to see that craft beer was used for the chug stations. Lastly, to use a word from Tara Maggert, Arts and Craft Beer President, it was a fun time being a "volun-beer" (you know, instead of a volunteer) 

See pic recap of Tap N' Run below:

Gives a new definition to 99 "bottles of beer" more like baby cups of beer.

Countdown to the first chug! 

After the race and clean up was done! Indy's inaugural Tap  N' Run!


3. Victory Beer Tapping with Indiana Beer Reporters

Last Wednesday night, a rare meeting of three IB reporters went down at the Sinking Ship for the Victory Brewery Tapping party.  Joined by some of our friends, we had a nice night of trying some of the beers on tap. Although it would've been nice if Golden Monkey was on tap and not in bottles. I personally had the Saison De BUFF - a collaboration brew from Victory, Dogfish Head and Stone. A quick bite at the taste of this beer, but ended with sweetness. It was a nice summery beer, but to be honest I'll go for The Bier Brewery's Farmgal Saison in a heart beat. Either way. The tapping party was fun and I ended up with a new pint glass for my collection! 

Selection for Tapping Party

4.  History on Tap
Come back to how the west was won and the beer was made! History on Tap was presented by the Conner Prairie Horizon Council this past Friday.  With help from Fountain Square Brewery, Bier Brewery, Sun King Brewery, Upland Brewing Co, Flat 12 Bierwerks and Three Pints Brewpub, a visitor could come and try different brews all while checking out the grounds or even going up in the sky in a balloon ride.  The Horizon Council picked a great night for this event, a warm breezy night. 

For beer fans, some of the brewers themselves were out and about.   I ran into Clay Robinson from Sun King, Corbin Elliot from Bier Brewery and Rob Caputo from Flat12Bierwerks (with his fancy new hat with beer opener in the bill), and even Bill Webster from Fountain Square Brewery. Around 8:30 it was quiet enough that you could have some great conversations and gain some great beer information..  e.g.  - look for some awesome great brews from Flat12Bierwerks at Microbrewery Festival. ;)

Bier Brewery - Farmgal Saison

As for the beer itself - my favorites of the night were: 
Bier Brewery  - Farmgal Saison
Three Pints Brewpub - Oatmeal Stout
closing with watching the night sky darken by drinking 
a half pint of Half Cycle from Flat 12.

An additional difference between this event and many other tapping parties was Douglas Wissing had a presentation on his new book:
Indiana: One Pint at a Time: A Traveler's Guide to Indiana's Breweries which was a great way to finish the night. 

Thank you for reading the beer recap! I'll try to keep them coming a little more timely since more and more festivals are upon us.

Don't forget as well.. This Saturday - Brew- Ha- HA! 

And in a week and a half, on 6/27 - come out to meet Nathan, Greg and I again at Tomlinson Tap Room. 

- Kathleen

Fort Wayne Events - June 15

Tonight Cap n' Cork located at 10020 Lima Road will have a FREE beer tasting from 5p.m.-7p.m. Come out and sample some beers and perhaps find a new beer to enjoy during this hot weather!  (Must be 21 yrs. of age or older with valid Government-issued photo ID)

S&V Liquors at 9960 Illinois Road will have their annual S&V Summer Bash tomorrow, June 16th, from 5p.m.-8p.m.  Approximately 50 beers will be available for your sampling pleasure along with food which includes those delicious cheese samples from the Cheeseman Store and new to the event this summer will be Dawson's Famous Coney Dogs.  This event is a lot of fun to attend to sample some tasty craft beers and munchies!  (Must be 21 yrs. of age or older with valid Government-issued photo ID)


Beer Events, Brewer's Cup, and More

Just some tender loving information from me to you. 

Tonight - 6/14 - Fishers on Tap. It is the first time for this event, so please go out and show your support. Of course it won't be so hard given that 6 of your top local breweries will be there giving tastings amongst having a Beer 101 session and live music. Click here for more details and tickets! -- (Fishers on Tap)

Also going on tonight - 6/14  Kiwi Kiwi Hefeweizen Tapping at Flat 12 Bierwerks. 

Tomorrow - 6/15 - History on Tap.  Take a trip to the past and visit Conner Prairie to learn about the history in beer making, meet Douglas Wissing and hear him talk about his book, Indiana: One Pint at a Time: A Traveler's Guide to Indiana's Breweries, and of course try samples more local brewery favorites.  (I'll wave to you too, since I'll be there) 

Those interested in the 2012 Brewer's Cup! 

-- here is another lovely reminder -- 

June 22 is your deadline. Please register asap! 

Please click on the Brewer's Cup link for you information and we here at IndianaBeer wish you all the luck! (Brewer's Cup Registration

As a small reminder, if you have an event you want to see on IndianaBeer, or need help promoting on Facebook or Twitter, please contact me, Nathan, Greg or your local IB reporter and we'll be happy to share. 

Interview with Anita Johnson of Great Fermentations

Great Fermentations has been a long-time cornerstone of the emerging Indiana homebrewing scene offering local supplies and education. Owner Anita Johnson has played an important role in launching the hobby, and in some cases profession, of many local homebrewers while also spending volunteer time as a technical editor for Brew Your Own magazine and organizer of the Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup. We recently sat down with Anita to discuss past memories, emerging homebrew trends, and the virtues of sheltering the homeless in your warehouse.DSCN0260

IB: Your bio mentions brewing your first batch of homebrew in 1995. What was it about that experience that motivated you to purchase a homebrew supply shop?

You know, starting a homebrew shop was the last thing on my mind. We brewed our first batch and I loved it. It was a combination of all the things I loved with science, art, food, and creative passion. It was something that kind of took me by storm and just kept going. So the store that was already in Indianapolis was actually going out of business and we paid that person a little bit of money to teach us how to do it and we had a homebrew store. It was kind of on a whim and that was about 17 years ago.

IB: What kind of ingredients and supplies were you able to offer people at that time? I’m guessing it’s a lot different than what you can offer today.

It’s crazy different. We carried about 10-15 types of grains then and now we have 55-60. We had maybe 20 different hops and now we have over 40. We didn’t carry everything from Wyeast then, now we carry every beer, mead, and bacteria strain they make and we sell a lot of it. We now have about 120 different wine kits on the floor, but started out with maybe 12.

We carried a lot of malt extract kits then, now we carry very few. That’s primarily because of our outlook – we get people started at an intermediate level in the beginning because it’s not that hard and I think they’ll be happier with the product. It’s changed a lot and we see a lot more all-grain brewing now. I think the amount of our first inventory order wouldn’t even fill my grain room now.

IB: Great Fermentations has been a fixture in the homebrewing scene for quite a while now. What are some of your favorite memories from that time?

I like to see the innovation. I can remember when Rob Caputo, who is now the head brewer at Flat 12, was a homebrewer and he was quite an experimenter. I can remember a Wit he made with a sour mash that was fantastic, but it’s very hard to recreate that when you’re dealing with wild yeast and bacteria. I remember beers he made that used the wood from Tabasco barrels. They were very strange but actually very good. I also remember a guy who brought in a braggot or gruit that he made from his grandfather’s recipe. He was very excited to share it but ended up spilling it and the store smelled like vomit for two days. I have no idea what was in there but it was horrible. But the neat part about that is the same guy brought in a gruit just the other day and it was wonderful.

So it’s interesting to see how people progress. Rob went from an experimenting homebrewer to head brewer at Flat 12 and this other fellow went from producing not so great stuff to something that was quite drinkable and very different. Other professional brewers have come through the store. Darren Connor from Bier Brewery worked in the store for nine years, Scott Ellis from Three Wise Men worked for us, and Dan Krzywicki from Fountain Square Brewing also worked for us. Mark Havens started homebrewing here and in a year and a half was head brewer at Oaken Barrel. I never pretend to have taught them what they know; they’re certainly responsible for their own success. But it’s neat to see people take an avocation and make it their vocation.

IB: Be honest, does your position require you to try a lot of bad homebrew?

(Laughs) Yes! I am a beer judge and one thing I can’t taste is oxidation unless it’s way over the top. And it’s because I get used to tasting an awful lot of oxidized beer that comes across my counter. So yes, I have to taste a lot of bad beer, but I also look at it as a teaching opportunity. And if a brewer says they really want my honest opinion, then we’re free to kind of discuss it. But I’m always gentle because it is their creation and I want to encourage them to do better.

IB: What is the most common mistake you see beginning homebrewers make and what advice would you give to help them avoid that?

I taste an awful lot of caramelized beers. People want to slide into the hobby doing partial boils which often leads to caramelization of the wort and a darker beer then they intended. If they can do a full boil, it gives you a more diluted solution with less chance of caramelizing. If you’re using an electric stove, you can take your pot off the burner before adding malt extract and make sure the extract is well dissolved before putting it back on the burner. They can also do a late addition of malt extract where you save part of it for the end and avoid having all of the extract in for the full boil. The other problem with partial boils is you get less hop utilization and the beers tend to be underhopped. Beginners are often afraid of hops because they don’t want a beer that’s too bitter.

The other big thing is sanitation. People think they can sanitize dirty equipment and it will work. But it needs to be a three-step process of clean, rinse, and then sanitize everything, every time. If they get that process down, they’ll have a drinkable beer. It still might not be the beer they were hoping for, but it will be drinkable.

IB: What are some of the new trends in homebrewing that are starting to emerge?

Session ales and sour ales are becoming more popular, and experimenting with bourbon barrel aging is well on its way. I’m glad to see the new Brew in a Bag process emerging because it makes all-grain brewing accessible to people who wouldn’t normally have tried it. I see people experimenting with blending yeast strains and really paying attention to fermentation temperature. Also, there is a renewed interest in water chemistry which has so much to do with how malt character and hop character blend. People start brewing and try to get the basics down and then water chemistry and fermentation temperature are things they can tweak easily and make much better beer. We don’t taste the hardness of our water and how harsh that makes beer because we’re used to it. But then you go somewhere else and compare our beers to theirs and it’s really different.

The alcohol content of beer has been increasing where 17 years ago a 5-6% beer was a big beer. Now people expect to drink an 8% IPA. So the alcohol content keeps getting higher and the hopping rate keeps going up. Our recipe for VIPA (Very India Pale Ale) was a very hoppy beer 15 years ago and now it’s nothing. So we’ve issued a challenge to our customers to help us reformulate that beer to today’s standards. But I think you’ll see people come back from the big side and brew more session ales. Anybody can make a high-alcohol, highly-hopped flavor buster, but the finesse of a session beer is where you really show off your skill as a brewer.

I think the sour beer trend is a great thing because it really takes some science and art combined with a lot of patience to make a good sour beer. With this one, I think it’s being driven more by craft brewers than homebrewers. But there is a correlation between the two and a lot of times craft beer trends are driven by homebrew trends. That’s the neat part about this because we have so many people cross over.

It used to be that people just had a bunch of equipment stashed in the corner of their basement or garage that they pulled out to brew. Now people have these awesome brewing setups and they’re putting up big buildings in their backyard to make beer. I think that’s really great because people who have hobbies are more active, more interesting, and more engaged in life. I see that as a big trend – they’re investing in equipment so they can pursue a lifelong hobby.

IB: You mentioned the correlation between craft beer trends and homebrew trends. What are some examples of craft beer trends that were driven by the homebrewing community?

Denny Conn’s Rye Pale Ale swept through the homebrewing scene and then two or three breweries made his recipe. Now you see a lot more Rye Pale Ales. So that’s one that started in homebrewing. You now see Classic American Pilsner, which is a style from pre-Prohibition that has been reinvented. That originated with a homebrewer named Jeff Renner up in Michigan.

IB: What are some of the odd things you see homebrewers attempt to do?

I had a fellow call me once who wanted to dispense beer with a CO2 tank under 800 pounds of pressure and he was too cheap to buy a regulator. He was going to put a barb on his tank and try to dispense beer with unregulated CO2 through a line that wasn’t rated for that much pressure. And what do I know, I’m a female, and he let me know that I was clearly just trying to sell him a regulator. After a while of this, I just told him what he was doing was unsafe and I couldn’t condone it. I have no idea if he blew himself up or not.

IB: What are some of the crazier things that have happened in the store?

When you’ve been in business for 17 years a lot of wild things happen. One summer afternoon when we were on 86th street a guy ran in the store and asked if we had a bathroom. So I directed him to the bathroom and he came back out walking rather calmly and just went on his way. Five minutes later an Indianapolis police officer ran in, flashed his badge, and asked if I knew the guy who just come in here and demanded to know where he was. I told him the guy had just used the bathroom and walked out. The office threw up his hands and exclaimed that the guy had “just flushed the drugs.”

There was a rainy night in December when we were still located in Broad Ripple. I was there late doing bookkeeping when there was a knock on the door. It was a homeless fellow we knew from the neighborhood with all of his possessions on his back. He asked if he could stay in our warehouse because it was raining and the area he stayed in down by the river was flooded. So I said sure and put him up in the warehouse and he stayed there until spring. That was quite a challenge because he didn’t understand that it was my warehouse and he shouldn’t do things like move my inventory around or start a fire in a keg to keep warm. My husband would go in to get inventory and the guy would look at him like what are you doing in my house? I brought over a heater for him but he took it apart and destroyed it.

The worst part was it was a rented warehouse and this fellow found some paint and decided to do some painting. He painted around the palettes on the floor and he painted the garage door. My landlord was the type of person who is perfect. His hair was all perfect, there was nothing off on his clothes, there wasn’t a gum wrapper in his car. So he drives up to his warehouse and his door is now a different color than the rest of it. So when the weather broke, I had to let him know it was time to leave. I would say no good deed goes unpunished.

IB: Any final thoughts?

One of the things I might add about homebrewing is that a couple years ago we went through a hop shortage. The market has righted itself, but there are still hops like Amarillo, Centennial, Citra, and Simcoe that are in very short supply. Most people who have been involved with homebrewing have never gone through rationing, they’ve always been able to get as much as they want. People get angry with us because we limit quantities. But the guy who buys three pounds of Citra in January, then makes money reselling it on the internet, shorts the guy who comes in and can’t get any in June.

I guess what I would want to tell homebrewers is we’re all in this together and to use those hops wisely. Those are such great hops and really wonderful as finishing hops, but don’t waste them on bittering just because you can. We want everyone to have a little bit. So we’ll all get along better if they understand we’re trying to please the most people with a limited supply.

The homebrewing scene in Indiana is really vibrant on several fronts. You have quite a few homebrew shops that are really good, and if you go to Chicago there may be three that are decent. In Indianapolis we have two, there is one in Fort Wayne, one in Evansville, and a couple in Bloomington. We go out and price shop and figure out if we’re high or low, but we don’t have everything and some things we just can’t compete on. But if you want a local shop around so that you can get fresh yeast in the summer, or get that little part you need when you’re brewing, then you need to support them.

Indiana Beer News June 12

SinkingShip Victory Beer Tap Take-Over, Wednesday, June 13, 7-9 PM [ bloggers will be on hand]
Tap List!
Saison Du Buff- A collaboration between Dogfish Head, Stone, and Victory. Get it here first!!!
Ranch R Double IPA
Donnybrook Stout
Mad King's Weiss
Headwaters Pale Ale

RAM brewery:
RAMAGEDDON 2012 release of Endgame Russian Imperial Stout Thursday night at the downtown Indianapolis location at 6 p.m.

RAM Growler Mania Continues
June and July $5.99 growler refills Seasonals $6.99 per refill. No refills in Fishers on Sunday.

Now on Tap @ RAM
Bayside Steam - California Common
Ghost King IPA
Barefoot Wit
Apocalypto Barleywine (Almost Gone)

SunKing Tasting Room:
House Beers:
Sunlight Cream Ale
Wee Mac Scottish Ale
Osiris Pale Ale
Seasonal Beers:
Firefly Wheat
Popcorn Pilsner

Brew Mile by Blue Mile at Flat 12 on Wednesday, June 13th, 6-7:45 PM
Your $5 entry gets you into the run/walk and one beer. All proceeds will go to fund running shoes for participants in Back On My Feet, a local charity that promotes the self-sufficiency of the homeless by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence and self-esteem. (
Thursday, June 14th: Kiwi Kiwi Hefeweizen Tapping at Brewery

Fishers Rotary is putting on an event mid-June that will allow Hamilton County residents to sample Indiana brews from SIX local breweries right in their own back yard. The event takes place on Thursday, June 14th and goes from 6:30 to 9:30 and will include tasting, hors d’ ouerves, games, beer education, live music and more. Location: Forum Conference Center

Thanks to the brewers for keeping us updated!

Beerio, GregKitz

Beerocracy II - The Wrath of Kahns

Kahn's Fine Wines and Spirits brought it back.. with vengeance!  Beerocracy II is a beer lover's dream. For two hours, there are FREE tastings of 40+ beers with the chance that Kyle (@Beer_at_Kahns) may open up a rare bottle for a taster's delight!  And a bonus! - if you are a K Klub member, you can participate in a raffle to purchase those limited edition beers that for regular consumers, you either have to be great friends with your liquor store or be willing to camp out for the chance to buy a bottle. What kind of rare beers -- How about Founders KBS, or Upland Gilgamesh or even 3 Floyds/Mikkeller collab - BooGoop for example. 

Back to the event... 

Beerocracy II delivered the goods big time with seven tables - 5 brewery specific tables and two from local distributors.   To give you readers the full scale of deliciousness available at Beerocracy events, I'm going to list everything that was available because I really feel that this event helps benefit those curious about craft beer. It also helps if you want to try a lot of beers not available at beer festivals without having to buy random bottles. (which is fun, I've done random beer tastings before many times) 

Without further ado.. to the List!
(Sidenote - number on the left is the order I tasted the beer in, comments will be underneath) 

Table 1: New Holland Hatter Day Celebration
- New Holland Mad Hatter IPA
3 New Holland White Mad Hatter
1 New Holland Rye Mad Hatter
Not overly rye flavored, smooth but complex
2 New Holland Farmhouse Hatter
6 New Holland Black Mad Hatter
delicious roasted flavor at the end 
4 New Holland Oak Aged Mad Hatter
5 New Holland Imperial Hatter

Table 2: Samuel Adams
- Sam Adams Summer Ale
20 - Sam Adams Norse Legend - Sahti  (Single Batch Series) 
not on the original line up - but was a special opened ale by rep
24 - Sam Adams Angry Orchard Traditional Dry Cider
25 - Sam Adams Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider
if you like a puckery sweet cider, this one is for you. 
26 -Sam Adams Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Cider

Table 3: Ciders
28 - Crispin Brut
30 - Crispin Browns Lane 
(was not a fan of this one, was a little bland)
29 - Crispin Honey Crisp

31 - Crispin the Saint (above) 
started out sweet and aftertaste of light maple syrup

Around the time I got to the Cider table ( since I didn't go in order, Kyle decided to share this goodie with the rest of the class
**  27 -The Bruery - Fruet  **
the Fruet is a 100% bourbon barrel aged old ale.
Smooth oak and vanilla goodness

Table 4: Cavalier & Kristalweizen Machtprobe! (showdown) 
I believe @CavalierBeerIN  was the pouring host 
17 - Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbeir
16 - Sixpoint Apollo 
I could see this as sitting on the deck, drinking many cans of this beer.  It was crisp and sweet. 
20 - Sixpoint the Crisp (Pilsner) 
15 - Sixpoint Sweet Action
22 - Breckenridge Summerbright
23 - Two Brothers Dog Days
18 - Founders Cerise
My love of Cerise is huge!  and I'm happy that the 2012 version is back to the original red pigment ale. 
19 - Williams Sir Perry
This table surprised me the most. It had a variety of beers that I typically don't gravitate to such as a Pilsner and the hefeweizens but everything here was something I could drink over and over again. 
Table 5: Sun King
Sun King Popcorn Pilsner
Sun King Sunlight
Sun King Osiris
Sun King Wee Mac
Sun King Sky Cake Aleger
Sun King Chaka
the only reason I didn't try any of these is because I've had them all already, and when I got to this table, I thought it best to not have more beer when I already tasted about 30+ 

Table 6: World Class
served by @mattworldclass 

14  - Bell's Third Coast Beer
9 - Kasteel Cuvee de Chateau 
not on the original line up, but added last minute as a replacement to the Brooklyn Summer Ale
Bell's Oberon
12 - Boulevard Zon
nice blend of the coriander with the pinch of orange citrus
Brooklyn Summer Ale 
was on original line up but didn't come out to play
Triton Fieldhouse Wheat
Triton Magnificent Amber
13 - Paulaner Hefe-Weizen
10 - Van Steenberge Gulden Draak 9000
I think it is unfair that something so creamy and delicious would have to be over 10% ABV, but that's a Belgian quad for you.
11 - Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
This IPA with a  140 IBU count had a nice grapefruit, slightly bitter overtone

last by not least
Table 7: Upland Brewing
served by @UplandCari

Upland Wheat
Upland Helios
7 -  Upland Maibock
I had this on draft at the Indianapolis Monthly Beerfest, to me it had a caramel coating mouth feel
8 - Upland Nut Hugger
In addition not on the lineup:
Upland Winter Warmer - BarleyWine 
Upland Infinite Wisdom - Tripel

And that was it!  I'm a little overwhelmed as I recap the beers available. See what you missed if you weren't there! Hopefully Kahn's will keep Beerocracy going and I'm looking forward to what they bring out in Beerocracy III.   I'm also hoping to see more ladies out to these events.  Out of 80 people who showed up about 10%, if that, were women.  Beer isn't just for men! :) 

Great job Kahn's! and readers if you need help in choosing some craft beer, please visit Kahn's  either downtown, on Keystone or up at North Willow. They are a great place to get started in trying new beer. 

- Kathleen

Bloomington Beer Fest Recap

It is estimated that over 1,000 participants and approximately 27 Indiana breweries and brewpubs plus about 10 non-Indiana breweries enjoyed staying cool in the shade of the Old Woolery Mill structure, Bloomington, IN, Saturday, June 9. While we hope to get a final entrant count this week, it seems there may have been twice as many people this year compared to a much hotter outside venue last year.

Brewers from Northern Indiana included Three Floyds (Munster), Crown (Crown Point), Bulldog (Whiting), Figure 8 (Valporaiso), Shoreline (Michigan City), Four Horsemen (South Bend), and Mad Anthony (Ft. Wayne) showing what a strong brewing community has sprung up to the North. There were a number of notable beers from the Northern brewers ranging not only from 3 Floyds Zombie Dust intensely hopped pale ale and Jinx Proof Pils a crisp, dry pilsner brewed in collaboration with staff from Washington, D.C.'s Jinx Proof Tattoos. The 3 Floyd's Belgian Style White with corriander and orange at 9% was a stand-out while the Black Heart English IPA was refreshing (a nod to Blackhawk Tattoo in San Francisco).

Eight-month old Bulldog Brewing of Munster,is founded by folks in the steel industry and a firefighter which seems fitting for "the Region" and the name comes from brewer Kevin Clark's nickname. This little brewery already was named 2nd best Microbrewery in the region by the Northwest Indiana Times newspaper, with 3 Floyd's named as first. Their surprising beer was a Maple IPA which was nicely balanced with distinct Maple flavor.

Our old friend Mike Lahti of Figure 8 Brewing (Valpo) is excited about the new building that opens this next week. Lahti was profiling their Scapegoat ESB on nitro which, of course, is so silky.

Both Crown Brewing of Crown Point and Shoreline Brewing of Michigan City could be proud of their GABF winners this year: Crown's Gold for English Mild and Shoreline's 2 bronze for Australasian Pale and for Scottish.

You may recall the FourHorsemen label when it belonged to now-gone Mish. Brewing but knowledgeable former beer distributors now own that brand as the name of their brewery which also has only been brewing since August. Their Irish dry stout at only 4.2% was a very solid session beer and they poured a pale, red, and wheat. Ft Wayne's Mad Anthony served a tasty imperial IPA

Of course Central Indiana was well represented from Peoples and Lafayette on the north to hometown brewers and many, many from the Indianapolis area. All 3 Bloomington breweries in Bloomington are undergoing brewery expansions with both Bloomington Brewing and Upland pouring some sour versions plus regular taps at this event while Cutters talked of an opportunity to grow slightly beyond their current limited distribution with a solid imperial stout as a flagship. HipKilla flowed as a special tapping from Peoples while Lafayette Brewing poured a crisp Dortmunder Star City Lager.

The picture at left shows brewer Jerry Sutherlin of Rock Bottom downtown Indy talking beer with Jeff Eaton, (sorry Jeff, I know that is the back of your head) owner and brewer of Barley Island. That Noblesville brewery was offering up a very tasty Damien Belgian Golden Strong + an Old Ale called Decrepit Old Man (9%).

Of course with well over 100 beers on tap it is not possible (or recommended) that one blogger taste them all! However, other beer notes included:

ZwanzigZ of Columbus had a really interesting chocolate ale. They have 8 beers on tap now at their restaurant.

The most senior brew-pub owner, John Hill, of Broad Ripple Brew Pub was himself pouring an Old Ale from a firkin (Mallard) that comes out only every few years. John claimed he had arrived early the day before to clean all of the hundreds of windows in the venue -- that's a joke because if you look closely you realize there is no glass in most of the windows. By the way KUDOS to Brewers of Indiana Guild for pushing a variance for use of this facility for a brew fest!

Half Moon brewery of Kokomo served their Kokomonster (profiled previously in a 9% old ale as well as a smooth vanilla porter. Plainfield, IN, Breweries Three Pints and Black Swan were there - I'd just visited DJ at Black Swan this past week and I return to his tasty Scottish.

Thanks to the large contingent of brewers from the greater Louisville area and Kentucky. Kentucky Bourbon Ale was on tap, Against the Grain offered a session smoked English Ale, and Bluegrass Brewing, now with Louisvillian but former Indiana brewer Eileen Martin proudly serving up the beer featured their solid Bourbon Barrel Stout. New Albanian of New Albany was well represented.

Lets give praise to three of the top craft breweries in the U.S. for sharing their beer! #1 craft Boston Beer Sam Adams served a Red, a Baltic IPA, and a barleywine as well as their current season Sam Adams. The Naked Bow barley wine was new to me and enjoyable.

#3 Craft brewery Bell's was represented as always and for this event #7 U.S. craft brewery New Belgian offered several including Tart Lychee barrel-aged sour beer, sith Lychee Fruit puree and cinnamon.
Bells, New Albanian, and Indy's thr3e Wise men are represented in the pic at right. Omar of Thr3e Wisemen offered me a sample of a dark complex beer so good I forgot to note it's name.
Boulevard beers (Kansas City), Hinterland (Green Bay), Mendocino (Northern Calif.), and Finch's (Chicago Land) were other out-of-state offerings.

Again, THANKS to Brewers of Indiana Guild for making this event happen, for pulling off getting it into the covered space, and for keeping things organized. THANKS to all of the brewers who provided free tastes!

Cheers to All! GregKitz

PS - more to come but 3 bloggers will meet at Sinking Ship Wednesday, June 13, by 6:00 PM

BrewFest Today, Bloomington

Today, Saturday June 9, will be a nice day for a drive to Bloomington for the Beer Fest sponsored by the Brewers of Indiana Guild at the Old Woolery Mill. Plenty of tickets are available.

You'll find sours from both Upland and Bloomington Brewery, several barrel aged beers and a good chance to meet and greet. This event will be under cover this year so not in direct sun!

The Old Woolery Mill is five minutes off of Indiana 37 just south of Bloomington on Tapp (also labeled "Country Club" Road. Take Tapp Road left (East) just 1/2 mile. Today 4-7

This is now the third major event per year sponsored by BIG and bringining together many Indiana Brewers. We were with brewers from Indianapolis and from 3Floyds in preparation.

Upland Sour Reserve Lottery / 2012 Indiana Brewers Cup

A few notes to pass along on Upland Sour Reserve #2 and registration for the 2012 Indiana Brewers Cup:

After the online reservations for Sour Reserve #1 sold out in less than two minutes, a lottery system is being employed for the release of Sour Reserve #2. To place yourself in the lottery, you will need to register at before 11:55pm on June 14th. Entrants will receive an email on June 15th to let them know if they won the right to purchase a bottle. Lottery winners will be able to purchase one bottle of Sour Reserve #2 at either the Bloomington Brew Pub or Indy Tasting Room between June 20th and July 4th for $25 + tax. Sour Reserve #2 is a blend of three lambic style batches from 2008.


Registration for professional and homebrewed beer is now open for the 2012 Indiana Brewers’ Cup. One of the largest and most prestigious competitions in the country, the Brewers’ Cup judged a record 1071 entries (310 professional and 761 homebrew) in 2011. You must register and deliver your entries by June 22nd to be eligible this year. Entries should be dropped off or shipped to Sun King Brewing (135 N. College, Indianapolis, IN 46202). Entries will be judged on Friday, July 6th and Saturday, July 7th at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Marsh Blue Ribbon Pavilion concluding with an awards ceremony on Saturday night. Homebrewers should note that this is now a qualifying event for the Master Championship of Amateur Brewing.

More information and online registration can be found at The event will need plenty of judges and stewards, and you can also sign-up to do either at the registration site. This is one of the rare competitions that pays judges, with local judges receiving $12.50 per session and judges who travel at least 50 miles one way and judge at least two sessions receiving a $100 stipend.

Cheers, Nathan

Around Fort Wayne - June 8

Belmont Beverage in the Time Corners Shopping Center is having a Summer Kick-Off Tasting today from 6p.m.-8p.m.  This is a FREE beer tasting featuring beers from Abita, Southern Tier and Victory to a name a few.  Come out and sample some beers and find a new beer to enjoy this Summer!  (Must be 21 yrs. of age and older with valid Government-issued ID.)

Cap n' Cork in Covington Plaza is having a FREE Head Southwest for Free Samples beer tasting today from 5p.m.-7p.m.  They will feature beers from Boulevard, Victory, and Blue Dawg to name a few.  Come out and sample some free beers and find a new beer or two or three to enjoy during this warm weather!  (Must be 21 yrs. of age and older with valid Government-issued ID.)

Dash-In in Downtown Fort Wayne has Three Floyds Pride and Joy back on tap for $4.00 and $3.00 on Thursdays.  Speaking of Thursdays, EVERY Thursday Dash-In offers $1.00 off all draft beers!!  Sounds like a good deal to me!

800 Degrees Three Fires is now open at 5215 Illinois Road (260-416-0005).  Click on this link for a story that was recently published in the Journal Gazette  They have 14 beer taps which when they opened last week included beer from Left Hand, Three Floyds, Upland, Dark Horse, Lexington Brewing Company, Tyranena, Southern Tier, North Coast, Founders, Flat 12, Stone, Bosteels in Belgium, Peroni, and Pabst.  Not only do they have a great beer selection, but their pizza is very tasty.  Nothing like a great tasting beer to go along with a great tasting pizza!!

Trion Tavern recently tapped the following beers:

Al-Dabeyoun by 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Framboise by Brouwerij Lindeman's
Black Hatter by New Holland Brewing Co.
Dragonfly by Upland Brewing Co.
Distorter by Greenbush Brew Co.
Delirium Nocturnum by Brouwerij Huyghe
Pannepeut - Old Monk's Ale by De Struise Brouwers
EKU Pils by Kulmbacher Brauerei AG
Tart Lychee (Lips of Faith series) by New Belgium Brewing
Zombie Dust by 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Liquid Fiction by Flat12 Bierwerks
E.S. Bam by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

JK O'Donnell's has tapped the Gnomegang, A Belgian Strong Pale Ale brewed by Ommegang in collaboration with Chouffe. We have this specialty beer along with the Chouffe Biere du Soleil in celebration of Gnome week. Remember to stop in tomorrow night for the world's tiniest toast at 6:66pm (7:06pm). We have some small Chouffe branded mugs to give away with the purchase of one of these fine special brews.

Remember, to check the Calendar section on this website for beer events in Indiana and beyond!!