On Thursday, September 6th, from 6p.m.-3a.m., there will be 12 Sun King beers tapped along with personnel from Sun King in attendance to answer questions and to hand out some swag. Here is the list and description of the beers which was provided to me by Adam Lepper, who is the Promotions and PR person for Trion Tavern. Thanks, Adam!!
Sun King beers to be tapped:
Sunlight Cream Ale - Sunlight has a smooth malt profile & a crisp, clean finish. Silver Medal, 2010 World Beer Cup, Golden or Blonde Ale. 5.3% ABV - 20 IBU
Wee Mac Brown (Scottish Ale) - This Scottish Style Brown has a nice hazelnut character with rich toffee undertones. Gold Medal, 2010 Indiana Brewers' Cup, English Brown Ale. 5.3% ABV - 23 IBU
Osiris Pale Ale - An assertively hopped west coast style pale ale. Every aspect of this beer is designed to showcase the hops without overpowering your taste buds. 5.6% ABV - 50 IBU
Firefly Wheat (Belgian Witbier) - A unique take on a Belgian Wit with locally produced Indiana honey. Firefly is brewed with orange peel & chamomile to compliment it's spicy clove notes. 5.0% ABV - 20 IBU
3 (Hoppy Black Lager Alt) - 3 is SK's third birthday present to themselves. Dark in color, yet light in body, 3 combines roast malt flavor with hoppy goodness & a crisp, dry finish. 6.1% ABV - 59 IBU
Grapefruit Jungle (American IPA) - With one pound of hops in every keg it's a hop lover's dream! It's named for the rich grapefruit characteristics of the three hops used to create it. 7.5% - 77 IBU
Oktoberfest - SK's take on the classic German Oktoberfest has a clean malty start with a slightly spicy hop note & a crisp, dry finish. 5.75% ABV - 22 IBU
Java Mac (Coffee-infused Scottish Ale) - SK's most popular coffee beer. It's a Scottish brown infused with locally roasted coffee. Gold Medal, 2011 Great American Beer Festival, Coffee Beer. 5.4% ABV - 23 IBU
Bitch'n Camaro (Imperial Rye IPA) - An Imperial IPA brewed with a hefty amount of flaked rye. SK used heavy doses of American Citrus hops to balance the spicy kick in the malt & give Bitch'n Camaro a big hop finish. 8.7% ABV - 89 IBU
Zaius Oatmeal Stout - Zaius is a creamy, dark roast oatmeal stout with a smokey twist. SK's good friends at The Smoking Goose smoked a portion of the malt with cherry wood specifically for this beer...it?s the touch that takes it over the top! 5.0% ABV - 27 IBU
Indiana Replicale 2012 (Farmhouse Ale) - This particular replicale is designed to showcase yeast & the important roll it plays in a beer's flavor. The base beer is an English Mild Ale, which is a very session-able and simple style of beer. SK chose to ferment with a French Farmhouse Ale yeast that imparts an earthy character and spicy notes with a bit of pepper on the finish. 4.0% - 20 IBU
Cream Dream V (Imperial American IPA) to be tapped at 8pm - A West-Coast Imperial IPA with tropical fruit flavors coming from huge citrus hop additions. The fifth edition to SK's Cream Dream series has a slightly dryer malt base to help showcase the hops. 9.0% ABV - 100+ IBU
Plus, $3.50 beers from all 58 taps!
The local craft beer is also showing up in Trader Joe's (my employer). Both Indiana stores carry Triton's Fieldhouse Wheat, Railsplitter IPA, and Magnificent Amber. Flat 12's Half Cycle IPA, My name is Amber, and Pogue's Run porter are also there. Upland's Dragonfly IPA, Wheat, and Bad Elmer's Porter are regulars. Three Floyds Alpha King and Robert the Bruce have also made brief appearances.
That's it for this time guys and gals. Cheers!! -D.Vern
THIS BLOGGER will look to see you at: the Beers and Bluegrass Festival TONIGHT in Franklin starting at 5:00 and until 9:00. Tickets are $20 at the door. Four of our Indiana breweries will participate: Flat12 Bierwerks, Fountain Square Brewing Company, Oaken Barrel Brewing Company, and Upland Brewing Company (as well as Mallow Run winery)!
Looks like Flat12 will be serving beer at Sullivan Hardware's EggFest at 71st and Keystone in Indy TOMORROW (8/25) 9AM- 3PM. The Egg refers to cooking on the Big Green Egg brand cooker/smoker/grill and there is entertainment, etc.
There is a CIBA/IndyCog Bike Swap Meet also Saturday (8/25) at the City Market with Flat12's Karousel Kolsch on tap
Also Saturday there is Beers Across the Wabash in Lafayette - Click and read the details!
on SUNDAY (8/26) Dozens of Indiana chefs, brewers, wineries and food artisans will gather in the park to celebrate all that Indiana agriculture has to offer at DigIN (click for details) Downtown Indy; Noon to 5:00PM at White River Park
And Bob of Flat12 passes on that we should find 6 packs of Flat12 Half Cycle IPA (bottles) in Indiana as they began distribution this week in Indiana (only)
Looking to the Future:
Friday, August 31st. Flat12 has Joe Brahma Coffee Brown Ale limited release (in their taproom)
September 6th RAM and Indiana State Fair Brewer's Cup Home Brewer of the Year Tom Wallbank announce the winning beer of RAM Every Day IPA Challenge, is released on at The RAM Downtown Indy location at 7 p.m. Join Tom and Ram brewer Andrew for a session IPA
Beers to us! GregKitz
Events where you can find Flat12 Beer! -
Beers and Bluegrass (Franklin) 8/24
EggFest (Indy) 8/25
IndyCog Bike Swap Meet 8/25 Karousel Kolsch on tap
Twenty Tap first anniversary party. 8/29
LaSalle Grill Beer Dinner. 8/30 South Bend
Heartland Film Festival Short Shorts Festival, 8/31 at Flat 12.
Joe Brahma Coffee Brown Ale will see a limited release (taproom) on Friday, August 31st.
Flat Jack Pumpkin Ale, previewed at DigIN this Sunday, will be released the week of September 3rd. This release will include draft and bottles.
Half Cycle IPA bottle release. 6 packs were released beginning the week of August 20th. Distribution will be Indiana only.
It’s time for Lafayette to join the summer beer festival carnival with Saturday’s Beers Across the Wabash. Mother Nature is even bringing back 90-degree temps for the occasion. But it should be a fantastic day, and if you miss out you’ll just have to rely on our review and that would be a shame. In case you missed the comment earlier this week, here is an update from Josh at Flat 12: Just a heads up. Flat 12, Sunking, and People's will be taking over the taps at The Black Sparrow immediately following the festival. We did it with people's after TAPs this spring and it was a blast so with the addition of SK it will only be an even bigger party. For those that don't know Lafayette is my home town so we pulled some special stuff out of the cellar. Look forward to seeing everyone there!
Speaking of reviews, I’m going to start trying to throw a few beer reviews in here when it seems relevant. This week I picked up the Sierra Nevada Best of Beer Camp variety pack to try the Imperial Red Ale (developed by Muncie’s Stan Stephens and Bob Cox). The aroma is dominated by citrus hop character with the type of fresh quality that can be difficult to find in bottled beer that has been sitting around a liquor store. Nice, but doesn’t reveal the complexity of the flavor ahead. The first taste smacks you in the face with an assertive bitterness that is followed by a wonderfully complex blend of caramel and raisin from the malt and heavy grapefruit with hints of pineapple, peach, and mango from the hops. The finish is dry with a lingering bitterness and slight alcohol warming.
Overall, I would prefer to have the bitterness toned down but this was still a very enjoyable beer. Among the other varieties, the Imperial Pilsner was very good (quite flavorful but possibly one of the smallest commercial “Imperial” beers at 5.6%). The Oatmeal Stout shows promise and would probably benefit from some aging – at a mere 9% ABV it apparently didn’t qualify for Imperial status. The Floral IPA brewed with rose hips and petals had a mild perfume character that wasn’t really my thing, but maybe I need another to get used to it.
From Anita Johnson of Great Fermentations and the Indiana Brewers Cup: The Broad Ripple Brewpub has a standing agreement with the Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup to do a collaboration with the home brew Best of Show (BOS) winner. The collaboration with the 2011 BOS winner, Chris Ingermann, with his Vienna lager will be tapped this Saturday, August 25th at 3 PM. Stop by and support the Brewpub, the Brewers Cup and Chris Ingermann by having a pint.
Gravity Head at New Albanian is still six months away on February 22nd, but the list of festival-eligible kegs is already taking shape. Five vintages of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, six massive brews from Great Divide, three varieties of JW Lees Harvest Ale, and many more. Hopefully the Mayan calendar is a few months off.
In a sign of the current times, Ball Corp. is closing two can plants in response to slowing global demand for 12-ounce cans. The company will focus more on specialty beverage can packaging, such as the Alumni-Tek bottles that were recently used for the Sun King/Oskar Blues Chaka and have been promoted by Coors Light.
Some good news on the apple forecast from the latest USDA Crop Report: A slight increase in production from Washington, the largest producer in the country, helps to limit the drop in overall production to 15% despite catastrophic forecasts from Michigan and New York. Also of note, forecasted hop production is down 5% while barley production is up a whopping 42%!
Our crazy homebrewing community has put a little steam behind an online petition for the release of the White House’s suddenly infamous Honey Ale recipe (thanks to Jason Mundy for the heads up). The petition has gained over 3000 signatures in five days, but must reach 25,000 by September 17th to receive an official response. You can sign the petition and view the current status here. You will need a whitehouse.gov account to sign the petition, which probably subjects you to yet another avenue for the government to monitor your activities. What, me paranoid?
A few random notes that
almost assuredly might interest only me. Beer name of the week - Nebraska Brewing Company is releasing an IPA called Romancing the Cone. I stumbled across another blog that is dedicated to covering three things: Punk, Beer, and Tacos! It’s such a wonderful feeling to finally locate my long lost brother……*sniff*
The battle to bring fictional Duff Beer to the masses continues. Two Colombian businessmen have been producing a beer using connected “f”s so they could claim the beer’s name was actually “DuH” when Rupert Murdoch’s minions came calling. Amazingly, the 20th Century Fox legal team was not fooled and the Colombian government shut down production, distribution, and sales of the beer. The brewers have vowed to defend their right to rip off cartoon products with Hagar the Horrible's frothy mug next on the agenda. Anyone else remember growing up with a strange attraction to Hagar’s daughter Honi? Yeah, nevermind…….
Cap n' Cork, (see Calendar for address), will have a FREE beer tasting from 5p.m.-7p.m. Come out and sample some beers! (Must be 21 yrs. of age and over with valid Government-issued ID)
Wednesday, August 29:
Deer Park Irish Pub http://deerparkpub.com/ (see Calendar for address) will be having their Summer Beer Tasting starting at 6:30p.m. They will have nine (9) beers and the cost is $5.00. The beers are:
Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Widmer's Citra Blonde Summer Brew
Breckenridge SummerBright Ale
New Belgium Somersault
Abita Strawberry Harvest Lager
Blue Moon Honey Moon Summer Ale
Thursday, August 30:
Belmont Beverage, (see Calendar for address), will have an End of Summer Tasting Event from 6p.m.-8p.m. Sample a variety of beers for FREE!! (Must be 21 yrs. of age or older with valid Government-issued ID)
It was another hot and humid day for the 2nd Brew Haven Craft Beer Festival that was held on Saturday, August 4th, at Trion Tavern in New Haven, IN. Despite the weather conditions and the eventual storms that arrived very late in the event, approximatley 1,500 thirsty beer drinkers showed up to partake in the 175 beers from 48 breweries in addition to 50+ homebrews provided by the MASH (Mad Anthony Serious Homebrewers) - Northeast Indiana Homebrewers.
Speaking of homebrewed beers, it has been reported to me that "Paul Till won the Inaugural Brew Haven Homebrew competition that had 97 entries from all over the country including California, Texas, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan. This competition was conducted by The MASH Club. The MASH Club also took home the first Brew Haven People's Choice award for best booth with Flat12 coming in a close second. (Rules for the People's Choice Award to be amended next year.)"
Even with the size of this year's attendance and more breweries this year, having two (2) tents sure made a difference from last year's event. It was easier to make one's way around versus everyone crammed into one (1) tent. Kudos to the organizers for two (2) tents!!
Of the beers that I sampled, my overall favorite was the Frangelic Mountain Brown from Founders. I enjoyed it so much that I had a second sample of it as it is a very smooth beer with hazelnut coffee, nutty, roasty, malty, sweet aromas and ditto for the flavor. The ABV (Alcohol by Volume) is 9%. This is definitely a beer that I would drink again!!
Thank you to Greg Jacquay, owner/operator Trion Tavern and to Adam Lepper, Chairman Brew Haven Planning Committee for putting on a great beer event again this year!
Mark your calendar for the 3rd annual Brew Haven Craft Beer Festival which will take place on Saturday, August 3, 2013!!
Here are some pics from the event. Also, check out Brew Haven's Facebook page for A LOT of pictures from the event (not taken by me).
11. Great beers from
All in all, I'm glad that I was able to represent the guild, represent IndianaBeer, represent as an Indiana craft beer drinker and give people information and inspiration to try something new.
|On my way to the fair!|
Keep an eye out for Sierra Nevada’s “Best of Beer Camp” 12-pack boxes hitting stores this month. The Imperial Red Ale inside was developed by Muncie’s Stan Stephens (owner of the Heorot Pub) and Bob Cox at last year’s Beer Camp. Their creation was selected as one of four beers to be included in the variety pack which also includes an Oatmeal Stout (quite large for the style at 9% ABV), Imperial Pilsner, and Floral IPA. If you can’t get your hands on a box, the Imperial Red Ale will be one of 20 Sierra Nevada brews tapped at the Heorot’s “beer school” on August 24th from 6-8pm. There is no charge for the event, but potential students are asked to sign up at the pub in advance of the festivities.
Congrats to Four Horsemen Brewing in South Bend for winning a bronze medal with their Irish Red in the US Open Beer Championship. The competition included more than 1650 beers judged in 65 beer style categories with Sweetwater Brewing in Atlanta winning the Grand National Champion award.
As we approach the season for Oktoberfest celebrations, word comes from Bell's that their annual Octoberfest seasonal brand will not be offered in six-packs this year. The construction and transition into their new brewhouse limited the required fermentation space, but the product will still be available on draft. In other Bell’s news, their seasonal and somewhat elusive Double IPA “The Oracle” will be tapped at 6pm tonight at Max's Place in Bloomington and at 5pm Friday at Gerst Haus in Evansville.
There may be some concerns on the horizon for fans of hard ciders. Michigan is estimating a 90% loss of their annual apple crop after the spring weather caused fruit tree buds to come out early and subsequently freeze. Indiana could also see our worst crop in over 50 years.
This week the White House admitted to operating a homebrewery that makes small batches of beer for special events. After reading just a few of the comments on the USA Today story, I’m not going to attempt a joke or even say another word about this. Take a deep breath everyone, it’s not always that freakin’ deep.
The term “craft beer” highlights the list of words and definitions added to the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Other notables include “gastropub”, “man cave”, and “sexting”. The list is rounded out with the ubiquitous “f-bomb”, which is likely utilized more frequently in the making of craft beer than its consumption.
The occasional odd/random request or announcement will hit my email, but this one was kind of a standout. In an effort to appeal to the younger audience, the folks at Roth IRA created Tom, the 25 year-old beer lover who can use their products to save enough money for a retirement skyscraper worth of beer that will provide a six-pack a day until he turns 100. I’m just guessing that most of us will need to buy a few things other than beer in retirement, but I have to applaud the effort here. It’s worth noting that the savings allocate 83 cents a beer, so you may have all you want but it probably won’t be Three Floyds.
A mother bear with three cubs reportedly ripped off the wall of a cabin in Norway and proceeded to consume over 100 cans of beer stored inside. The party continued as the bears finished off the cabin’s food and smashed the beds and kitchen appliances. The owner identified the culprits based on excrement on the outside of the cabin. So the ripped open wall wasn’t your first clue?
A startup brewery going by the name of Kinky Kabin in Bangor, Wisconsin (I couldn’t make this up if I tried) seems to have embraced the idea of taking sexuality in beer marketing to the next level. I’m not one to necessarily discourage such things (let’s not talk about some of my homebrew names), but the claim that their beers are “specially formulated to lower the inhibitions of the people drinking it” seems a bit obvious. There is a way to formulate beer to lower inhibitions. Most of us just call it fermentation.
Cap n' Cork (http://capncork.com/) located at 2799 Maplecrest Rd. will be having a FREE "End of Summer Tasting Event" beer tasting from 6p.m.-8p.m. Come out and sample some beers and perhaps find a new beer or two to enjoy this summer. Better yet, invite a friend who isn't familiar with craft beer and see what he/she thinks of craft beer!! ( Must be 21 years of age and over with valid government-issued ID)
Update on Mad Anthony Brewing Company OktoBEERfest on September 8:
Here is an updated list of the breweries plus 1 winery that will have beers/wines for sampling:
1. Black Swan Brewpub
2. Half Moon Brewery
3. ShoreLine Brewery
4. People's Brewing Co.
5. Sun King Brewery
6. Three Pints Brewpub
7. Brugge Brasserie
8. Broadripple Brewpub
9. Figure Eight Brewing
10. Fountain Square
11. Barley Island Brewing Co.
12. Bloomington Brewing Co.
13. Lafayette Brewing Co.
14. Rock Bottom Downtown (Indy)
15. Crown Brewing Co
16. Granite City Brewery
17. Cutters Brewing Co.
18. Bulldog Brewery
19. Flat 12 Bierwerks
20. Rock Bottom College Park (Indy)
21. Upland Brewery
22. McClure's Orchard/Winery
Tapping, Rock Bottom College Park, Indianapolis. Thanks to Liz and Jerry for NOT having their tappings on the same night! Aug 14, 6 PM Happy Pils - German style pilsner; Jerry's Cask Aged Ale (named IPA but just enough hops to be noticed, really) was delicious last week! Liz always has good pils.
Tasting, Yogi's, Bloomington. Several wheats (wits, weizens, American wheats) in comparison (free samples) Aug 14, 7 PM. In my back yard
Friday, August 17,
Tap Take Over - 8 taps of Flat12 Beer at Nick's English Hut, Aug. 17, 7 PM, yes the old college bar in Bloomington; also in my back yard
August 28, Rock Bottom Brewmaster's Golf Tournament.
Register at Black Tie use event code CWF828 or contact Rock Bottom College Park at email@example.com or 317.471.8840
Hopsolution Double IPA, Oracle Double IPA and Two Hearted IPA
Come out and drink some hoppy Bell's beers which goes very well with 800's pizzas!!
Many of the larger beer festivals for the summer are now in the rearview mirror, but you can still seize some summer memories at the Wine & Beer New Orleans Style in Fort Wayne this Saturday, the WAMM (Wine, Art, Music, and Microbrew) Fest in Greenwood on the 18th, or Beers Across the Wabash in Lafayette on the 25th. Hopefully everyone had a great time at Brew Haven last weekend. Congrats go out to Paul Till for winning the Brew Haven Homebrew Competition with a Vienna Lager.
Barnaby Struve of Three Floyds chatted with the Northwest Indiana Times about the new conference room and improved menu in the brewpub, the intent to expand their operation to Chicago, and the possibility of hitting Indiana’s small brewery production cap again in the near future. As part of their efforts to keep up with demand, and prevent corner liquor stores from bringing along “four homeless people” that buy the max quantity, the purchase limit for to-go beer has been reduced from six cases to two. If my math is correct, said liquor stores will now need to bring 14 homeless people to get their normal 30 case haul. Or maybe they’ll back off and let everyone have their fair share.
No blog around here is really complete without the requisite Tom Wallbank mention. This week, Tom’s homebrewing achievements were recognized by the Zionsville Times Sentinel. I wonder if the Times Sentinel realizes there are two national medalists in their backyard (cheers Mr. Meinzer).
Chris Ingermann’s 2011 Brewers Cup Best of Show Vienna Lager recipe will be tapped at the Broad Ripple Brewpub on August 25th at 3pm, and he recently sat down for an interview with Anita at Great Fermentations. On a side note, the late 19th/early 20th century Ingermann family brewery is mentioned in Bob Ostrander’s book on Indiana Brewing History and you can find additional information from Chris himself here.
Founders Brewing continues to have a variety of nonsensical problems breaking into new distribution markets. This time there is an issue with Breakfast Stout in New Hampshire. The child that is featured on the beer’s label (clearly using a bowl and spoon, not the typical way beer is consumed in my experience) violates the state’s liquor code that forbids any reference to minors on alcohol packaging. “Live Free or Die” eh?
Black Swan Brewpub got a dining review from the IndyStar and some recognition for sourcing local food. At the risk of going cheerleader, this place is seriously worth a visit for some quality food and brew. Chef Nick is a pretty cool guy, and where else can you get fries tossed in truffle oil and parmesan with a bacon aioli dip?
Reciting sales figures can get a little old, but the recent Brewers Association announcement that craft beer sales were up 14% by dollars and 12% by volume in the first six months of 2012 is pretty impressive. Can this type of growth be sustained? I’m somewhat optimistic, but the 1252(!) breweries currently in planning had certainly better hope so.
Because the bigger sites like to rip off my ideas (just kidding bigger sites), BeerPulse has asked their readers to vote on if they think Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams) is a “craft” brewery. Since I frequently
rip off link articles from BeerPulse (see the Founders story above), I’ll let it slide this time. The results: 52% consider it craft, 40% don’t consider it craft, while 8% took the time to vote because they’re indifferent. Apparently “just get back to shoving beer news down my gullet blogger boy” wasn’t an option.
You might be very relieved to learn that Bud Light has renewed their partnership with “worldwide hit-maker” Pitbull. Because nothing spices up your light lager like a little boom, boom, boom, boom. Dale!
1) Doomsday Scenario Imperial Red at the RAM in downtown Indianapolis at 6:30.
2) Cask Conditioned Ale @ Rock Bottom downtown Indy 6-10 (or as long as the beer in the cask lasts)
3) 500 Monks Belgian Strong at Triton near Lawrence at 5:00 PM.
I plan to at least make it downtown tonight! Hope you make it out
Belmont Beverage, 10311 Illinois Rd., will be having a Taste of Indiana event starting at 6p.m. They will have beers from around the state of Indiana available for sampling. This is a FREE event. (Must be 21 yrs. of age or older with valid Government issued ID).
Cap n' Cork, 6712 E. State Blvd., will be having a FREE beer tasting from 5p.m.-7p.m. They will be featuring beers from Boulevard Brewing Company to sample. (Must be 21 yrs. of age or older with valid Government issued ID).
Starting Tuesday, August 14, and for the remainder of August:
JK O'Donnell's Irish Ale House, 121 Wayne Street, will be celebrating their 5 Year Anniversary. They will have some limited edition Anniversary glassware for sale (each glass comes with a free draft beer inside) according to their Facebook page.
Saturday, August 25:
AleFest Dayton ( http://www.alefest.com/dayton.htm) takes place from 2p.m.-5p.m. at Carillon Historical Park. $35.00 in advance ($40.00 day of the event)
The price of admission includes 20 samples of craft beer, tasting glass, sampling guide, live entertainment, and raffle entry for a Yuengling Brewery trip.
Designated driver/non-drinker $15.00 and are purchased at the gate. The cost includes a bottle of water and an AleFest sampling glass as you exit.
Check out their website for more information about this event and for the list of breweries that will have beers to sample. (Must be 21 yrs. of age or older to attend).
|Home Brewing Co|
Please help welcome Indiana City Beer; support your local breweries so that we can continue to grow Indiana's beer presence to the nation.
This past weekend marked the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Festival in Ypsilanti (near Ann Arbor) and served as a celebration of the Guild’s 15th anniversary. And they know how to throw a good party – two days with sessions covering Friday night and Saturday afternoon, 62 breweries, and over 500 different beers. Huge thanks to Jim and Joe from Liberty Street Brewing for taking on a couple brewery volunteers from the Hoosier state for the big weekend!
The first destination on our beer agenda was a pit stop at Dark Horse Brewing just off I-69 in Marshall to get some lunch. Dark Horse is notorious for bringing an obscene number of beers to the festival (I counted 51 this year) so predictably there weren’t a lot of specialties left around for visitors to the taproom. But it was pretty hard to argue with a pumpkin seed cilantro pesto, artichoke heart, sausage, tomato, spinach, and mozzarella pizza. My first experience to Dark Horse on a brewery trip years back found a low-key trailer filled with artifacts that would make you think of a massive garage sale held by a child of the 80s. The trailer is now jam packed with tables and the growing popularity of their mug club has taken control of the interior decorating. The lot now includes a separate general store and tattoo parlor with future plans for a creamery, candy shop, bakery, and distillery in the works.
The festival features only Michigan breweries and includes certain Indiana bottle shop fixtures like Bell’s, Dark Horse, Founders, and New Holland. But these breweries (along with Short’s, which only distributes within Michigan) tend to attract some insane lines at the festival. So we mostly avoided them with the exception of a few visits during the VIP hours. We did get some Founders Imperial Stout which ranked among the standouts along with Arcadia cask Baltic Porter, Liberty Street 42nd Parallel Double IPA, Michigan Beer Cellar Uncle Krunkle’s Dunkel, North Peak Vicious Wheat IPA, Odd Side Mayan Mocha Stout, and Sherwood Daytripper Trippel. Many breweries also brought a 15th Anniversary Ale, which apparently was considered a “strong Pale Ale” but seemed to leave open plenty of room for interpretation among breweries.
So how does it compare to our festival? One major difference is that Michigan requires tokens to be exchanged for samples. Admission includes just 15 tokens, but additional tokens can be purchased for 50 cents each and the exchange is not always rigorously enforced anyway. There is a VIP hour before each session, but you cannot buy a ticket for it. You’d need to join the Guild as an “Enthusiast Member” or find a nice brewery you can volunteer with for access. There is an overwhelming amount of beer available at this festival and the quality across the board is fairly exceptional. The downside is the crowd size, particularly during the Saturday session. The lines are pretty bad for the well-know breweries, so we find it quite a bit more enjoyable to try new things from smaller breweries rather than stare at someone’s back all day. Riverside Park in Ypsilanti provides a decent amount of shade and a simpler, more intuitive layout than we had this year in Broad Ripple.
One thing I definitely want to give Michigan some credit for is the convenient placement of composting and recycling receptacles throughout the festival grounds. Volunteers from the High Five Program and Sweaty Mouse Green Team were present and actively encouraging participants to help the Guild work towards their goal of “zero waste” for the festival. All cups, plates, and utensils used were biodegradable. This was great to see and I really hope that Indiana will start to adopt some of these practices for our festivals next year.