Beers Across the Wabash - Version 2.0

 While contemplating exactly how I wanted to approach my review of Greater Lafayette’s 2nd Annual Beers Across the Wabash (BAW), it became clear to me how I have already managed to start taking craft beer festivals for granted.  I consider myself very fortunate to have the time and means to be able to attend these events at the frequency that I have.  What I realized is that not everyone has the opportunity to attend multiple craft beer festivals and, while I struggle to find the words to type about this event, I am extremely lucky to have been able to enjoy more than my fair share of amazing festivals throughout Indiana.  Lafayette’s Beers Across the Wabash was every bit as wonderful as the rest of them!

  First off, this year’s event was encompassed by greater Lafayette’s Craft Beer Week.  Beer & food pairings, beer & cheese pairings, tap takeovers, brewery tours and education, craft beer specials, and a craft beer brunch all served as a terrific compliment to this year’s BAW.  Big thanks to our host breweries, Lafayette Brewing & People’s Brewing, and all of our local businesses who supported Lafayette’s homage to craft beer.

  So after my long-winded confessional/epiphany and shout-out to those who made it happen, I suppose it’s finally time to discuss the actual event.  Being that Lafayette is where I call home, it’s difficult to present my opinion of BAW without some element of bias.  Twenty-seven Indiana craft breweries, incredible aromas coming from food served by local eateries (thank you D&R Market, Sgt. Preston’s & Lafayette Optimist Club), plenty of sunshine, scenic river & downtown view, local musicians entertaining the masses, great people, and hard-working volunteers were all to blame for the success of this year’s festival.  Add to this an improved layout of the breweries, which opened up room for additional seating and sun shelters, and you’ve got the makings of, excuse me, a damn fine celebration of Indiana craft beer.

  BAW 2013 was easily the most fun I've had at any of this year's craft beer events.  It was easily the least concerned I've been about the collection of pertinent information for this blog (apologies in advance).  It was easily the only festival I've attended where such self-proclamations as “I AM THE BUTTER COOKIE” could be heard rolling along the banks of the Wabash River.  Long story, you had to be there.

  So my usual shtick when it comes to blogging about craft beer festivals is to give some love to about 6 to 10 beers that stimulated my senses above all others.  Typically I don’t go into much detail or analysis in breaking down the specific characteristics of what made these beers enjoyable, I wouldn't want to trick anyone into thinking that I’m anything other than an amateur.  So, to enhance my list of favorites from BAW, I decided to recruit the help of a couple other festival revelers for a few of their favorites.

  So here they are for their moment in the Indiana Beer blog spotlight, Josh Martin and Eric VandeVoorde, present their collaboration of favorites from the festival.

Bier Brewery  Metro Session IPA - Balanced & dry across the tongue with a light body.
Flat 12 Bierwerks   Oak-aged Chipotle Cinnamon Scottish Ale - Rotating flavors of cinnamon and spicy peppers, light body. Color of Jurassic Park mosquito. Overwhelms all typical Scottish qualities but that's ok.
Tin Man Brewing  Snakebite Pear Shandy w/ Irish Dry Stout - Separation of color. Sour wild notes. Velvety mouthfeel.
People's Brewing  Mr. Brown pushed through filter of bourbon barrel chips soaked in port wine for 3 weeks - Hops from Mr. Brown on back end.  Wanting more bourbon flavor. Slowly grows on you as flavor builds in your mouth. Nice medium body.
Hunter’s Brewing  Thread Splitter IPA - Columbus hops only. Yum.
Carson’s Brewing  Psycho Pagan w/dry hopped centennial - Bright finish.  Hop varieties change w each new batch.
Big Dawg  Oatmeal Stout – Yum!
Big thanks to Josh and Eric for sacrificing their taste buds for the cause.  It’s a tasty job but someone’s gotta do it!

My far less descriptive favorites from the festival are as follows:
Flat 12 Bierwerks  – Oak-aged Chipotle Cinnamon Scottish Ale
Flat 12 Bierwerks  – Farmageddon Black Saison
New Albanian Brewing  – Community Dark English Mild
BIER Brewery  – Metro Session IPA
Powerhouse Brewing  – Jack the Bum Amber Pale
Upland Brewing  – Ard Ri Imperial Red Ale
Carson’s Brewing  – Psycho Pagan Pale
Hunter’s Brewing  – Ailbe Irish Blonde

  As I dug up additional details for my selections, I was somewhat surprised to discover that three of these beers fall into the category of session ales.  Now I don’t know about anyone else but I've been a bit on the skeptical side as to whether a session beer can pack the flavor and aroma that I crave from a craft beer.  In case you may have missed it, this was a topic of discussion between Greg & Nathan just a short time ago on the Indiana Beer site.  All I can say to this is that my favorites from this day speak for themselves, three out of eight is a pretty good percentage.  Hall of Fame material for baseball anyway.

  So let's put this long-winded piece of work to rest shall we.  Beers Across the Wabash in Lafayette, great beer, great people, great community, great....oh I think you get the picture by now.  Get over here next year as I'm sure Friends of Downtown will most certainly one-up themselves yet again for an even better craft beer experience.  Cheers!

Jason C. @oldbeerdork on twitter if your life just doesn't feel quite complete and you need that little extra.

***Coming Soon....Nathan, myself, & the one and only Poppi Rocketts head out on a brewery hopping Labor Day weekend road trip!***


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