Maximizing Your Winterfest Experience


When a major beer festival event approaches, bloggers (and major media outlets jumping on the trend) often mistakenly believe we have some pearls of wisdom which must be shared with the festival-attending world. Sometimes they’re good, and sometimes you might wonder if they’re cynically insulting your intelligence. For the general audience of this site, I’m going to assume the concept of a beer festival is not foreign and that you’ve been blessed with a lick of common sense. So we’ll skip covering earth-shattering territory like “eat a big meal”, “marathon not a sprint”, or “call a cab”. While Winterfest has a generous schedule of 4 hours, or 5 for Early Bird tickets, you’ll probably be checking the time in stunned disbelief when last call is announced. So these tips will focus on helping you make the most of your festival time. Because the decisions you make are always accompanied by an opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost: In microeconomic theory, the opportunity cost of a choice is the value of the best alternative forgone, in a situation in which a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives given limited resources. In Winterfest theory, the limited resource is your festival time, and the best alternative forgone is the beer(s) you were unable to try. To minimize the painful regret of forgone alternatives, I submit these tips to help you have a wonderful day while building a foundation for an even greater 2014 as a craft beer drinker.

If you have Early Bird tickets, rock the hell out of that first hour. You paid a solid premium for that 2-3pm hour, make the most of it! With the smaller crowd size, many of the other tips on this list do not apply during Early Bird hour. This is the time to hit the big names like Sun King and Three Floyds. Be on the lookout for Upland Lambics and other specialty beers that will be in high demand later. You’ll probably see other people you know, but don’t get sucked into too much socializing. This hour will fly by. Everyone else will just have to understand if they move down your list of priorities for 60 minutes.

Expand your geography. You may love your local brewpub for good reason. But don’t spend a lot of time drinking the same beer you’ll probably drive down the street to get next Friday. Make it a point to hit breweries and brewpubs you aren’t able to easily visit – it just might inspire you to plan a spectacular road trip this summer. This is especially true for Indy area residents. My first experience with Bare Hands was a sample of their Thai.p.a. at last year’s Winterfest. That sample inspired a road trip and ultimately selecting the beer as my choice for Best Indiana Craft Beer in 2013. Don’t miss out on finding yours tomorrow.

Expand your boundaries. Mixing in a wide variety of styles throughout the beer sampling itinerary helps keep the beers fresh in my mind and makes it easier to sort out favorites at the end. I’ve heard people suggest this would be a great time to try a bunch of the same beer style and decide which brewery has the best IPA, stout, porter, etc. Without the ability to place these samples side by side, I think it just leads to palette fatigue. Was that 19th IPA really more bitter than the 12th??? Take some risks, try some new things, and mix it up to keep your tasting senses sharp. If you try a new style and aren’t thrilled initially, don’t dump it after the first sip. You can’t properly evaluate most beers based on one sip. Unless it’s just really, really bad. Then find the nearest disposal opportunity by all means necessary.

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Short lines do not equal bad beer. Don’t be afraid of short lines – they’re your best friend and will be in “short” supply during the peak hours of Saturday afternoon. While everything will be fairly busy, there is often a markedly shorter wait for beers from newer breweries outside the Indy area, traditional brewpubs, and any brewery exiled to the outdoor area. Wait times at the firkin tent are often surprisingly reasonable as well.

Don’t overdo the Replicales. Not because they aren’t good (many are probably great). But it’s a matter of considering our friend opportunity cost again. If you’re not familiar with the Replicale, it is a one-off (usually high alcohol) brew that offers breweries the chance to put their own spin on the same base recipe. I’ve spent a few festivals trying a large number of Replicales, and you ultimately look back and realize you spent a lot of time and sobriety drinking beers that a) taste similar by design and b) you won’t be able to buy in the future even if you love them. It’d be fun to sit down with many of these beers side by side and focus on the nuances between them, but this isn’t practical on the battlefield of Winterfest. I’d rather focus on finding the beers that will inspire my future beer purchasing and brewery visit decisions.

Don’t overdo the special tappings. If your favorite brewery is breaking out that super rare beer you’ve been dying to try, by all means, get in line for that beer and cherish the memory. But if you’re constantly hitting special tappings just for the sake of special tappings, you’ll spend a lot more time standing in line than sampling beer (though I suppose it gives you plenty of time to check-in and brag about that last special beer on Untappd).

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Have a “pee break” strategy. Hey, it does make a difference if you’re trying to avoid wasting time. If you wait until the 4:30-6:00 time period to hit the facilities for the first time, you’ll find that quite a few festival patrons had the same idea. I suggest trying to hit it early, and then power through until that last hour when things start to thin out a little. Of course, if you have the type of bladder where “breaking the seal” must be avoided at all costs, this strategy will be of little use. But there may be other alternatives………

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As a final tip, did you know the State Fair allows guests to leave cars at the Fairgrounds overnight for this event? OK, I said this blog wasn’t going to cover the “get a cab” tip. But the overnight parking option may not be common knowledge. Taking a vehicle down, finding alternative transportation home, and getting your vehicle the next day sounds like a might fine idea to me. Have fun, be safe, and try some great beer. Cheers!

- Nathan

Outliers Brewing Co: An opportunity to exercise creativity

The latest big brew business, and soon to be brewpub, in Indianapolis is Outliers Brewing Company. Located off Massachusetts Avenue, you’ll find the brewery just as E North St. and N Park Ave. form some semblance of a right triangle with Mass Ave. For those of you who don’t get excited about the scattering of oblique roads in Indy, or who are as lazy as me, plug “534 E North St, Indianapolis, IN 46204” into your GPS. I have been a long-time fan of the Brugge Brasserie due to its emphasis on the craft beer and culinary creations from such a unique culture. Although Ted Miller’s work at Brugge was integral to its success, his latest steps with the creation of Outliers afford him the ability to depart from a somewhat linear focus of European beers. I see Outliers as his opportunity to further exercise his creativity within the burgeoning American beer scene that is composed of an aggregation of styles from around the world. Ingenuity further exemplifies the difference between “European brewing” and “American brewing” as we enjoy pushing stylistic limits with coffee additions, unruly amounts of hops, and whatever the brewer can imagine (wasps?).

Needless to say, I was obviously interested in checking out the new brewery during their grand opening celebration. Although the location is quite close to Mass Ave, I found parking nearby to be arduous. If I was spending a decent amount of time on Mass Ave, I wouldn't mind parking at one of the meters. However, if I’m just looking to pick up a growler from the brewery I feel my meter money would be better spent compounded to my tip. Unfortunately, a $10 growler, parking fees, and decent tip for hopefully being able to sample some beers, would quickly add up. Upon trekking through the snow-laden streets to get to the brewery, I realized parking troubles may have been contingent with it being a Friday night and the enormous crowd that surprised me as I walked inside. The brewery is located in a fairly large warehouse that offers what appears to be substantial space to accommodate any similar events they may be interested in hosting in the future.

Initially, I was overwhelmed with the sheer size of the inside of the brewery. I didn’t expect Outliers to be producing such a large quantity of beer from the kickoff. I later discovered Outliers was estimating a capacity of 3,000bbls a year. I soon found some friends and we made our way to the beer line to grab some pints. With no beer list to be found and the roar of the crowd too much to ask specificities regarding whether their pilsner resembles a German, Bohemian, or Classic American Pilsner, I was somewhat indecisive. My girlfriend quickly assisted me by reminding me to be parsimonious with my time due to the long line and to cut the pretenses because I was probably going to order the Pilsner anyway (I was).

Because of Ted’s tenure, I did not expect to find any noticeable off-flavors in his beers and my expectations manifested as truth once I tried their Pilsner. After drinking canned Bitburgers and Pilsner Urquell’s earlier in the week, my standards were admittedly quite high. However, our group got together and discussed the qualities of each of the four beers:

1.) Blau Machen Pilsner - The aroma consisted of a floral hop profile and the malt backbone was somewhat substantial, leading me to associate it more with the Urquell than Bitburger.

2.) Whitcomb Rye – I found this to be another interesting take on a light, fairly dry, and refreshing sessionable beer. The Rye added just enough complexity to make the beer more unique than the other light yellow/blond fizzers you’ll find around town.

3.) County Brown – Envisioning an American Brown, or maybe Northern English Brown, I was taken aback by the startling amount of roasted malt in this beer. Seemed to be more like an English Mild with its medium-light body that, despite being dark and roasty, beckons you to drink more than a couple.

4.) Buffalo Jacket IPA – Although you’re in Indiana, you can’t expect every hoppy beer to be Floydian in nature and to blow your palate to hell and back after one sip. This well-balanced IPA has a pleasant malt profile that, in my book, is an outlier from the abundance of examples that bombard you with excessive amounts of crystal malt.

Decidedly, all of the beers were modestly carbonated. This translated to the Pilsner, Whitcomb Rye, and IPA being a little smoother than I would have expected or preferred. However, it worked out pretty well for the County Brown, a unique style that isn’t overstated in our state's craft beer scene. Most importantly, I must applaud Outliers for brewing a sessionable gateway beer that is distinctive from a corny Cream Ale! Someone please remind my why I can’t get a locally brewed Kolsch in Indianapolis when our sister city is Cologne, Germany?

I planned on staying longer, but as the crowd rapidly grew and after the same couple elbowed my girlfriend into me for the fourth time as they tried to cut in the middle of the line, we decided we had enough training for the Winterfest crowd and departed. Overall, I believe I had quite a positive experience at Outliers sharing beer with friends. My intention is to return when The Owner’s Wife opens, depending on whether they have decent vegetarian options. If attending the brewpub for food doesn’t work out for me, I’m sure I will see their beers around town. However, with so many interesting beers on tap these days, it will be entertaining for the consumers to see how the growing battle for Indy’s taps plays out.

Check out Outliers Facebook page for pictures from the event and news updates -

Winterfest '14, Brewers of Indiana Guild, Feb. 1.... some beer highlights

Winterfest for the Indiana Brewers Guild is just around the corner (Feb. 1, Champions Pavilion, Indiana State Fairgrounds -- see below for HOTEL info) and we’ve been asking brewers and reps what they will be sharing. Here are some of the answers:

Head Brewer Rob of Flat12 Bierwerks, Indy, got his brewing staff into a Mexican theme to bring at least 16 different beers with a Mexican concept. Earlier this month Rob showed me his “Whorechata” (a take-off of Mexican rice milk called “Horchata”) fermenting away with rice, almond flour, lactose, vanilla, and cinnamon. He had already shared they would be bringing last Summer’s French Saison aged 6 months in Anejo tequila barrels (8%). Here are a few of the other Flat12 offerings:
Centeno Grande Imperial Rye spin of Pogue’s Run Porter with Mexican Pilocillo sugar (8%) and a version with toasted coconut and cocoa nibs. Pedro Gordo Replicale Owd Gordo old ale infused with Ancho and Guajillo chilis. (9.8%). Tepachedor IPA, a tropical IPA with coconut and pineapple.

And for the more traditional drinker there is BIG Owd Gordo, which Rob gave me a taste of earlier this month. A smooth and spicy old ale aged in top-shelf Blanton’s bourbon barrels (10.5%) . And for hop heads the 1024 Winter Replicale becomes Massive Retaliation American stout with Galena, Calypso, & Chinook then dry-hopped with Simcoe and Citra. Rob was keeping this a secret when we connected 2 weeks ago but today they published the list click here to read the list

We know Black Acre Brewing, Indianapolis, will also have a theme but they are keeping it under wraps for now!

Bloomington Brewing Co. brings eleven beers including their delicious Winter Ale, the recent Ol’ Floyd’s Belgian Dark Strong with complexity and a raisin sweetness, the smooth and balanced with spiciness Rye Barrel Roggenbier collaboration with Black Acre, a Bourbon Stout which is also smooth with wonderful vanilla notes, Krampus Dark Strong Ale which has local hop lovers talking with a piney hop scent and citrus notes ending in a smooth finish, a Bourbon Replicale ’13, plus regular pours: Ruby Bloom, Quarrymen Pale, award winning Rooftop IPA, Java Porter, and RyePA.

Upland offers at least 10 beers including two new ones and some special pours of sours. Coast Buster Imperial IPA is part of the new Upland Side Trail Series to be released in February and is obviously a big hoppy beer with Simcoe, Amarillo, Columbus and Cascade hops shining through with tropical and fruity flavors and dry finish. This will also be offered in a pin with Citra hops. Their recent tart Berliner Weisse, Wolf Eye, will be poured and truly offers wonderful tartness and lots of flavor. Also new is the Spicy Nuts, a version of NutHugger brown ale with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove for a really complex flavor. For barrel aged beers Upland will tap the BBL Teddy Bear Kisses Russian Imperial stout which I love on the barrel and a Bourbon Barrel warmer. In addition they will pour Dragonfly, Wheat, Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA, and Champagne Velvet.

Daredevil will build on its portfolio as last year they were new enough just to pour Lift Off IPA while this year we expect Rip Cord Double IPA in a cask as well as regular, Muse Belgian Golden, Carnival Saison, and JWP American Stout – a rich, delightful just-short-of chewy chocolate pudding kind of a stout.

Carson’s of Evansville has opened since last year and should bring their flagship Brown Cow, biscuit nutty brown ale, their Eville (get it) American wheat, RIPA Red IPA with Pacific Northwest hop flavors, and they just tapped a Saint Carson’s “Tripel Quad” (brewed with barley, wheat, oats, and rye with candy sugar added for 11.5%) which was bubbling when I visited them recently so hope it makes it to Winterfest!

At Figure 8 Brewing, Valpo, brewer Mike Lahti will be doing the first ever release of Intergalactic IPA with Galaxy and Mosaic hops. In addition, he promises to bring Dogma Dubbel which mixes German with Belgian styles, which will pour with Snake Pro Double IPA and Pirates Pils (Czech and German hops). Figure 8 will also pour Raven Tor Oatmeal stout carrying a blend of six grains, and Ro Shampo Imperial Red – one Lahti’s known for at 89 IBU and 7.5%. In addition, he’ll have a pin of Black Corridor Choc Imperial Stout.

Zwanzigz of Columbus, IN, will, of course, pour the Ghost Pepper Imperial Stout that made its debut at Winterfest ’13, along with their flagship Chocolate and Blueberry beers. In addition, brewer Mike has Barrel aged some of the chocolate beer so expect a treat, and remember this chocolate ale is a translucent ale, not a stout. In addition, Mike made a German style Eisbock from a lager. Zwanzigz will also bring a barrel aged old ale replicale for the specialty tent.

Bell’s will have some specialty beers this year! Bells will pour Wheat Love, a 7.7% wheat wine which has not been seen since 2005. Those who have tasted this report it is somewhat akin to a German Weizen but clearly ‘bigger.’ Bell’s will also offer Smitten golden rye a newer seasonal take on an American Pale ale, Hopslam, and Harvest Ale, and we hope some Expedition Stout makes it to counteract the cold weather.

Over 80 breweries + distributor World Class Beer's Malt Shop of unusual beers will make this an event to remember. A host of new breweries include Indianapolis' Planetary and Outliers.

Here is the complete Brewery List

Winterfest is sold out online, but some tickets may be available at Big Red Liquor stores or by trade using twitter #winterfest

Early birds will get in at 2:00 and general public at 3:00. The event runs until 7PM

Beer Fans, there are still hotel rooms available at Sheraton City Centre, official Winterfest hotel. Stay where the brewers stay! Great discount and located in the heart of Indy. Here's your reservation link: Click here for reservations Click RESERVE for your BIG rate.

Cheers and hope to see you there!


What makes you go to to a local craft brewery?

I've been rattling these thoughts in my brain for a while now, more so with the recent addition of more and more craft breweries filtrating and saturating Indianapolis and surrounding area.  First off, it is great that craft beer has taken on a success that so many people want to be apart of and share that passion. It is also great that there is still the market for craft beer, otherwise why would so many banks approve business loans for the making.

However, as a drinker, I'm beginning to wonder if all these breweries really are great news after all, especially if they are going to bring around the same styles, done up with different names and try to draw in a crowd to their brewery over pale ale or that stout.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good solid made stout. Nothing makes me linger and enjoy ever sip as a smooth, well malted and balanced stout goes down my throat on a cold day. The thing is, these days my time is short, so unless these  new breweries have created the best stout ever known to Indianapolis, chances are I probably won't visit. Unless I'm in the mood for a brewery tour or to network with new brewers or take my friends out around town.

My decision these days to go out to breweries for visits rests more on finding beers that aren't normally produced in Indianapolis. They are generally not the "norm". Flat 12 Bierwerks is famous for pushing the edge and going to different levels with their beers. Now, they have their house beers, but they also have their beers that draw the eye and pique the curiosity.

An example of me searching out the different beers, is going all the way down to Columbus simply for the chance to get a pint of Zwanzigz Ghost Pepper Infused Imperial Stout.  Or I'd travel all the way to Great Crescent to try their Coconut Porter on tap. Those are what drives me to breweries. Those are the bottles I buy at Kahns or Payless or Crown Liquors.

It may be hypocritical to say I'd still travel to New Holland, or Founders or to Dogfish Head to try their beers and yet maybe never try all the Indianapolis breweries beers, due to those breweries being more established. I may even be short changing myself by not making  it a point to go out to the new breweries more and more often.

I'm not saying I'll never get out to visit, take pictures and sample, but new breweries - What are you going to do to get people in the door? And fellow readers - What makes you go to a local craft brewery?

- Kathleen

New Micro in Bloomington; Function combines gastro-pub with many taps.

Steve has always had a dream... as many home brewers do Steve wanted to open his own brewery. Arlyn, his wife, is really into food. Quite some time ago the two decided to live the dream, seeing what will happen.
As many who have followed them on Facebook for many months know, it has been quite a process making the dream a reality. Yet, this week Function Brewing, 108 E Sixth Street in Bloomington, just a block from the trendy town square, opens officially serving a host of small plates and a wide variety of beers.

So I asked myself, what might differentiate Function from all of the other micro- and nano-breweries opening everywhere. Consider location, ambiance, experience, and taste.

What may 'sell' this place is the combination of location and decor! Don't get me wrong the beer will be solid, we will get to that. The menu looks astonishing. But there are few truly 'classy' local pubs with reasonable prices. Steve and Arlyn 'rescued' an old facility (with the help of the property owner) exposing brick, hand crafting their own table tops and bar, carefully applying color to the walls, and making this place a counterpoint to The Tap, which is currently the classiest beer bar for 50 miles (I think I've been to all in that radius) and it is on the opposite end of the Bloomington town square. Just the right touches makes the place comfortable and classy while still allowing kids in case friends can't get a babysitter.

Location, steps from the Bloomington square (1/2 block) and across from one of the city's many art galleries. This can be a great venue for those coming into town for a weekend as well as for locals looking for one more place with good beer and wine.

Local... local, hand-crafted beer. Steve Llewellyn is an early member of the local Hop Jockeys home brew club that have nearly science-based meetings (including talks by some I.U. based PhD folks on their subject). Okay, at times a bit nerdy for me but this has steeped Steve in sharing some of the best concepts in brewing. Steve will stay busy on a 2 bbl system but has the opportunity to change up beers frequently.

Ah, the beer.... I tasted a smoked porter that was delicious. This porter offered a light smoke with a nice smooth base beer and a decent amount of roastiness concocted of Magnum and Willamette hops and a variety of malt including some chocolate, Munich, and peated malt at 5.8%. Having a large number of taps (coolest tap handles in town, too) of fresh local beer is a big plus. For opening they plan 9 beers from a Falconer's flight single-hop pale to a Belgian pale, an IPA with five hops, a milk stout, a coffee milk stout and more. All are at a reasonable price, with opening prices at $4 per pint.

The small plates menu includes a cheese and charcuterie plate, a dip trio, a goat cheese and fig-onion jam on crostini, dips, salads, home-made soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and more all under $15. The menu asks vegans and vegetarians to discuss their needs with their server.

Grand Opening? Wednesday, January 29!

Hours: Wed. Thur. 3-10 PM; Fri. 3-midnight

Sat. 11 AM - midnight; Sun. 11 AM - 9 PM

Function, waiting in style
to get busy!

cheers to success!

Greg Kitz

Random musings

Twenty Tap (Indy) makes a list of 40 Best Beer Bars in America. article

Exit 6 brewpub in St. Louis gets a cease & desist from Starbucks for naming their beer frappucino. Will stop using the F word. Sent their 6 buck profits to *bucks. Excellent sarcasm alert. article

Beer used to put out truck fire. Hero = Coors. article

Do ya need a wall-sized US map of breweries? Well, do ya, punk? No, really. It’s quite up to date. info

What? Dry alcohol? “Beer is typically about 95% water, which makes it heavy, cumbersome, and expensive to transport. But with our innovative and modern brewing process (patent pending) we can create a nearly waterless  concentrate that contains all the great flavor, alcohol, and aroma of a premium quality micro brew.” you guess ‘em


German brewers fined 106 million euro for price fixing. A-B turns state’s evidence. sad article

New German hops. article 

16,000 bottles of prototype BrewDog have been stolen from warehouse in England. Moshi Moshi 15, Interstellar, Hobo Pop. article

New beer in Iceland contains “whale meal”. Raises ire. Not to mention gag reflex. article

Bloggy stuff:

A hotel in PA is decorated with 83,000 beer cans. Pictures

How to Sneak Beer into Sporting Events. Sandals to iFlasks

Man Tried to Trade Live Alligator for Beer. Yep, it’s Florida

Beer Can Cars. Okay, make the Beer Can Model Cars. pictures

BigBurger Beer BloodyMary LabatsUSA 
Brewed by Coors

RainbowBeer SomethingWeisse

IndianaBeer Group Tasting and Reviews – Winter Warmers

My wife likes to say I shouldn’t worry about things I can’t control. It’s a nice sentiment but never seemed very logical to me. I’ll just do something about the things I can control, so what else is there to worry about? Well….when you’re trapped firmly in the death grip of this motherf%@*er of a winter, one of the few things you can control is the seasonal beer you choose to consume. And that brings us to the next IndianaBeer group tasting.

Hosting a tasting of “Winter Warmers” seemed like the perfect cure for my mid-January blues. Perfect until you get to the liquor store and face the question: “What exactly is a Winter Warmer anyway?” An Old Ale? An English Barleywine? A spiced holiday ale? To allow for some diversity (and avoid the dreaded style snob label), the rather loose definition of stronger winter seasonal, spiced or unspiced, will be applied here.

The lineup ultimately selected featured beers from Dark Horse, Great Divide, Hinterland, Samuel Smith’s, and Southern Tier. Some were spiced and some lean toward English strong ale styles. A blind tasting was administered by our lovely hostess Poppi Rocketts (watch for the coveted Poppi’s pick in the results below) with an assist from Robin Walthery Allen. The beers were served in a random order to our tasting panel, and the identity of each was not revealed until after the panelists had finalized their individual rankings. Joining me on the panel were IndianaBeer reporter Dave Allen and guest panelists Bill Breuninger and Carl Nelson. Here is a summary of each beer sampled, with the brewery’s description followed by the panel’s tasting comments.

beer and snow

Beer #1: Hinterland Winterland – Winterland is deep brown to black with amber highlights. The massive brown head deposits large sheets of lace right down to the very last sip. The dark malt and heavy dark chocolate aroma mixed with a slight juniper scent, give Winterland a sort of chocolate covered berry aroma. The rich roasted malt flavor makes it's appearance first, followed by a dark bitter chocolate flavor. Winterland is reminiscent of a porter or stout with a surprising juniper berry finish. 7.5% ABV

Bill: This beer started off with exciting promises with the aroma. A blast of nutmeg with just a hint of coffee notes. The medium high carbonation helped with a crisp dryness, but all of the promises of nutmeg and coffee in the aroma gave way and disappeared. What was left was just a faint taste of paper and winter green, not strong at that, but just faint. It was the most disappointing beer, because the aroma had such promise, but the taste seemed to betray that promise leaving me to not even finish this beer. 
Bill’s Rank: 5th
Carl: The wonderful upfront coffee roast aroma was ruined by a sour vinegar pungency. The aroma had a dustiness often found with dark roast beers. The overly roasted character was astringent, leading to a sharp, long-lingering, bitter aftertaste. High carbonation along with the roast created a dry chalky finish. The beer had a medium body but felt more full from the high carbonation. As the dark brown opaque beer warmed up, the fruitiness and alcohol started to make an appearance in the flavor. I was a bit disappointed as I have a particular fondness for any beer that resembles a stout. However with the excessive roast astringency and strange sourness, I ranked this beer 12th out of the five we tried.

Post mortem: As I write this review in the early morning, I became concerned that I misunderstood how juniper would affect the flavor of a beer. Recalling that juniper is a common, if almost mandatory, ingredient in gin, off to the liqueur cabinet I went to explore the gin, I mean juniper. After sampling all the gins listed with juniper, I am now concerned about finishing this write up before noon. The first beer did not have any the characteristics of juniper (or of gin either). This of course makes me wonder if we got a bad bottle or if the entire batch picked up some wild yeast. Do I hunt down another bottle? Better yet, you do it and let me know.
Carl’s Rank: 12th (5th for scoring purposes)

Dave: For me, this beer placed last in the panel. Noting after the tasting that the label mentioned juniper barriers as an ingredient may lend some insight to some of the flavors I found in my glass. Keep in mind that these tastings are done blind and that we only find out the brewery/beer/411 after we’ve all scored them, noted them, and firmed up our rankings. Perhaps we got a bottle from a bad batch, or perhaps it had been mishandled somewhere along the supply chain. Whatever the case this beer just didn’t impress. On it’s own, outside the context of side-by-side comparisons, it may be great. But on this day it just couldn’t quite toe the line. To my palate there was a tannic/sour impression that was off-putting and seemed to compete with the malt profile. Not at all what I would label as Winter Warmer.

Would I Drink Another: As the saying goes: Never say Never… But I’d say the odds are pretty slim.
Dave’s Rank: 5th
Nathan: Attractive pour with a porter/smaller stout color and thick lasting tan head. The aroma is a promising combination of roasty, chocolate malts and a distinct spruce-like spicing. Unfortunately the flavor can’t match the promise of that aroma. The flavor characteristics of a big, roasty porter are present; but the whole thing is overwhelmed by a tart/acidic type of quality that really diminishes the drinkability. I’m not sure if this is a case of overdone spicing or some type of actual contamination. Given the lack of off notes in the aroma, I’m leaning toward the former but couldn’t guess what type of spicing would cause this.
Nathan’s Rank: 5th

Beer #2: Dark Horse 4 Elf Winter Warmer – A spiced Winter Warmer brewed with nutmeg, clove, allspice and other holiday flavors. 8.75% ABV

Bill: What an amazing Beer! The dark brown color with amber highlights gives you the first clue how amazingly complex and enjoyable this beer is. The aromas were some of the strongest with a balance of nutmeg, cinnamon, and citrus peel. The flavors from the spice are front and center on the stage without stealing the show. The malts and roast help balance the performance of the spices and each one lasts throughout, from looks to smell, to taste, and even after taste, this is a well-balanced beer. I would buy more of this, and would have ranked it higher, but as the spice blend of this beer suggests a Winter Warmer (throughout the entire season), I found it to be more of a Christmas beer limiting it to just the first part of winter. 
Bill’s Rank: 2nd
Carl: Nutmeg initially dominated –– overwhelmed the aroma. As the beer warmed, the aroma revealed flashes and hints of cinnamon. The nutmeg carried through the malty flavor blending with the light roast character. Malt character was even and consistent with light fruitiness in the middle from the initial sip through the swallow and into the aftertaste. This dark brown medium body beer had clean, gentle flavors. Late light hop bitterness lingered slowly, drying out the finish and eventually giving way to a roasty aftertaste which continued to dry out the finish.

This beer was my #2 pick. From the perspective of whether I would buy more of this beer or pour a second pint – no, I probably would not. However this beer is masterfully crafted. The even and consistent malt flavor is hard to do for most brewers, particularly with spices. In a competition, this beer would win over my #1 pick. This is a nice example of managing, blending and balancing the use of spices in a beer. Try this with pumpkin pie and let me know how that works.
Carl’s Rank: 2nd

Dave: I ranked this beer in Second place overall. Surprise! I have a personal affinity for cleaner flavor profiles, and this beer certainly had an upfront spice character. In fact my tasting notes specifically say: “Hello Spice Rack!”. However, contrary to my aforementioned opinion regarding heavily spiced beers, this was a pleasant surprise. A very well crafted beer. The spice notes (think cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg) were obvious throughout (from aroma to flavor to finish) while not being so aggressive as to be off-putting or offensive. The balance regarding spice components in comparison to the things that we expect from beer, like malt and hops was really well done. Kudos to Dark Horse for taking what could easily be an over the top beer and exercising enough restraint and brewing expertise to pull it off nicely. Well done.

Would I Drink Another: You bet your socks I would. Preferably from a snifter in front of the fireplace next to my sweetheart… this is that kind of beer. 
Dave’s Rank: 2nd
Nathan: Dark brown color with a low head and fairly low carbonation. Very malty aroma: chestnuts, brown sugar, raisins, with some subtle nutmeg and cinnamon spicing. Well-rounded and full-bodied mouthfeel and flavor. Caramel and bready malts come through more in the flavor. Liquefy a gingerbread house, pour in some booze, and I imagine you’d get something close to this. Well-rounded flavor and full-bodied mouthfeel but doesn’t finish too sweet. Spicing is a very delicate practice for a brewer, but this is a great example of how to do it right. Nobody else voted this beer in 1st place……….but we all make mistakes.
Nathan’s Rank: 1st

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Beer #3: Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale – This seasonal beer is a limited edition brewed for the short days and long nights of winter. The full body resulting from fermentation in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’ and the luxurious malt character, which will appeal to a broad range of drinkers, is balanced against whole-dried Fuggle and Golding hops with nuances and complexities that should be contemplated before an open fire. 6% ABV

Bill: This is a very clear Orange with a deeper amber glow. Aromas are very slight with a sweetness hiding behind hints of apple which yield to white grapes. The beer is labeled as an ale, but I imagined it in the blind tasting as a lager. The Crispness, with sweet tastes of white grape juice were pleasant. I got little to no warming effect from the alcohol, but I found this to be very drinkable. It’s alarming how easy this beer goes down. I don’t condone the use of any machinery and the consumption of beer, but I know a lot of guys who have a favorite “Lawn Mower Ale.” This beer is perfect for my new favorite “Snow Blower Ale.”  
Bill’s Rank: 3rd
Carl: The malty aroma was reminiscent of a Belgian trippel. The clean highly pilsner malt flavor, subtle alcohol heat in the swallow and light clear gold color continued down the trippel path. But alas, it did not have the spicy and fruity characters of a trippel. I had been tricked! This was not the delightful Belgian trippel I thought I was going to get. The malt character was singularly pilsner malt, very clean, very lager like. A low late hop bitterness restrained the malt focused finish and the lingering bitterness slowly dried out the malt in the aftertaste and left a hop flavor late in the aftertaste. The medium light body felt more full from the high carbonation. As the beer warmed, the alcohol presence increased.

After getting over my disappointment of not getting a trippel, I ranked this beer as my #3 pick. This beer was a bit boring due to its clean pilsner flavor and lack of expected trippel spiciness. It reminded me more of a malt liquor but better. I could drink some quantity of this beer and would order a second pint but I probably won’t buy it in the store.                                                                Carl’s Rank: 3rd

Dave: The battle in my tasting notes was for third and fourth places. I scored Sammy Smiths’ Winter Welcome in Third place. Not that I had any mentionable issue with the beer itself. It was well crafted and clean. But it just didn’t really distinguish itself from the other beers in the panel. Pouring a mid-golden with diminishing white foam. I found the aroma to hold a pilsner malt quality along with a dry cracker/toast note. Hop character was somewhat floral and readily apparent. My overall impression was of a large(ish) gravity lager. Think Imperial Helles Bock. This beer would be delightful on it’s own. Especially as we gain ground toward warmer weather. But in comparison to some of the darker more aggressive beers in the panel it didn’t really hold up.

Would I Drink Another: Absolutely. Sometime around early March when the Snow Drops have been out of the ground for a couple weeks… 
Dave’s Rank: 3rd
Nathan: The color is surprisingly light – almost golden in color. The aroma is not aggressive, but does feature an inviting mix of soft nutty and caramel notes. The flavor features a nice touch of caramel malts backed by a bready, nutty base malt character. Low hop bitterness – but there is a touch of spicy hop flavor in the aftertaste. Good carbonation but a bit thin in the body. Tough beer to rank – it’s very enjoyable, balanced, and clean; but struggles to keep up with the bigger beers in this lineup. Dare we call it the session beer of Winter Warmers? I may have just thrown up a little in my mouth.

One comment after learning this beer’s identity: It’s a good beer that I would definitely drink again, but the label is pretty misleading (at least for “Imperialized” American craft drinkers). This beer will not give you many “nuances and complexities that should be contemplated before an open fire.” In fact, it seems better suited as a beer to celebrate the transition to spring weather.
Nathan’s Rank: 3rd

Beer #4: Great Divide Hibernation Ale – HIBERNATION ALE has been our celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop profile and hearty, warming character. 8.7% ABV

Bill: A dark Brown color with amber hints peeking through. The aroma is an upfront coffee with an organic earthiness which makes you want to immediately start sipping instead of peeling back these complex aromas. The first sips peel back the coffee and give way to a brown sugar turned caramel like toffee or Belgian candy sugary hints as it helps accentuate the malt profile. The hint of spices seem to come from hops instead of spice additions which are again, well balanced and not over powering. So someone who does not like “Hoppy” beers, would most likely still find this enjoyable. It finishes with an awesome warming effect from the alcohol but not so much to call “Hot,” but just perfect to make a very drinkable beer throughout the entire winter not just Christmas time. 
Bill’s Rank: 1st
Carl: Beer #4 had a dry, dusty roast, chocolate aroma with coffee which smelled similar to pouring coffee into the beer. The creamy texture immediately stood out. The flavor was malty and roast showed up in the middle, quickly followed by hop bitterness. Coffee flavors did not show up until the beer warmed up. The overall flavor was of a milky chocolate sweetness which carried over to the aftertaste. The semi-sweet finish was dried out by lingering roast and eventually by hop bitterness. Low alcohol warmth came in late and became more hot as it warmed up. The dark brown / ruby highlighted body was thinner than expected but the texture created a fuller mouthfeel experience. This beer struck me as a milk coffee imperial stout.

This was my #1 pick even with the higher alcohols showing up. The roast, chocolate flavors were particular to my liking and I would order a second or third pint.                                                                                                                                         Carl’s Rank: 1st

Dave: For me this beer was the clear winner. Easily taking top honors in our panel. Pouring a dark reddish/amber and clear. Aromas of chocolate, roast and coffee. This one was boozy and big. Not in an offensive way, but complimentary to the complex malt character. This is the beer I would point to when asked what I think a Winter Warmer is. Complex, big, clean profile (no spice) and delicious. Great Divide have really crafted a nice beer here. This beer was a bit sweeter than the others in the panel, but with enough hop bitterness in the finish as to not be cloying. The alcohol was –literally- warming. Meaning you can feel that warmth in your throat and on your palate after finishing the sample. Just the sort of thing for sub-zero temps and day dreaming of summer.

Would I Drink Another: I did… asking for a little top-up of this one after our discussion and scoring. In fact, I’m headed over to my local bottleshop shortly to spy out a sixer of this one. You should too. 
Dave’s Rank: 1st
Nathan: Medium brown color with a malty nose complemented by floral hops and an interesting bubble gum aroma. The higher alcohol level was very apparent in the first sip and distracted from the other flavors. As the sample warms a bit, there are some great complexities coming through: caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, raisin, biscuit, etc. Some hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness are perceptible, but the balance heavily favors the complex malt flavors. This one had to grow on me for a little while. The alcohol initially seemed too harsh and distracting, but seemed to fade into the background the more I came back for another sip. It ended up being a very enjoyable beer.
Nathan’s Rank: 2nd

Beer #5: Southern Tier Old Man Winter – Our winter offering is here to quell your shivers and get you through the coldest of nights. A rich marriage of hops and barley to cast light upon the evening and melt your mind out of the snowdrifts. Old Man Winter’s earthy hue and thickness lace around the glass, inviting you to linger in its warmth and share the spirits of the season with your friends and family. 7% ABV

Bill: A deep red/ amber beer with excellent clarity. There isn’t a lot going on with the aroma, it’s a faint floral aroma at best. The taste, while the beer is cold, gives your palate a large heavy bread taste, which turns to a more biscuit flavor as the beer warms. As the beer sits on the palate a hint of rye creeps in leaving me to want more of the rye spice. Whether it’s coming from rye in the grain bill or the spice from hops, I wanted more and nothing ever developed leaving the beer very smooth and drinkable reminiscent of a Pale Ale without the large hop bill of an IPA instead of a Winter Warmer. 
Bill’s Rank: 4th
Carl: Finally, I got a beer that had some hop aroma! Ah, but it was quickly chased off by a malty, floral character, a hint of rose and some light spice. The initial malt and caramel flavor were immediately wiped out by a moderately high hop bitterness which carried into and grew into the finish and cleaned out the semi-sweet aftertaste. The medium full body had a soft texture but the malt character was not complex. I expected more complexity from that much body. The alcohols were high and you felt it. Given the clear, copper color and malt, I guessed that this was a Barleywine.

The lack of complexity and the high alcohol dropped this beer into 4th place. With time, this beer may improve. I would consider buying a 6-pack and trying it again in a few years.
Carl’s Rank: 4th

Dave: I placed this beer in fourth overall. This one was another lighter (dark golden) beer in comparison to the others. First impression placed it somewhere between a barley wine and a big IPA. Boozy, malty and hop forward. Typically these are characters I might find pleasing, but for some reason this beer just didn’t resonate. I found something in the aroma to be a bit off. Here again, it could be that the beer was mishandled along the supply chain somewhere, or maybe it could just use a little more time in the bottle to come into its own. To be fair I was surprised to see that this beer came from Southern Tier. I’ve had some really exceptional beer from these folks, so to have one that just didn’t quite get there seemed out of character. I suppose that’s the virtue of a blind tasting: new revelations about our perceptions of what we drink are not only possible, but pretty darn likely. After all – the fun is in the discovery.

Would I Drink Another: I might… if you’re buying the round. 
Dave’s Rank: 4th
Nathan: Amber to light brown in color with a more aggressive hop aroma than our other samples. The hops are supported by a strong caramel malt aroma and flavor that is prominent but seems pretty one-dimensional. The most interesting flavor aspect is the hopping: earthy/spicy up front with the spicy character lingering well into the finish when a medium level of bitterness creeps into the mix. This seems like a beer that might come into its own with some aging, but isn’t sure what it wants to be right now. While it may be the hoppiest beer in this lineup, it is still too subdued to be considered a showcase for the green matter. On the other hand, the malt complexity I would look for in a “warmer” can’t compete with the high levels exhibited in beers 2 and 4. I wouldn’t kick it out of bed for eating crackers, but there are better options available.
Nathan’s Rank: 4th

And the results are in…….

To determine the overall results, we used a model where the lowest number of points would win (a 1st place vote = 1 point, a 2nd place vote = 2 points, etc). After tallying up the scores, our collective rankings determined the final order:

Fifth Place: Hinterland Winterland (20 points)
Fourth Place: Southern Tier Old Man Winter (16 points)
Third Place: Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale (12 points)
Second Place: Dark Horse 4 Elf Winter Warmer (7 points)
First Place: Great Divide Hibernation Ale (5 points)


And while it doesn’t count in the official rankings, our hostess “reveals” her favorite……

Poppi’s Pick: Great Divide Hibernation Ale

Here’s a short video of the panel breaking down our results:

So it does appear the panel engaged in a bit of groupthink this episode, but the lineup largely dictated this as we had two excellent beers for the style, one that was clearly a notch below, one that just didn’t really fit with the others, and one that just wasn’t well executed. Winterland is the first beer I’ve tried from the Green Bay, WI Hinterland Brewery and it wasn’t a great start. We always consider price points when wrapping up these reviews, but the retail price of $3.99 for a 16 ounce bottle did not make Winterland a good value pick either. Old Man Winter was perhaps the most surprising underperformer in the lineup as Southern Tier makes some outstanding beers. But retailing for around $11-12 per six pack, Old Man was the cheapest beer in this lineup and warrants a “worth a try” recommendation based on the combination of price and flavor. And it does show some promise if you have the patience to let some mature in the cellar for a while. Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome on the other hand, was a good beer, but not a great value pick based on the retail price of over $5 for an 18 ounce bottle, making it the most expensive beer per ounce in our lineup.

The two clear standouts in our lineup were Dark Horse 4 Elf Winter Warmer and Great Divide Hibernation Ale. We found them retailed at $13.49/6 pack for the Hibernation and $8.99/4 pack for the 4 Elf, which makes them roughly equivalent in price per ounce. While this is a slight premium over what you might expect from a core lineup craft offering, our results suggest an extra buck or two is easily justified. One could argue the 4 Elf performance in our ranking was the most surprising given the admitted preferences of our panelists. Carl’s writeup noted “I have a fondness for roast. I do not have a fondness for spices.” Dave observes “I lean closer to the big-beer side of the equation and really don’t have much affinity for overly spiced beers.” You’ll generally find me conspicuously absent on this site from discussions of things like Pumpkin or Christmas beers, because I just don’t drink that many of them. So it’s a high compliment to Dark Horse that a spiced beer scored so well with this group.

But throw in Poppi’s pick, and the big winner of the day is still Great Divide’s Hibernation Ale. This English Style Old Ale is only available during the winter season, so grab a six pack while you can. You’re going to need something to look forward to during your next 2-hour commute home from work.

Cheers, Nathan


Founders Brewing Company Tap Takeover at The Dash-In (Fort Wayne)

Wednesday, January22 - 5p.m.

Mark your calendar for a Founders Brewing Company tap takeover at The Dash-In in downtown Fort Wayne.

This will be the largest Founders tap takeover in the Fort Wayne area in over a year and it will feature the following beers per Adam Lepper, Northeast Indiana Sales Representative, Cavalier Distributing:

Beers to be tapped:
  • Sweet Repute - Wheat Wine aged for 16 months in maple bourbon barrels and bourbon barrels. ABV: 12.6% *This is Northeast Indiana's only keg of this Backstage Series release...the only other keg in Northern Indiana went to Fiddler's Hearth in South Bend and there were only 8 (1/4 barrel, 7.75 gallon) kegs total sent to all of Indiana...and unfortunately no bottles of this beer made their way to Northeast Indiana so this will be the Fort Wayne area's only opportunity to try this unique brew!
  • Backwoods Bastard - Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice, and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate. ABV: 10.2% IBUs: 50 *one of only 2 kegs that made it to Fort Wayne and the other one is gone!
  • Imperial Stout - Brewed with ten varieties of malted barley, this stout is smooth as silk, yet complex and rich in body. Serve this guy at cellar temperature. Put another log on the fire, sit back and enjoy the friendship of this ultimate winter warmer. ABV: 10.5% IBUs: 90
  • Nitro Oatmeal Stout - A Founders take on a classic style, brewed with a generous amount of flaked oats, chocolate malt, roasted barley and a healthy helping of Nugget hops, Founders Oatmeal Stout is nitrogen-infused to give it an extra smooth and creamy mouthfeel. An attractive cascade effect gives this beer its forthright visual appeal—and the body and clean flavor delivers on that initial promise. ABV: 4.5% IBUs: 38 *available on draft only
  • Dirty Bastard - So good it’s almost wrong. Dark ruby in color and brewed with seven varieties of imported malts. Complex in finish, with hints of smoke and peat, paired with a malty richness and a right hook of hop power to give it the bad attitude that a beer named Dirty Bastard has to live up to. Ain’t for the wee lads. ABV: 8.5% IBUs: 50 
  • Centennial IPA - Get ready to bask in the glory of the frothy head’s floral bouquet. Relish the citrus accents from the abundance of dry hopping. This one’s sweet, yet balanced. Malty undertones shake hands with the hop character for a finish that never turns too bitter. ABV: 7.2% IBUs: 65
  • Porter - Pours silky black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with strong chocolate and caramel malt presence. No absence of hops gives Founders’ robust porter the full flavor you deserve and expect. Cozy like velvet. It’s a lover, not a fighter. ABV: 6.5% IBUs: 45
  • Pale Ale - A testament to Cascade hops in a bottle, this medium-bodied pale ale has a refreshing citrus flavor and a distinctive floral hop aroma due to the aggressive addition of hops during fermentation. You’ll notice a slight malty sweetness with a balanced hop finish. Perfect to enjoy anytime, anywhere. ABV: 5.4% IBUs: 35

Come out for a night of some tasty Founders beers!!

Trader Joe 2012 Vintage Ale

Snowpocalypse. Snowmageddon. Snowpalooza. 12 Inches of Snow. Whichever clever play on words you use to describe the past few days, if you were in the central part of the state odds are pretty good you have some cabin fever in need of a remedy. I certainly have. And what better way to pass some time when stuck indoors? Why check out what might be kicking around in the ol' beer cellar of course.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear: Well loooky there, it's a 2012 bottle of the winter seasonal beer marketed by Trader Joe. What say we give that a day in court, shall we?

One of the nice things about this beer is that it is easily accessible and competitively priced. Out like clockwork annually in your local Trader Joe just as winter starts to make itself at home; this is a beer the masses can enjoy. You don't need a magic ticket or a hotel room in a different part of the state. No crazy-long lines or beer snob elitists filling your head with tales of that rarest of the rare, they only made 84 ounces, you probably can't get it here, shuck and jive. This one is readily available in a store you might shop in for groceries as well. My how convenient.

But proximity to bread, milk and eggs won't cut it anymore. It has to be flavorful and interesting as well. Does this beer deliver? Absolutely. Ringing in at 9%ABV it might be best to share a bottle with a loved one, a good pal, or maybe just the neighbor who helped dig your car out from under the snow-plow-mountain a day or so back.

To be fair, Belgian beer isn't my favorite style. Sometimes the esters and adjunct sugars just become too much for my BJCP trained (yet admittedly feeble and ill-used) palate. That's where I really thought this beer shined. Despite the label stating that it was brewed with spices, and my prior knowledge of the style, I found the beer both complex and subtle. The esters weren't over the top. The mouth-feel wasn't heavy on the palate like one might expect from a beer this color. Rather it finished a little on the sweeter side of dry, wasn't cloying, and had an almost imperceptible dark grain flavor. Not at all what I expected from the packaging. It does gain some complexity as it warms up. The packaging suggest serving at 53F but we enjoyed it a bit colder than that.  Your mileage may vary.

One other point that bears mention here: Trader Joe doesn't actually brew beer. Rather, they label and package beers that have been contract brewed on their behalf by various notable breweries. This particular product is brewed by Unibroue. These are the same cats that bring you beers like La Fin du Monde and Trois Pistoles which are also readily available locally.

As with many higher ABV beers I do think this one benefits from a couple of years conditioning. Our bottle was 2 years old at the time we tasted it and the label suggests it is good before July 2015. By that logic we could have kept it around another year or more and I kind of wish we had a second bottle to do just that.

So once the thaw begins to take hold and we all start burrowing out of our respective igloos, maybe head on over to Trader Joe and see if they still have a few bottles of this years' vintage on the shelf. Set a couple back for the blizzard of 2018. It's just the ticket to make being stuck indoors a treat rather than a drag.

Flat 12 Bierwerks Anniversary Party

First off, congratulations to the crew at Flat 12 for hitting the three year mark! That is amazing and I for one hope to see you continue on with not only your great classic house beers but all the crazy fun beers that, let's face it, you are famous for.

This was my first time hitting up a big part of Flat 12 and I'm glad I could make it. Got there a little bit after it opened at 11am and after getting my wristlet, sample tickets and map I was ready to go.  There were 5 stations, a total of over 30 different beers. I went through my sample tickets fast, and bought additional tickets to sample. Thanks to a friend who went, and sharing samples, we tasted 18 of the amazing beers offered at the party.

I could go through all of them but really these are so unique and amazing it is best for you to try and get to Flat 12 whenever they tap them again. I'll give you some of the highlights though.

Mudder Funker - Two sour stouts, blended and aged in bourbon barrels. The aging took the tartness back, which is perfect and made the sour ale nice and drinkable.

Cherry Perpetual Summer -  A Belgian Dark ale with dark cherries. It is almost indescribable with the cherry note and the creamy dark ale.

Rum Jack - Flat Jack Pumpkin Ale aged on Rum Chips, giving it a slightly smooth taste from the rum and still subtle with the clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon spices.

Whiskey Cat  - An amber ale aged in Corsair Quinoa Whiskey barrels. This was perfect for the cold day, cause it warmed you to your toes and also went great with the Cave Man truck's barnyard chili.

Some interesting beers there was - Pickle - which smells and tasted like brine, Plumpkin was a nice pumpkin with plum and Pineapple Sage Walkabout which could have used more pineapple flavor.

My last beer though.. was Pinko 23 and boy was that deep, dark imperial stout the best way to end the party.

I wasn't there long enough to try them all or hear the music, but I have to say this event was fun, free ( at least to go in, and try five samples) and well organized. Plus the beer list was insane. Looking forward to Flat 12's Winterfest offerings and of course going to their party next year to celebrate their 4th anniversary.