Indiana Beer News - December 29

NEW BREWERY ALERT: Eric Strader met with Cam Snyder in Elkhart and announces A Nano Brewery to Start Soon at the Chubby Trout. He also tries 4 of Cam's beers.

Expansion headline: Greenwood microbrewery expanding, pushing for new law. Summary, Oaken Barrel is adding more tanks. Carryout sales were up $75,000 with Sunday growlers. Kwan wants to fill grocery store refrigerators with Razz Wheat.

Bell's Hopslam will be released Jan 25 on tap and Feb 8 in bottles. Bell's blog


Celebrating the New Beer Year... 2012

How will you be bringing in the New Year?  Party at friends, at a bar in Downtown Indianapolis, quiet night at home?  Either way, I hope it'll be with some good beer til midnight then a nice champagne toast.. or heck break out the best beer in your cellar for a toast!  

If any of you are interest in going out though, I thought I'd share some information about activities at a few local breweries..

Black Swan BrewPub is throwing a New Year's Even Roaring 20's event, tickets include 2 beer pints along with delicious food and a toast. Call now at 317-838-7444 for tickets. 

Thr3e Wisemen is having a tapping at 10pm 12/31 of their King Solomon's Imperial Stout. As with all of their tapping parties there will be a free 8oz sample and free appetizer samples. 

If you are planning on staying in make sure to stock up on growlers for your party.  

As with Christmas week, I'm sure the breweries will have altered hours. So far Sun King's hours are:

Sun King Brewery
New Year's Week Hours
Tues/Wed: Noon - 6:00 p.m.
Thurs/Fri: Noon - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Flat 12 Bierwerks:

Thursday 4-7
Friday 12-8
Saturday 12-6
Closed Sunday

The Bier Brewery:

Hours for New Years- 
Thurs 3-7pm, 
Fri 12-7pm,
Sat 12-8pm, S
Sunday closed- Happy New Year!

When Bier Brewery, Triton and others post hours I will update to keep you informed. 

Just remember whatever you do, be safe because we want to see everyone out on January 28th for Winterfest

P.S. -- please feel free to share more information regarding parties at other breweries on 12/31! 

Today in Beer, Dec. 23

While you can check out our Holiday blog and our Beer news...
Lennie's Bloomington has not only the Lune Blanche Belgian Pale on today but they tapped a Bourbon Barrel Big Stone Stout on the hand pull, a dry stout with the sweetness from the bourbon (aged 2 months)

Alley Bar, Bloomington is tapping Boulevard Brewing's Nutcracker winter ale with Chinook hops
Dan (here, pouring last week's special Holiday beer) has the Alley all decorated

21st Amendment Store, Southport Road and Hwy 37 will have Belgian Brewing Tasting today which should include the Snow Day winter beer with distinct hop character

More Holiday Beers

One thing some of us love about this time of year would be Holiday beers. While we don't REALLY need an excuse for the release of more interesting beer, we are thankful that our brewing friends were thoughtful enough to create many delights in many varieties: some hoppy, some spicy, some malty.... hmmm, maybe if I was Santa I would be inspired with those reindeer names!

Now is the time to get the growlers filled or the 6-pack bought for the Holidays~

It seems Flat12 might get the award for the MOST Holiday beers with their 12 beers of Christmas. They finish this week (released today, Dec. 22) with a delightful.... and DO NOT judge from the sound of this because I was very pleasantly surprised... Barrel Jack Bourbon Barrel Aged Pumpkin (yes, pumpkin) beer. I have had dozens of bourbon barrel aged beers and I've had many pumpkin beers but I was not sure of the combination. Holy Holidays, BeerMan, this is a combination of the spice of a pumpkin pie, the vanilla notes of a bourbon, and a nice little kick as if I just finished a good Holiday meal and grabbed a small snifter of bourbon.

In addition, Flat12 gives us Grampa's Bourbon Barrel Glazed Ham Porter. Interesting spice and little twang in a deep dark beer. Almost a Belgian Strong Ale!

Yet another, a Fruitcake IPA. Oh, yeah. Citrus and spice from hops, sweet backdrop of malt and fruitcake. All this makes us look forward to teh Winter Cycle big IPA coming up.

SunKing delights with 3 Holiday offerings currently on tap -- the newest this week being the Malus Pi apple and cinnamon ale. We expected this to be sour since it has crab apples but this is a slightly sweet apple pie of a beer! A wheat beer with extra spice from the Belgian yeast. Malus is Greek for apple.

SunKing had a beer last year whose name irked another out-of-state brewer so this year the amber colored 70 IBU Winter beer is called.... Sink the Clipper
a big 8% ESB based wonder.

The third Holiday style beer at SunKing is the CowBell Milk sugar infused Porter with a solid body, sweetness of a porter, and a hint of Lactose. And if you did not yet get the SunKing 'takes me back to Elvis days' Vienna Lager called Million Dollar Brewski just get over to the Ratskeller for that one.

RAM still has their great Dunkel Weizen called S'No Angel and if you love deep dark slightly sweeter with hint of roast beer this one is delicious.

Rock Bottom gives us the Old Curmudgeon Winter Wheat spiced beer (hint of clove) with lots of citrus hop notes.

Triton still has the wonderful GingerBread Brown, nice ginger flavor in a solid brown and they just introduced the MuleTide, raspberry stout aged in a bourbon barrel. The bourbon notes are on the nose and in the background making this a nice fruity Holiday Beer

Broad Ripple Brew Pub offers Wee Alec a Wee Heavy malty beer with lots of dark fruit

Brugge likely does not think of this as a Holiday beer, but give me a dark beer this time of year and I try to make it fit. The Cerne Pivo is listed as a dark Czech leger. It does have the IBU bitterness but is also large, complex and tasty at 5%

Upland provides their Winter Warmer barley wine and this year I get a raspberry overtone in a deep dark beer that has both British and American malt and Hallertauer hops giving it a fruitiness in a big beer.

New Albanian has the 2011 Naughty Claus with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger root, with multiple malts, honey and Belgian yeast for a very, very spicy Holiday beer. If you like spice like I do, get your hands on this.

Three Floyds offers the Christmas Porter with hops, Alpha Klaus English chocolate malt, Mexican sugar, and American hops. If you prefer a hoppy holiday this could be the one.

Lenne's, Bloomington is scheduled to tap a bourbon barrel surprise today for the lunch crowd.

WOW... so many Hoosier Holiday Beers!!

Our neighbors to the North bottle up Bell's Christmas Ale as nice malty beer with no added spice but their is a 'spice' from hops. Made with Michigan barley as well as both Michigan and Pacific Northwest hops this one gives us a Scottish Ale at nearly 6% that stands apart from some traditional fare

OTHER Holiday Beers!

Alley Bar, Bloomington continues to tap small (1/6 barrel) kegs on Friday at 4:00 with this week's offering Boulevard Brewings Nutcracker! We plan to get some!

Thirsty Dog in Akron has their annual 12 dogs of Christmas with traditional spices and at 8% with some hop notes

We can't go without at least mentioning Clipper City Winter Storm which caused a local storm. This one (on tap at Yogi's, Bloomington) is a very dark "ESB" that is complex in sweetness and spice

Widmer's Brrrr was on tap last week (and may still be) at Alley Bar, Bloomington. This deserves a mention because of the solid citrus hop character.

So many, So good... Grab your growler or get a six pack..... snug up and sip!

Christmas Tree, or is it Holiday Tree

Whichever. It's certainly Beer Tree time.


Special Beers this week. Starting Dec. 20

SunKing offers their Malus Pi Belgian Style wheat with Cinnamon, apple pie flavors, and locally grown crab apples - starting today, Tuesday

Triton taps Muletide Raspberry Stout - Wednesday, Dec. 12, 5 PM

Flat12 introduces the Barrel Jack Pumpkin Ale and Bourbon Barrel Glazed Ham Porter as their 11th and 12th beers of Christmas this Thursday, Dec. 22

Bloomington Brewing taps a bourbon-barrel aged specialty (shh... it's a secret) this Friday, Dec. 23, at noon
BBC already tapped their Belgian Blonde Ale, a wonderful non-filtered spicy ale that starts sweeter and finishes dry.

BierBrewery offers Pumpkin and ChocoMint Stout Saturday, Dec. 24 -

Growler Time for the Holidays!!

Indiana Beer News - December 21

Headline (for real) White Castle Testing Beer, Wine, Asian Food And Grilled Cheese.  Beer is $3 and being sold at a Lafayette store. Which one? We haven't found that out. There are two White Castles in Lafayette. Ind 26 at 20th street east and at Ind 26 at I-65.

Coming to town for the Superbowl? The Hoosier Beer Geeks have again told us where to drink. This time in Fountain Square

Indy headline: Excise Police Bust Sunday Bootlegging Operation. No still. Really just selling beer and pot out of their garage.

Jagerbomber. Need we say more? ==>>

Indiana Beer News - December 17

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is now being canned AND New Albanian and Sierra Nevada debate on Twitter. Remember "brewed with Rocky Mountain water"?

Ken Burns gives a 13-minute interview about Prohibition. Youtube (you can also find the whole series on Youtube).

Ohio has passed a law allowing tasting rooms at breweries and sell growlers. This has been a game changer for Indiana and soon our buckeye friends will also be building bars right next to the source. article

World record? Not so much. Watch a guy spill 20 mass of beer. Youtube

Press release that left an impression of my palm on my face: "Michelob Ultra will introduce a line extension next year called Ultra 19th Hole Light Tea and Lemonade, according to a memo Anheuser-Busch InBev sent to distributors today. Billed as a "light alcohol beverage" infused with natural lemonade and iced-tea flavors, it will vie with fast-growing offerings such as Boston Beer Co.'s Twisted Tea Hard Iced-Tea Light and Arizona Beverages' recently launched Arnold Palmer Hard Half & Half."

Reminder for today, Dec. 15

The workday is coming to an end and you are thinking about grabbing a beer. Fortunately there are some great choices tonight.

Rock Bottom -- Brewer Jerry is tapping his Old Curmudgeon Strong Red Ale at 6:00

RAM -- Brewer Andrew has an "Ugly Sweater Party" This includes a charity raffle to benefit the Julian Center. Java Disorder Porter with beans from B-Java Coffee will be a specialty beer on tap.

Fountain Square Brewing -- Batch 13 seasonal IPA is on tap and the tap room is open until 9 tonight

Flat12 Bierworks -- brewer Rob has Hot Cocoa milk stout (with marshmallows!) with the taproom open until 7:00

Sun King -- Brewers Dave and Clay are tapping Sink the Clipper, (until 7 tonight)
; Note: Sun King has a crab apple infused Holiday Beer coming up next week (12/20)

Choices, choices

2012 Sunday Sales push

The Alliance of Responsible Alcohol Retailers is trying for Sunday sales again this year. short article includes "According to an ARAR petition, more than 50,000 Hoosiers support the measure." That's from two years back of course. It also adds "The group also wants Indiana-brewed cold beer to be sold at convenience, drug and grocery stores." This seems to be this year's carrot.
Mini-editorial. There's no way, no way at all, Indiana breweries could fill the cold shelves at convenience, drug and grocery stores. Indiana's total beer annual output of about 50,000 bbls (1.4 million six packs) wouldn't keep the shelves stocked at just the Speedway stations. Never mind the Krogers, Marsh, 7/11, CVS, and more. (Over 4 million barrels are sold in Indiana annually according to the Beer Institute.)
Just sayin there's some smoke being blown somewhere. Maybe this is step one, year one in an approach to get the "locally brewed" foot in the door and then later argue to expand due to lack of product or in fairness to other states.
Note that the "Commerce Clause" doesn't apply. The 21st Amendment gives states complete control of their alcohol regs. After Prohibition, Indiana taxed beer from other states higher than local beer with distributor deposits and license quotas. Michigan instituted an outright ban on Indiana beer (upheld by the Supreme Court) which eventually caused Indiana to treat everyone equally.
On a side note - I bet we'll see a one-time relief for Sunday sales instituted before the end of January even if it is just for Super Bowl Sunday and just for Marion County. Any takers? They did it in Texas. Sunday on-site sales were allowed because the IMS wanted to move the Indy 500 to Sunday from Memorial Day Monday.
The ARAR says "Now, we are just asking for competition when it comes to Indiana brewed beer, which accounts for roughly two percent of statewide sales. The time to change is now.  Let liquor stores keep 98 percent of their cold beer market and allow for real competition for two percent of sales."
Gosh it would be nice if Indiana breweries had 2% of the market. Wow. For every pallet of BudMillerCoors on a grocery store floor there would be a case of Hoosier beer instead of three or four SKUs languishing toward the end of the 100-SKU craft beer section.
Also see the press release from the Liquor Store lobby.
Do we need Sunday sales? Do we need cold sales in gas stations? Do we need to protect local industry? We'll be hearing these questions a lot for the next 2 months.

Rein-Beer Games : Christmas Ales

Don't worry, red nose or not you can still play in rein-beer games. 

Last night, I went to the tapping of  Mount Crumpet Christmas Ale at Thr3e Wisemen Brewery.  I will have to say it was surprisingly quieter than I expected, but still a good crowd. The served free samples of food and 8oz pours of the freshly tapped brew.  By the way.. even if you are not able to get up to the bar they can bring you samples to your table. 
Mount Crumpet Christmas Ale

The first thing to hit you while drinking the ale
 is a vanilla smoothness followed by a nice layer of spices. 
It's not over powerful at all in either notes, 
but it was a very well blended merry brew
I was very tempted to get a growler to bring up home
 but did not bring any! 
(there should be a rule -- always keep a empty growler in your trunk!)

Now.. just like I did with pumpkin ales, I've started keeping track and comparing Christmas ales.  I had the pleasure of trying Bell's Christmas Ale at Triton along with Triton's Christmasy inspired brown: Gingerbread Brown.  This past Monday night, at Whole Foods in Nora,  I found some Schlafly Christmas Ale. 

I shall continue on playing my rein-beer games when I can come across my Christmas Ales, but considering I still have some pumpkin ales hiding in my fridge, I may have to scale back stocking up on the Christmas styled beer or at least try to. 

But..  if any reader has a good suggestion, as always let me know!

Before leaving -- See Rein-Beer stands -- below (I think they are cute) 

picture shared by @CavalierBeerIN. Rein - Beer stands made
by @KentuckyAle barrels for Kentucky Bourbon Barrel displays!

- Kathleen

Indiana Beer News - December 13

Shopping must trump beer this weekend as there's nothing on the IndianaBeer calendar.
  • Tues: Thr3e Wise Men tapping of Mount Crumpet Christmas Ale. 6pm
  • Wed: NABC night at The Sinking Ship, Indy. 7pm+
  • Thurs: Sun King Sink the Clipper tapping. 6-9pm. 
  • Thurs: Bell's night at Constant Spring, Goshen
  • Thurs: New Belgium tasting. Kahn's Keystone. Indy. 4:30-6pm
  • Fri: Teddy Bear Kisses RIS tapping at Upland tap room, Indy. 6pm
  • Fri: Tapping of Java Disorder at Ram's Ugly Sweater Party
    Fri: New Belgium tasting. Kahn's Downtown Indy. 4:30-6pm
Mike Pope of the BCCA tells us the 2013 Canvention has been awarded to Ft. Wayne. Don't know a date yet but is usually late August.

Jay Brooks has been posting stats on each state (beerwise) on his blog. Finally got to Indiana. Pretty complete links list to breweries. Does have Oyster Bar and Wilbur. But we hadn't heard of Danny Boy Beer Works that has a no-info 1-page web site. Anyone know any more?

Three Floyds imported BooGoop will come to Indiana in December. Wait, what? Ok,the FFF/Mikkeller collaboration will be re-imported by Shelton Bros this month from De Proef in Belgium. It's a 10.5% Buckwheat Ale.

Kalamabrew reports that Old Hat Brewery in Lawton, MI is going to close this week.

Here's 90% of what you need to know about growing hops in Michigan. 

Come on Dancer and Prancer and Brewers and Beer..

Breweries are starting to pop out their Christmas inspired brews. 
Even if you are naughty or nice you can still try this holiday cheer beer: 

Tomorrow ( Tuesday 12/13) at  Thr3e Wiseman Brewery - Mount Crumpet Christmas Ale (brewed w/ cinnamon, vanilla & spicy cloves) is tapping at 6pm.  

Starting Thursday 12/15 at Flat 12 - 12 Biers of Christmas: 3rd Week – Sugarplum Milk Stout, Brandy-aged Pale, Hot Cocoa Milk Stout, Fruitcake IPA 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

And just some good ole' beers coming this week too -- 

Friday 12/16 - Upland's Indy Tasting room is tapping - Teddy Bear Kisses ( a Russian Imperial Stout) at 6pm 

Thursday 12/15 at the RAM - Java Disorder is coming back at their Ugly Christmas Sweater party, which will have a raffle that benefits the Julian Center. 

Thursday 12/15 at Sun King - Sink The Clipper tapping - 6pm 

Starting this week on Wednesday at Bier Brewery (regular hours til the bier is gone)- 
Blondie Country Girl
Fuggit Stout -- Brew Bracket Winner!!
Blonde Tri-Delta
Cascadian Light Ale
Fustercluck IPA 

Also check out 12 days of Sun King at The Indy Beer Sellar!

Plenty of Cheer and plenty of Beer! 

Happy Holidays!

Indiana Beer News - Dec 10

Headline: Brew pub may be on tap in downtown Corydon article

12 Days of Sun King @ the Beer Sellar in Castleton. Dec 12-23. Naptown Beer blog says:
Dec 12th: Cowbell Milk Porter
Dec 13th: Jungle Room
Dec 14th: Colts 444
Dec 15th: El Gallo
Dec 16th: Ring of Dingle
Dec 17th: Pale Ryder
Dec 18th: Wee Muckle
Dec 19th: Westy
Dec 20th: A few More Hops
Dec 21st: Million Dollar Quartet
Dec 22nd Malius
Dec 23rd Buffalo Fest

Oaken Barrel's Epiphany Belgian Triple is on tap now.

If Upland's Teddy Bear Kisses isn't kitschy enough, how about Chicao's Half Acre's Big Hugs Imperial Stout? (to be released on Sun the 18th, two days after TBK.

Looks like we shouldn't look for Goose Island's King Henry in Indiana. Will 2011 Bourbon County Brand Stout make up for it? article in The Beer is Good

You can still get Griesedieck in St. Louis article

World's bets selling beer? Snow Beer owned by SABMiller in China. 16.5 billion pints per year. Twice as much as Bud Light. article

Neilseon says "Craft and specialty brews continue to be the most vibrant segment in the beer category, surging 16.6% by volume in the 52-week period, with even stronger value growth (+17.8%) on an average price of $31.80 a case. The craft/microbrew segment is priced higher, on average, than imported brands ($27.59), yet imports fell 0.6% by volume during the same time span. Mexico continues to be the largest-selling origin for imported brews off-premise, at 78.7 million cases (+0.4%), but the fastest-growing source was Belgium (+28.9%)."

The BA says "In the area of beer styles, IPAs gained 2.7 volume share points in craft  and showed 45% volume growth as a style in scans. Variety packs also continues to increase in share by 0.9 share points through November. Craft Belgians surged with over 97% volume growth compared to a year ago, but at a price of over a dollar less per 6-pack. Craft stout continues to post a higher average price per case, growing $4.73 per case compared to a year ago."

Indiana Beer News - December 7

This weekend:

Thurs: Sun King Million Dollar Brewski tapping. Rathskeller, 6:30pm.
Thurs:  Scotch-A-Thon tasting. Kahn's, Keystone, Indy. 6-8pm. RSVP 317-251-9463.
Fri: Bell's Eccentric Day. Kalamazoo, MI.
Fri:  Monthly Friday Night Club meeting. Great Fermentations, Indy. 5:30pm

These liquor store tastings happen every week:

Thurs: Beer Tasting. Big Red Liquors, Bloomington. 6-8pm
Thurs:  Beer Sampling. Chalet Party Shoppe, CR 17, Elkhart. 4-6pm
Fri: Beer Tasting. Cap n' Cork, Covington Plaza, Ft. Wayne. 5-7pm
Fri: Beer Tasting. Liquor Locker, Evansville. 4-7pm
Fri: Beer Sampling. Norma's Fine Wines. Indy. 6-8pm
Fri: Beer Tasting. Moggers Restaurant, Terre Haute. 5:30pm
Fri: Beer Tasting. Vine and Table, Carmel, 3-7pm
Fri: Beer Tasting. Crown Liquors, Downtown Indy. 3-7pm; Carmel, Fishers, US31 & Shelby, 106th & Michigan, Noblesville, Avon. 4-7pm
Fri: Beer Tasting. 21st Amendment, Broad Ripple. 5pm
Fri: Beer Tasting. Hamilton Beverage, Carmel. 3-5pm

Indiana Beer News - December 5

B.I.G's Winterfest (Jan 28) tickets are on sale. According to that page it will be a the Indiana State Fairgrounds Ag/Hort building again this year.

The Trion Tavern, New Haven has 58 taps and a web site that is updated daily with the current tap list. Horray.

Remember that guy who fasted through lent with only dopplebock and water? He lived and the book is now out - Diary of a Part-time Monk

Crown Liquors around Indy has a couple of sales worth looking at:
Paulaner 8pk 11.2oz Cans - $5.99, regularly $11.99
Bells Christmas Ale 6pk - $11.99
New limited availability Sam Adam's 22oz. Bottles:
Third Voyage Double IPA - $6.49
Griffin's Bow Oaked Blond Barleywine - $6.49
Tasman Red IPA - $5.49
The Vixen Chocolate Chili Bock - $7.49
There's taste, tasty, tasteful, and tasteless.
Poligamy Porter from Wasatch Brewing in Utah.
Christmas Jumper from Beachy Head Brewery along the southern coast of England. Approx 20 people each year commig suicide by jumping from Beach Head cliff.
Here's more. Click to biggify.

Flat 12's Twelve Biers of Christmas

Caught up with Head Brewer Rob at Flat Twelve this week. Flat 12, 12 days of Christmas, 12 biers.... get it? Ah, yes, Holiday beer. We just love them.

The first out was a Glazed Ham Porter, a robust porter with notes of cinnamon and spice. Went down smooth.

Then on Friday: the Candy Cane Porter; yes it is the Porter (full, dark, rich) with chocolate candy canes (yep, you read that right) crushed in along side some peppermint canes for a smooth sweet "I want this in a snifter" taste!

Then came the Cranberry Amber "CranBer" on Saturday; just imagine juicing real cranberries into a delicious Amber. Fruit tartness!

Upcoming Holiday specials will include Gingerbread IPA, just imagine... ginger; Sugar Plum bier; and Hot Cocoa (these guys are really in the spirit) bier; as well as a few other specialties up Rob's sleeve.

The last two (#11 & #12)will be bourbon barrel aged hearty biers!

While Flat12 has plenty of distribution on their classics at your local pub, these 12 are only available in the Tap Room. Thur. 4-7, Fri. 12-8, Sat. 12-6, Sun. 12-4 @ 414 North Dorman, just a block South of Michigan Street near Tech HS.

Central Indiana's Newest Brewery Tap Room: Fountain Square

We visited Fountain Square Brewery Tap Room during their Grand Opening Weekend (Dec. 2-4), finding good beer, good cheer, and no chairs. Okay, who minds standing anyway?!

This is not about the business or who does what but Skip, the head brewer was not there, yet Justin (the 'I can install anything' guy) and Shelly (the 'I can get distribution') gal were great hosts while everybody from all pictured to all others were very friendly and excited about the beer.

Fountain Square had five beers on tap and available for Growler Fills:
A blonde which while lite still has flavor

A Pale (Hop for Teachers) with cascade and centenial as a true homage to many American pale ales (yum)

An Amber

A very delicious Porter with wonderful chocolate malt and a nice creaminess (reportedly the favorite of crowds so far)

A seasonal Oatmeal Stout that conjurs up images of perhaps wonderful, dark holiday cookies

With distribution at about 30 locations on tap from downtown to Broad Ripple to further North and plenty of beer variations in the works, Fountain Square Brewing is off to a great start! Congrats to all.

Visit them at 1301 Barth Av (yellow front), or just SOUTH of the Fountain on the West side next to Bud's super market. Just getting adjusted but ‎4 to 9pm Thursday and Friday. Noon to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

If the tap room is closed, you can walk back to the fountain and try the Stout at the End of the Line Public House on Fountain Square -- a nice gastro pub with great beer.

NW Indiana Brewery Trip

The holidays are a great time to spend several days of quality time with extended family members. Either that or a perfect time to hit the road for a few days and go on a brewery trip. After making the agonizing decision to attempt the latter, I picked up my friend Jason and local pinup celebrity Poppi Rocketts and cut a path through Northwest Indiana and Western Michigan. On the way, we were able to visit three great Indiana breweries (also tried to hit Three Floyds but the brewpub was sadly filled to capacity when we arrived).

Crown Brewing  

   Crown Brewing – Crown Point

We arrived at Crown Brewing just in time for opening on Friday. Crown has a small tasting room with a view of their fermenting tanks that is conveniently connected to Carriage Court Pizza to make it a great destination for lunch or dinner. An outdoor patio with a small hop garden is also available for enjoyment during the warmer months. You can pick up beer to go in growlers and select 22 ounce bombers.

After a strong showing with nine medals (and second place overall) at the Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup, I was looking forward to sampling what they had to offer. Thanks to fellow blogger Jason Wilkerson for joining us for beer and recommending the BBQ Chicken pizza. The pizza and beer were both excellent and well worth the trip.

Beer highlights included:DSCN0063

Special Forces IPA – Aggressively hopped American IPA with a solid malt base and dominant flavors of pineapple and grapefruit. Took home a bomber of this bad boy.

Crown Brown – Rich toffee malt character followed by a distinct hop bite. The 4.1% ABV makes it a very flavorful session beer.

Java Porter – Full bodied Robust Porter with well-balanced espresso flavors. Uses a base of the State Fair gold medal winning Industrial Porter.

Milk Chocolate Stout – A silver medal winner that combines lactose sweetness with rich chocolate flavors.


   Figure 8 BrewingValparaiso

This was my first time trying Figure 8’s beers but I’d heard good things leading up to our visit. This turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise and one of the highlights of the trip. They have a small tasting room at the front of the brewery offering samplers and pints along with carryout beer in growler fills and bombers. I would describe the beers I sampled at Figure 8 as fairly aggressive and pushing the limits of traditional styles – just the way I like it. DSCN0069

Within the spectrum of a 60 IBU Belgian Honey Lager to an Imperial Chocolate Stout it was difficult to pick favorites, but here goes:

Snake Pro Double IPA – With a hefty malt backbone providing the 9% ABV, the spicy/citrus hop character slaps you upside the head in the best way. Took home a bomber of this one.

Raven Tor Oatmeal Stout – Served on nitro for a smooth and creamy mouthfeel with roasty malt flavors and a balanced sweetness.

Black Corridor Imperial Chocolate Stout – Dangerously drinkable at 10.2% ABV with rich flavors of chocolate and dark fruit.

Ro Shampo – Imperial Red Ale with a big toasty malt character and pleasant alcohol warming. Hops are present but malt flavors are the star of this one. Took home a bomber.

If you’re in Central Indiana, you can find Figure 8 beers at Kahn’s Fine Wines and the Tomlinson Tap Room. Check them out so you can say you were there before they got huge.

Shoreline    Shoreline BreweryMichigan City

Nursing a two-day hangover and in need of a good meal on Sunday, we ventured into Michigan City to visit the friendly confines of Shoreline Brewery. Shoreline is a true brewpub with a full menu and extensive selection of beers produced onsite. There is a certain fixation here with Chicago sports teams, particularly the Cubs, but that at least spared us from having the Colts game on television.

Along with a sandwich and pasta salad, I managed to brave another beer sampler. With the keg blowing on a half pour of the 6th Anniversary Ale, I ended up with seven different beers to try. Favorites here included:DSCN0066

Beltaine Scottish Ale – A two-time silver medal winner at the World Beer Cup, this beer is a true standout. Medium-bodied and very drinkable with a smooth caramel malt character this is one of the better Scottish ales I’ve had anywhere.

Region Rat Red – More caramel malt goodness nicely balanced with a citrus hop character.

Don’t Panic English Pale Ale – Pleasant, easy-drinking pale ale with a subtle but distinctive English hop character.



Our Michigan visits included Saugatuck Brewing in Douglas, New Holland Brewing in Holland, Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven, Michigan Beer Cellar in Sparta, Hopcat in Grand Rapids, and (last but certainly not least) Founder’s Brewing in Grand Rapids. Odd Side is a very small, unique new brewery that is worth seeking out if you’re in the area. All in all a great trip that gave us the chance to visit a number of new places and try a lot of great beer that put turkey and stuffing to shame. Hope you had – or will have – a chance to explore the craft beer scene and try some new things this holiday season.

Cheers - Nathan