Winterfest 2013 Review

We came, we saw, we conquered, we called a cab. Hope everyone who was able to attend had another great experience at Winterfest. Here is a collection of thoughts, beer tastings, and photos from your friendly reporters at IndianaBeer.

From Greg………….

Winterfest 2013 provides sensory overload of tastes, conversation, camaraderie, and so many booths that a systematic method of visiting every brewery breaks down and so many breweries must be slightly neglected. To my friends whose beer I know well, forgive me but I see this as an opportunity of beer discovery. At the same time, there are a few new or rare beers that I truly try to get to. Or, let's face it I am standing next to a brewer I know and my little glass just goes automatically out for a sample.

Here is my list of "beers of Note" sampled from Winterfest 2013:

Bare Hands Brewery, Granger, IN

Thai.p.a., American style IPA brewed with Thai spices. Interesting balance of hops and spice 55IBU 7.1%

Mole Bride, Russian Imperial stout aged on Ancho Chiles, cocoa nibs, and Mexican cinnamon, nice spice and chocolate notes 87IBU 10%

Bell's Brewing, MI

Harry Magill's Spiced Stout, nicely spiced stout with notes of ginger, nutmeg 8.0%

Big Dawg Brew Haus, Richmond, IN

Grandma's Best, A big, rich Oatmeal Stout 50IBU 8%

Bloomington Brewing, Bloomington, IN

Ole Floyd's Belgian, Rich malty Belgisn yeast Belgian Dark Strong Ale, 27IBU 8.9%

Crown Brewing, Crown Point, IN

Barrel Aged Cherry Phooba, delicious Imperial Stout aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels with cherries

Cutters Brewing, Avon, IN

Empire, Russian Imperial Stout, strong dark notes with sweetness from molasses, 64.6IBU 10%

Daredevil Brewing, Shelbyville, IN

Lift Off, new very balanced West Coast style American IPA, 72IBU 7.2%

Figure 8 Brewing, Valparaiso, IN

Black Corridor Imperial Chocolate Ale w/Blueberries & cask conditioned, like a malty fruity dessert 10.2%

Flat 12, Indianapolis, IN

23 Pappy Pinko, Pinko Imperial Stout aged in 23 year Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels, 87IBU, 11%

Hawcreek Brewing Co, Hope, IN

Little Town Brown, balanced Brown Ale 36.IBU 6.0%

Iechyd Da Brewing Co, Elkhart, IN

It's Not A Skirt, malty, refreshing Scottish Export, 20IBU, 4.6%

Powerhouse Brewing, Columbus, IN

Diesel Oil Stout, rich but creamy Stout, 33IBU 6.6%

RAM, Indianapolis

2010 Heaven-sent, Imperial Pilsner aged in Wine Barrels

Samuel Adams, MA

Thirteeth Hour, Belgian Stout with 13 ingredients providing spice to a roasty stout, 17IBU 9%

SunKing, Indianapolis

Batch 666: Sympathy for the Devil, Rich malty Belgian Back Ale, 34IBU, 11%

Timmie, Big complex Barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, 70IBU 10%

Twisted Crew Brewing, Seymour, IN

Dirty Blonde A Big "dirty" (unfiltered) Belgian Blonde Ale 20IBU 7%

Upland Brewing Co., Bloomington, IN

Raspberry Lambic aged in Oak with real raspberries, great last beer at Wintefest

ZwanzigZ Brewery, Columbus, IN

William's 8th, delightfully smokey golden Rauchbier, 20IBU, 4.8%

Ghost Pepper Imperial Stout, Imperial Stout with the world's hottest pepper nicely done to just provide a spicy finish, 78IBU, 8.8%

From Jason C………….

I think it's safe to say that Bare Hands left the biggest impression on me.  Tried the Thai PA, 574, Mole Bride, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout and thought each one was pretty strong in overall quality. 

Thai PA - An American style IPA brewed with Thai spices.  55 IBU, 7.1 ABV

574 - A single hop APA with piney, citrus, and tropical hop flavors.  50 IBU, 6% ABV

Mole Bride - Mail Order Bride Russian Imperial Stout aged on Ancho Chiles, cocoa nibs, and Mexican cinnamon.  87 IBU, 10.2 ABV

Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout - An Imperial Stout brewed with 100% cocoa and all natural peanut butter.  45 IBU, 9% ABV

Sampled & enjoyed the Rooster American Brown Ale and the Lucky Dog American Pale Ale from Evil Czech (Culver).  This was my first exposure to Evil Czech and I felt the beers were pretty solid.

Still have to mention the New Albanian Naughty Girl dry-hopped with cascade from the casks outside the building.  Love that stuff.

Gotta work some People's into the mix.  Amazon Princess American IPA is pretty incredible.  Heavy on the Simcoe hops, 62 IBU and 6.5% ABV

You can put me in agreement with the Crown Coconut Java Porter being my favorite beer of the day.  It's the only sample that I went back for multiple times.

From Kathleen………….

It has been over a year since I've had a chance to really enjoy one of the bigger festivals featuring our Indiana brewing community and beyond.  Usually I'm part of the behind the scene beer festivities, but this year I decided to go VIP / media style and bring a newbie to the festival to try out all the awesome beers.

I also took a different route this time that I usually do with beer festivals. I generally take a lot of pictures, but this time I was more focused on writing down what I was drinking.  Ironically I sampled the same amount of beer as my age. - 31! I won't list them all, but I'll list my highlights -

Bier Brewery - Pumpkin Ale infused with Blueberries - I think blueberries was the "it" fruit for beers this festival. Many had either blueberry brews, infused blueberry brews or cask conditioned brews. Either way, Bier is one of my favorite breweries and I love their pumpkin ale, with the slight touch of sweet blueberry

Finch Beer CompanySecret Stache Stout - This was on my list pre-Winterfest. A Vanilla Cream Stout that made me shiver to my toes.

Mad Anthony Brewing Co. - Imperial Pumpkin Ale - One sample of this and it was the top contender for my favorite pumpkin ale of all time, along with best of show for Winterfest. It was just the right amount of nutmeg and pumpkin pie spices and creamy at the same time.

Cutter's Brewing Company - Floyd's Folly - A nice, slight smooth scottish ale

Great Fermentations - Temple of Rye - I had to try this brew, with the contribution one of our own reporters, Nathan, and it was wonderful. Then again, I love porters, so the extra flavor of it being whiskey barrel aged was perfect.

Figure 8 Brewing - Black Corridor - An Imperial Chocolate Ale cask conditioned with blueberries. Another one on my pre-Winterfest list. This one was outside in the firkin tents. I can't even describe how delicious it was. Almost decadent dessert like beer.

ZwanzigzGhost Pepper infused Imperial Stout -  This was the winner of Winterfest for me. I love a nice hot spiced beer that is well balanced and the burn hit your mouth and throat right after swallowing.  I finished on this beer because it was too good to compete with anyone else.

So those were my top beers. I did try some of the newbies -Union Brewing Company and Tin Man Brewing Company had a good regular style, session like beer. I tried Tin Man's - Rivet which was their Amber and Union Brewing's Cannonball Doyle - which actually tasted a little flat to me

but - Bare Hand Brewery -

Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout, Thai P.A., and Mole Bride

inventive, well executed, great flavors. It made me want to venture to Granger, IN for more.

Another tidbit I found out is Tuxedo Park Brewers Supply has brewing classes for free on Saturday from 11-4 if anyone is interested in brewing


Besides the sites of beer, and cool brewery signs, I really enjoyed the craziness of how far the pretzel necklaces have gone. I saw people with peanuts, cheese sticks, sausages, gigantic pretzels, fancy ribbon.  High five for creativity.

Til Next time! - Cheers - Kathleen

From Nathan………….

Festivals like Winterfest continue to be a microcosm of the craft beer scene in general: more breweries, more attendees, and a growing selection of boundary-pushing specialty beers. Tip of the cap to festival volunteers who always do a good job keeping the lines moving at opening time. Sure, we heard several comments that the VIP line didn’t seem very “VIP”, but that was more attributable to the sheer number of tickets sold. The crowd was terrific from what I witnessed – polite, enthusiastic, and having a great time. The growing trend of getting your beer and moving out of the way when others are waiting is also greatly appreciated. Since the number of breweries seems to grow as fast as the drinkers, you could always find an option that didn’t require a long wait to fill your cup.

With that said, the days of Winterfest in the Ag Hort building are reaching a tipping point in my opinion. Barring moving the whole thing outside like our cousins to the north, this festival doesn’t have the expansive layout advantages of an open air event. Making your way to the next destination Saturday frequently felt like moving down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras without the benefit of random nudity. It was all part of the experience there, but I’d rather not relive it at a beer festival. The addition of outdoor portable toilets were a godsend a few years back, but those also reached the point of being overwhelmed this year.

On to the beer – unless you read from bottom to top my thunder has already been stolen on Bare Hands Brewery. But their approach was perfect to get attention at a large festival – give the people something they’ve never had before and do it well. Continuing to push in that direction could make them Indiana’s answer to Odd Side Ales in Michigan – that’s a good thing. Now on to my requisite Top 5 of the day:

Pick of the Day: Crown Brewing Coconut Java Porter

Bare Hands Mole Bride

People’s Amazon Princess IPA (cask version)

Union Brewing Cannonball Doyle

ZwanzigZ Scotch Ale

Dribs and Drabs

As if some 51 breweries that could be open by summer in Indiana . . . here’s another.

Keywords: Kickstarter, Facebook, Article, 18th Street Brewery, Gary

BeerSci: Why You Should Never Drink Beer From A Clear Glass Bottle

Did you notice the South Bend Brewfest two weeks ago (sorry). article

Have you heard of Basket Case Brewing in Jasper? Roger has.


YAWP (Yet Another Winterfest Post)

While the others tell you about their favorite beers at Winterfest here’s some of the stranger offerings. The Brewers of Indiana Guild and the Hoosier Beer Geeks pulled it off again. Another CROWD of beer lovers and potential lovers spent 4 hours finding new stuff like Bare Hands’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout and Imperial Russian Stout with chilies and cinnamon,

Outside in the firkin area were Power House’s The Sour and the Fury, Ole Floyd, the perennial Big Boris Barleywine from Lafayette Brewing, Sun King's Timmie, Triton's Railsplitter with grapefruit zest, a 3-year old Lost Sailor from Shoreline, New Albanian's Naughty Girl and Beak's Best dry hopped with Cascades, Zwanzigz’s Rauchbier and Ghost Pepper infused Imperial Stout. The mix changed throughout the day but about 25 were being served on gravity at any one time – most earning the title of Real Ale if this was a CAMRA festival. If you didn't brave the cold for these specials make sure you do next year. The line out there was even shorter than inside.

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Zwanzigz, Columbus, Great beer, Great pizza

Zwanzigz on 11th St. at Lafayette Av. in Columbus just passed their one year anniversary as a brewery but the brewer, Mike, brought over 20 years of brewing experience to turn out tasty brews and plenty of variety. Zwanzigz is an award winning pizza shop that almost exactly one year ago added their own beer and soda to the menu by expanding their building. In these 52 weeks they have produced 27 different beer styles! :

The first time I visited I was particularly smitten by the Chocolate Ale; not a stout but a clear ale with cocoa nibs added during finishing. This beer is delicious as a dessert! The Chocolate Ale is malty with a chocolate zing finish that delights the taste buds. That day I also tasted their Nut Brown Ale, another year-round beer for Zwanzigz. The nut brown gives that slightly sweet, nutty, caramel flavor at 6.5% ABV with 30 IBU.
The other regular brews from Zwanzigz include
Honey Wheat Ale: 6% ABV, 6 IBU, lightest in flavor but a nice residual sweetness
Triple Z IPA: 5% ABV, 67 IBU, a nice hop note without overpowering
Fulcrum Imperial Stout: 7% ABV 75 IBU, a delicious dark big stout
Blueberry Ale: 5% ABV, 12 IBU, fruity of course but a nice base ale behind the berries

On my recent visit I found their Scotch Ale Seasonal, as expected a big 9% ABV beer at 34 IBU, rich and malty. This is particularly well made and yummy.

Other seasonals on tap this past week included a Porter, a Red, a big barleywine at 11%, and a Tripel of a Christmas beer still around.

Besides a new beer nearly every other week in 2012, there are two other highlights of Zwanzigz! First, Soda made on the premises for both kids and adults.

The kids can order a sampler just like the adults! We found our "little people taste panel" loved the orange, the raspberry, then the root beer and (my favorite) black cherry. It is perhaps a wierd situation when I am forced to choose between a great black cherry soda and a tasty brew! BOTH beer AND soda are available for carry out in growlers!

Second highlight is truly good pizza!
In the interest of science, no wait it was in the interest of my taste buds, we have now tried 3 varieties of the pizza and that leaves me wanting to get to Columbus, IN again for pizza and beer!

Kurt and Lisa Zwanzig clearly believe in quality!
Their brewhouse is compact but with wonderful equipment. For statistics lovers, they have a 10 hectoliter or about 8 barrel system. Their new bottling line (yep, small bottling system) is first class.
Locals will likely be able to have a six-pack of one of their favorite regular Zwanzigz beers delivered with their pizza and the mid-term plan is that in addition to growler carry out, Zwanzigz lovers will be able to pick up some of their great beers at other local stores.

Zwanzigz is about 30-35 minutes south of I-465 off of I-65 so easily accessible from Indianapolis.

As I write this I am anxious to try (again) one of their specialty beers at the Brewers Guild of Indiana Winterfest: Ghost Pepper Imperial Stout. You'd expect a lot of burn but the sample I have had has abundent rich dark malt flavor with a wonderful accent of spice and lingering slight zing at the finish! Keep it up Zwanzigz!

Winterfest: 10 Beers You Should Try

beer beer everywhere

Like many of you, I scanned the list of Winterfest breweries and beers with astonishment at the number of beers that have not had the pleasure of assaulting my brain cells. But then I stopped and tried to think about noting some beers I’ve actually tried that would warrant a strong recommendation for someone who is fairly new to the glory of Winterfest. By focusing on beers that are not omnipresent throughout the state, this list will hopefully contain something for veterans and non-veterans alike. So here are some personal recommendations for you to consider when planning your day of responsible sampling:


Bell’s Harry Magill’s Spiced Stout: We stumbled across this Bell’s specialty over the holidays at The Chubby Trout in Elkhart (great place if you’re in the area). Harry Magill’s is a unique blend of specialty malts, ginger, and nutmeg. Not as close to a Christmas Ale as the description might suggest, it carves out its own unique flavor profile that is well worth a try.
Great Fermentations Temple of Rye (tapping at 4:45): This is an Imperial Porter aged in a Templeton Rye whiskey barrel. OK, so this selection is incredibly biased because I contributed some homebrew to the project. But after trying the final product yesterday, I’ll stake my reputation on saying you won’t be disappointed with this beer. Guess that only works if anyone cares about your supposed reputation. Try the beer anyway.
New Belgium Biere de Garde: Another new offering we found over the holidays, this is actually a collaboration between New Belgium and Brewery Vivant from Grand Rapids. A nice example of a criminally underrated style that will appeal to those who appreciate rich maltiness with subtle wine-like characteristics.
Oaken Barrel Super Fly IPA: One of the best local IPAs when I started getting into craft beer. Still one of the best you can find today. While checking out and supporting our new breweries, don’t forget the quality offerings this local veteran still brings to the table.
Power House Diesel Oil Stout: Named in honor of the diesel engines produced in Columbus by Cummins, Diesel Oil Stout is more approachable for the average drinker than the name might suggest. If you’ve never sampled a beer from Power House, try this seductively dark stout that uses a bit of lactose sweetness to balance the dark malts.
Rock Bottom (College Park) Naked Oat Stout: Brewer Liz Laughlin turns out consistently good beers at Rock Bottom College Park and the Naked Oat Stout and Simcoe IPA are the seasonals I always seek out. Aggressively flavorful but still approachable, this one pushes the boundaries of what an Oatmeal Stout can taste like in a good way.
Sam Adams Thirteenth Hour: A barrel aged beer that combines the dark fruit flavors of a Belgian Dark Strong Ale with prominent chocolate and coffee notes, Thirteenth Hour proves that Sam Adams is still relevant as a craft beer innovator.
Shoreline Beltaine Scottish Ale: Beltaine has been around for a while, but you owe yourself a sample of this World Cup multi-award winning beer if you’ve never tried it. Consistently the standout offering when I’ve visited Shoreline’s brewpub.
Triton Sin Bin Belgian Pale: Very approachable option for those who prefer a more nuanced bitterness and hop character in their pale ales. The Belgian phenolics are nicely restrained and balanced against the toasty malt backbone.
Upland Gilgamesh: Upland’s take on a traditional Flanders Red, I was pleasantly surprised by how the subtle sour character complemented a bouquet of fruit flavors when reviewing this beer for the website last year. After trying it again at the Indiana Brewers Cup (where it won commercial best of show) against some other standout commercial examples, Gilgamesh solidified its status as my pick of the day for sour ales.

Honorable Mention: Barley Island Black Mystic Java Stout, Daredevil Lift Off IPA, Figure 8 Raven Tor Oatmeal Stout, Flat 12 Walkabout Pale, Lafayette Brewing Company Tippecanoe Common

Finally, don’t forget to check out my friends at the homebrew club tables to see what local amateurs are brewing up these days. There will be only two tables this year with various clubs rotating throughout the day so you will find various new options to consider on repeat visits. Plus the lines will probably be shorter (just kidding homebrewers) :)

See ya Saturday, Nathan

What Are You Looking Forward to Trying?

Beer geeks love a good beer festival and the Brewers of Indiana Guild does a great job of getting breweries together for an evening or afternoon to share their great beer.

Winterfest is a highlight in the middle of the cold season where beer festivals are few and far between. 70+ breweries are making their way to the Indiana State Fairgrounds this Saturday to share with thousands of fans their delicious brew.

One of my favorite things to do before hand it plot out what I really want to try!

Newbie breweries will be out and about with Tin Man Brewing Company and Union Brewing Company making the top of the list.  but a few other rare beers out there are going to the top of my list.  In no particularly order I am looking forward to trying -

  • Figure 8 Brewing - Black Corridor - A Chocolate Imperial Ale cask conditioned with blueberries
  • Finch's Beer Comapny - Secret Stache Stout - A Vanilla Cream Stout
  • All of New Day Meadery's Ciders ( It's not beer, but it is damn good) 
  • Flat 12 Bierwerks - 23 Pappy Pinko - Pinko Imperial Stout aged in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels
  • Four Horseman Brewing Co - Ginger Spiced Strong Ale
  • Cutter's Brewing - Floyd's Folly
  • Founder's Devil Dancer IPA
(just realized it looks like breweries that start in F seems to have caught my eye) 
But.. who or what brew has caught yours!? See the full list below --

And look forward to seeing you at Winterfest!

To Pay or Not to Pay - Is it even a question?

If you follow our Facebook feed as religiously as I do you might have caught a little poll question thrown out there yesterday:

"How much is TOO much for a 12/16 oz bottle of craft beer?"

I'm not self promoting my own musings as this question was posted by a colleague.  But it drove a lot of people to comment and a cursory glance at our Facebook page would show that this question had led to the greatest response.

Not entirely sure if this is a sign of our economic times or our own rebellion to a craft beer movement that is increasingly growing into what resembles a corporate monster.  Maybe I am exaggerating here, but the outcry against high beer prices seems to run counter to our support for local breweries.

Read me out here.  I have no formal research to back me up, but I'm pretty sure we all outlay more cash for craft beer as opposed to that beautifully golden lager that comes from Milwaukee or St. Louis.  Supporting local craft beer is a love and passion not for just quality ale (and sometimes lager) but for sense of community and togetherness.  In order for these businesses to strive, we gladly open our wallets to make sure the doors to these breweries never close.

However, we know a good deal when we see one.  We are still the blue collar shlubs that don't want to overpay for crap.  "If I'm going to shell out $25 for a beer, it better be the best beer I've ever had!"  But how will we ever know?  We can only assess value of a beer only after we've tasted it.  People who have never had Dark Lord may flippantly bark, "I would never go through that much trouble for a beer!"  But that could be because they have no concept of what a beer has the ability to taste like!

I fell in love with craft beer by overpaying for it.  I dropped $28 for a bottle of Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S.  I was too damn curious.  I had to know what a $28 bottle of beer tasted like.  Why could any beer fetch that asking price?  I bought it from a bar, so I paid the markup.

I know we can easily introduce friends to craft beer for far less.  But had I not taken that leap I would not have been introduced to the wonder that I now love, the imperial stout.  I'm going to take it a step further.  I paid $75 for a bottle of CBS from eBay.  Oh yeah, it was ridiculous but once again I had to see what all the hype was about.  C'mon, it's just beer!  But that's the mindset of a drone spending nights in college binge drinking Natty Light and subsequently thinking Miller Lite is a great everyday beer.  CBS is a great beer.  I would do it all over again (only if I'm re-living it).  If people pay that much for wine, maybe beer has crossed over into elitism.

I paid $35 for Baller Stout and I paid $50 for Dark Lord de Muerte.  I am still fascinated by the fetching prices of beer.  But Three Floyd's is a proven commodity and as much as I rail against them as an entity I find their beer phenomenal.  Then again, I still have a limited sample size.

My purchases have all been 22oz bombers, so the question may fall short of applying, but the fundamental reasoning remains, "How much is TOO much?"  My answer, no such thing.  A willing participant dictates the value.  In this game, it appears that past performance dictates future value.  I don't see Four Horsemen releasing a $35 bomber anytime soon.  But if Sun King wants to release a $25 bottle, I'm curious.

Indiana Beer NEWS: Bloomington Festival, Major Tastings and more

Missed out on Winterfest Indy (this coming Saturday) then plan now for the Bloomington Beer Fest which is moved to APRIL this year! April 13th, 3PM VIP, 4-7 General Admission! Most Indiana Breweries, many out-of-state breweries, music, and a very cool venue make this Fest really fun!

Tix are already available.

If you missed RAMMAGEDON, well... .the world did NOT end that day so you can go to Fishers for each of the beers again!
Thursday, January 24!! 6:30 PM, RAM Fishers, IN;
Apocalypto Barleywine, Endgame Russian Imperial Stout, Doomsday Imperial Red, Final Countdown Imperial IPA, Apocalypse Meow, Belgian IPA, and Barrel-aged Endgame Russian Imperial Stout. We LOVED these beers! Oh, and if we are really nice some or all of these may be at Winterfest this Saturday.

Love Imperial Stouts? Get over to LaMargarita, Fountain Square, Jan.31 - Feb.3. Regular and Oak Aged Yeti, RAM Aged EndGame, Upland Teddy Bear Kisses, SunKing Timmie from a cask, where $8 gets you 3oz of 6 beers! details here

January 31 Wish you would have tried all of the Stone Vertical Epic beers from 2003 - 2012? Well you still can for $125. Yogi's Grill & Bar, Blooomington, offers a food pairing with EACH of the Stone Vertical Epic series need a refresher, click through them on Stone's web site Thursday, January 31, 7:00 PM, Certified Cicerone Chris Carl will be on hand to lead you through these. details on Yogi's web site

Feb. 5 Live in Southern Indiana? We've got you covered. There is a 5-course SunKing beer dinner at the Buckhead Mountain Grill, 707 West Riverside Drive, Jeffersonville with a welcoming pint at 6:30, and first of 5 courses at 7PM, Beers are: Obtuse Juice IPA, Malus Pi, Wee Mac Scottish Ale, Zaius Smoked Oatmeal Stout and Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Aged Mai Bock. 812-284-2912 or on facebook

And we hope to see everyone at Winterfest this coming Saturday!
Just a few of the beers on my tasting list:
Zwanzigz Rauch beer (I got a first sample recently, love it)
Cutters Floyd's Folly Scottish Ale
Upland's firkin of Ard Ri in Oak with Vanilla beans!
Figure 8 Ro Shampo
RAM.... as mentioned above, Barrel-aged Endgame Russian Imperial Stout

Update to Hopslam Release Party - January 22

Friday, January 25:

I was just emailed a list of more beers that have been added to Trion Tavern's Hopslam event (see my posting below).  Here is the updated list:

• De Struise Black Albert Imperial Stout 100 on RateBeer94 on BeerAdvocate
• Weissenoher Bonifatius Dunkel
• Great Crescent Harmonie Dark Lager 
• Powerhouse Two Daves IPA
• Barley Island Dirty Helen Brown Ale
• Founders Imperial Stout 

That ma
kes 18 beers that will be tapped!?! (Still more could be tapped depending on how fast everything is flowing!)

Plus, there is going to be a limited amount of bottled beer available for carry-out beginning at 8pm:
  • Bell's Hopslam - 6-packs for only $16.99 (including sales tax)
  • Three Floyds Zombie Dust - 6-packs for $19.99 (including sales tax)
  • Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze - 750 ml for just $18.99 (including sales tax)

Hopslam Release Party - January 18

Friday, January 25 from 11a.m.-3a.m.:

Trion Tavern in New Haven, IN will be hosting a Bell's Hopslam Release Party!  If you have heard about this beer but have not tried it, here is your chance to do so! 

Also, these two beers will be available as well:

Mt. Pleasant Train Wreck (American Amber Ale) 8.2%
Thr3e Wise Men Snow Bunny Blonde 5.0%

$3.50 beers from all 58 taps (including Hopslam but Three Floyds Zombie Dust will continue to be just $2.75 thru January)
Also to be tapped:

  • Bell's Smitten (Golden Rye Ale) Brand New!
  • Bell's Captain Spontaneous (Dry Hoped American Pale Ale) Brand New!
  • Three Floyds Rye'da Tiger (Double Rye IPA) 100 on RateBeer
  • B.Nektar Zombie Killer (Cherry Cyser) 2011 Mazer Cup Gold Medal Winner. 99 on RateBeer
  • North Coast Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XV (Russian Imperial Stout) 94 on BeerAdvocate
  • North Coast Grand Cru (Belgian Strong Dark Ale)
  • Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12 (Belgian Strong Dark Ale) 97 on RateBeer
  • Boulevard Double-Wide IPA (Double IPA) 99 on RateBeer
  • Figure 8 Where Lizards Dar (American IPA) from Valparaiso, Indiana


Beers, Cheers, and Sneers – January 17


Flat 12 Bierwerks is expanding distribution to the Nashville, TN market later this month. In Sun King news, limited releases of two special beers are set for January 28th. Batch 333: The Velvet Fog will be available both at the brewery and in select liquor stores as a two-pack with a suggested retail price of $17.50. A small amount of Bourbon Barrel Johan the Barleywine will be available at the brewery for $25 a can. Advance reservations for half of the Johan batch will open here on January 21st.

New Albanian’s annual strong beer madness known as Gravity Head is just around the corner with a 2013 theme of “Return of the Living Gravity Dead”. The event does not start until February 22nd, but the list of selections is already approaching 50 special offerings with a few yet to be announced. Keep in mind these beers will rotate on the taps over a span of several weeks – heaven help us if they were all tapped at once.

Thomas Hardy’s Ale, which many consider one of the finest examples of the English Barleywine style, is being revived this year after production of the beer at O’Hanlon brewery ceased for several years. The rights for this beer are reportedly held by American importer George Saxon, so hopefully the new batch will trickle into our local market as connoisseurs were accustomed to in years past.

Here’s one for the category of things you’ll hopefully find interesting because I like to promote them. There have been some creative uses for spent grains from the brewing process – many commercial breweries donate them to farms as livestock feed and some homebrewers compost or turn them into dog biscuits. But Alaskan Brewing is reportedly the first brewery in the world to use them as the sole fuel source for their steam boiler. Tackling this new idea required investment in a $1.8 million, custom-constructed spent grain steam boiler. But the benefits include a 60-70 percent reduction in fuel oil consumption that will save an estimated 1.5 million gallons of oil over the next ten years. Cheers to craft beer innovation!

Something for the more technical-minded out there….we call it the Andrew Korty files – PopSci conducted an experiment with the process of fractional freezing. This is the process that can be used to concentrate an alcoholic beverage by freezing some of the water and decanting the remaining liquid. Fractional freezing created (accidentally according to the Kulmbacher brewery) the Eisbock style and has been employed to make some of the absurdly high alcohol “beers” in recent years like the BrewDog 32% ABV Tactical Nuclear Penguin and 41% Sink the Bismarck. PopSci claims that dry ice in isopropanol would allow you to freeze increasingly higher alcohol levels until you reached about 93% ABV. They don’t recommend trying this at home……but save me some if you do.

Nothing stirs controversy (and pageviews) like a good list, so there was a solid buzz in the blogosphere when a site called First We Feast revealed their 20 most influential beers of all time. It didn’t strike me as such a bad list if you consider the panel was American and there seemed to be a focus on beers that set the standard for styles popular in our country. But draw the attention of a beer historian and head are gonna role. So Zythophile unpretentiously brings you the REAL 20 most influential beers of all time. They managed to agree on Blind Pig IPA, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Pilsner Urquell, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – check the rest out for yourself and see which you prefer. One small note for Zythophile: Can we please just acknowledge that starting sentences with “I don’t want to diss the panel that chose these beers, but” guarantees a panel is about to be seriously dissed.

Breathometer, Inc. plans to launch the world’s first smartphone breathalyzer at Austin’s South by Southwest festival in March. It will allow you to measure your legal compliance by blowing into a key fob-sized device that plugs into the audio port. The app will be available on both iPhone and Android and is approved by the FDA and something called the Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance. Now we just need that teleportation app to get us back home and fetch coffee. I’m looking at you physicists.red_swingline

From the newly minted “Three Floyds Global Industries: Entertainment Division” comes word of another attraction at South by Southwest. The film festival portion includes a feature called Drinking Buddies from Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg. The plot features two beer geeks named Kate and Luke who face a blurry line between “friends” and “more than friends” on a summer weekend once the beer starts flowing. Said beer features area breweries Three Floyds, Revolution, Half Acre, Bell’s, and Founders. Even more exciting - the cast includes one Ron Livingston. If that sounds familiar……yes, that would be Peter Gibbons (aka Peter-man) from Office Space. I might be a bad writer, but at least I never slept with Lumbergh.

Cheers, Nathan

Beers, Cheers, and Sneers – January 10

South Bend Brewfest

This Saturday’s South Bend Brewfest kicks off the 2013 slate of beer festivals! If you’re interested in attending and missed it on our Facebook feed, Eric from Michiana Beer Nuts has a full list of participating breweries and what they will be pouring. It looks like tickets are still available online for $35 (plus the dreaded $5 convenience fee) here. And the upcoming Crown Beer Fest (formerly Illiana Mayfest) may not take place until May 18th, but you can already get your early bird tickets here. VIP packages are $59 (plus $5 convenience fee) and General Admission is $35 (plus $3.50 convenience fee). That’s a pretty stiff price difference for an extra hour of sampling, but VIPs do get private rest rooms to isolate yourself from the peasants and a T-shirt to prove you survived.

Some new release news to pass along:

  • New Albanian’s Solidarity Baltic Porter (my favorite beer of the day from last year’s Winterfest) will not be distributed this year but is available now at the brewery’s two locations in New Albany.
  • Bell’s Hopslam Imperial IPA began shipping to Indiana this week and should be on shelves soon. Get ready for a six-pack retailing around $20, but bear in mind that you’re investing in the liquid equivalent of over three bombers.
  • Also from Bell’s, Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout is packaged for the first time in 4-packs and will be shipping out soon. It’s unclear how much will be distributed to Indiana markets, but in central Indiana the beer can be located with the World Class Beer Spy.

Has anyone tried Heady Topper IPA from The Alchemist brewery in Vermont? It just surpassed Pliny The Younger as the highest rated beer on Beer Advocate. Beers of local interest include Three Floyds Bourbon Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord at #3, Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) at #4, Three Floyds Zombie Dust at #7, Founders KBS at #9, and Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout at #10. That Westie 12 some of you recently snatched up checks in at #6 and might fetch up to $500 on EBay. So much for EBay cracking down on alcohol sales.skunkedBeer

Good news for fans of Saison Dupont – the special seasonal release Saison Dupont Cuvee Dry Hopping, featuring Triskel hops, will be making its way to America for the first time in April. And here’s the kicker – it will be packaged in brown bottles to avoid the skunking issues that are often a problem with regular Saison Dupont in green bottles!

In a lesson of appreciating what you have, Founders has announced a brand realignment that includes phasing out year-round availability of Red’s Rye PA in six-packs. I count Red’s among my favorite beers, but when the factors of trying new commercial beers, consuming homebrew, and trying to stay in decent health are aligned one realizes how infrequently you get back to the old favorites. Better stock up now.

How many times have you planned an epic brewery trip only to find out there is no hotel within reasonable walking distance? You don’t want to spend the better part of a day driving or flying somewhere just to order a sampler. Well, the Stone Brewing empire is expanding to solve this problem with a planned hotel just across the street from their World Bistro & Gardens. Ideas being considered include beer taps in every room. Now, to be honest, Stone kind of struck me as dangerously close to the craft beer version of a tourist trap a few years ago. So it will be interesting to see how the hotel rooms rank in affordability. The grounds at Stone are very nice, but for my money there’s just something more memorable about a beer adventure that involves things like stumbling across a little trailer with a Dark Horse sign.

You might think we’re tough on AB InBev around here, but that’s nothing compare to the spurned wife of an Anheuser-Busch executive who created Divorce! The Musical. Apparently the tell-all musical was successful enough in New York to make its way to St. Louis this spring. Choice cuts from the show include “Stop Goosing Goose Island” and “You Can Keep Rolling Rock”. Yes folks, the jokes are just getting worse around here in 2013.

Brewery Ommegang has teamed up with HBO to create a series of craft beers inspired by the series Game of Thrones. This might put a new spin on your favorite drinking game. At least you stand a better chance of making it to work on time Monday morning with the Iron Throne blonde ale than a bottle of whiskey. Taking a shot every time there is gratuitous sex or nudity is just brutal with that series.


Cheers, Nathan

Mike Farrell’s 32,000 cans

Hoosier Beer co-author, Derrick Morris invited IndianaBeer to spend Saturday at a "summit" of beer can collectors held at the home of Mike Farrell outside Shelbyville. Mike back yard rec room has evolved to a man-cave worthy of note as the pictures below will show.

About 20 folks were there from Michigan, Michiana, Indy and Cincinnati. Mike put on a spread and let everyone root through two pallet-sized bins of duplicates culled from a recent purchase.

There's the Camaro with 17 miles. There's a car lift being used as a sorting table There's a full kitchen and a couple of beds. There's a 8-foot pool table in the loft. Oh, and there's the 32,000 cans. Cans on the walls, walls built just for cans. Cone tops, crowntainers, flat tops, pull-tabs, stay-tabs, cabottles. Cans with paper labels. 6 oz, 7 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, 11 oz, 12 oz, 14 oz, 15 oz, 16 oz, 24 oz, 36 oz, 64 oz, 72 oz and gallon cans. Cans in the stairways. Uncategorized cans, commemorative cans, prototype cans, test cans, bank-top and other advertising cans. Cans with opening instructions. Mike's ambition is to own one of everything - and that includes variants. Collecting coins and stamps is space economic in comparison so that's why the annex. Unique cans and commons.

AP1050949For instance there are three known special Burger Beer cans from 1935 Cincinnati. One was a patent model (for the pump apparatus) and another sat in a New Jersey bar for 40 years. Mike has them both. Oh, did I mention they hold 1/16th bbl - 248 oz of beer. One more in weathered condition has recently turned up and sold on eBay for $11,000.

That's just a start. Mike says his collection is probably the third largest behind the 56,000 of a Pennsylvania guy and a B&B that boasts 82,000.

How does he find the money? He owns a company that buys manufacturing plants being shut down and resells or recycles the machinery and control systems. How does he find the time? He has two full-time people cataloging the collection and doing the initial sorting of new collections he buys. Their work can be seen at where 20,000 are now posted.

Liz Oeffinger (right) is one of the curators and web folks.

Other reports: Greensburg Daily News
Mike (seated at left) drove the Camaro home, parked it forehead high, and turned the door into a wall.
Burger Beer cans mentioned above – conveniently displayed beside a modern Oberon can.
The sorting table with last Saturday’s intake.
Krueger cans
Pabst aluminum half gallon crowntainers

Sugar and Spice beer was certainly more attractive than the Olde Frothingslosh cans.
The Olde Frothingslosh model, Marsha Phillips died in 2000 but unlike an artist’s works the value of the cans hasn’t gone up.
Did you know there are seven Billy Beer variants?
AP1050999 AP1060010 AP1060024

This seems like an appropriate place to paste a panorama of Derrick’s basement – 9,000 Indiana artifacts. It’s in boxes right now, may it RIP before leaping back to glory. This picture biggifies.


Three Floyd's Tap Takeover!! Event Update - January 4

Per a statement from Acme Bar on their Facebook page:

"Sorry to say but we are setting back the tap take over due to problems with the lines"

Three Floyd's Tap Takeover!! - January 3

Friday, January 4th & Saturday, January 5th:

If you can't get enough of Three Floyd's beers or have not tried their beers yet, the Acme Bar
(1105 E. State Blvd., Ft. Wayne) (260) 480-ACME is having a Three Floyd's Tap Takeover!! event on the above dates.  These are the beers that will be available:

Zombie Dust
Jinx Proof Lager
Alpha King
Arctic Panzer Wolf

There will also be Three Floyd's inspired food features to compliment these beers.

Ten Years of IndianaBeer

Congratulations to us. IndyBeer started in January, 2003 so IndianaBeer is 10 years old. Ten years. That's, what?, 70 in dog years? 4000 in good beers? Here's the first month's news. There were links but they're all dead now. Looking back, this looks more like a line-up of tweets than the current blog. We had to edit each day's news into the web site by hand, er keyboard, back then.

1/3 - There's an interesting article about the .08 limit and how 17 states are defying the Feds. They say they don't need the highway money - they'd just spend it on locking up casual and not very dangerous drinkers.

1/8 - INDIANA - House bill 1153 got it's first reading yesterday and was assigned to committee (you remember all that Social Studies stuff about a bill becoming a law, right?). It will allow brewpubs to sell for take-out on Sundays and breweries to sell directly to customers and retailers.

1/12 - Proof that Lite beer isn't as light as Miller claims.

1/13 - INDIANA - Online newspaper Indianapolis Eye has an interesting story about the demise of the Beer Baron laws. Since 1980, we went from 250 distributors to 35.

1/14 - INDIANA - The Indianapolis City/County Council has a proposal to keep conveniences stores (gas stations) from calling themselves grocery stores so they can sell warm beer and wine. “The concern here is how much convenience should be involved with alcoholic beverages.” says resolution author Bill Soards. They'll take it up next month and it looks to pass although there are retail lobbyists who might buy it's quashing.

1/17 - A "team of Italian scientists" has figured out that gene DD can influence how big your beer belly is. That isn't nearly as surprising as to find out genes are named after cup sizes.

1/19 - The Star has taken up the crusade to raise alcohol taxes by 50%. In one sentence they say a 13¢ per case hike won't be noticed. In another sentence they say the higher cost will deter underage drinking. Huh? In on sentence they say the $14M will help with the $850M deficit. In another sentence they say the new money will be spent on "alcohol treatment and education" (read MADD-style PSA's).

1/20 - INDIANA - Three new beer distributors have opened shop this year in the Indy area to bring us even more stuff than we've ever had. Yuengling "the oldest US brewery" will probably be available within a couple of weeks. Sprecher is already in town with their malt in addition to their root beers. Fullers and McEwan's Export are coming back also.

1/22 - INDY - Barley Island is going to start bottling beer for retail sales through Pure Beverage. First out, in February, will be Dirty Helen - a brown ale.

1/23 - We're still waiting for a logical explanation of this picture.

1/24 - Goose Island's IPA is now available in the Safeway chain of grocery stores - in England. It joins Anchor's Liberty Ale and according to CAMRA's Beer paper, it's selling like toasted scones.

1/27 - Sometime in April, the Hofbrauhaus will open a brewpub in Newport, KY with seating for 720 (that's huge). This is the third HB brewery, the others being in Munich (of course) and Hong Kong.

1/28 - Prince Charles has been named the Beer Drinker of the Year by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group at it's annual dinner. He wasn't in attendance.

1/29 - Latrobe has Rolling Rock Black out. It's not in Indiana yet though so don't salivate yet.