2013 Dark Lord Day

My negativity for Three Floyd's was abandoned Saturday, April 27.  The combination of the company, the beer, the weather, and the overall atmosphere made this one of the best beer events I have ever attended.

Three Floyd's expanded the festival grounds this year, working with the Town of Munster and their neighbors to essentially double the size of space for attendees.  The brewpub was closed, but there were plenty of tables available with food and beer, especially with Dark Lord being poured from the tap for those willing to pay $10 for a 10 ounce cup.  Yes, I was one of those people.

Two entrances allowed for traffic to be spread about and the ability of beer buyers to break away from the general admission pack during their allotted time made the flow of patrons work wonderfully.  The one drawback was the Dark Lord bottle allotment went from four to three, but price was the same.  

The name on the ticket philosophy seemed to have worked, but I will readily admit there was a loophole that was easily exploited.  I was the guest of a group A buyer and he was my guest as a group B buyer.  I did walk away with six bottles of Dark Lord, but I also sold three for face value for a guest who was unable to attend.

Personally, my friends and I had a great plan and it worked to perfection.  We arrived on the scene at 5:00am and was blessed with a relatively close parking spot.  We set up our grill and tables and cracked open a Founder's CBS at 5:15 to celebrate the day.  At that point, there were already 40-50 people lined up  at the north entrance camped out and enjoying their brews.

Our position was right in the pathway for everyone parking at Centennial Park and walking to the festival.  Let me tell you, bacon is amazing leverage that early in the morning.  We garnered a lot of attention from passersby with our tailgate and we were afforded the opportunity to meet people from across this great country and try beers we would never have the ability to buy.

Aside from the much loved April 27 sunburn, one sorry sap of a soul that maliciously stole our 2013 Barrel Aged Vanilla Bean Dark Lord, and some choice words from the love of my life about dedicating 16 hours of my weekend for beer, Dark Lord Day 2013 has made me look forward to Dark Lord Day 2014.

Indiana Beer News: Upland Opens Carmel Tap/Restaurant; BBC Indiana gives to charity

April 27, Upland Brewing opens their new Carmel, IN, tap room. This beautiful restaurant has a menu similar to the one in Bloomington, with rustic-modern decor and ten taps (2 more than in Bloomington). Yes, they will fill your Upland growler! The current beer selection includes Wheat, Dragonfly IPA, Double Dragonfly (95, 80ibu), Helios Pale, Bad Elmer's Porter, Rad Red Amber, Komodo Dragon black IPA, Vinyl Tap Rye pale, Champagne Velvet, and Ard Ri Imperial Red (9A%, 77ibu).

Menu items include locally sourced pretzels, 3 unique pizzas, burgers inluding the Fischers Farm Buffalo Burger (get it with Bad Elmer's sauce, bacon and cheese!), Smoking Goose Bratwurst and the killer "Mac and Cheese" plus other interesting sandwiches and entrees.

The back bar is constructed from beautiful aged barnwood via a barn from California. The remainder of the restaurant had a modern vibe with cool lighting. Total seating is about 170 with 50% inside and 50% on the outside patio.

This afternoon expect a string band and expect a bicycle parade from the Upland College Ave. location to come up the Monon trail and arrive around 3:00ish! Expect a wait!

Expect a relaxed cool vibe with solid food and beer (wine, too). Watch the cool growler fill device work. And expect a relaxed staff. As General Manager Jose Travez says, "we are the land of the misfit toys." If you loved it in Bloomington, you'll love it in Carmel.

from the road................................. the bar......................................... some of the Upland Brew Crew

Bloomington Brewing
announced the availabilty of Vision Weiss. Vision Weiss is a spring and summer seasonal ale available April to October. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of every pint are donated to the Cardinal Stage Company in Bloomington. “Each year we use proceeds from our sales of Vision Weiss to support a worthwhile local campaign, but particularly one like this that supports a vision for an even better community and invests in a way that will pay dividends for the next generation.” explained company co-founder Jeff Mease.

We've recently enjoyed both the Bourbon Barrel Aged Wee Mac and the 777 Triple from SunKing! Strong beers for our strong palate.

Flat12 will introduce special beers for Cinco de Mayo: Bleeding Heart(burn) IPA, & Taco Beer

and be on the lookout for Founder's KBS or Kentucky Breakfast Stout; we got our taste this past week and it was as wonderful as our annual anticipation. Based on our visit to Twenty Tap in Broad Ripple this week it appears they may be tapping this delight on May 3, at 5:30

And our visit to Union Brewing revealed a tasty "From Lynchburg with Love" English Mild that spent two weeks in the Jack barrel and served up just right on the hand pull!


In Anticipation of Dark Lord Day

Tomorrow is the big day.  The weather forecast currently is looking infinitely better than the rain and cold that plagued last year's event.  Three Floyd's has published some more up to date information on darklordday.com.

This is all good and well, but the information provided really does not lend any further insight to those who may be new to the event and even seasoned veterans.  I even asked a lawyer to review the post and decipher the meaning behind the words but he also was dumbfounded.

Do not cross railroad tracks except at a designated crossing.  This is always sound advice and FFF throws it out there from the start.  I believe this is the result of patrons parking in the residential area behind the brewery and just climbing up and over the embankment.  A nice warning, but one that may go unnoticed.

The festival grounds are not well defined.  FFF tells patrons the way to line up and enter, but not conveying where the gates will be other than with directional language (for example, line up at the north, the line for sales is on the west, etc.).  If you are unfamiliar with the area it would be worthwhile to use your favorite GPS mapping program and review your compass use.

Parking is also up in the air.  Centennial Park across Calumet Avenue made $3,700 last year with patrons parking their cars and hiking over.  Always a viable option.  My understanding from the help of beeradvocate.com discussion threads is that FFF will have Indiana Ave completely closed off.  Not sure if that's true, but until I have my scout finish his drive-by I will keep this as purely speculative.

Finally, congratulations to Mike Cate who scored himself the 15 year anniversary Three Floyd's Baller Stout with this submitted story:

Craziest thing I ever did for a beer? Not sure if I would define it as crazy but it was definitely unlikely...

I'm a big St.Louis Cardinals fan and love going to Milwaukee a few times a year to catch Cards/Brewers games. The fans up there are a blast to be around. Truly professional drinkers. And what makes it even better is that they're drinking delicious New Glarus, Lakefront and Central Waters beers. Can't beat that! Anyways. I went to Brewers Opening Day last year against the Cards and befriended several people in my row. Shot the shit about beer, homebrewing and baseball. I was living the life.

Turns out this old man who can barely get around is a huuuuge beer fan. As in he goes to all the big beer festivals across the county (Hunaphu Day in Tampa, KBS release, GABF, etc..). We got to talking about Dark Lord and he said that's the one he's never had (tickets selling out so quickly and all). I told him I go virtually every year and could help him out next time I'm up. He liked the sound of that.

To make a long story short, his son called me a few months back out of the blue and said his dad wanted me to go ice fishing with the 2 of them. I guess his dad wasn't doing real good and held trying a Dark Lord pretty high on his bucket list. So after a few days of trying to explain to my wife the unlikely scenario of driving up to Wisconsin to go ice fishing with an old man and his son whom I met 9 months before (and only hung out with for the duration of a 6-0 Brewers victory), I went up and had a blast. I went ahead and brought all the vintages of Dark Lord I had, shared some beers, caught some fish and had a good time.

I didn't leave empty-handed either. The old man gave me several vintages of Surly Darkness which I've always wanted to try (but the trading pricetag is always too unreasonable) as well as a Goose Island King Henry.

TAP at TAF: Craft Beer Fest

  Anyone here appreciate art?  How about contributing to a good cause?  And for the kicker, does anyone reading this occasionally, frequently, or constantly (ok, that may be a stretch) enjoy a tasty craft beer from time to time?  If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then I see no reason for anyone to miss out on this year’s Tippecanoe Arts Federation event, TAP at TAF: Craft Brew Fest, on Saturday, May 4th from 2-6pm in downtown Lafayette.

  TAP at TAF is a fundraising event that highlights some of Indiana’s finest craft breweries.  Executive Director of the Tippecanoe Arts Federation, Tetia Lee, explained to me the need for craft breweries to be recognized as artisanal in nature and the TAP event is an ideal way to celebrate and thank our local brewmasters.  

  As of this posting, attending breweries include Lafayette’s own, People’s and Lafayette Brewing, along with Big Dawg, Half Moon, Triton, Flat12, Sun King, Cutter’s, and Power House Brewing. 

 Additionally, local Bar Barry Liquors locations will be stocking their shelves with many of the selections that you’ll be sampling as a means of perpetuating this celebration of cerveza, this salute to suds, this festival of foam, this ballyhoo for brewski, this…ok, you get the picture.

  So dig up the measly $25 ($35 if you want the VIP treatment) and help support the Tippecanoe Arts Federation in recognizing the fine work and continued success of our local craft brewers.

Jason C.

  Hey!  Why haven’t you purchased your ticket online yet?  What’s stopping you?  Ah I see, you’re feeling a slight tinge of guilt about spending a few hours sampling some of Indiana’s fine craft beers.  Well it just so happens that I have a solution that may help to alleviate those troublesome thoughts.  Come join yours truly in helping to beautify Lafayette by volunteering with TreeLafayette from 9am to Noon prior to attending the TAP at TAF tasting.  There’s nothing quite like giving back to the community by planting some trees followed by attending a fundraiser chock full of delicious Indiana craft beer.  Hope to see you at both events!

Bloomington Craft Beer Festival 2013 Review

bloomington-340-200Earlier, Bigger, Better! Well, the last one is really for you to decide, but it’s safe to say the number of people with an educated opinion skyrocketed this year. The 3rd Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival moved to April this year and introduced a full slate of lead-up events during the first Bloomington Craft Beer Week. IndianaBeer was well represented at the event and we now present a collection of the thoughts and beer picks from each reporter:

gregsmall From Greg………….

When I reflect on The Bloomington Craft Brew Festival I think of the term “community” of craft brewing. A community of brewers, brewery crews, and craft brew lovers all came together on the sunny Spring day Saturday, for a celebration of brew. From the wonderful historic venue of the Woolery Mill with historic rafters and, when empty echoing of craftsmanship, this fest brought out craft food, special music, craft beer and even some unique attire.

This year there were more attendees than last year, more breweries, plenty of porta-potties, and an enhanced fest layout (in my opinion). While a light breeze wafted through the structure and sunlight filtered through, the attendees seemed well behaved and happy. On the positive while VIPs got early access and free frisbees (of recycled material) everybody had access to most of the same beers, which is a criticism of some out-of-state beer festivals. Sure a few beers might have tapped out before some of the regular admission folks entered but the BCBF is set up to allow access to good beer for all, not exclusive VIP access to the most rare beers. There were plenty of firkin beers all day, and some of the brewers did not pour some special beers until later during the festival. After all, while VIPs tend to be craft beer lovers who look for the rare pour, this festival (fortunately) did not seem to attract a crowd that just wants as much free beer as possible.

Congratulations to Brewers of Indiana Guild, to Ted and to Lee, for the great layout that kept the crowds moving with the largest brewers anchoring the corners. Congrats to Nathan for the sustainability effort. Thanks to the crowd and to the brew crews who were there to enjoy.

The community of craft was thriving and we saw great discussions of beer, of brewing, of yeast, of hops, of beer trades, and we heard of brewers who have taken time to help other brewers with their systems. This is not some ‘trade show’ where everyone thinks their product is better than another. This is the craft community where we see brew crews sharing and commenting… often offering encouragement. We are all proud of our craft beer and we are all proud to sip, talk and reflect.

So…. about the beer….

I have personal comments plus I reached out to a few folks I know, from a Master-level beer judge to I.U. students who are very into craft beer.

Evil Czech Brewing, Culver, IN – I made this a destination stop when saw Stalin’s Darkside, barrel aged imperial stout at 10.5% and 69 IBU. It did not disappoint. Full flavored and complex. They were proud of their Lucky Dog APA, more of a session pale at 5.2% and very drinkable.

Bloomington Brewing Company, Bloomington, IN – 6%, 12 IBU Wine Barrel Aged Ruby Bloom amber. Who would have guessed that one of my home-town favorites would taste so delicious with the richness of wood and wine? Sandy Cockerham, Master BJCP beer judge passed along, “I absolutely loved the wine barrel aged Ruby Bloom Amber ale! Simply awesome.”

SunKing, Barrel Aged Maibock, 8.3%, 24 IBU, and you just know I had to get to the SunKing booth at 6:30 for a sample of this. I like Maibock and I pleasantly discovered that the barrel aging added depth and complexity without too much sweetness. Less hop notes but balance.

Flat12, Indianapolis, IN – Pinko, and though I’d had a sample this week, I wanted another of this Pappy barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, 10.3%, 86 IBU. The complexity of this beer is the deep, complex flavor laboring in the hops for balance

Enough with the barrel….. how about intriguing? Different?

Broad Ripple Brewing, (Do I need to say, in Broad Ripple?) – Strange Broux Brew takes coffee brewed by Strange Brew Greenwood, that is brewed exclusively for Papa Roux restaurant (you know, the place that gave the kid who was walking miles to get a restaurant job, a job there; but I digress), and brewed this coffee called Louisiana Swamp water, into an Oatmeal stout with 5.5%, 27 IBU. Love the story, love the brew, or broux, or…. Whatever, just enjoy!

Broad Ripple gets another nod for Bubble Gum lager – So this is considered a flaw when you don’t intend it, but they just must have said, “let’s do this.” And who can argue with the Pope of the Indy beer scene, owner John Hill. Very interesting, John, and I wanted to blow a bubble.

Brugge Brasserie, Broad Ripple – Getting Figgy with It, Imperial Belgian Porter brewed with Black Mission figs, Caradamom, and mace – that’s dried fibrous exterior of nutmeg (oh, you knew that). 12% Whoa! Complex, love the deep fruit. One of the female I.U. students I queried listed this as a favorite and noted the deep taste of fig coming through.

Brugge Brasserie, Broad Ripple – Ted Miller, owner/brewer had this beer available earlier in the week and I had to have another sample! Released after 1 year in a barrel (here I go again) sour… nice light ‘off the hook’ funk, in a golden color beer that comes in at about 5%.

Zwanzigz, Columbus, IN – Ghost Pepper Imperial Stout, a beer I had with excellent brewer Mike initially, had again at Winterfest, and not only made a point of getting a sample, I took a bar-owner friend over to have it. Not a burn your mouth off, but a nice wonderful, flavorful “I love the flavor” stout.

Upland, Bloomington/Indy – Gilgamesh. Flanders Red, addition of flaked maize, fruity Belgian yeast, some wild micros, slight bourbon barrel aging produces this 10.5% beverage. Thanks to Upland (Jackson, Andrew) for sharing. Actually the very first beer I tasted for this fest! When I complemented Upland Head Brewer Caleb Staton on the excellent production of sours he was nonchalant and humble.

Caleb poured me Upland’s Teddy Bear Kisses, Oatmeal Stout with chocolate, pale, and roasted malts adding organic dark chocolate coming in at 11.5% and 80 IBUs for complexity.

Upland had the new 15th anniversary Champagne Velvet at this event and while we've already written about it I agree with Master judge Sandy who, "...found it pleasantly grainy and crisp." A clean pre-prohibition celebration of historic Indiana beer.

And for the newer and further away….

Bare Hands Brewing, Granger, IN --- located in an off-the–beaten path industrial park (wait, that works for a Northern Indiana brewer with a 3 in their name) and deciding to come at the last minute, this brewery got acclaim at Winterfest and was the one brewery singled out by one I.U. student who has become immersed in craft beer. To quote him, “Their Pineapple Pale, Imperial Coffee Stout, and Rice IPA, accomplished the two things I get most excited about when tasting a beer I've never tried. All three were surprisingly original/unique tastes to me, but more importantly, all three were damn good.” I stopped by for the ThaiPA as one of the more unusual beers I’d tried before and had to have again. I then agreed the Rice IPA was a close second in the unusual and hoppy category.

Haw Creek, Hope, IN – 4 Founders Wheat satisfy the craving for discovering one of our newer Indiana brewers. This is a solid wheat beer for a place that opened in the Fall. Nice people; we’ll have to visit!

Daredevil Brewery, Shelbyville,IN -- Rip Cord IPA, this delivers a massive amount of American hops with a very solid malt underpinning. This builds very nicely on the Daredevil family reputation!

Big Dawg Brew Haus, Richmond, IN – Thistle Sitter Smoked Scotch Ale. I love the style, I love the smoke.

Big Dawg… Shroyer’s English Bitter is an award winning British style session beer that I could drink a lot of.

Iechyd Da (say Yacky Dah) Brewing, Ekhart, IN – Kiss Me I’m Stout, wheat stout. I love the brewery name (cheers or “good health” in Welsh), I love the fact that this is a female-owned brew pub, I love the beer name, I love the fact that this is organic ingredients. Then I love the nice spice of the wheat grains underlying a serious stout! 6%

Figure Eight, Valparaiso -- Pimp Slap Imperial Pilsner, at 9%, 63 IBU, interesting malt character, our brewer buddy Mike Lahti was about to explain it to me when he got a call so I’ll just say interesting and worthy.

And finally…

It seems everyone should have had to walk past Flat12’s booth (Flat12 Brewing, Indy) for the science of brewing lesson which allowed comparison of two beers with different yeast strains and four beers with different hops to aid sensory perception! In the white lab coats and serving these experimental beers they really stood out.

We appreciate all who came out, all who gave me their opinions, and all who made this year BCBF a big success, who added to the great community that is craft beer.

Greg Kitz

jake_small From Jake………….

While I didn’t get to try all the beers I wanted to, I did get to try quite a few great beers. After trying ZwanzigZ Brewing’s Ghost Pepper Imperial Stout at Winterfest, I knew I needed to get another sample. This great beer comes in at 8.8% abv with a moderately strong spicy character that blends with the full flavor of the stout to make it a must try at beerfests. I was told they have yet to put this on at the brewpub so there aren’t a lot of places to try this one.

Another Imperial Stout makes my top list with Evil Czech Brewing’s Stalin’s Darkside. This 10.5% beast is aged in bourbon barrels. Flavorful doesn’t quite describe this sweet alcoholic, but not overly hot, velvety beer. If you are in the Culver, IN area, a little west of 31 between Kokomo and South Bend, this 7BBL brewhouse is a must try.

From the firkin table I was able to try many tasty samples. New Albanian Brewing’s Eastern Front caught my eye. My first question was what the he!! is a Russian Imperial Pilsner, but with it being New Albanian it was of course a fantastic brew blending the two theories behind the styles. Next up at the firkin tent were two Flat 12 Hello My Name Is French Oak & American Oak. These two amber beers aged with the different oaks really help highlight the differences that each one can offer.

Continuing on with Flat 12 at their table, I tried all four experimental hop beers. I’ve heard some of the Great Fermentations employees raving about these hops, and they are quite good. I got a citrus orange/grapefruit from one that I particularly remember enjoying. Next up at were the experimental yeast beers, one had a very nice belgian banana ester character while the other was certainly more of an American style yeast. I also finished off the day with 12 Penny a Scottish 60 style beer which is really quite good, for a session beer. I have some thoughts on session beers, but there is no time for that now so stay tuned in the future for a discourse on this new trend.

Lastly I was able to try Daredevil Brewing’s Rip Cord double IPA, which has lived up to their high expectations and is a classic example of a double IPA. I didn’t make it to very many out of state breweries, but I made it a point to try DESTIHL Brewery’s Antiquity Rye Wine. This rye wine was almost as spicy as the ghost pepper imperial stout, albeit in a different way.

I saw the idea of an Indiana beerfest being exclusive to Indiana breweries being discussed on twitter. I really like this idea and I think it is quite obvious that the Indiana breweries could support this. We will see how this idea develops, but adding another beerfest to the Brewers of Indiana Guild’s calendar sounds like a great idea to me.

cooksmall From Jason C………….

My list of craft beer events attended isn’t terribly impressive. My general tendency is to just attend the same ones from year to year and not stray very far from my native habitat. Being a first time attendee of the Bloomington Craft Beer Fest, I’ll state for the record that my range for attending beer events has now expanded.

Fantastic selection of breweries and eateries, scenic & unique setting, and good organization are a few of the key factors that made this event a must attend for me in future years. While the number of attendees caused a bit of gridlock at times, it really didn’t seem to stifle one’s ability to get your next beer in a timely manner. Only drawback (at least in the opinion of this blogger) was the insufficient number of restroom facilities that nearly caused yours truly to break out into my best James Brown dance moves at one point. Hey, nothings perfect, but overall I’d highly recommend attending this event in 2014.

And now for the beer. Of the different breweries that I managed to make it to, the ones that either newly or continued to impress me are: Bare Hands, Big Dawg, Crown, Figure Eight, Flat 12, Iechyd Da, New Albanian, and People’s. As for individual beers, I list the following:

· Iechyd Da - Gumption Double Amber (calling this one my favorite of the day)

· Flat 12/People’s - Hoosier Brown Rye (close 2nd)

· Bare Hands - Double Thai PA & 574 Pineapple Pale

· Crown Brewing - Baklava Java Porter

· Against the Grain - Citra Ass Down American IPA

· New Albanian - Black & Bluegrass Spiced Belgian

· Big Woods - Imperial Red (unsure about a name for this one, it was getting late)

So there you have it, general observations, opinions, and preferences from my first Bloomington Craft Beer Fest. Had a great time, drank some great beer and managed not to wet myself so I’d say it was a successful day. Cheers Bloomington!

Jason C.

kathleensmall From Kathleen………….

The question on my mind yesterday was - why go to a beer festival? What is it really all about?  Between the 35 in state breweries and the 15 out of state, the majority of the beer offered there is offered any time in their tap rooms, in local bars, or in local liquor store bottles.

Some breweries do take festivals to the next level and make special beers, or save up highlights from the brewing seasons to bring out and share with those hardcore fans who pay the $50/$40 ticket to come out and spend 3/4 hours talking, drinking and having a good time.

That is what craft beer festivals are for me, is trying those special beers, finding a new brewery who just opened and trying their product, talking with the brewers and or generally just having a good time.

Bloomington Craft Beer Festival on its third running was all that for me and more.

I actually went to the first Bloomington Craft Beer Festival. It was right before I joined IndianaBeer.com. The turn out I believe then was only 1,000 people. Held outside of the Woolery Mill. It was never crowded, real easy to talk and hang out and the tables. I even ended up taking Ted Miller back to Brugge due to a ride fall out. I believe it was where I fell in love with Brugge's Harvey, a blackberry infused sour ale.

This year I brought a friend I'm trying to help grow into trying new beers. It was fun to see him try new beers and what his thoughts were on some of my favorites.

In the past I usually do a big run down of beers that I tried and the ones I really liked. This time I'm only going to mention a few of my beer tasting highlights but show much of the story that was the Bloomington Craft Beer Festival with pictures. Hopefully it shows you readers what a good time can be had.

Onto my highlights -

Traveler's Beer Co - Tenacious Traveler Shandy - An unusual brew, but nice and light. I particularly liked the ginger flavor. It reminded me of Scratch Truck's Ginger Lemonade.

Bier Brewery - Trippelle - Yes, this is a fairly regular offering by Bier, and I may be biased, but it is damn good.

Cutter's Brewing Co - General Brown's Sour - I was excited because I had recently tried New Belgium's La Folie, and it was my first sour brown ale ever. This one was very nice and light. I think it could've been a little more sour.

Brugge Brasserie - Gettin' Figgy With It - I love the play of flavors here. It isn't strong, I feel it is well blended and warming.

Three Pints BrewPub - Cherry / Blackberry Wheat - I'll come out and say it, if I'm going to Plainfield for beer, I'm going to Black Swan, I've just never been impressed with Three Pints, until.. this beer got me. I like the little bit of cherry and blackberry sweetness with the wheat. I like that it was freshly infused with a Randall the Enamel Animal :) I may have to pop in and try more at Three Pints.

Zwangzigs - Ghost Pepper Infused Imperial Stout. I don't need to gush about this beer. I did it at Winterfest I'm just going to say.. I'd buy many many many bottles of this and save it, if they actually bottled it.

Besides the beer, I thought the location was great but may need to expand next year. Having in April was a great idea. To give the readers another point of view, I asked my writer friend, John Kennedy,  for his insight. Bloomington Craft Beer Festival was his second beerfest:

"I enjoyed myself and got to try lots of great beers, including the Ghost Pepper infused Imperial Stout from Zwanzigz. There were plenty of people offering Scottish Ales, which is my favorite style. I loved the Floyd's Folly Scottish Ale from Cutter's Brewing Co. I also enjoyed Dog Day from 450 North Brewing Co, which was a good, heavy beer. The band was a little loud, which took away from being able to talk to the brewers and others about the wonderful beer."

Thanks again to B.I.G., the Breweries and Brewers, Nathan for his environmental task force!, and all the volunteers. 

Big thanks to those who let me take their pictures!

- Cheers!


nathansmall From Nathan………….

raccoon As the staff member in charge of our recycling and composting programs, I’m the freak who spent more time digging through the trash than tasting beer on this April afternoon. Oddly enough, I did turn into a raccoon the next day==>

Anywho, I can tell you that after about 1300 people attended the event in 2012, the festival committee was dreaming big and wondering if we could possibly draw 2000 this year. When word started circulating that we were approaching sellout status, there was a great deal of excitement and quite possibly a bit of panic. After the dust settled our early estimate puts this year’s crowd in the range of 2600-2800 (no estimate on the number of fake moustaches, but let’s just set it at “too many”). Anytime you double the size of an event and people generally seem to leave happy, I have to call it a good day.

The holding area that allowed attendees to work through the ticket process prior to opening time was brilliant and ensured that nobody had to lose valuable festival time trying to get through the line. The restroom situation left something to be desired, but this is already on the planning committee’s radar which is a good sign for future improvement. Kudos to the crowd who were very patient, courteous, and in the right mindset to have good time from my observation.

Note for attendees: Any (preferably constructive) feedback you have on what you liked and what we need to improve would be welcome in the comments below. I can relay your thoughts to the planning committee when we hold our wrap-up meeting.

Since I tried a limited number of beers and did not have the chance to take notes, this section will be brief. The single beer that stands out in my mind was the Flat 12/People’s collaborative Hoosier Brown Rye. Three Floyds Toxic Revolution Stout and Iechyd Da Gumption Imperial Red would also be in the mix.

I do want to offer another word of thanks to the Brewers of Indiana Guild and the festival committee for their support of this year’s environmental initiatives. Special thanks to Salt Creek Cycles for sponsoring the valet bicycle parking and Jeff Mease/Bloomington Brewing Company for accepting our compost at Loesch Farm!

Bloomington Craft Beer Festival, a success

The BCBF ended up a sell-out event on a beautiful Spring day with a nicely laid out brewer and exhibit area. Thirty-six Indiana brewers shared along with another fifteen out-of-state brewers. The floor plan this year seemed to help traffic flow and reduce lines. Some of the larger breweries were spread out away from each other much like anchor stores in a shopping mall are distanced to draw crowds back and forth. The fact that I.U. students are in town undoubtedly helped increase the crowds but plenty of other beer fans were evident in attendance. The crowd seemed orderly and though short lines formed there was never an impression that it was difficult to get to a particular beer.

The weather was really wonderful with high of 55 degrees and this venue allows breezes to flow and sunlight to filter through. More attendees and more breweries than last year added to much success. The beers started flowing for those with VIP passes at 3:00 and ended at 7PM.

We'll give an applause here to indianabeer.com's Nathan Compton who organized the recycling and sustainability options with recycle bins available and food waste going to compost rather than garbage. Of course it takes cooperation of the attendees and while some people may not have had the hang of proper disposal it was great that many pitched in and we trust this effort will spread to many events.

We also noted ample restrooms (well, porta potties) so the lines weren't too long. There were several food vendors. And in addition to breweries World Class Beer, wholesaler, brought some very nice high-end bombers.

Congratulations to all of the brewers who brought their brews and for the fine variety of beer this year. Thanks to the Brewers of Indiana Guild and Terry Durkin local coordinator for a super Bloomington Craft Beer week that brought many craft beers around town all week.

Our crew is busy assembling their story into one gigantic piece that will go up soon. So 'stay tuned.' And Kathleen was our designated photographer and has lots of pictures to go up. Meanwhile, check out some pics on our Facebook page here

We'll see you back here soon for a full review!

What to drink at the Bloomington Craft Beer Festival

Brewers promise many one-of-a-kind beers for the Bloomington Craft Beer Festival. This week in Bloomington provided an opportunity to preview beers from many breweries and get a hint at what is coming to the Craft Beer Festival (Saturday, 3:00PM VIP, 4:00PM General Adm.) Many bars across Bloomington have featured primarily craft beer.

How to know what beers are being served? check out the web site, download the handy APP for iPhone or Android at beerfest.io

Interesting beers tried this week:

Flat12 Big Black Dog (Barrel aged) Stout (7% abv). a rich complex stout that delivers layers of light vanilla, slight sweetness, some chocolate, and toast; a brew I had more than once this week. Brewer Rob Caputo of Flat12 told me they will bring all specialty beers! Flat12 will share 4 experimentally hopped beers, 2 yeast experimentation beers, 3 barrel aged beers at least!

Bloomington Brewing Ole Floyd's Vanilla Belgian Strong Ale (8.9% abv) medium body strong ale with lots of vanilla, some caramel, sweetness with subtle warmth

Cutters Vanilla Bean Empire Stout (firkin) (10%) big bodied smooth stout with vanilla nose and some vanilla flavor plus a deep, almost bitter finish.

Brugge Peony American Sour (5%) smooth, not puckering simple complexity and nicely sour golden in color

Bier Brewery Sessie (4.8%) light golden, light spice notes with Belgian character in a session beer

Daredevil Brewing Rip Cord Double IPA (9% abv) golden colored with abundance of American floral hops, notes of citrus, while remaining balanced with malt support

Upland Champagne Velvet 15th Anniversary beer. smooth light golden beer with a hint of corn sweetness as a nod to pre-prohibition and once Indiana's major brand + Double Dragon Fly (oh, and we are betting on some SOURS )

And looking out for:
Crown Baklava Java porter,

Evil Czech Stalin's Dark Side barrel aged stout

New Albanian Colab. Naughty Girl Belgian blonde at 69 ibu

People's Hoosier Brown rye their brown is so solid, this version must be good

This is just a hint

Our Nathan Compton provides a full PREVIEW of the CRAFT BEER FEST here including brewery list

Here is a pic of the brewers Ted Miller (Brugge), Rob Caputo (Flat12), Clay Robinson (SunKing), and Justin Miller (Black Acre) thinking about a question asked by panel moderator and brewer Jeff Mease (Bloomington BC)

Saturday, 4/13, 4-7 Bloomington Beer Festival Our Man Nathan is with Brewers of Indiana Guild and will have an inside story

After Party: The Tap; SunKing and Flat12 pins

another after party at Nick's English Hut focus on Upland beers

Atlas Bar, Cutters tap take-over with Pale, Half-court IPA, Floyd's Folly Scottish

Remember, if visiting Bloomington pay a visit to local Bloomington Brewing Company @Lennie's and to local Upland Brewing Company Brew pubs!

See you there!

Greg Kitz

Bloomington Craft Beer Festival Preview

This Saturday marks the 3rd Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Fest held at the Woolery Mill (2200 West Tapp Road) in Bloomington from 4-7pm. This will actually be my first experience at the festival, but I served on the planning committee this year (more on that later) and we have a great festival coming your way! Advanced ticket sales are on a record pace this year, but there is still time to get your $50 VIP, $35 General Admission, or $10 Designated Driver ticket here. Keep in mind that online ticket sales will end about 24 hours before the event. Advance tickets are also available at Bloomington Brewing Company, Big Woods Brewing, Upland Brewing, Bloomington Kilroy’s locations, Bloomingfoods, The Tap, Dunnkirk, and Big Red Liquors (downtown location only). Subject to availability, there will be ticket sales of $45 General Admission tickets and $10 Designated Driver tickets (no VIP) at the gate. VIP tickets get you early entry at 3pm and a special gift.

Bloomington Beer Fest

The first thing everyone wants to know is which breweries will be participating. We are expecting an increase from 39 breweries in 2012 to over 50 this year! A few more additions are likely, but confirmed breweries at the time of this posting include:

450 North
ACE Premium Ciders
Against the Grain
Barley Island
Bier Brewery
Big Woods
Bloomington Brewing
Bluegrass Brewing
Boston Beer (maker of Sam Adams)
Broad Ripple Brewing
Brugge Brasserie
Country Boy
Crown Brewing
Falls City
Figure 8
Finch’s Brewing
Flat 12
Fountain Square
Four Horsemen
Great Crescent
Half Moon
Hawcreek Brewing
Iechyd Da
Lafayette Brewing
Left Hand
Mad Anthony
New Albanian
New Belgium
North Coast
Oliver Winery (serving meads)
People’s Brewing
Power House Brewing
Rock Bottom (Downtown Indianapolis)
Sun King
Thr3e Wise Men
Three Floyds
Three Pints
Tin Man
Traveler Beer Company
Turoni’s Main Street
Two Brothers
Upland Brewing

In addition to the breweries attending, additional offerings will be poured by Indiana distributor World Class Beer. There will also be a table for special Firkin offerings from an assortment of breweries. Indiana homebrew clubs will again be on hand to pour some of the finest amateur offerings from the Hoosier State. Want to expand your horizons? Check out Oliver Winery for samples of their meads!

Beyond the beer, attendees will be treated to live music from Bloomington’s 220 Breakers and Asheville, NC’s Secret B-Sides courtesy of Bloomington’s own Lowdown Sounds. In addition, you can expect some unique games and activities not seen at past festivals. These are still being finalized as I write this, so mum’s the word on details for now. Food will be available from multiple vendors, and your favorite Designated Driver will have access to a special area with free sodas and other perks. For those who have not been out to Woolery Mill, this event is open air but contained under a roofed structure that offers some protection from inclement weather. So fear not, dress warm, and come enjoy the day with us.

Now that the entertainment is out of the way, I’d like to highlight a few additional aspects of this year’s festival. My role on the planning committee was focused on incorporating aspects of sustainability in planning and operations. Some of you have likely visited events like the Great American Beer Festival or Michigan Brewers Guild festivals and noticed a strong commitment to environmental concerns. I’m very pleased to have witnessed and participated in these ideals being embraced by the Brewers of Indiana Guild. Thanks to support from the planning committee, Lee Smith of the Brewers Guild, and some key sponsors; the following initiatives will be a part of this year’s festival:

  • You can bike to the festival and park like a VIP! A free, secure bicycle parking area will be offered right in front of the festival entrance. Your bicycle will be safely stored and monitored by staff while you enjoy the festival and have safe transportation home. Big thanks to Salt Creek Cycles of Bloomington for sponsoring the bicycle parking.
  • We will be collecting and recycling all plastic, aluminum, glass, paper, and cardboard materials from the event. Attendees can help by looking for the conveniently located “recycling center” banners and disposing of these materials in the proper bin.
  • To minimize food service waste, our food vendors will be utilizing compostable materials. You can dispose of your plates, silverware, etc. along with your food scraps in specially marked “Compost” bins. Compostable materials will be delivered and composted at the historic Loesch Farm west of Bloomington. Loesch Farm is part of the One World Enterprises group that includes Bloomington Brewing Company. Big thanks to Jeff Mease of One World/Bloomington Brewing for his support of this initiative!
  • In addition to one hour early entrance, VIP ticket holders will receive a mini frisbee gift that is made in America from recycled tires.

It’s important to note that attendees play a critical role in making initiatives like these successful. You can help by placing recyclable and compostable materials in their proper bins. If you’re unsure of where to place something, please ask one of the friendly volunteers on staff. Most of all, just come out and share in another wonderful Indiana craft beer festival!

Cheers, Nathan

Indiana Beer News: Craft Beer Week in Bloomington

From "meet the brewers" to many special tappings at locations all over Bloomington (IN), THIS is the start of Craft Beer Week in Indiana. The culmination is The Beer Festival on Saturday, April 13, 4:00 admission, 3:00 VIP entry details here.

Highlights of the Week's Events:

Lennie's, home of BBC, has beer inspired menu items all week starting 4/7.
Scotty's offers $8 growler fills of Thr3e Wise Men Indiana beer all week (except Sunday)
Grazie Restaurant Cutters taps of pale, IPA, Scottish

Tuesday, April 9,
Yogi's Bloomington fills all 55 TAPS with ONLY Indiana Craft Beer all week. Tuesday Beer School, features FLAT12 Van Pogue (Vanilla Porter), Nunmoere Black and Half Cycle IPA.

The Tap Beer Bar Bloomington, hosts a PRO-BREWER PANEL featuring Indiana brewers Clay Robinson from SunKing, Ted Miller from Brugge, Rob Caputo from Flat12,+ Justin Miller from Black Acre and moderated by Jeff Mease of Bloomington Brewing Co. 6:30 with special beers from each.

Wednesday, April 10,
Bloomington Brewing Company features a Beer Pairing dinner with CIA trained Chef David Tallent, at Restaurant Tallent call for details 812-330-9801

Girls' Pint Out meets at The Tap Bloomington + fund-raiser in the Back Room for Habitat for Humanity.

Tap take-overs at famous Nick's English Hut;$3 local pints 7p-10p daily in the Hoosier room Cutters 4/10, BBC 4/11, Flat 12 & People's including their COLLABORATION beer (Hoosier Brown Rye) 4/12, Upland 4/13.

Max's Place, Triton Taps

Malibu Grill, $1 off featured Upland and BBC beers

Thursday, 4/11,
the Bishop bar, Lecture by anthropologist and former Upland brewer Ed Hermann, 6:00

The Tap features Upland's 15th Anniversary Label, historic Champagne Velvet + other local beer

The Owlery Bar, Fountain Square tap take-over

Nick's English Hut, meet brewers Floyd and Nick 7-10 with 6 beers bringing 2013 Vision Weiss 1st keg

Friday, 4/12,
tap take-overs continue at most local beer bars,

Lift-Off & Muse from Daredevil and meet the Daredevil brewers at The Farm Restaurant, Root Cellar bar 6-9

New Albanian & Bloomington Brewing tap-takeover at The Tap Beer Bar includes NA Elector, Black&Bluegrass, Naughty Girl Belg. Blonde, RyeBarrel IPA, BBC RyePA, Biere-de-Mars, Vanilla Floyd, Aristotle dry-hopped IPA

Yogi's taps firkin of Cutters Floyds Folly & of Empire Stout

Alley Bar, Falls City releases Wheat + taps or Pale, Black IPA + Upland ArdRi draught

Max's Place, Flat12 Tap-take-over

Upland releases Rye IPA with Vinyl Party

Saturday, 4/13, 4-7 Bloomington Beer Festival Our Man Nathan is with Brewers of Indiana Guild and will have an inside story

After Party: The Tap; SunKing and Flat12 pins

another after party at Nick's English Hut focus on Upland beers

Atlas Bar, Cutters tap take-over with Pale, Half-court IPA, Floyd's Folly Scottish

local beer flowing at all B'ton Craft Beer Bars

Remember, if visiting Bloomington pay a visit to local Bloomington Brewing Company @Lennie's and to local Upland Brewing Company Brew pubs!

Here are some shots from yesterday's (April 6) arrival of Upland's 15th Anniversary beer, Champagne Velvet, recreation of pre-prohibition lager arriving in Terre Haute, IN, for tapping. Terre Haute was home to the brewery that brewed this once well-known label. our story here

Shown are Marilyn Wheeler wearing her Uncle Jim O'Connell's shirt which he wore distributing the orginal Champagne Velvet, Arrival of the beer in Terre Haute via beer wagon, Upland Owner Doug Dahoff celebrating the arrival, the first pour of CV at The Copper Bar

The first step in the repeal of the 18th Amendment was the signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act on March 23, 1933. The law made the sale of low-alcohol beer (below 4% alochol by volume, 3.2% by weight) legal once again and took effect on April 7, 1933. In 2009 a group of beer lovers, with the support of the Brewers Assn., took to social media to drum up support for celebrating a National Beer Day on April 7.

Happy Beer Day.


Greg Kitz

IndianaBeer Group Tasting and Reviews – Brown Ales

Brown ale is one of the oldest known English beer styles, with mentions in literature extending back to the 16th century. With the rise of porters and stouts in the early 1700s, the term “brown ale” became more of a generic description for the spectrum of darker beers than its own distinct style. Greater distinction among styles evolved in the early 1800s as porters and stouts adopted usage of the new black patent malt. The brown ale style was fairly obscure before a resurgence in the early 20th century behind brands like Mann’s Brown Ale, Whitbread Double Brown, and Newcastle Brown Ale. As American craft brewing grew in the 1980s, commercial examples of brown ales began to emerge as distinctly American versions. Pete’s Wicked Ale was created by Pete Slosberg to be darker and hoppier than British examples. Many American examples have followed this path with the use of American hop varieties, while some like Goose Island Hex Nut Brown attempted to maintain a close connection with contemporary English examples. 

manns_brown           pittsburgh_nut_brown

To compare some of the options in today’s market of brown ales, we conducted a blind tasting of offerings ranging from local to nationally distributed craft breweries. Beers were procured from Barley Island, Brooklyn, Dark Horse, Dogfish Head, and People’s and served in a random order to our tasting panel. The identity of each beer was not revealed until after the panelists had submitted their individual rankings. Joining me on the panel for this session were Jake Keefer, Ryan Mills, and Bob Pennington. Here is a summary of each beer sampled, with the brewery’s description followed by the panel’s tasting comments.

Beer #1: Dark Horse Brewing Boffo Brown Ale – The Boffo Brown Ale is on the “full body” scale pushing the envelope of what an American Brown Ale is to most people. The beer has a very deep/dark color of brown with a nice creamy tan head. The mouthfeel of the beer is very soft and is very drinkable. Flavors of malt, caramel, toffee, and a mild earthy nutty finish allow this beer to be paired with hearty food and sips of bourbon. 6.5% ABV

Bob:  I found this to have a minimal head on pouring. The color is coppery brown. There was a pronounce caramel sweet flavor. The mouth feel was slight with a bit of dryness. There was a bit of a nutty flavor. This was very enjoyable. I would buy this beer.
Bob’s Rank: 2
Jake:  This beer was pretty tasty with a moderate hop aroma and a decent roastiness that combines with the bitterness of the hops quite nicely. There was a richness to this beer, from the toffee character, that really put this amongst the best sampled. The hop flavor might have been a little bit lacking, for my tastes, and it was just missing that something special to make it my #1 choice. That said, Boffo Brown was technically superb and therefore it earned spot #2 in my rankings.
Jake’s Rank: 2
Nathan:  Big initial impression of toffee and caramel in the nose that fades a bit to reveal some chocolate malt. The hop aroma on this one is very low. Light brown color with poor head retention from the bottle. Wonderful malt flavor that showcases the dominant toffee and caramel from the aroma with hints of chocolate and roast followed by a bit of earthy hop flavor. There is a bit of alcohol warming in the finish with a medium level of lingering bitterness. Lacking some of the hop character I like in a Brown Ale, but the malt flavor was a standout and made for a really nice drinking beer.
Nathan’s Rank: 3
Ryan:  Boffo Brown wasn’t what I initially expected from a Brown Ale, but I have to say that it was one of my favorites of the panel, not because it was a great American Brown ale but because it exhibited a number of qualities I like in beer. The style that I felt it most closely resembled was a small English Barleywine. While there was the presence of toffee and caramel, the hops and roast flavors (usually found in brown ales) were lacking.  The beer was dominated by the aroma and flavor of dried fruit such as plums and raisins and the slight oxidized sherry character that comes with alcohol and age.
Ryan’s Rank: 2

Beer #2: Brooklyn Brown Ale - This is the award-winning original American brown ale, first brewed as a holiday specialty, and now one of our most popular beers year-round. A blend of six malts, some of them roasted, give this beer its deep russet-brown color and complex malt flavor, fruity, smooth and rich, with a caramel, chocolate and coffee background. Generous late hopping brings forward a nice hop aroma to complete the picture. Brooklyn Brown Ale is full-flavored but retains a smoothness and easy drinkability that has made it one of the most popular dark beers in the Northeast. 30 IBU 5.6% ABV

Bob:  This beer also presented a thin head on pour. The color is a clear, dark copper brown. I found a very light hop flavor with a slight astringency or dryness. The mouth feel was good with perceptible carbonation.  This beer had a rather odd component to the aroma and flavor.
Bob’s Rank: 5
Jake:  Here was a pretty creamy beer which I enjoyed, but was quite low on flavor. It had almost no hop flavor or aroma, with some light, very light, caramely notes. There was a bitterness that wasn’t hop or malt derived, after discussing it with the other members of the panel we concluded it was likely a medicinal off flavor, odd for such a large brewery.
Jake’s Rank: 5
Nathan:  Nice caramel malt in the aroma, but there is also a noticeable green apple character. Medium/dark brown in color with medium carbonation. The flavor features more of the English-style nutty malt character with very low hop aroma and flavor. There is something lingering here that distracts from the beer. I perceived some green apple in the flavor in addition to the medicinal phenols noted by others.
Nathan’s Rank: 5
Ryan:  I am sure my peers have chronicled the shortcomings of this beer, but from my experience with other Brooklyn beers, I believe this was an unfortunate batch.  Behind the noticeable medicinal and bubblegum phenols were rich undertones of nuttiness and toffee. Those flavors lingered on the palette through the finish with the help of a body that was medium to full.
Ryan’s Rank: 5

DSCN0871         DSCN0873

Beer #3: Barley Island Dirty Helen Brown Ale - A medium-bodied Brown ale with moderate hop bitterness that has a unique slightly nutty flavor in the finish. Dry-hopped to enhance the hop aroma. Dirty Helen was a famous tavern owner in Milwaukee. She was known for her dirty mouth, cussing out any customer that ordered a brand of scotch or whiskey that she did not carry. 25 IBU 5.2% ABV

Bob:  Slightly more carbonated than the previous two beers. Slightly more pronounced hop in this one. Drinking this was pleasant experience in general. Maybe a bit thin in the malts. I would buy this beer.
Bob’s Rank: 4
Jake:  A low roast character pairs with an aggressive american hopping to really dry out my palate. I got a lemony character from the hops which was really interesting, but probably not the best choice for a brown ale. This was a good beer, but a little unbalanced.
Jake’s Rank: 3
Nathan:  Here are the hops! This one has a dominant floral/citrus hop character with a distinct lemon note. The hop flavor is also nicely showcased in the flavor, followed by a chocolate malt note, and a nice drying finish with medium bitterness. Very enjoyable beer – a little more supporting malt character would put this over the top.
Nathan’s Rank: 2
Ryan:  Dirty Helen turned out to be my favorite, not only because it offered some of the flavors and aromas I enjoy most, but it most closely described an American Brown Ale in my mind. The nose brought about strong lemony citrus notes with a subdued malt profile. The clean citrus hop character was strengthened by a slight woodsy flavor, also derived from hops. While this beer may not have exhibited a strong caramel, toffee, and roast malt presence, the hop flavors and aromas matched those levels seen in most American Ales. The bright flavors and thin to medium body, makes this beer ideal for warmer weather.
Ryan’s Rank: 1

Beer #4: People’s Brewing Mr. Brown - American Style Brown Ale… “That’s Mr. Brown to you!” We used a lot of base malt and four different dark malts in this beer resulting in a complex malt character and a warming alcohol flavor. This is a great cold weather beer, warming and smooth to take away the chill. We balanced it with Kent Goldings hops. 47 IBU 7% ABV

Bob:  This is the darkest beer so far. It has a thin head. Nice malt flavor with maybe a bit of bread and roast flavors. The aroma was a good malt hop balance. I felt that this beer had a nice overall character that may be from the water. I seemed to pick up some mineral/salt flavors.
Bob’s Rank: 1
Jake:  Mr. Brown’s nose was very carmely and toffee with almost no hop character. A quite high hop bitterness with almost no flavor to help round it out. A roast character was present but moderately low. I didn’t seem to be a fan of the specific hops used in this brew. (The coffee version of this beer, either Hearthstone Brown or Bavarian Brown, is spectacular. It is available at Hearthstone Coffee shop in Fishers.)
Jake’s Rank: 4
Nathan:  Bready and roasty malt character combined with a lemon/earthy hop character in the aroma. Very dark brown, nearing porter territory in color. The malt character is dominated by bready, roasty notes with a hint of tobacco; the toffee and caramel perceived in other examples is not as prevalent here. The balance in flavors is nicely done. This is a really difficult one for me to rank. It’s a good beer and offers more complexity than the other examples so far, but that perversely works against the drinkability for me. Which makes me sound boring. But you probably already knew that.
Nathan’s Rank: 4
Ryan:  People’s brown had the flavors I anticipate in Brown Ales. However, I felt none of those flavors were particularly strong, and therefore, led to a nuanced tasting experience. The opaque black beer had a light aroma with noticeable notes of toffee and citrus. I was able to identify numerous flavors such as raisins, roasted malt, toffee, and nuttiness.  Hops were not forgotten. Apparent hop bitterness was complimented and perpetuated by the roast, and it extended long after the finish.
Ryan’s Rank: 3

Beer #5: Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale - A cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown, Indian Brown Ale is well-hopped and malty at the same time. The beer has characteristics of each style that inspired it: the color of an American Brown, the caramel notes of a Scotch Ale, and the hopping regimen of an India Pale Ale. We dry-hop the Indian Brown Ale in a similar fashion to our 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA. This beer is brewed with Aromatic barley and organic brown sugar. 50 IBU 7.2% ABV

Bob:  This is a very dark brown beer with a moderate level of carbonation on the first pour. This was the best hopped of the lot with a good balance of malts. The malts were very sweet with a touch of raisin and mild undercurrent of roast.  The second pour was of a different bottling and was not consistent with the first bottle. Rated 3 largely because of the batch mixtures.
Bob’s Rank: 3
Jake:  A moderately low hop flavor combines to round out the moderate bitterness offered by the hops. Some nice roast character, combines with the toffee sweetness and a dark fruit character to offer a quite complex and interesting brew. The second bottle we sampled of this was infected, but only made it better! My previous statements were based on the first bottle, which was my personal favorite. A #1 spot for this, unavailable in Indiana, beer.
Jake’s Rank: 1
Nathan:  Another example that leans toward the dark brown side of the color scale with heavy roasted malts in the aroma. This beer has a complex nutty and roasty malt character nicely balanced with citrus hop character. Toffee and chocolate notes come through with medium bitterness in the finish. There is a lot going on here, but it’s well balanced and easy to go back for more. Might not be quite as easy drinking as beers 1 and 3, but the total package inches this to the top of my list in a close call.
Nathan’s Rank: 1
Ryan:  The first bottle of Dogfish Head’s India Brown exhibited an initial aroma of coffee that gave way to a bready and toffee nose.  The flavor was typified by subtle roasted coffee notes along with dried fruit. The hops were relatively low and piney, woodsy, and lemony in nature. The hop bitterness was low to medium.  As for the second bottle, I was more than happy to finish it, since it had an obvious infection of acetic acid, which made for a wonderful sour ale, exhibiting the vinegar flavor of a Flanders Red (my favorite style).  Despite the inconsistency, I continue to look forward to trying Dogfish Head’s offerings when I can find them outside of this state.
Ryan’s Rank: 4

And the results are in…….

As you can see in the individual ratings, it was a difficult decision among our top four beers. That may sound like lip service, but the total scores for each beer will illustrate just how close this one was. 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 ranking determined the final order (drum roll please):

Fifth Place: Brooklyn Brown Ale (20 points)
Fourth Place: People’s Brewing Mr. Brown (12 points)
Third Place: Barley Island Dirty Helen Brown Ale (10 points)
First Place (tie): Dark Horse Boffo Brown and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (9 points)

DH_boffo_brown     dogfish_indian_brown


One interesting aspect of this tasting was the quality control issues of the national brands. We had two bottles of beer for each example, with the second available for reinforcements after our initial analysis. I’d like to try the Brooklyn Brown again, because both bottles of it had noticeable off-flavors that were probably an anomaly but knocked it out of contention in this tasting. The second bottle of Dogfish Head Indian Brown had a wild yeast contamination that turned it into a surprisingly good sour ale. Reactions to that were mixed as some members of the panel may have knocked it down a bit, while Jake and I gave the benefit of the doubt and scored it based on our notes from the first bottle.

I sought out Dogfish Head Indian Brown as a member of our lineup because it’s the first beer that really hooked me on this style. But you may already be aware that obtaining it takes a little effort for Indiana residents these days (ie. driving across state lines). Barring that type of effort, you still have some great options. If you prefer your beers a bit on the maltier side, our panel would endorse picking up some Dark Horse Boffo Brown Ale. If you’d prefer a hoppier version, grab the Barley Island Dirty Helen. Of course, it’s also worth noting that People’s Mr. Brown earned the coveted top pick of our hostess Poppi Rocketts. It’s well worth a try if you’re looking for something with a little more complexity.

Big thanks to Bob, Jake, and Ryan for serving on the panel and a bigger thanks to you for reading this far. These events are a lot of fun, and we just may offer up some additional guest spots to readers in the future. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to be informed when the next opportunity rolls around.

Cheers, Nathan

Indiana Beer News

Big Indiana Craft beer events THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED HERE

This weekend, Saturday, April 6, is the introduction of Upland's Champagne Velvet in Terre Haute, IN, click here for full story with a horse-drawn wagon delivering the beer to three locations starting at 3:00 (Sonka's Irish pub) and ending at M. Mogger's at about 6:00 PM.

Daredevil Brewing announces its newest seasonal: Rip Cord Double IPA is a 9.0 percent ABV, 90 IBU, 5.8 SRM limited seasonal release that represents one of our interpretations of the American Double IPA style. It will be available on draft throughout the Daredevil distribution footprint of central and southern Indiana beginning Monday, April 8th.

Next week also kicks off Indiana Craft Beer week in Bloomington, culminating in the BIG Craft Beer Fest at the Woolery Mill on April 13 at 4:00, VIPs at 3:00, tickets online More information here

Tuesday, April 9, Yogi's Bloomington fills all 55 TAPS with ONLY Indiana Craft Beer. No yellow fizzy beer for the REST OF THE WEEK! Yogi's Tuesday Beer School, features FLAT12 Van Pogue (Vanilla Porter), Nunmoere Black and Half Cycle IPA.

Tuesday, April 9, The Tap Beer Bar Bloomington, hosts a PRO-BREWER PANEL featuring Indiana brewers. Current list includes Clay Robinson from SunKing, Ted Miller from Brugge, Rob Caputo from Flat12,+ Justin Miller from Black Acre. 6:30.

Wednesday, April 10, Bloomington Brewing Company features a Beer Pairing dinner with CIA trained Chef David Tallent, at Restaurant Tallent call for details 812-330-9801

Wednesday, April 10, Girls' Pint Out meets at The Tap Bloomington

Wednesday, April 10, Tap take-overs start at famous Nick's English Hut; 7p-10p daily in the Hoosier room Cutters 4/10, BBC 4/11, Flat 12 & People's including their COLLABORATION beer (Hoosier Brown Rye) 4/12, Upland 4/13.

and Wed. 4/10, Max's Place has 2-3 local taps

And Wed. 4/10, the Bishop, $3 local pints

Thursday, 4/11, The Tap features Upland's 15th Anniversary Label, historic Champagne Velvet + other local beer
+ The Owlery Bar, Fountain Square tap take-over

Friday, 4/12, tap take-overs continue at most local beer bars, remember 55+ at Yogi's
+ Lift-Off & Muse from Daredevil on Tap and meet the Daredevil brewers at The Farm Restaurant, Root Cellar bar 6-9
+ New Albanian & Bloomington Brewing tap-takeover at The Tap

Saturday, 4/13, 4-7 Bloomington Beer Festival Our Man Nathan is with Brewers of Indiana Guild and will be updating us end of this week! Stay tuned to indianabeer.com for details!

Saturday, 4/13, After Party: The Tap; another after party at Nick's English Hut; local beer flowing at all B'ton Craft Beer Bars

Remember, if visiting Bloomington pay a visit to local Bloomington Brewing Company @Lennie's and to local Upland Brewing Company Brew pubs!

Basket Case Brewing opened a month ago in Jasper, Indiana. Featuring Busta Nut Brown Ale, Revolution Pale ale, Nirvana IPA, and more to come. Check them out on Facebook