Ten Years Ago

The very old format of IndyBeer had this news for February, 2004.

2/15 - Mad Anthony's has been voted Fort Wayne's best neighborhood tavern by the readers of Watzup magazine.

2/13 - According to this article, beer doesn't dehydrate you and if you drink 8 pints of beer a day (6 if you're a woman) that's all the liquid you need.

2/13 - First the Hofbrauhaus set up a brewery in Newport, KY. Now St. Sebastian is coming from Belgium to open a brewery in Spring Hill, FL.

2/13 – Indy - Easley Winery will have Montmorency cherry juice from Door County, WI available in 3 to 4 weeks. These tart cherries are very good for making homemade wines, ciders, and beers. Price will be about $9 to $11 per gallon. To get some, you need to get on their list to be called when it comes in. Then you'll need to take a non-glass vessel downtown to pick it up within about 4 days. Yep, a pain in the rump, but they have more than 30 people signed up already - many for 5 gallons or more. Call Easley's at 317-636-4516.

Last night, Easley's hosted the Foam Blowers mead tasting and Ben Tackitt of Easley's shared his home-made dry Ethiopian Tej, a mead spiced with Gesho bark. Aren't you sorry you missed it? In actuality it was very good as was his sweet, spicy Braggot medieval mead/beer.

News2004-0213Johns2/13 – Indy - John's has added a line of coolers along the back of the store. 6 of these hold good beer! Last year the only beer in the place was warm making John's no better a place for beer than, say, Wild Oats. Now they're back to being the pre-eminent store downtown and, with the Glenhaven, Rare Malt, and Signatory lines of single barrel single malts their back on our very good guy list.

2/13 – Indy - Here's the Rathskeller's current lineup (in case you were wondering):

Ayinger Oktoberfest
Oaken Barrel Razz Wheat
Rathskeller Amber (we think from Sprecher)
Reissdorf Kölsch
Spaten Optimator and Lager
Warsteiner Isenbeck and Pilsner
Weihenstephaner Hefe Weiss and Hefe Weiss Dunkel
Woodchuck Cider

2/13 – Indy - Alcatraz has 9 on tap nowadays. Omar's newest is a bold porter brewed with Adrian Ball. It has Munich, black, chocolate, and aromatic malts (920 lbs for 12 bbl). Hops are Goldings, Crystal, and Liberty. Really drinkable.

Coming up, a pilsner with Mt. Hood and US Goldings. Then a reformulated Red with Maris Otter and Munich malts. Early April will se an IPA that has been made with Sean Tucker. It also uses Maris Otter and Munich malts but with Simcoe and Cascade hops.

We all wish Omar well with his impending knee surgery.

2/13 – Indy - The Ram's seasonal is Marley's Stout. Thick, black with a brown lacey head. Burnt toasty notes with a thick mouthfeel. Really a tart taste. Roast, chocolate, kiln coffee, and crystal malsts are balanced by almost 40 IBU. It should be on Nitro for St. Paddy's day so Guinness drinkers will feel at home. BUT it is a very serious beer on CO2 the way it should be.

Mid March will see an 8% Scottish. Yep. It's the return of Wee Creature. Mid April, a Maibock.

March 16th the Ram will have a Brewer's Dinner. Details TBA.

2/13 - New Albany - RichO's has Turbo Hog and on the handpull this weekend (if you get there quick) Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

Bourbondaddy will be back in April.

2/12 – Indy - The Rock Bottom mug club will "meet" on Feb 18 to welcome Tim's Schwarz Hacker Black Lager. "A German style light bodied black lager with subtle roasted and chocolate malt notes and a spicy hop presence from German Hallertauer hops. Lagered very cold and cold-stored for over a month before serving for a smooth mellow flavor." It's free to join their mug club.

Coming up at Rock Bottom: a Dry Irish Stout. In late March: Fire Chief Irish Red Lager. May: American Wheat Ale. June: A Malt Liquor - yep, a strong malt-n-corn Colt 45 but even stronger. They will also host a Chef & Brewers Dinner - a 5-course meal paired with 5 house beers.

News2004-0211WWBrewers2/11 – Lafayette - The Lafayette Brewing Company's Winter Warmer 2004 was a sell-out again this year and raised a lot of money for the Laura Williams Memorial Scholarship Fund. 10 Indiana breweries were present as well as Rogue and the Tippecanoe Homebrewers Circle. And Hog Eye Navvy, Brats, BBQ, and raffles. Now it's time to play Spot Your Favorite Brewer:

Hint: Upland, Lafayette, Barley Island, Mad Anthony, Three Floyds, Duneland, Broad Ripple, Back Road, Main Street, New Albanian are among the commercial brewers represented.

2/11 – Lafayette - At the Lafayette Brewing Company, the seasonals include Tippecanoe Common Ale - no not a California Common (steam beer) but a creamy American IPA - dull copper with massive grapefruit, pineapple, and citrus hops in both the aroma and taste. Also, Smokehouse Porter is on.

2/11 - Michigan City - Duneland Brewing's Stout on tap is excellent. It's a rich oatmeal style, dark, brown head, thick, malty, and clean. A new batch of their Wheat is just now on tap.

Duneland has a problem with the lines from the serving tanks to the taps and this causes their beers to gain some funky dactyl notes over time. Get Barb's fresh beers though and you'll be happy.

2/11 – Valparaiso - Aberdeen Brewing had a serious problem with their glycol chiller on New Years eve and have just started brewing again. Some beers will be sparse in the next month until stocks in their serving tanks get back up to normal levels. Right now, only the Golden Ale is gone.

At the Chicago Brewpub Shootout, Aberdeen won a medal for best food.

2/11 – Indiana - Short sips:

This year's Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine is at Kahn's and on tap at BW3 downtown. Chalkies also has a keg to put on later. Thirteen cases also can be found at the Liquor Stop in Highland for you Chicago readers.

Coming in March: Weihenstephan Korbinian dopple bock.

Scotty's and Chumley's in Lafayette (only) have Arrogant Bastard on tap. The Legends of Notre Dame will have it by this weekend.

Also coming up on the Legends taps, Rogue Mocha Porter, an offering from Barley Island, and Victory Hop Devil and Storm King!

Barley Island will bottle some of their Bourbon barrel-aged stout in 22oz bottles for local consumption. On their hand pull right now is a limited 10 gallon run of Spiced Ale with allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

News2004-0211VineSNCelebrationVine Liquors on University Dr in Mishawaka has 20 cases of this year's Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale on sale for $4.88 a 6-pack, $17.88 a case.

We spotted 2 dusty 6-packs of CircleV Muddy Water brown on the shelf at the Trail Inn liquor store in Valparaiso. Not recommended.

The Fiddler's Hearth in downtown South Bend has Belhaven Scottish on a nitro tap. Creamy of course and very rare to find on tap. Also try their Scotch eggs and Des Trifle (white chocolate bread pudding).

3 Floyds may start construction on their brewpub next week (but they are really, really busy). It could conceivably open in May.

Look for 3 Floyds' Gumball Head in late April or early May. They are going to have it out in 22oz bottles also.

2/11 – Homebrew - The Foam Blowers of Indiana has an annual Heavy Hydrometer competition for Old Ales, Barlywines, etc. This year's winner, Paul Edwards is sharing his recipe for winning Old Rip Barleywine that he made in 2000. It's so good the same beer from the same batch won last year also.

Recipe for 5 gallons.

Grain Bill
M&F Pale Ale
DWC Caramunich
Munich malt
15.00 lbs
3.00 lbs
3.00 lbs

10 grams Danstar London Ale dry yeast for primary
5 grams Lallemand EC-1118 champagne yeast added a few days after primary had begun.

Bottled when fermentation was complete. OG: 1107

Mash Schedule:

Mashed at 153 deg F for 1 hour
Used 6 gallons water. Strike temp was 168 deg F
5 grams gypsum added to mash
Sparge water acidified with lactic acid to pH 5.6
Sparged to collect 8 gallons wort.
Boiled down to 6 gallons

Hop Schedule
Centennial pellets
Columbus pellets
Mt Hood Plugs
Cascade plugs
10.0% Alpha
15.0% Alpha
3.9% Alpha
5.0% Alpha
28 grams
56 grams
28 grams
28 grams
60 minutes
60 minutes
45 minutes
15 minutes

2/11 – Indiana - We don't really do editorials but can't help express our outrage over two Indiana developments.

1) In Muncie, a new Chuck E. Cheese got a 2-way (beer and wine) license. They say "There is a segment of customers who like to have a glass of wine with their meal, but it's not the focus of our business." IndyBeer editorial: That's just wrong. They're justifying selling beer at kid's birthday parties. That in itself isn't necessarily wrong but they are implying their clientele are wine drinkers - and that's just duplicitous. article

2) An IPD cop had an accident and a BAC of .017 (50% over being drunk and 100% over being legally drunk). So now no city worker with a car who may be called in to work can't drink anything ever. That would seem to include supervisors at the DOT, DPW, etc. article

3) That same cop with the .017 BAC got a 10 day suspension. If it was you or me, it would have been a 1-year license suspension, a bunch of fines and court costs, and addiction classes. article

2/7 – Indy - The Oaken Barrel has a new English Session Ale (a British Mild) on tap. Brewer Ken Price says "OB Session Ale is light, refreshing and has significantly less carbs than most micro-brewed beers." But forget his Mich Ultra implied comparison. A British Mild isn't by any means a flavorless beer. Marris Otter malt and East Kent Goldings hops.

2/7 – Indy - BW3 downtown has some new, very interesting, items on tap.

  • Bluegrass Barley Wine - on the hand pull.
  • Chouffe N'Ice
  • Rogue Mocha Porter
  • Bells Consecrator Dopplebock - Red copper with a big tan head. Strong malty nose. Well balanced. Not as pushy as many dopples. Spaten Optimator is also on tap if you want to try them side by side.
  • News2004-0207MDVTastingCorsendonk Christmas Ale is still on by the way.
  • Stone's Old Guardian barley wine will go on tap next week.
  • And there's a new JW Lees Harvest Ale on the handpull. The keg Mike DeWeese  has kept hidden away is finally out. The Lagavulin-oak-aged keg full of malt, hops, and other chewy liquid nutrients.

Last night, 14 guys from World Class Beverages, Merchant du Vin, Avery Brewing, and Scottish Newcastle had an informal 59-beer tasting of aged, strong beers. Some dated back to 1983. But the star of the show was Mike's Lagavulin-oak aged JW Lees Harvest Ale in a pitcher from the handpull. It's just that good.

2/5 – Indy - Chalkies list now includes Tenant's Scotch, 4 Bell's, Alpha King, Arcadia IPA & ESB.  Marv has also added 33 Belgian bottles including multiple offerings from Trappistes Rochfort, Allagash, Oud, Unibroue, Chimay, and St Bernardus. Yes!

2/5 - Ft. Wayne - Coming up at Mad Anthony: a Steam beer is now fermenting. A Spring Bock will follow. The seasonals on tap now are:

  • Apple Ale. 100+ Gallons of local apple cider were added to the wort. Plenty of apple but not cidery sharp and without an apple burp. Effervescent. Blue/yellow of a Berliner Weiss. They say a half-and-half with the Raspberry Ale is popular but I didn't try it.
  • Snow Plowed Winter Ale (also at Auburn location). Dark copper. A classic strong ale - just look at the style guidelines A+ Stuff.
  • Imperial IPA. Medium coper with little head. 9% ABV and 60+ IBU. Very little hop aroma but the first hit on the tongue brings white knuckles. It grows on you fast but sip it slowly. Take a bathroom break. Then come back for another first sip and delightfully shudder all over again. Chinook, Cascade, Willamette hops and dry hopped with Chinook. Not grapefruity.
  • Unveiled today: Imperial Stout. The pre-release taste I had was so very black with a pure brown, long lasting head. Thick on the side of the glass. Nice mouthfeel. Subdued malts and very balanced. Minimal roasty grain without darker notes. 1092 OG. 8.7% ABV. 55 IBU from Fuggles and Chinook hops.

2/5 - Ft. Wayne - The latest rumor about the Oyster Bar comes from the bartender who says they are not selling the equipment and may look for another brewer someday.

They are out of the Luna Lager but have all the other regulars on tap including the yummy Oyster Stout - which "should last another 3 months". Good stuff. Black, thick, and Imperial Milk Stout.

On Sundays, 10oz mugs of beer are $1.

News2004-0205BelmontFtW2/5 - Ft. Wayne - There is at least one good beer store in Ft. Wayne. After browsing a dozen, the only good one I could find was the Belmont Beverages at Dupont and Coldwater road on the north side. Truly one of the best in the state with 500+ titles. 7 interesting doors and quite a lot of warm shelving. Oh, and they sell Mad Anthony's beers at $6.49 a 6-pack (It's $7.50 at the brewery).

Scott's Groceries are supposed to have good beer selections and the one on South Ind 27 will have a Belmont's built across the parking lot. The one at State & St. Mary's is changing their movie rentals area into a wine and beer niche. We'll see if they stock many titles.

Besides Mad Anthony's, the only acceptable beer bar I found in Ft. Wayne is the Munchie's Emporium at 2910 Maplecrest Rd. 9 taps and 20 interesting bottles. $2 specials on Thues, Wed, and Fri.

News2004-0205Heorot2/5 – Muncie - Stopped in the Heorot in Muncie Tuesday. Great place. Beowulf-themed bare wood true beer bar owned by a real enthusiast. Live music on weekends. Very little food. If you can't find your favorite beer here, you can't find it. 50 taps and 300 bottles. Had two very rare beers:

HopBack Entire Stout. Brewed in one of England's most successful brewpubs in Salisbury. 4.5% ABV bottle conditioned. Very rich and toasty. Not really chocolaty but much of the same type of attitude.

1995 Sam Adams Triple Bock. Still strong with plum and raisin. Thick stuff. Will age 8 more years no doubt. Who were we to know at the time that it was a bargain? At about 4 servings per bottle, it still is at the Heorot. The aftertaste lasted right through a Kölsch and a later pizza.

2/5 – Muncie - Lagavulin sighting: Friendly Liquors in Muncie, Yorktown, and Chesterfield all have a bottle or two. The one in Muncie has a very big selection of beers (500+) in 10 cooler doors. It's neat that you can mix and match from any 6-pack in the cooler with individual bottles priced at 1/6th of the 6-pack price.

2/5 - Anheuser-Busch reports record sales and earning for the fourth quarter, 2003 - up 12+% from 2002. Worldwide, they sold 111,000,000 bbls of beer. article

2/5 – Bloomington - The IU Student Association elections have a group of people running based in large part on a call for a "wet" campus where alcohol would be allowed in dorms. They are calling themselves the Big Red ticket. article

2/5 - Courts are looking into a new Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) anklet that tests the user's sweat every 30 minutes for alcohol. It can detect a blood alcohol level of .025%. It will be used for DUI and repeat alcohol offenders. A court in Ohio is charging offenders $12 a day to wear the $1,500 device plus a $100 deposit and a $75 installation fee, thus ensuring the court makes a profit from the equipment. This article says it's also being tested in Indiana.

2/5 - Speaking of courts. There are 2 class action suits claiming the beer (and malternative) industry has targeted under-21 drinkers.

One filed in Washington, DC, cites Coors promotions tied to PG-13 rated Scary Movie 3 as well as the cartoonish Captain Morgan character. It also names makers of Heineken, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Bacardi, Brown- Forman, and the Beer Institute of Washington, DC. article

The other was filed in California and asks for $4 billion. In this suit AB and SABMIller are the only defendants at this time. article

2/1 - Short sips from the March issue of All About Beer

  • Coors has axed Hooper's Hooch. Back in the malternative days of 1998 it sold 81M bottles.
  • Guinness makes Draught Stout for Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and the US at the St. James's Gate brewery in Dublin. For the rest of they world they make "Guinness 'essence' - a viscous, black malt extract - and ship it in MG Mini-sized plastic containers to Guinness breweries around the globe where it is made into Guinness Foreign Extra Stout."
  • Charilie Papazian on 3 Floyds Dreadnaught: "WOWWWW! Hops in the aroma. Hops in the flavor and Hops in my head! I am in the September fields of Yakima! This is not a beer. It is an experience! If you like hops, you must seek this beer. Fluu flavored, full strength, full of hops and enchanting dreams. A palate-pleaser for hopheads. This is not a beer for wusses. Excuse me while I swallow."
  • We may see 22 oz bottles of MacTarnahan's beers and and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
  • Rogue's latest is an Imperial Pilsner at 8.8% ABV. It comes in 750ml swingtops.
  • As if Sans Coulottes wasn't enough, now there's a Nude Beer with a peel-off label.
  • Carbs come from grain and sugar. So does calories. You make beer lighter by either using less fermentables, watering it down, or using more aggressive yeast and then water it down. The later is the most often used.

Indiana Beer News; Beer at the Indiana State Fair, and more.... Feb. 22, 14

Will beer finally be sold at the Indiana State Fair? Indiana Senate Bill 0339 passed out of committee to the Full House this past week allowing sale of alcoholic beverages during the State Fair. Alcohol is sold on State Fair grounds during the remainder of the year. Brewers of Indiana Guild Executive Director Lee Smith says Indiana is one of just a few states not allowing the sale of beer and wine. The BIG focus is on alerting Hoosiers to the beer made here in Indiana. While currently brewery awards are displayed during the State Fair there is no way for attendees to try the beer. Craft Beer lovers may want to encourage their State legislators.

On Saturday, Feb. 22nd Flat12 Bierwerks opened the Taproom at 9 am for the 10 am Olympic Hockey bronze match. With Indianapolis natives, cousins Rachel and Emma Bowling in attendance the two middle schoolers that both tried out for and qualified for the US Olympic Luge Development team could cheer on the U.S team. On Sunday the 23rd Flat 12 opens 7am for the final Olympic hockey match for the gold. Flat 12 releases their spring seasonal Nunmoere Black, on Sunday, March 2nd . The beer is an homage to the movie Spinal Tap so there are many plans for that day at the brewery. details here

Thursday, March 13th is the Naptown Brown Tapping Party at Sun King from 7pm to 10pm. The Naptown Roller Girls will be onsite as well as A Squared Djs, food truck, and pints will be available for $5 each.

Upland Brewing Company recently announced tickets for the third annual Sour + Wild + Funk Fest will be on sale at on Eventbrite on March 10. This year's festival will take place Saturday, May 17th from 2pm-6pm at the historic Indianapolis City Market, preceded by a VIP Sour lecture and private tasting from 12:30-1:30pm. VIP tickets can be purchased for $75, and will include VIP lecture, lanyard, commemorative T-shirt, swag bag and access to the VIP lounge including food and private bathrooms. General Admission tickets are $45 and include light snacks, with the City Market's artisans open to sell heavier fare throughout the festival. An Upland Secret Barrel Society members-only party will follow from 7pm-9pm.

Bloomington Brewing announced a single hop IPA using only Simcoe providing light pine and citrus notes. Ole Floyd’s Belgian Dark Strong Ale is also a seasonal at 8%, a Winter Warmer.

Drams and Drabs

AmericanBrewingReader Rob Ling sends us the picture at right – the Sanborn Fire map of the American Brewing Co. at 1898. At the bottom is Market Street in Indianapolis and the north is Ohio St. The Central Canal is at the left. Click for full size – it shows the interior rooms such as storage, tank, pump, ice machines, fermenting cellar, warehousing, bottling, office, etc. More about ABC in (blatant plug) Hoosier Beer.

RateBeer has released their “best of” list. Indiana’s entries are:

- Brewery – New Albanian (on best of U.S. list), 3 Floyds (#3 in world rankings)
- Restaurant– M. Moggers (Terre Haute)
- Tap room – New Day Meadery (Indy)
- Liquor Store – Keg Liquors (Clarksville)
- Pub – Heorot (Muncie)
- Beers – 3 Floyds Dark Lord (regular and Bourbon Vanilla Bean), Alpha King, Gumballhead, Dreadnaught and Zombie Dust
- New beer in 2013 – 3 Floyds Permanent Funeral
- Best new brewery – 18th Street Brewery (Gary)

BrahmaAccording to a press release a “Hindu statesman” in Nevada is complaining about A-B’s use of Brahma in the name of a beer. This, although Brahma is made in Brazil, is the 5th largest brand in the world, and has been made since 1914. Figure out Rajan Zed’s motives for yourself.


Beer and wine pairings for girl scout cookies”. Actually Trefoils and Old Rasputin sounds pretty good.

The FDA reports on arsenic in Rice! Say’s it’s a non-story. And yes, they did test Bud. Another story from Germany finds double the arsenic allowed in drinking water and points to diatomaceous earth filters.

A distillery spilled 27,500 litres (7,200 gallons) of unaged (thankfully) whisky into the River Ayr when a tanker truck filled the wrong vat. They were fined £12,000 by a Scottish court. article

Some psycho in Spain has built an electronic tongue that tastes beer. IndianaBeer correspondents fear for the high-paying jobs. article

Here’s a wine pairing chart for beer people. Pale Ale and Merlot, for instance.

And some beer pictures of course.

6-glasses add-dar-2

bad-puns-6 Cold

DrinkTrailer Judging

Winter Warmer 2014 @ Lafayette Brewing

From Nathan...

Always one of the best events of the year, LBC's Winter Warmer offers an unbeatable combination of short lines, free food, raffles, and free cab rides home. The event has long been a celebration of high alcohol beers like Old Ales, Barleywines, and Imperial Stouts. And as the popularity of barrels in the craft brewing world have increased, this event has evolved to where a large proportion of the beers are barrel aged. This sounds great in theory, but it's actually reached a point where the non-barrel offering have an easier time standing out. Maybe drinking that many barrel aged beers is a bit of overkill, and maybe it's just my personal tastes that lead to this viewpoint. But after hitting the barrel aged selections pretty hard in the early portion of the event, I was more drawn to the (relatively) lighter fare to close out this event.

Beer Notes:
  • This was my first chance to try any beers from Twenty Below - the small brewery that is being incorporated into the ever-popular Twenty Tap restaurant and tap room. The milk stout was pretty impressive, so definitely keep an eye out for when their beers start showing up on taps in the restaurant.
  • Lafayette Brewing's Big Boris Barleywine is very young and hop-forward right now, but I thought it was pretty tasty if you're looking for something that leans more toward the character of an Imperial IPA. It reminded me of the lighter-bodied and hop-forward Avery Hog Heaven that we used to be able to get around here (insert sad face).
  • Don't overlook the darker beers from Barley Island. The high alkalinity in Noblesville's water lends well to brewing with dark grains. Their oatmeal stouts and java stouts are always outstanding.
  • While it wasn't my overall pick of the day, Flat 12's Pinko RazPutin was the best and most unique barrel aged beer I tried. RazPutin is a barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout that was infused with blackberries and raspberries. It probably took a lot of berries to make their flavor come through in such a massively complex beer, but it really added a nice touch. Cheers to creativity on that one!
Pick of the Day: Black Swan Peat Smoked Export Stout

Honorable Mentions
Barley Island Busted Knuckle Oatmeal Stout
Figure 8 Black Corridor Imperial Stout
Flat 12 Pinko RazPutin
Lafayette Brewing Co. Marley's VSOP (barrel aged porter)
New Albanian Smoked Black Lager

From Jason...

In the 2014 craft beer world there seems to be a new beer festival or event popping up every week. Not a bad problem to have really but it does tend to complicate things a bit. Like most, the two primary factors that limit my festival intake are time and money. Because of these constraints, I find myself weighing the pros and cons of the ever-growing number of events and having to decide which festivals to attend. I know, I know, first world problems. I’ll quit complaining.

The one event that alleviates all of the strife, all of the painstaking labor over which craft beer festivals I need to attend for the year is the Lafayette Brewing Company's Winter Warmer.  No tough decision to make here, this one is a no-brainer.  I’ll get this out of the way up front, about 20% of what makes this one easy for me is the homer factor. If you remove this bias, I still say that this is one event that you should try to attend at least once in your craft beer drinking life. I named it my favorite craft beer event in our IndianaBeer Best of 2013 post
 and wasn't alone in doing so.

The Warmer assembles a formidable group of Indiana Craft Breweries pouring both high and medium octane beers.  You find yourself immersed in the cozy confines of the LBC's 2nd floor venue with approximately 250 other festival goers.  Pretzel necklaces?  Forget about it!  Baskets of pretzels and caramel popcorn (made with LBC beer by Kathy's Kandies right across the street) are constantly replenished by the hardworking staff.  To top it all off, once you feel that you should probably fill your gut with something a bit more substantial, that's when you head over and grab some BBQ.  While the beer is easily the main attraction, it's nice to have a few perks included with the cost of admission.  Oh yeah, and good luck trying to restrain yourself from buying cookies from those 
evil friendly little girl scouts hangin' out in front of the building when you leave.

Another big reason for my love of the Warmer is that the lineup of breweries stays mostly consistent from year to year. It gives the event an even stronger sense of community when you see familiar faces back with their newest and finest brews. It's always easy to be looking out for the new brewery on the block but it's pretty great seeing the veteran breweries, those that have blazed the trail for our current and next generation of craft breweries to follow.  I'm looking at you Broad Ripple, Back Road, and of course our host, Lafayette Brewing.

Finally, thank you once again to the Tippecanoe Homebrewers Circle for their contribution and selection of beers crafted by their members.  I sampled a weizenbock and a Pliny the Elder clone that were both pretty damn good.

So let’s talk about the beer. As always, I make no apologies for not getting down and dirty when I mention my favorites. I'm not here to point out every little subtlety or nuance of the beers I've sampled, mostly because I don't feel as if I'm qualified to make such observations...and I'm lazy.   Anyway, of the beers that I sampled, the following made my list of honor.  The list is a bit lacking due to not wanting a repeat of my Winterfest experience from the previous weekend.

New Albanian - Bonfire of the Valkyries Imperial Smoked Black Lager

Lafayette Brewing - Marley VSOP Barrel Aged Porter
20 Below - Milk Stout
Brugge Brasserie - Hibernal Black Belgian Strong
Flat 12 - Perpetual Slumber Belgian Dark Strong
Sun King - Man in Black (don't remember the details but it was tasty)

And finally....

Jake's Picks:

Flat 12  RazPutin
Twenty Below – Milk Stout
Union Brewing – All of their beers were impressive

Winterfest 2014 Review

New venue, new breweries, and new writers for us………it’s time to revisit the season’s preeminent beer festival with beer picks, failed strategies, and other observations from Winterfest 2014.

gregsmall From Greg…..

Five-thousand attendees; eighty breweries; Four to Five Hours depending on your entry; well over 400 beers to sample: mission impossible. As our man Nathan pointed out just before the fest you must have a strategy, and even that can go awry once the crowd or a friend pulls you in another direction.

First the overall view: Great Venue, The Champions Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds eliminated the outside hustle in the rain to try specialty beers. Great volunteers, the Hoosier Beer Geeks organize a virtual army of folks who do everything from watch exits, take tickets, pour beer, assist crowds, assist breweries, and act as Ambassadors for craft beer and the event. Great Brewer Turnout, from the most established to the newest breweries including a number from out-of-state and several of those who have never been to an Indiana festival. We've seen a few comments about the line and entry times and given the first time in this venue we know Brewers of Indiana Guild will work to improve everything possible.

One of my strategies was to visit breweries I can't get to every day; sample from those that I know less. Thus, bypassing some of my regular haunts was difficult, and I did get back to some of them, but first a look at breweries we don't cover much:

We want to congratulate newbies like Wayne and Kathy Norris of Norris English Pub, Liberty, IN, for opening to fulfill their dream back in August and for their first festival. Norris English Pub is currently a nano-brewery distributing beer and working on a future retail location. Norris is focusing on English style ales (as the name suggests) with an Amber, Porter, Bitter, and American IPA. Their beers are smooth and without flaws for each style and we see they get some positive ratings on Untapped. Right now NEP is also producing other label beer for certain restaurants as well as having their own label beer on tap in just a few places.

18th Street Brewery of Gary, IN, is one we expect a lot out of. Owner/Brewer Drew Fox has a background in restaurants and hotels and took his home brewing experience to Pipeworks Brewing in Chicago. Drew had started with test batches at home while working a full-time job, morphed that to Pipeworks, then kept his focus (as Pipeworks knew) on opening his own place. He brought his concept to the Miller Beach, IN, neighborhood which is a stop on the Southshore Line Railroad and gets visitors from that city as well as locals to enjoy his brew. Currently brewing on a 3.5 bbl system 18th Street opened in late 2013. They offered a big and delicious "Hunter" double milk stout at 9% and a "Hunter Coffee" special release along with Lake Street Express American Pale (33 ibu) and Moon Walk Double IPA (66 ibu). All solid. A quick check on Untapped revealed high ratings.

Back Road Brewery of LaPorte, IN, has been around since 1996 and is one of those "local" brewers that attracts local customers. Look up reviews and you see words like "cozy" and "friendly." Their Blueberry Stout delivered plenty of blueberry flavor without overdoing and drew solid attendee comments. Their No. 9 barleywine also got very positive reviews. They were brave enough to bring a Bacon Spire Pale which was a little shy on bacon but did not offend.

Big Dawg Brewhaus, Richmond, IN, is one that has transitioned well from winery owners to solid beers, too. DownTown Chipotle Brown delivered a unique and tasty warming experience -- spicy and bold as promoted and a whopping 7.8% While not on the original beer list, a Belgian Triple made its appearance at 12% which was smooth, slightly sweet, and definitely warming. Two good beers, great conversation, and notes about the June 6 & 7 Viking Fest (more on that in our blog later) it was time to move on and not settle in too much.

Danny Boy Beer Works, Carmel, IN, is a small micro operating since the end of May, and a strong affiliation with Brockway Tavern in Carmel gave them an outlet and testing grounds for beer. KP and Prescott served up their Black, a 77 ibu Blck IPA with Citra and Cascade hops making a highly pleasing hoppy and balanced beer. Training Day is an assertive pale at 33 ibu but adding Galaxy and Citra hops to Cascade. Look for a Scotch at 7.8% to come from them soon.

Salt Creek Brewery, just north of Bedford, IN, is not on everyone's radar but I've been there a few times and Owner/Brewer Brad Hawkins brought along several of his beers including a local favorite Vanilla Porter. While this was somewhat heavy on the vanilla I am reminded that Brad runs a truly local venue with good food, good music, and pleasing the local palates. So I accept the fact that while I might like a tad less vanilla if that is what the customers want, the God Bless Brad for running a successful local and colorful place almost in the middle of nowhere (Needmore, Indiana, actually)! This brew pub is located in a former auto and truck service garage with the grease pit clean but still visible. I want to give Brad a shout for his Bradweiser Black IPA, and for Von Bierbauch (means beer belly in German) alt beer. One of Brad's loyal customers is German and an inspiration for the latter. Local beer!

Carson's Brewery, Evansville, IN, made their first appearance as they have only been truly open in their new facility a few months. This is a brewery with a 20-barrel system and beautiful tap room. I wanted their Icesis (again) which at 7% is a nice, spicy winter ale. This spiced brown ale base delivers cinnamon and coriander. The Carson's flagship is Brown Cow brown ale going down smooth at 5% and 32 ibu.

Quaff On, Nashville, IN, is the production brewery which originally started with brew pub Big Woods. They get my nod for most improved brewer since brewer Mark Havens left Oaken Barrel to head up this operation. I had tried their current Busted Knuckle Baltic porter recently and got over for a sample of the Bourbon Busted which delivered 8% and was a great base beer enhanced with the wood.

Getting through the crowd after sampling several beers I knew it was time to get to some beers I really wanted to try from places I do know.

Flat12 Bierwerks Head Brewer Rob Caputo had teased me weeks earlier with a glimpse of Whorechata bubbling away in fermentation. I knew just enough to want to be certain to get some. Boy am I glad I did! The traditional Spanish & Mexican horchata is almost like an egg nog but no eggs and is made with rice, cinnamon and sometimes nuts and seeds. Rob's Whorechata had the smoothness of the rice and the spice of the cinnamon along with almond flour and lactose. At 4.8% I could have downed a couple of pints of this as a dessert, but I had more tasting to do. Then came the Centeno Grande, also by Rob, the Imperial Rye cousin of popular Pogue's Run Porter but with mucho Mexican pilocillo sugar, weighing in at 8% and oh so delicioso! Finally (hold your breath) El Tacquiria Bohemia Roja, with lime zest, cilantro, cumin, and chipotle peppers. Holy flavor, el guapo! Was this beer or lunch? I had to pry myself away!

Zwanzigz Brewing was over in a corner where I could get away from the crowd and hang out with owners Kurt and Lisa and brewmaster Mike Rybinski. Mike, a medal winning brewer before joining Zwanzigz, had lured me with a traditional Eisbock. Yep, Mike had used the traditional method of freezing a lager. Why? The freezing process forms ice crystals which lose 7-10% of their water creating a strong beer. This one had all of the character of a German beer with power! Mike also took their popular chocolate golden ale (again, a nearly clear ale -- not stout, not porter) and aged in in a bourbon barrel. Whoa! True chocolate flavor, ale qualities from the base beer, with vanilla and notes of oak. Of course, I had to have a sample (okay, two) of their now famous Fulcrum Imperial Stout on Ghost Pepper. We've written about this before as it deliver the wonderful roast of stout and slight, oh so slight, burn of the pepper.

Black Swan, Indianapolis, was calling. We'd already had the Pulla Chile Porter on a visit to the brewpub but just had to remind ourselves (wife and I) of the nice chile flavor with very little burn - more of a tingle at the back of the throat -- and 7.8% Then the blueberry Imperial Stout at nearly 10% but almost a Russian Imperial Stout with a subtle hint of blueberries -- nice!

SunKing , Indianapolis, was a quick stop and unfortunately I'd missed a couple I wish I had not but Brewmaster Dave Colt shared his Pink Taco sour ale aged in oak barrels with raspberries and hibiscus and Brett. Wonderful, flavorful sour.

Evil Czech of Culver and now Mishawaka, IN, had all of their regular great beers we've written about but I can always enjoy the Dracula's Bite, smoked habanero black IPA. Warrior hop flavor and bittering with malt balance and pepper bite!

Bloomington Brewing is in my back yard and still I decided to get tastes of Ol Floyd's Belgian Dark Strong at 8.7% (big, bold, and flavorful), Bourbon Barrel aged Roggenbier that was a very balanced black rye collaboration with Black Acre (I love this beer) and BBL replicale!

Upland helped me get the Raspberry Sour for which I took a slightly larger than 'taste' pour to savor one of the better known lambics in the U.S.

I got to Black Acre, Indianapolis, and their nifty flight suits after the Earl Grey Belgian Wit was gone but found the Vertical Sun wit very delicious with a nicely spiced version and their Phantom Cat, Foreign Extra Stout at 7.4% with lots of roast quality.

Daredevil Brewing of Shelbyville, IN, offered several including one of my wife's go-to beers, Muse Belgian Golden Ale, and the J.W.P. Stout that is so much like pudding as a deep rich beer I could almost lovingly chew it.

And then the out-of-state breweries:

Arcadia Ales of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo is one I did not know. Operating a 25 bbl system they have been cranking out beer for 17 years. They are now being distributed again in Central Indiana. One uniqueness is their use of one yeast strain (Ringwood ale yeast). Their nut brown ale had a biscuit quality from Maris Otter malt along with five other varieties with a wonderful robust flavor. I doubled back for the tapping of their barrel aged Loch Down Scottish Ale which provided a nuttiness, caramel notes and wonderful vanilla from the oak.

Bell's of Kalamazoo, MI, was pouring Cherry Stout which I found had a robust malty chocolate with nice tart cherries; the only keg around of this year's Harvest Ale all of locally grown hops and Michigan barley which was smooth and silky at 5.7%; Wheat Love wheat wine, think barley wine but smooth, sweet and a bit funky (in a very, very good way); as well as Smitten rye pale ale.

Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) of Louisville can be a confusing quilt of brewing operations but the St Mathews and Downtown brew pub breweries were represented with a nice bourbon barrel porter that was nice light and spicy with vanilla, not to be confused with their almost-always-on-tap BBL Stout. I'll give a shout to Brewer Matthew Fletcher who was so nice to spend some time talking about what he's doing in the small brew space.

Against the Grain, Louisville, is one of my go-to places and my man the Hoosier turned Kentucky brewer Sam Cruz shared his Bourbon Barrel Rye with delicious rye spiciness and vanilla from the BBL with a heat at the end 'cause this sucker is 11%! He also had some 70K BBL stout which is a double recipe providing doubled up chocolate, roast, and some great vanilla notes coming in at 13%!

Urban Chestnut was represented this year and I've always enjoyed their Zwickel Bavarian Stout at their brew pub in St Louis and was able to have their Erlkönig (named after a famed German poem) Pale Wheat Doppelbock -- a surprise of flavor. Thanks to them I also got Wolpertinger, a barrel aged chestnut brown beer with Bavarian Weissbier yeast and huge bourbon taste. If you don't know, Head Brewer Florian is German and left a huge brewing conglomerate of St. Louis (you can probably guess it so I don't have to make you ...weiser) to join with a a partner and open their own operation. They recently expanded to an even larger space while keeping the original brew pub.

There were clearly more I would have loved to sample and visit with but, alas, time ran out and I was left talking with Jim Matt, former QA head at Sunking and now Head Brewer at Rhinegeist, Cincinnati, OH, but could not sample the beer. Oh well, road trip!

jake_small From Jake…..

Like most of you, my Winterfest started in the cold cold rain outside waiting in line. As 5 hours passed in a glimpse I managed to taste quite a few new brews. Lets get straight to the breweries!

I got to try Moon Walk DIPA by 18th St. Brewery from Gary, IN. Moon Walk comes in at 8.5% ABV and has a strong hop flavor that helps balance the high alcohol. In the next booth was Arcadia Ales from Battle Creek, MI who have previously been distributed in Indiana, however that was before my time being of legal drinking age. Zinc Distributing’s new craft beer manager Eric Fear signed a distribution contract with Arcadia on Friday. Start looking for their Sky High Rye a rye pale ale with west coast hops and an english malt backbone, and the Nut Brown Ale a Northern English Brown with a complex malt bill and balanced by a fresh hop flavor and aroma.

Next up was Big Dawg Brewhaus out of Richmond, IN. I was only able to try the Down Town Chipotle Brown Porter, but it was pretty tasty. I personally am a big fan of pepper beers, and ciders, this chipotle brown porter might have been a bit short in terms of heat but the smoke flavors and aromas offered by the chipotle paired with the light roast of the porter quite well. Over at flight school, Black Acre, I was able to try a Mango Saison which had a nice level of sweetness to balance some of the moderately strong saison flavors and aromas that otherwise would have overwhelmed the beer. I also like the Chai Guy, Chai Tea Milk Stout, a moderately spiced milk stout that is a little bit thin for the style.

Recently I have been making and enjoying quite a few ciders. I was not able to stop by New Day Craft Mead & Cider, but I am hoping to go to the tasting room in Fountain Square sometime soon though. I was able to try Virtue Ciders from Fennville, MI. Virtue was founded by Gregory Hall who was a Brewmaster at Goose Island for 10 years. The Red Streak was a classic English cider style that is slightly tart with a bright crisp apple character. The Mitten was a superb bourbon barrel aged cider. The BJCP have recently confirmed a separate cider exam for judges will be offered starting at the conference in June. Look for Virtue the next time you are out, they are making some really classical and flavorful ciders.

While the bigger venue was great in terms of spacing, that also meant that there were too many breweries to get to them all. The Hoosier Beer Geek guys and all the volunteers did a superb job and even my wait in the rain was pretty short. I’m looking forward to Lafayette Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer next weekend, and Cincinnati's Beer Fest the weekend after.

cooksmall From Jason C…..

I’m sure that heading into Super Bowl XLVIII, the Denver Broncos had a smart, concise, well-thought-out game plan for how they would defeat the Seattle Seahawks. Twelve seconds into the game, an errant snap resulted in a safety and two points for Seattle. The hours of study and preparation suddenly seemed to have taken an NFL sized blow to the head, resulting in a dazed and concussed Denver team that never recovered.

Much like the Denver Broncos, I had done some preparation for my big game, this year’s Winterfest. I’d looked over the impressive list of breweries that would be attending and made a list of must-visits. Armed with my pencil and composition notebook, I was prepared to jot down beers and breweries that left the strongest impression on me throughout the day. Additionally, I had decided to really hit the social media aspect hard with tweets highlighting both the festival and the breweries. Then, also much like the Broncos, I took my sudden and unexpected hit that knocked me off my strategy. I made a rookie mistake that cost me the game, I sampled too hard, too fast and wasn't able to recover.

So here are a few of my somewhat slightly blurred insights and fuzzy recollections from Winterfest 2014. First off, I’ll sing the praises of the new location. The Champion’s Pavilion was able to house the growing number of breweries, the Malt Shoppe, the Replicales, the Casks & Firkins, and hundreds of additional festival-goers in the warm, dry comfort of indoor accommodations. A claim that could not be made had the festival continued to be held in the Ag/Hort Building. A+ in deciding to move to expanded digs while keeping the event indoors!

And now for the most important details, the beers and breweries….umm, yeah. My notes amount to three, count ‘em, three beers before I just let myself go and completely abandoned any semblance of organized thought. I can say that I was excited to see Iechyd Da’s table directly in front of me as I finished checking my coat. Starting off the festival with an eagerly anticipated taste of their Breakfast Cookies Stout was a great way to kick-off the day. Hit up Three Floyds, gave the sour wheel a spin at Upland (password when I got there was Leslie Knope) then over to ZwanzigZ for a Ghost Pepper Imperial Stout, which I highly recommend.

Stopped by Country Boy for a Chestnut Brown Ale, an interest of mine since I also brew a brown ale w/ American chestnuts. Made my way to Figure Eight, Dark Horse, and Backroads and then, then came Bare Hands. This is where my game-plan went straight to hell and I threw my two interceptions. I've sung the praises of this brewery a few times over the past year and I’m sure I’ll do it again in the not-so-distant future. I managed to sample 8 of their 10 offerings in a relatively short period of time. As much as I knew I should diversify my sampling, I just couldn't drag myself away. Game over, turn out the lights, thanks for playing! I was effectively running out the clock for the remainder of the event.

There are a number of stops that I made throughout the rest of the day, Carson’s, Flat 12, People’s, back to Iechyd Da, I even managed to finally sneak out a tweet about Quaff ON! Brewing late in the day. I managed to make my way to the Replicales and some cask ales and sample a few of each. However, aside from overall impressions of really enjoying my selections, I must sheepishly admit that when it comes down to critiquing any of these beers, I dropped the ball! This loss is on me.

FINAL SCORE:  2014 Winterfest Breweries – 43, Jason – 8

Jason C.

kevinsmall From Kevin…..

The Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, has been around for over 500 years. This law pertains to beer in that it specified water, malt, and hops were to be the only permissible ingredients for brewing. Obviously, yeast was added to this list after the scientific advancements forged by Louis Pasteur. However, lacking sufficient amendments, this archaic law largely remains irrelevant these days. Recent trends within the American craft beer scene have facilitated the use of heavy adjuncts that most certainly underwrite our modern culture’s more refined palates. Therefore, I’m going to highlight some of the deviants from this year’s Winterfest while hoping you picked up on some of the sarcasm.

18th Street Brewery - Gary

Hunter: This phenomenal Double Milk Stout boasts an ideal balance between chocolate and roast with some softer vanilla and caramel notes.

Bare Hands Brewery – Granger

Thai PA: Super complex IPA that’s only strength isn’t blowing your palate away with bitterness. Great hop aroma and flavor combined with lemongrass

Black Thai: Similar to Thai PA, but black with a little more malt character that supports the extra heat.

Imperial Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout: Incredible dessert beer. Tastes just like it smells – delicious!

Broad Ripple Brew Pub – Broad Ripple

Gum Ball Lager: Tastes like bubble gum; lasts longer than 5 seconds.

Evil Czech Brewery – Mishawaka

Dracula’s Bite: A smoked habanero black IPA that showcases how hops can intensify the heat. Take note for your future culinary creations

Flat 12 - Indianapolis with respect to El Jabali, The Gimp, and The Gentle Pervert

Flan Porter: Flan infused porter that’s lot more appetizing than staring at a cold mushy spongecake

Molon Lave: The Lacto-Matic Milk Stout with coffee added makes this already delicious beer more complex. Throw in some Habaneros and you end up with a great malt backbone to cool the flames

Whorechata: Studying in Spain allowed me to come to appreciate horchata, but after a failed attempt of convincing a friend who was visiting Cigar City to fill up a growler with pints of their “Horchata Ale” in the bathroom (pints only?! ugghh) I resolved that I’d never have the opportunity to try such a beer. Flat 12’s example was one of my favorite beers from Winterfest and I’m really hoping to sit down with a full glass at the brewery.

Iechyd Da Brewing Company – Elkhart

Breakfast Cookies: A unique milk stout that was part of the general admissions “early entry”. However, I’m still not sure if anyone knows how to pronounce their name (it’s Yah-key-Dah).

New Day – Fountain Square

Imperial Breakfast Magpie: Coffee-infused black raspberry mead aged in bourbon barrels. If you missed this; you messed up. Redeem yourself by finding it in bottles or on draft!

Upland – Bloomington

Sours: Yes.

nathansmall From Nathan…..

This was the first Winterfest to be held in the Champions Pavilion of the State Fairgrounds after years in the Ag Hort building. There was reportedly some consideration given to various alternatives, including moving the event outdoors. At the risk of sounding soft, I was pretty grateful this did not come to fruition given the cold rain we experienced on Saturday. When we first entered Champions Pavilion during Early Bird hour, the amount of space available in the new building looked very impressive. But with more tickets sold than ever before, I should know better than to jump to the conclusion that crowds would be inconsequential. Specifically, the center aisle became very difficult to navigate at times during General Admission. But such is life as the popularity of these festivals continues to grow, and Indiana continues to excel in the ratio of patrons to breweries. You could almost always find a line that wasn’t too long, which isn’t the case at some of the larger festivals I’ve attended out of state.

It probably isn’t pointed out enough, so I’d like to give some appreciation to the volunteers who bust their asses at this event so the rest of us can have a great day. In particular, the guys at the firkin booth were really working hard and doing an amazing job of quickly getting beer for waiting patrons. Their work kept the lines from ever getting too long in this area, and left drinkers in the enviable position where deciding which beer you wanted often took longer than getting service. Also of note was the volunteer working the portable toilet area. Moving quickly down the aisle to find open stalls for the next people in line, he kept the line moving far more efficiently than a veteran festival attendee has come to expect. Thank you to all the volunteers and staff who worked to keep things running smoothly throughout the day.

Now on to the beer……where Bare Hands Brewery was the big winner in my book. I wrote last year that Bare Hands had the potential to become Indiana’s answer to Odd Side Ales of Michigan, where an emphasis on spicing and other flavor additions generate some pretty creative ales. While that was meant as a compliment, it almost seems like selling them short after working through their lineup this year. The excellent lineup included creative spiced beers like the Black Thai with Thai Bird chili peppers balanced with somewhat more conventional, but still aggressive options, like the Honey Badger Imperial IPA with honey. My ultimate favorite was the Imperial Porter: big, rich malt character with a huge kick of hop flavor coming through in the finish. If you have not visited their brewpub in Granger (near South Bend), start making plans to pay them a visit now!

Additional beer notes from the day:

  • Upland isn’t usually the first brewery that comes to mind for IPAs, but I was very impressed with the Coast Buster Imperial IPA. You can find this seasonal brew at all Upland locations starting this Friday.
  • Tried a couple beers from Quaff On! Brewing and they may be really starting to hit their stride since hiring former Oaken Barrel head brewer Mark Havens.
  • While I’m a big advocate for avoiding long lines at these events, it was still nice to see a few longer lines at Zwanzigz when passing by that area. It means word is clearly getting around about a brewery that has really impressed us in recent years.
  • Tried several beers from 18th Street Brewery in Gary that were pretty solid. Given how new this brewery is to the scene, they look like one to watch for great things in the future.
  • This was my first opportunity to sample beer from Country Boy in Lexington, KY and the Chestnut Brown was outstanding. Despite my best intentions, I never made it back for another of their samples, but did hear several other people singing their praises. We always encourage road trips that involve brewery visits, and this might be a good reason to make your way down to Lexington.
Pick of the Day: Bare Hands Imperial Porter
Honorable Mentions
Bare Hands Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout
Country Boy Chestnut Brown (fermented with Kentucky Chestnuts)
Oaken Barrel Java Stout
Quaff On Busted Knuckle Ale
Upland Coast Buster Imperial IPA
Poppi’s Pick of the Day (tie): Bare Hands Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout and Thr3e Wisemen Coffee Porter

Winterfest Pictures - 2014

I’ll let the rest of the crew talk about the beer and what you could taste. Here, at random, is what you could see. Click for bigger.


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See ya next year.