Dig In 2014

It seems appropriate that after a long period of time of not writing that I come back to write about an event that I first wrote about 4 years ago when I joined the crew with IndianaBeer.com.

Dig IN Indiana is not just beer though. It is all things Indiana. Beer, Wine, Food from local farms, prepared into small portioned meals by Indiana chefs and finally treats from Indiana Artisans. Put on by Indiana folks and entertainment by local entertainment. Seriously the biggest Taste of Indiana anyone could have.  I've grateful to volunteer with this festival for the past four years.

But this is about the beer!

I was already anticipating all the beer I'd get to sample after my volunteer shift.  Especially since my duties for the day was directing all the vendors to their parking and as each brewer came through and we said hello or had a quick catch up chat, my excitement grew.

As the breweries grow in Indiana, the options for beer in Dig IN have grown along with the demand. It was nice to see seasoned vets like Flat 12, Sun King and Brugge there along with some of the new guys like Scarlet Lane and Tin Man Brewing.

My first stop was to Tent C and I visited TaxMan with their saison, Bloomington Brewing Company's hoppy wheat, Thr3e Wiseman and their blonde, but my favorite from Tent C was Indiana City's Yacht Rock. I've had this belgian wheat ale many times but either it was the hot day or the work of Ray and the rest of his crew at Indiana City Beer getting better as time goes by, but it was a nice and smooth beer.

After filling up again on my food ( which was all delicious and I had to use two hands to count how many different kinds of meat was used )  I headed over to Tent B.This time to get my hands on Pooka, which was poured at the Brugge table.  It is no secret that Brugge's sours (Harvey and Pooka) are two of my all time favorite beers.  It once again did not disappoint during Dig In.

I popped over the next table over to say hello to Rob at Flat 12 and was surprised to see that Flat 12 was offering their Flat Jack.  I also love pumpkin ale and I've been seeing a lot of it popping up in liquor stores. I  was surprised it was at Dig In but still delighted to give it a try once more.  It must be me, cause when I posed a question on Facebook about seeing pumpkin ales early, it seemed to be the norm to have it on the shelf in July.

Lastly Tent A was my last stop. (obviously my beer palate wanted to work backwards when it came to tasting). There I ran into good friends from Bier and has some Weizengoot. Tried the ale that Figure 8 had to offer. I wish I could remember their ale but in the midst of tasting I heard someone in the table over ask for TinMan Brewing Co's Apricot Sour and I honestly downed the sample I had in my hand and popped over to TinMan's table.

I'm not a huge fan of apricots but this sour was the exception to my dislike of apricots. It was perfectly balanced, slightly creamy but with an appropriate zing that I love at the end of my sours. It almost made me question my love of Pooka that day.  I have had TinMan Brewing Co's beer before and wasn't really sold, but they have me wanting to come back and give them another shot after that apricot sour.

I didn't get to all the beer at Dig IN unfortunately. (I had a small food challenge of finishing the food passport and after that I had no room for beer) but what I did have was definitely delicious. I also learned a valuable lesson, don't dismiss the newbie breweries, like TinMan. Cause they make sneak up on you with a great out of the box beer.

Thank you Dig In for another year. Now that I'm getting back into the swing of things, it is time to start planning some brewery trips and tracking down some of those new breweries I've let slip through my fingers and give them a try!



Mad Anthony Brewing Company 16th Annual Oktobeerfest - Fort Wayne

Saturday, September 13 - 2p.m.

Yes, it is that time of the year again for Mad Anthony Brewing Company's annual Oktobeerfest at Headwaters Park West in Downtown Fort Wayne.  The festival begins at 2p.m. and here is information that I received about the festival:

Mad Anthony Brewing Company

Join Us for the 16th Annual Oktobeerfest
Fort Wayne, IN, September 13th

It’s time to say “OK… to Oktobeerfest” and make plans now to join over 35 Indiana breweries for the 16th Annual Mad Anthony Brewing Oktobeerfest occurring September 13th at Headwaters Park West.

MABC Oktobeerfest is dedicated to promoting and celebrating locally crafted products: from beer and cider to food and entertainment.  At Mad Anthony Brewing Company, we believe that there are a lot of great things going on in our own backyard and want to use this festival as an opportunity to showcase them.

New to this year’s festival is the Mad Brewers Challenge, hosted in conjunction with Fort Wayne’s very own Brewer’s Art Supply. This Challenge allows one homebrewer the chance of having their beer recipe commercially brewed and served within all MABC brewpubs. The top ten entries will be served at the festival and voted upon by attendees. Join MABC in making a homebrewers dream come true. Full contest details are available online at madbrew.com.

Another new addition to this year’s festival is the Oktobeerfest Food Truck Alley, established to showcase Fort Wayne’s growing food truck culture. This year’s alley will feature local favorites: Bravas, Big John’s Ragin’ Cajun and Affine.

Make plans to attend Oktobeerfest and enjoy all the flavors our amazing state has to offer.

Tickets for Mad Anthony Brewing Company’s 16th Annual Oktobeerfest are available online at brownpapertickets.com.

Looking for some great craft beer fun before the festival? Check out these other great Oktoberfest festivities:  

 • September 10th: Craft Beer Dinner at Old Crown Coffee Roasters  
 • September 12th: Oktobeerfest Golf Outing at Bridgewater West Golf Course, Auburn
 • September 13th: Gears & Beers Pub Pedal starting at a TBD location in Fort Wayne

For more information on Oktobeerfest and all its events visit www.madbrew.com or facebook.com/MadAnthonyBrewing.

Also, here is the link for a list of the breweries whose beers will be available for your sampling pleasure:      


Come out for a great time and some tasty brews!


130 TAPS of Indiana Craft Beer -- in Broad Ripple this weekend! Rotating Taps means more beers to come!

This is the first time 130 taps of Indiana Craft Beer have been in ONE bar at ONE time. That happens this weekend at the new HopCat at 62nd and College starting with the opening on Saturday (8/16) starting at 11:00 AM. This is also the first time THIRTY taps of Sun King beer AND THIRTY taps of Upland beer will be in one place. Expect some rare beers like barrel aged versions. Many of these kegs are 1/6 barrels so may not last too long! Over the next few days expect the HopCat lineup to change as kegs are blown so that by next week we expect some Belgian beers like LaChouffe and Saison Dupont to be on tap.

Hoosier craft beer lovers won't be let down by the continual offerings of Indiana Beer. For now, Corporate Beer Manager Trevor Mapes and Indiana Beer Director Andrew Skirvin tell us the HopCat Standard 30 will consist of the following: Cutters Lost River Blonde, Mad Anthony Auburn Lager, Mad Anthony Raspberry Wheat, Fountain Square Workingman's Pilsner, Sun King Sunlight, Sun King Osiris, Bier Brewery Weizengoot, Evil Czech Gypsy Chamomile Wheat, Upland Wheat, Oaken Barrel Alabaster Wheat, Thr3e Wide Men Two Lucy's Blackberry wheat, Bier PDG pale, Fountain Square Hop for Teacher APA, Daredevil Lift Off IPA, Flat12 Half Cycle IPA, Oaken Barrel Superfly IPA (yep, the only place other than Greenwood you can find this), Quaff On Hare Trigger IPA, Triton Rail Splitter IPA, Upland Helios APA, Triton Sin-Bin Belgian pale, Taxman The Standard Abbey Blonde, New Albanian Black & Bluegrass Belgian spiced ale, Sun King Wee Mac, Upland Bad Elmer's porter, Powerhouse Diesel Oil stout, Flat12 Pogue's Run porter, Thr3e Wise Men Hubbard & Cravens Coffee stout, Bloomington Brewing Ruby Bloom amber, People's Mr. Brown Ale, and Carson's Brown Cow. (if you count more or less than 30, that represents my bad eyes and typing .... that is a LOT of beer!) According to Mapes and Skirvin we can expect some Michigan beer to rotate on given the HopCat stores in Michigan.

Patrons on Saturday will be rewarded with FREE Crack Fries which are a crazy spiced french fry served with fabulous cheese sauce. The first 200 through the door on Saturday will get a one-year (1 order, once per week, 52 weeks) prize. Expect some lines. However, local managers don't know what to expect since this is the small chains first venture outside of Michigan.

Founder and owner Mark Sellers tells us Branding will be an important issue for HopCat since Indy folks have not heard of the brand. We suspect it won't take long for Indy to catch on that so many beers are in such a beautiful, up-scale looking restaurant. Sellers is a cool, laid-back guy who greets customers and cheers on staff with a smile while wearing a T-shirt. Sellers told us he returned to Grand Rapids from Chicago and wanted to open a bar. He says he is the vision, but he lets others manage the operation. His vision gives us a music-themed restaurant that is large, has beautiful mahogany tables, a large two-sided bar near College Avenue and another nice bar at the back of the restaurant. There is ample family seating (yep, kids are welcome) and there is outside seating. The convenient location at the base of the new Broad Ripple parking garage means patrons have convenience and security without having to deal with 62nd Street traffic.

What food we were able to try was terrific. The prices are reasonable. And though just getting set up the beer temperature in our preview was good and servers were hustling to make things right. Lovers of beer on nitro take note, they will eventually settle in to several (maybe 5) served this way, but their set up would allow them to do a special tapping with THIRTY beers on nitro!

Meanwhile practically down the street from Broad Ripple the Indiana State Fair is going strong into its last weekend! Beer at the Fair seems well received. Last Tuesday they offered $2 Indiana pints and it was standing room only. Every person we talked with said they LOVED being able to try Indiana beer (and wine) at the Fair. Many attendees said indeed they tried a beer they never had before! This was a great thing for TwoDeep Brewing of 714 N. Capitol in Indy as they had only been open a couple of weeks when they have the chance to sample beer in the Grand Hall. Owner Scott Meyer (left) tells us several folks have stopped by the brewery after trying the beer at the Indiana State Fair.

Craft Beer & Art: Bringing It All Back Home

  I don’t know if any of you may have noticed this but I’ll let you in on a little secret…craft beer is starting to
get sort of popular. There, I said it. I know, blind-sided you didn’t I? I can give you a minute if you need to recover from this startling revelation. It’s true though, it would seem that more and more people are slowly catching on to this craft beer thing.

  As the world of craft beer continues to evolve, so do the festivals that help to promote and celebrate the craft of brewing. The greater Lafayette community alone boasts a number of events that take place throughout the year.
  •         Lafayette Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer features Indiana breweries showcasing some of their heavy hydrometer offerings
  •         The Friendsof Downtown will be hosting the 3rd annual Beers Across the Wabash festival in less than two weeks (click here for event info & tickets)
  •         People’sBrewing hosts their annual Fall Bash, featuring People’s beer, BBQ, a beer schwag raffle, and plenty of local music
  •         Finally, this spring the Tippecanoe Arts Federation hosted their 3rd successful TAP at TAF event, highlighting the artisanship of craft beer

Expanding on this theme is the latest festival that took place just 30 miles north of Lafayette in the city of Monticello.

The Origin

  We all hail from somewhere. Sean Manahan, brewer at Flat 12 Bierwerks, hails from Monticello, Indiana. Well after the realization that his boyhood dream of being a shark and shortly after deciding that his pre-law path wasn’t his destiny, Sean “quickly became obsessed” with all things craft beer.  “I worked at a liquor store and would spend most of my days at work reading up on beer,” states Sean. “I felt I knew enough to at least be a beertender at some brewery and as luck would have it, People's opened up in my back yard.”

  Thanks to Chris Johnson, Sean started his career at People’s Brewing as a part-time bar back. His role would expand, taking on such tasks as delivery truck driver, draft tech, assistant brewer, and ultimately leading to the head brewer position in 2012. Sean emphasized, “I appreciate everything the People's crew taught me but I knew I wanted to be part of the Indy beer scene.”  At the end of 2013, Sean made the move to his current position at Flat 12.

  Still maintaining strong ties to his home town, Sean began working with staff members of the Monticello
Public Library to organize the Monticello Arts & Biergarten as an addition to the library’s annual art show. Having ties to Monticello as well, I looked forward to making the short trip up to White County to take in this new event. Having spoken with Sean for awhile, he agreed to an email interview to discuss the makings of event. Our correspondence follows.

  What was your inspiration for the Monticello Arts & Biergarten event? What was your overall vision and goal?

  The idea for beer started as an opportunity to give back to Monticello. The idea of providing beer for patrons of the 7th annual Broadway Art Show began in a passing conversation. The donors gala on Friday night offers wine from Whyte Horse Winery in Monticello. The original thought was to provide local Indiana beers in a small biergarten on Saturday.  When the idea made it to me, I knew there was theme enough in the art show to build a small event out of the biergarten.
  The connection between art and beer is obvious.  A painter starts with a blank canvas and creates with various paints.  A brewer starts with a blank canvas of water and with 'hues' of barley, hops, and yeast creates liquid art.  Not only is there art in the bottle but there is also amazing art on those bottles, each piece as unique as the beer inside. So, we decided to serve from packed beer so the label art could be displayed in art show fashion. We also invited the artists of the breweries represented so they could discuss their work and how it represented the beers.

Overall, how successful do you think you were in achieving this goal? Discuss the importance of bringing an event like this to the Monticello community.

  Overall I was very happy with the event, my first go around with event planning. The crowd was fun and engaging and everybody was all smiles. The library has already told me they look forward to building off our experiences of this event for a 2015 event.
  It was a good event for Monticello, a chance to expose the small town to something different. It's definitely a box beer town but slowly I'm seeing craft beer filter in. Without events like this, beer drinkers just aren't exposed to good beer. Most bars have three taps that pour B/M/C (Bud, Miller, Coors), but now places like The Scoreboard have close to 20 different local and regional beers available. It's slow and it's tough but I'm trying to spread the love to my hometown and it's finally taken root.

Finally, you had mentioned taking the Art & Biergarten concept and doing a similar event(s) elsewhere. Could you discuss that a bit.

  I feel the theme of art and ales is sound.  The artists at the event all seemed to enjoy themselves and, in discussions after the event, all voiced they would do it again.  While a Monticello event is more suited to a handful of breweries, I think a similar event held in Indy would support a much larger number of participating breweries with their artists there to show off their work.

The Artists

  In keeping with the spirit of the event, I spoke with the three artists who were able to attend and represent both their art and their respective breweries. As a small way of showing appreciation for contributing their time and talents to the event, I wanted to try to give them a little bit of the spotlight as well. Due to my terrible note taking skills at these festivals, I fired off a few questions in an email that they were all gracious enough to respond to. Please take a few minutes to get to know these artists and their work.

Shane Brown – Sun King Brewing (Indianapolis, IN)

How long you've been partnered with your brewery?
  Since the beginning.  (Owner) Clay Robinson came to me and said he was starting a brewery and he needed a logo months before the opening of Sun King.  

What art work that you do for your brewery?
  I cover a lot of areas of art for the brewery: logo designs, shirt designs, can designs, sprinter truck designs, growlers, biz cards. Pretty much everything you visually see from the brewery I have something to do with.

What inspired the concept or theme of your work for your brewery?
  Clay wanted to do a Mayan theme so I came up with what I call the Sun King Crest. I wanted to give us a look that no other brewery had out there!  I wanted it to look almost like an energy drink and bring a real new age look and concept.  Then I just branded it with a color scheme, black, white, and orange, and then kept using the same elements in all of the art you see now.

Any other art that you do aside from your work with your brewery?
  I love doing chalkboards and logo design. Chalk is my favorite though.  I work with about 15 other businesses on their chalkboards.  I have really gotten a name out for myself for them.

Any links to a site or sites that feature your work?
  I need to set up a site but you can go on my Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/shanebrownart?fref=ts

Joey Potts – 18th Street Brewery (Gary, IN)

How long you've been partnered with your brewery?
  Almost two years now.

What art work that you do for your brewery?
  I handle all artwork that comes directly from the brewery. That includes label art, merchandise, event fliers, photos (unless otherwise noted), etc. As far as labels, the only time the label art is not mine might be when we do a collaboration beer such as the ‘Grapefruit Dead’ collaboration we did with Mikkeller and ‘Devil's Lettuce’ we did with Pipeworks.  

What inspired the concept or theme of your work for your brewery?
  It's different every time. Sometimes it is strictly based on the name of the beer, sometimes its based off of conversations with Drew (owner/head brewer) and Rich (brewer). Our 'concept' is to make fantastic beers with fantastic label art. We don't feel like every one of our beer's should look the same with a change in type or color being the only distinguishing factor. Each beer is unique, its character and the labels help reflect that personality. 

Any other art that you do aside from your work with your brewery?
  Aside from art for the brewery I love to paint.  I'm always active in the arts and I do a lot of group and solo gallery shows, although not as much since I started working with 18th Street!

Any links to a site or sites that feature your work?  Joeypotts.com 

Anthony Beard – New Albanian Brewing (New Albany, IN)

How long you've been partnered with your brewery?
  I've been with the brewery almost 10 years now.

What art work that you do for your brewery?
  I do all of the bottle labels, festival banners, tap handles, signage for the brewery, t-shirt designs, and marketing materials.

What inspired the concept or theme of your work for your brewery?
  I was raised on comics and cartoons, so much of my style for the brewery labels stems from that, I view a lot of the characters in a weird kind of hodge-podge mythology of their own.

Any other art that you do aside from your work with your brewery?
  I don't have a lot of time to do my own stuff, so it's mostly all for the New Albanian.

Any links to a site or sites that feature your work?

  As far a websites, most of my stuff is up on newalbanian.com

The Festival

  If you've made it this far then you should have a pretty decent idea of what this event is all about. While I cannot boast being particularly knowledgeable of art in any form, I admit that I find myself enjoying events such as this considerably more than the much larger festivals. Events like this offer a much more personal experience with the participants and other patrons. The pace is far less frantic and there is no urgency to scramble from booth to booth in an attempt to hit as many breweries as possible.

  A huge thank you goes out to 18th Street Brewing, Flat 12, New Albanian, People’s, Sun King, and Triton for your support of this event. I’ve had a number of beers from some of these breweries yet I still managed to try several new beers. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was happy to see that Sun King was pouring some Grapefruit Jungle which, I must admit, I frequented several times. Also, 18th Street brought along a very limited amount of their Grapefruit Dead, a collaboration brew with Mikkeller!

  Overall, the 1st Annual Monticello Arts & Biergarten was a nice experience for those new to the craft beer scene, more experienced festival goers and everyone in between. Personally, I had the opportunity help steer a friend toward some new beer discoveries, had some great conversations with the artists, brewery representatives, friends & other revelers, enjoyed some great craft beer, and had some good eats at The Scoreboard after-party. Great job Sean and I look forward to next year’s event!

Cheers! - Jason C.