We haven't talked much here at HBG about the big corporate brewpubs. I don't think this is so because we have any bias against these establishments. Just because they're chain breweries doesn't diminish the quality of their offerings. In fact, in my experience, they brew some excellent beer.
The granddaddy of chain brewpubs in Indy, the downtown Rock Bottom, is a place that I used to visit on a fairly frequent basis. I am a longtime fan of the Brickway Brown and seasonal beers such as the Fire Chief Ale and the barleywine (whose name escapes me at the moment). I was also a member of the original Mug Club, in which members had their own personalized mugs. Mine was a nice blue ceramic stein, which is now safely tucked away in my kitchen cabinet thanks to Rock Bottom, which let us keep our mugs when they stopped using them. Original Mug Clubbers were also invited to tapping parties for the release of seasonal beers. At these tapping parties, Mug Clubbers were free to drink as much as free beer has they wanted for a solid hour. The restaurant also rolled out a nice buffet of American pub staples such as buffalo wings, soft pretzels, and nachos.
I am still a member of the Mug Club, even with the generic glass mugs that its members now must use and the abbreviated and less frequent seasonal tapping parties (they now last only a half-hour). I don't go to many tapping parties anymore but decided to attend the tapping of Rock Bottom's American Dream Ale last Wednesday at the invitation of a friend of mine. I was glad that I attended because the American Dream is one of the best seasonal beers that I've had from Rock Bottom. The American Dream is an American IPA that pours with an orange/amber color and a lacy white head. It has a wonderful hoppy aroma that is a blend of grapefruit and pine. The flavor follows suit with a huge grapefruity taste on the front of the tongue and a slight hint of caramel and toffee on the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel of this beer is very silky despite its benevolently bitter flavor. It is definitely a great beer for Rock Bottom to roll out in the summertime given its crispness and lively character. As one might expect for an IPA, the American Dream Ale has an ABV on the higher end of the scale, coming in at 6.8 or 6.9% (I can't remember which).
Get on down to Rock Bottom soon and give this beer a try. And if you're not a Mug Club member, sign up. As Bluto once said, "Don't cost nuthin'." As a member, you'll get invited to attend tapping parties for seasonal beers and will become eligible to win Rock Bottom schwag with each visit.