31 August 2007
Beer geeks everywhere are in mourning today upon hearing of the passing of the #1 Beer Geek in the World, Michael Jackson (no, not the pedophile), also known as The Beer Hunter, last night at his home in London.
Jackson wrote what is considered the Bible of Beer Geekdom, The World Guide To Beer, along with several other books on good beer, good scotch, and good whiskey.
So, let's raise a mug in remembrance and in honor of the Beer Geek's Beer Geek. Cheers, Michael!
30 August 2007
For the second year in a row, I get invited to participate in a fantasy football league. The problem--I barely pay attention to the NFL. Okay, I occasionally watch the Colts and am happy when they win. But my variety of football is the kind that is played with the round ball that the players kick around, not the pointy one that the players throw, catch, and run with.
Yet I played fantasy football last year and kind of liked it. So I am on my way to the league draft again to match wits with nine other team owners. I'm expected to come to the draft with beer since the other owners know I'm the beer geek. I have four leftover bottles of Barley Island stuff (Dirty Helen Brown Ale, Sheet Metal Blonde Ale), but I have two empty spots in the six-pack bottle carrier. So I stop at the nearest liquor store--21st Amendment on Illinois and 56th--to see if I can buy a few choice single bottles. Upon walking up to the cooler, I immediately spy the distinctive "B" from Brooklyn Brewery on a bottle with a yellow and blue label. Hmmm. I've never seen this one. Looks like a hefeweizen. I'm running late, so I quickly grab a bottle of this stuff without examining the label carefully and hit the road. After all, this is a Brooklyn Brewery beer, so I know it's probably going to be quality stuff.
I arrive at the draft site. I break out my draft list. Thank God for ESPN and USA Today's fantasy draft cheat sheets. Otherwise, my team would suck because I have no idea who three-quarters of these players are. Laveranues Coles? Frank Gore? J.P. Losman? Who the hell are these people?
Just before we get to Round One, I decide to check out the beer that I bought. I quickly pour and take a sip, fully expecting the banana and clove flavor that is typical for a hefeweizen. But I get immediately get smacked in the mouth with sweet, hoppy bliss. The banana and clove character is still there, but it's backed up by a powerful hop presence and a nice sugary flavor that sits well in the mouth. For a pale beer, this sucker is quite chewy. Oooooweee! Very nice.
I finally take the time to read the label. This ain't no hefeweizen, kids. This is a freakin' bock, and a wheat bock at that. Who's ever heard of a bock made with wheat? Well, not I. Perhaps someone else has. What's more, this stuff is 8.3% ABV. Oy. And normally, bocks are lagers, but the label says that this is an ale, which hefeweizens technically are. I'm so confused...
So what am I drinking? A Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse. Turns out that this beer is a collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery and G. Schneider & Sons, brewers of the lovely Schneider-Weisse hefeweizen. Here's what the label says:
Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse is a collaboration between brewmasters Hans-Peter Drexler of the Schneider Weissebier Brewery and Garrett Oliver of The Brooklyn Brewery. Garrett and Hans-Peter have long admired each other's beers. Now together they bring you a new sensation, a pale weissebock robustly dry-hopped with the Hallertauer Saphir variety grown in the fields near the Schneider Brewery. Hoppy, zesty and supremely refreshing, Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse is a delicious blend of Bavarian craftsmanship and American ingenuity.
Enjoying the hugely pleasant flavor, I finish the Hopfen-Weisse quickly. The ABV of this beer sneaks up on me quickly. I lose all of my senses and wake up the next morning with Rex Grossman as my starting QB.
An outstanding beer. This is on the to-buy list for tomorrow. I'm stocking up with several bottles.
29 August 2007
“Bier! Bier! Bier!” - a free beer tasting presented by Hoosier Beer Geek and World Class Beverages
September 7th, 2007, 6pm-9pm
at Big Car Gallery located in the Murphy Arts Center in Fountain Square
1043 Virginia Avenue, Suite 215 , Indianapolis , IN 46203
Members of the beer appreciation blog “Hoosier Beer Geek” will host a free beer tasting of Oktoberfest and Pumpkin ales distributed by World Class Beverages. The tasting is titled “Bier! Bier! Bier!” and will be held at Big Car Gallery in the Fountain Square neighborhood in Indianapolis from 6pm to 9pm. The event will coincide with the opening of “Who Knows, Micah?" featuring the art work of Anna Rae Landsman and Robyn Engel. The art opening is also a free event.
Oktoberfest beers are traditionally tapped in September at Oktoberfest, a 16 day festival held in Munich , Germany that concludes on the first Sunday of October. The event is also duplicated world wide from late August through late October. Oktoberfest beers are usually brewed in the Märzen style, making a dark copper-colored full bodied beer with a mild hop profile. Beers likely to be sampled on September 7th include some from Germany (Spaten, Paulaner, and Ayinger), as well as several from American craft breweries (Brooklyn, Harpoon, Flying Dog, and Bell 's).
Along with the Oktoberfest beers, some pumpkin ales will also be sampled. Pumpkin ales are usually produced in the fall, coinciding with the harvest, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. This beer type varies greatly from one brewery to another but typically is mild in bitterness and sometimes contains spices often found in pumpkin pie. American craft breweries Buffalo Bill's, New Holland, and Dogfish will likely be sampled.
For information, visit http://www.hoosierbeergeek.com or email email@example.com
We as a group first met Rita at the Indiana Microbrewer's Festival where she was really interested in talking to us. Not just for NUVO but also for a definitive Indiana beer book that she is writing.
I first met her a couple of years back when she was directing "Asylum", a production by the Beckman Theater. She's a wonderful lady with a fascinating background and very diverse interests.
Again, I'm glad that she and so many others made it out to our first anniversary party.
27 August 2007
1) Who are you and where do you work?
NICK FLOYD - PRESIDENTE OF THREE FLOYDS BREWING CO
2) What inspired you to start brewing beer? How did you get your start?
STARTED TO HOMEBREW AFTER READING ABOUT AT AGE 18-19 THEN WHEN I WAS 21 WENT TO BREWING SCHOOL AT SIEBEL INSTITUTE CHICAGO IL.FIRST BREWING JOB WAS MAKING FALSTAFF LAGER AND MALTA AT THE FLORIDA BREWERY IN AUBURNDALE ,FL
3) What's your brewing mission? What are you trying to accomplish with your beer?
MY MISSION IS TO TRY AND MAKE THE BEST BEER I CAN POSSIBLY MAKE WHILE STILL TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING DOING IT AT THE SAME TIME,THE MAKING THE LIVING PART IS THE HARDEST PART
4) Was there a beer that you benchmarked your own against? How did you know your beer was good enough to take to the general public?
AT THE TIME 3FLOYDS OPENED IN 1996 WE BENCHMARKED OUR BEER AGAINST LOCALS GOOSE ISLAND,BELLS AND WESTCOAST BREWERIES NORTHCOAST & SIERRA NEVADA. WHEN WE FIRST OPENED I WASN'T SURE HOW THE PUBLIC WOULD REACT,WE JUST DID IT BY SLIGHTLY FALLING ON OUR FACES AND THEN REPEATING THAT PROCESS OVER AND OVER.
5) What beer are you proudest of? Which of your beers is your personal favorite? Why?
WHICH BEER IS A BREWER PROUDEST OF? THAT'S LIKE ASKING A POLYGAMIST WHICH WIFE IS HIS FAVORITE? ALL THE BEERS WE CURRENTLY MAKE I THINK I'M PROUD OF TO DIFFERENT DEGREES
6) Which beers outside of your own do you enjoy? What beer do you wish you came up with? Why?
OUTSIDE OF MY OWN BEERS I ENJOY OTHER LOCAL BEERS THAT ARE FRESH AND CLEAN, FLOSSMOOR STATION IS CLOSE TO US AS WELL AS PIECE IN CHICAGO PLUS LAFAYETTE, BROADRIPPLE & BRASSERIE BRUGGE IN INDIANA. THE BEER I WISH I INVENTED IS PILSENER IN THE MID-19TH CENTURY WHEN EVERYONE ELSE WAS IN WONDERMENT ABOUT THE AMAZING GOLDEN BEER. WHY? SO I COULD PIMP IT OUT TO BE THE MOST BASTARDIZED STYLE OF BEER THE WORLD OVER, AND HAVE IT MADE FROM HARBING CHINA TO ST.LOUIS TO SIBERIA. ;)
Hoosier Beer Geek wishes to thank Nick for taking the time to answer our questions, and for his dedication to good beer.
Roundtable #24 - Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA - All six knights made it to Deano's Vino for our one year anniversary - we were all lucky to make it back out Deano's door alive. + Vomit.
Chris - 5 Mugs, Jason - 5 Mugs, Jim - 5 Mugs, Kelly - 5 Mugs, Mike - 5 Mugs, Gina - 5 Mugs. Our first ever perfect score. 5.00 Mugs average.
Roundtable #25 - The Good Beer Show - Chris, Gina, and Mike take a trip up to Muncie to visit the Good Beer Show folks at the Fickle Peach and the Heorot. Chris sits out the mug ratings, which probably explains why they're so low. + Vomit.
Two Brother's Hop Juice: Gina - 3 Mugs, Mike - Mugs. 3.00 Mugs average.
Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard: Gina - 3 Mugs, Mike - 3.04 Mugs. 3.02 average.
Three Floyd's Fantabulous Resplendence: Gina - 2.5 Mugs, Mike - 1.0 Mugs. 1.75 average. Sorry Floyds. I'm going to try to make it up to you.
Roundtable #26 - The Retro Beer Challenge - Jim, Kelly, Mike, and Gina visit the Melody Inn to begin a series of beer tastings to find the best of the worst. Scores are then weighted in a method unlike anything we've done before because this is a tournament. Surprisingly enough, this review was minus vomit.
Budweiser: Jim - 2 points, Kelly - 2 points, Gina - 3 points, Mike - 3 points. 10 points total.
Rolling Rock: Jim - 3 points, Kelly - 3 points, Gina - 2 points, Mike - 2 points. 10 points total.
Pabst Blue Ribbon: Jim - 1 point, Kelly - 1 point, Gina - 1 point, Mike - 1 point. 4 points total.
Budweiser and Rolling Rock advance in the tournament.
There! I've done it. A complete summary of our last three roundtables. It's a miracle. Hopefully we'll never be this disorganized again.
First off, just in case you're new to this blog - I don't want to scare anyone away. Reviewing beers like Budweiser is not what we normally do. This is a one off project.
As I explained in an earlier post, the Retro Beer Challenge is a tasting of the common beer heavy hitters. Over the course of the next couple months we'll be reviewing all the "regular" beer we can get our hands on, in a tournament bracket sort of format to find out which readily available beer is the real king of common beer.
And now, on to the beer.
I'm sure you're dying to know what beers A, B, and C are. Here we go:
Beer A: Mike - 3, Jim - 2, Gina - 3, Kelly - 2, Total: 10 points - Budweiser
Beer B: Mike - 2, Jim - 3, Gina - 2, Kelly - 3, Total: 10 points - Rolling Rock
Beer C: Mike - 1, Jim - 1, Gina - 1, Kelly - 1, Total: 4 points - Pabst Blue Ribbon
By the rules of the competition, Budweiser and Rolling Rock move on to the next round, and PBR gets tossed. I don't know if the results were a surprise to us; I guess we thought that PBR, being the hipster cheap beer of choice, might have a better showing.
This is only round one of the challenge, and we've got a lot of bad beer to go - Do you have any early favorites? What do you think of the current results? Any surprises for Hoosier Beer Geek readers?
26 August 2007
I have such a soft spot in my heart for the Melody Inn. I really do. Everything from the driftwood chandelier, to the excellent graffiti in the restrooms, to the floor that is perfect for roller skating, to the three-layers-deep bumper sticker collection on the cooler, to the ever-lovable Dave behind the counter, to their unwavering support of local music, gives me a fuzzy feeling inside (though I'd never admit it on Punk Rock Night!) If you've never been here, you should give it a try.
Round One of the Retro Beer Challenge found us pulling up a booth at the Mel long before most regulars settle in for the night -- it was a bit disconcerting to see sunlight streaming in through the front window, since this is definitely a watering hole for night owls.
With the help of our esteemed groupie Matt, we conducted the tasting in short order. Jim, Mike and Gina have already posted their findings, so I'll bring up the rear:
Beer A: basic "beer yellow" light golden color. More of a fruity, sweet nose than I was expecting; almost cotton-candy-like with a very carbonated, 'poppy' taste. A pleasantly surprising beer that I could see myself drinking when it was very hot outside (we were drinking these nearly ice cold). 2 mugs.
Beer B: No difference in color at all. Hardly any nose to speak of, and what was there was sort of a musky, grassy scent. A bit hoppier, it seemed to have a more balanced taste and a cleaner finish than the first one. 3 mugs.
Beer C: Same color. No nose at all, save for a faint smell of gym socks. The most watery of the three, almost sour. I think I made the Mr Yuk Poison Control face on this one. .75 mugs.
Beer B - 3 points
Beer A - 2 points
Beer C - 1 point
As Jim and Mike previously stated, we did this first round of the Retro Beer Challenge at the Melody Inn.
Beer A - This one smelled like bananas and had a banana peel aftertaste. 1.5 mugs.
Beer B - This one reminded me of a car mechanic's garage. The smell was part mildew, part motor oil. The taste was initially smoother than Beer A and I thought I would like it better, but I ended up drinking only half of my sample. 1.25 mugs.
Beer C - This one was icky. Plain and simple. 0 mugs.
I was surprised at just how varied the tastes and smells were of each beer, and this challenge was really quite interesting.
My final rankings:
Beer A - 3 points
Beer B - 2 points
Beer C - 1 point
Yeah, I know. It's gross and kind of embarrassing. There's no excuse for that at my age. Thankfully though, Mike was there to take care of me and he did an amazing job. Hopefully the car bears no memory of the event anymore either.
So, yeah. Onto the Warmup Beer Thing:
Upland -- Ard Ri
This is Upland's version of an Imperial Irish Red. It was indeed a beautiful brownish red color. But neither 'Imperial' nor 'Irish' came to mind when I was drinking it. I'd give it 2 Mugs if I had to rate it.
Onto the reviews:
Two Brothers -- Hop Juice -- 3 Mugs
Now I've had Hop Juice on tap and I remember it being very good. And while I was a little less impressed this time, I still liked it and I could see myself drinking it on a muggy summer evening. The taste was smooth and surprisingly not alcoholic even though it is a near 10% A.B.V.
Stone Brewing Co. -- Oaked Arrogant Bastard -- 3 Mugs
If you were expecting the usual (very powerful), you may be disappointed. The beer is a more oaky and mild than the Arrogant Bastard and tastes very smooth.
Three Floyds -- Fantabulous Resplendence -- 2.5 Mugs
This beer had initial punch, but the taste fizzled out. Three Floyd's beer to me overall (with the exception of the Dark Lord) is kind of like a big, dumb, slobbery dog. You still love it even if it never brings you what you really want. Instead of the newspaper you get a dead squirrel or instead of a balanced, full-flavored finish you get a shallow one. I know Three Floyd's is pretty high on many lists so maybe I'm missing something. Maybe someone can help?
We also brought Brasserie des Rocs Abbaye and the De ProefBrouwerij Lochristi Lozen Boer to the party and they were both Belgian-tastic, of course.
After that was a little fuzzy. We went to the Heorot and then towards home where things were, well...gross.
Anyways, we had a great time with the folks from Good Beer Show. Thanks for inviting us!
25 August 2007
Since Mike has already set the stage, I'll cut to the chase (gee, I'm full of clichés):
Beer A - Classic American lager color (i.e., yellow-gold). Sugary nose with slight floral notes. Upon first sip, I think, "Wow, this isn't so bad." Crisp, refreshing, slight hop presence. Definitely drinkable, though I'd be scared to find out what it tastes like when warmer. Nonetheless, I wouldn't turn away this beer if offered at a summer function, such as a barbecue. 2.25 mugs.
Beer B - Same color as Beer A (as was Beer C, so I'll dispense with the color thing right here to avoid repetition). Weird nose. Smells faintly like a sweaty sock. Not noisome, but definitely not as nice as the nose on Beer A. I expect a taste that follows suit, but I am surprised. The flavor ends up being fairly pleasant. Has the classic mega-brewed lager taste, but there's extra hop presence here. A little more bitter and certainly fruitier on the tongue than Beer A. Better than Beer A, but not considerably better. 2.75 mugs.
Beer C - Very little nose on this one. Faint, hard to tell what the flavor will be like. Then comes the first sip. Ew. Watery, no character. All I can think of is blandness. Reminds me of this awful crap called Rhinelander that some friends in college used to drink because it was $3.99 for a case of longnecks. For me, this is definitely the worst of the three. I'm feeling charitable, though, when it comes to a rating. 0.5 mugs.
My final rankings:
Beer B - 3 points
Beer A - 2 points
Beer C - 1 point
Stay tuned, as the names of the beers will be revealed after Kelly and Gina post their reviews.
Postscript - Afterward, Mike, Gina, and I head to Deano's for a few quality pints. Jason, who missed us at the Mel, meets up with us. DJ Brian Jones is ruling the turntables with his '80's New Wave shtick. I'm having pleasant flashbacks to my college DJ'ing days until Brian spins Cyndi Lauper's "All Through the Night." Apparently, someone else requested the song. Bartender Nick reads Brian the riot act and says some rude things about the requesters. I groan but have to admit that Lauper's ballad "Time After Time" is definitely palatable (someone else agrees--I think it's Jason). Eventually, I head out the door with the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" filling my ears. The song serves as a good antidote to the dreck that is the earlier Lauper tune.
Upon arriving home, I catch some of the MLS Super Clasico. I get to see Beckham reaggravate his ankle injury, get kicked in the chest by MLS super-hack Jesse Marsch, and spend the rest of the match limping around because his idiot coach won't take him out. I mean, he only just flew back from Old Blighty after playing 93 minutes for England the day before. Beckham plays the whole game, but the Galaxy pathetically lose 3-0 and are all but done in the MLS Playoff race. Boy, do the Galaxy suck. I don't think Beckham regrets coming to MLS, but I think he probably wishes he could play for another team. Club GM Alexi Lalas, who put together the current bunch of Galaxy footballers, looks to be on his way out the door in the very near future.
And I learned one more thing--it's not wise to eat vegetarian buffalo-wing style soy nuggets at 11:45 p.m., especially after drinking several beers.
So this is my summary of what should be several different posts.
1. Muncie rocked. We had a great time hanging out with our friends on the Good Beer Show. We're show #128, which I'm guessing will go up sometime this week. We drank a lot of high ABV beers, none of which I thought were bad. Mike told you what they are in his post. The Fickle Peach and the Heorot are both cool, and you have to check em out. Thanks Jeffrey T., Traci and the Gang! And thanks Mike for driving home!
2. I'm not too sad that I didn't get to participate in the Retro Beer Challenge Round 1. Although, Rolling Rock was the very first beer that I liked enough to finish. 11 years ago - how's that for retro? How sad is that? Dos Equis was the 2nd. Thanks Old Latrobe, PA!
3. BadaBoomz has almost free valet parking now. It's free if your bill is $30 or more. Otherwise, it's only $2. Thanks Mike!
4. Deano's is hosting Brat-toberfest on Saturday, September 15th. Music, beer, brats. What more could you ask for? Oh, yeah, we'll be there, too. On a side note, I've now hung out a Deano's the last two Friday nights, and I've just come to re-appreciate what good shits they are there. Thanks Deano, Jody, Nick, Laura, and Michelle!!
5. The Hop Shop has Bell's Batch 8000 in six packs for $13.49, Two Brothers Heliocentric Bragot in a 22oz. for $6.49, and Upland Lambics in 750 mLs for $14.99. If you don't know, The Hop Shop also has free beer tastings every Saturday until 8pm. Thanks Courtney!
6. When Jason and I were in Chicago on Monday for a Cubs vs. Cardinals, White Sox vs. Royals double header, we first stopped at this fantastic beer store in Wrigleyville. It was awesome! My favorite purchase was something I can't get in Indiana, but is one my new top three favorite beers in the whole world - Racer 5 IPA by Bear Republic in Healdsburg, CA. I bought a lot of beer. So did Jason. We now have a lot of beer. Thanks Binny's and Bear Republic!
7. My very favorite beer of all-time is the Optimator. Thanks Spaten!
I think that's all for now.
24 August 2007
Last night four of the six Knights of the Beer Roundtable converged at Indianapolis' legendary Melody Inn for round one of a different kind of beer tasting - a tasting of the common beer heavy hitters. We did this tasting blind, because this is a contest. Over the course of the next couple months we'll be reviewing all the "regular" beer we can get our hands on, in a tournament bracket sort of format to find out which readily available beer lives up to the true title of Blue Ribbon winner - who is the real King of Beers?
All the beers were served cold, in clear plastic cups.
In cup "A" we had a lager, with a clear, lemonade-like appearance, and a bit of lacing. It had a sweet nose, and a extremely light and agreeable taste, with hints of rubber (I actually get this with a lot of light beers and don't consider it a bad thing - I'm not sure what it is I'm picking up, but I suspect it's a characteristic of the malt). Not a bad start to the night. A perfectly reasonable beer. 2.0 points.
In cup "B" we had a beer that looked exactly like the first, but with a slightly "off" nose that reminded me of Fat Tire. It tasted pretty much exactly like cup "A", but the nose caused a slight deduction in points. I gave this one 1.75 points.
Cup "C" was a different beast than the first two. A bar-room-floor-like nose gave way to a flavor not too much unlike the others. But this beer seemed to have more "front" to it, and was slightly bitter. Not IPA bitter, just a hint. I gave it 1.0 points.
After drinking all three we reweighed the ratings, giving 3 points to our favorite, 2 to our second, and 1 to our least favorite. Here's my final rankings:
Cup A - 3 points
Cup B - 2 points
Cup C - 1 point
All in all, the beers weren't nearly as horrible as we expected. We're not revealing the beers just yet - that will come with the final Knight's review. But in the meantime, you're welcome to take guesses. Stay tuned...
If we have any readers that can get us some Yuengling ... please drop us an email or leave a comment. It's my understanding that Yuengling is one of the cheap beers of choice on the east coast. If you have any other suggestions for the Retro Beer Challenge, please leave a comment. Thanks.
23 August 2007
While the Indianapolis Colts season kicks off in another two weeks, the Indiana Speed season has already begun and they are 1-0! The Speed are members of the Women's Professional Football League and they play their home games at Broad Ripple High School.
BadaBOOMz at 15 E. Maryland in Downtown Indy is hosting a beer tasting with a food buffet to benefit the Indiana Speed. It will be held on Thursday, August 30th at 7pm and tickets are $25. You can purchase tickets in advance and find more info on the event here. I hope everybody can make it. I'm sure Mike at BadaBOOMz has a great event planned.
And be sure to see the Indiana Speed in action. Their next home game is September 15th against the Wisconsin Wolves. Good luck Speed!
22 August 2007
Hey Hoosier Beer Geek,
I have a question. Back in 1981-1982 I lived in Evansville, In. I remember however fuzzily that through the summer months the Catholic Churches in Evansville would have “Beer Stubes”. They were like fish frys only with a beer truck. I was told that because of the German Catholic ancestry that the area had that it was like Oktoberfest all summer long.
I moved from Evansville in ’82, lived in Chicago for nearly 10 years and have now lived in Cleveland for 15 years. Nobody has ever heard of these “Beer Stubes”. Can you elaborate? Do they still have them?
Having attended Wabash College I consider myself a beer connoisseur.
Knight Chris did a little research and found out that the German word stube means parlor. Ergo, a beer parlor. "I've not heard of it before, but I'm guessing it was a Hofbrau Haus themed event called Beer Stube." That's currently our best guess.
Although we're quickly becoming the old wise men and women of beer drinking, we're really not that old; most of us are in our late 20's to early 30's. Back in 81 - 82 I was 6 year old and living in Illinois, so I'm probably the wrong guy to ask. But perhaps a Hoosier Beer Geek reader has an idea about these Beer Stubes? If you do, leave a comment. Let's help Kevin out.
21 August 2007
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Lindemans Framboise Lambic
And now, the results of the field research:
18 August 2007 Location: Broad Ripple Brewpub, Indianapolis, IN
Broad Ripple Brewpub IPA - A classic English IPA. Golden brown color. Typically bitter, with a citrusy nose, but balanced out with more malt than an American IPA. As I've come to expect from the BRB, it is served at the perfect temperature. A nice, crisp beer for a summertime thirst.
17 August 2007 Location: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, College Park, Indianapolis, IN
Simcoe Pale Ale (Cask Conditioned) - Celebrating a simcha with some fellow M.O.T. Nothing like a bunch of drunk and happy Jews. Abraham and Sarah would be proud of their progeny. Anyway, the Simcoe is a dry hopped American pale ale. Reddish gold color. Very floral, piney nose. Taste follows suit. This is what sucking on a pine cone must be like (but in a good way). More like an IPA in character than an APA. Want to have another one of these, but am afraid I'll tell another rude circumcision joke, so I call it a night. A seasonal offering, so get it while it lasts.
7 August 2007 Location: Shoreline Brewery & Restaurant, Michigan City, IN
Queen Mum IPA - Back in my old stomping grounds in The Region enjoying a little vacation time on Lake Michigan. The beautiful wife and I need some place to eat lunch. Fast food is out of the question, as is the local diner. Then, I remember that Shoreline is just up the road. Brewery and restaurant are in an old warehouse a stone's throw from the lake (and unfortunately, the local power station). Very cool building--exposed brick, high ceiling, spacious brewing facility and dining area. Order the house specialty salad (which turns out to be excellent) and see three IPA's on the beer menu (do you see a pattern in my beer-drinking habits here?). Am tempted by the double IPA on the menu, but don't want to get s***-faced at this stage of the day, so I opt for the Queen Mum. A serviceable English IPA, much like the Broad Ripple Brewpub's offering except hoppier. Very, very dry. Good, but not outstanding. Will try the double IPA the next time I visit.
Come on down and join us at the 8th Annual Foresters FESTIV-ALE, A Celebration in Beer Tasting to benefit the Indiana Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Hang out with 1,200 of your closest friends at Scotty's Brewhouse, where you'll find a big city blues atmosphere in a small town setting. It's this atmosphere, combined with fresh food, the finest ingredients, friendly service and a premium line of brews that have been the secret success of Scotty's Brewhouse.
The event supports the fight of cystic fibrosis (CF), the most prevalent genetic disease among young Americans today. Foresters FESTIV-ALE is expected to raise over $50,000 by recruiting approximately forty beer vendors and more than 1,200 participants. For the past two years, Foresters FESTIV-ALE event has been recognized by NUVO's Readers' Poll as one of the top three Indianapolis Summer Festivals and as one of Indy's Best Charity Events.
More info on the event can be found at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. Tickets are $40. I know it's for charity, but ouch.
*Scotty, we need to talk. The site is just sitting here, waiting to advertise for you FOR FREE, and you don't call or write. Hell, you don't even advertise the event on your own web site. Scotty, you can do better than this.
20 August 2007
On to the beer: We had been asked to bring a few selections along with us, and the folks at The Fickle Peach (Studio B) were great to us in that they didn't mind. We had stopped at The Hop Shop on the way up and picked up some Two Brothers Hop Juice and Stone's Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard. The folks at the Good Beer Show brought Three Floyd's Fantabulous Resplendence (X). As if that wasn't enough, Gina and I brought some of our private home stock - a Brasserie des Rocs Abbaye and a De ProefBrouwerij Lochristi Lozen Boer. Reading the list now, I find it hard to believe that we didn't realize what sort of night we were in for.
For a warm-up beer, I went with a BBC Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout (on tap at The Fickle Peach); If you read me regularly, you're probably wondering why I went with a style I claimed I was tired of just two months ago. The answer? Sometimes you come around. And it was really cold in the car. Combined with a newfound (and hopefully short-lived) fear of all things hoppy, the Jefferson's Reserve seemed to have my name all over it. I found the beer to be a bit milder than other bourbon barrel stouts I've had in the past, and would give it 3.5 mugs if we were officially reviewing it. But we're not.
We were reviewing the Hop Juice, a double India Pale Ale made in Warrenville, Illinois by Two Brother's Brewing Company. If you listen to the Good Beer show you might hear me say that this beer has a buttery, biscuity nose, followed up with a hoppy punch and a full rounded out flavor. It's a smooth beer that I'd give 3.0 mugs.
Next up was Three Floyds Fantabulous Resplendence. I know that Three Floyds is Godhead for many fans of craft beer, but there's something there that's lost on me - I feel like the brewery's focus is on overpowering the pallet, and that subtlety is lost in the effort. Resplendence did nothing to change that opinion; It's a grapefruit/pineapple punch in the face. My initial thought was that this was a 1 mug beer, but then Chris asked me to check that score against Fat Tire. I have, but I'm still going with a 1.0 mug rating. I couldn't finish this beer, nor did I have any desire to.
Last up as far as reviewed beers go was Stone's Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard. Unlike the baseball bat to the face that was Stone's Double Bastard (or the smaller bat to the face that is regular old Arrogant Bastard), Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard is a milder beer. But it's also a one dimensional beer - a straight oak taste that reminded me of mulch and state parks and yardwork. But it wasn't an entirely bad experience - in fact I thought that Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard was worthy of 3.04 mugs.
At that point we were finished with our Good Beer Show appearance, but since we had brought more beer from home, we started into them. Both the Brasserie des Rocs Abbaye and the De ProefBrouwerij Lochristi Lozen Boer were your typical Belgian style beers - big and fruity, with a high ABV. I didn't take enough notes to give a full review, but I would like to note that I preferred the Abbaye, and I'd like to revisit it.
We had a fantastic time with everyone in Muncie - we actually visited the Heorot after our GBS appearance, where we got to see what Indy is missing - a giant beer hall with skulls and swords and an endless amount of taps. I wish I could have partaken a little more in the selection, but I was operating as designated driver.
It was great to see the Good Beer Show haunts, and well as meet everyone. My thanks go out to Jeffery T, Vickie, Randy, Charlie, and our personal Muncie beerhall tour guide, Traci. We had a great time - at least until we got in the car for the drive home.
16 August 2007
So we've decided to man up with Hop Juice, a limited run 9.9% Double IPA from Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, IL. Self-described as "for Hopheads only", Hop Juice has a lot of positive buzz out in the beer geek world. We'll see if we need more beer after that . . .
Look on both sites next week for the cross-collaboration!
So in the tradition of past great ideas that generate a ton of reader response, I'd like to ask you, the Hoosier Beer Geek reader, what beers, brewpubs or breweries you'd like to see us cover. The comment lines are wide open, and operators are standing by.
If you've had any of the beers here and would like to discuss what you thought of them, please leave a comment.
Current Favorite and Recommended Beers (no particular order):
Brugge Beer (or Brasserie's) Black
Dogfish Head 60 + 90 Minute IPAs
Left Hand Milk Stout
Founders' Rubaeus - Even if you don't drink "fruity beers", it's definitely worth trying - especially when it starts to warm and gets creamier. I can't get enough of this stuff lately.
Franziskaner Hefeweizen - I'm just starting my discovery of the style - please recommend a hefe if you know of a great one.
WHAT I'M DRINKING:
14 August 2007 Location: Oaken Barrel, Greenwood, IN
Oaken Barrel Alabaster Belgian White - $2 pints! Served with an orange slice - usually when someone puts a piece of fruit in my beer I'm annoyed, but it's their beer, and they're brewing it, so the orange slice stayed. Light yellow color, slight lacing which was enhanced once I threw the whole slice in the glass. A light summery beer. Not worth writing home about, but not too bad. I'd drink it again.
Oaken Barrel Indiana Amber - Drank half of Gina's glass. Darker red color, almost cola-like. Hoppy front that finishes with a nutty brown ale sort of flavor. Pretty much right up the middle between an IPA and a brown ale. Not bad, not great, not very full bodied. I can't say I drink a lot of ambers, but I wouldn't have thought this was very true to style. Different, anyway.
09 August 2007 Location: Home
Clipper City Heavy Seas Hang Ten - It was late, and my calorie count was probably where it should have been, but I couldn't stop drinking soda and juice and everything else (note: try water) so I thought "what the hell". I'm trying to rid my fridge of beer, to be honest.
The label reads "unfiltered wheat beer in German style" so I was surprised at the punchy belgian-style nose. Very cloudy, caramel brown/orange color. Gina said "corn" and I agree - a bit of a cream corn taste. Strong alcohol, a bit fruity as well. Pretty good, but I only finished half. Would buy again, I think. Worth sharing.
06 August 2007 Location: Home
Unibroue 16 - Belgiumtastic, metallic, punchy, really metallic. And did I mention metallic. The bottle maybe? Punchy. Needs to warm.
This is a real burner. Tart, but in a weird way... almost like a tart feeling on the back of the tongue.
Hmm. Good, not great.
Note: I don't know how much I've eaten today, but it must not be much, because half a glass of this makes me feel like I'm being eaten by the couch. Usually I don't notice how much I've drank until I stand up... not the case currently.
I'd buy this again.
05 August 07 Location: Home
Summit Maibock - blah, and then once warmed, a slightly more interesting blah. Maybe if I was in the mood. A beer-tasting beer.
04 August 07 Location: Buddy Nate's House, Trenton IL:
Avery Saison (was it the Twelve?) - potpourri, spicy, overwhelming, didn't finish the glass
Delirium Noel - Delirium's Christmas Beer, same style as Tremens, overripe apple, punch in the mouth, I'd rather have Tremens
03 August 07 Location: Sidney Street Cafe, St. Louis, MO:
Franziskaner Hefeweizen - Bananas bananas, better and fuller when warmer, good stuff
19 June 07 Location: Home
Celis Grand Cru - Sweet nose that reminds me of Brugge's black - hints of apple and maybe bubblegum, clear bubbly golden appearance, no head.
I tried this cold out of the fridge and felt that it started very promising and then whacked me over the head with the alcohol...
Warmed up it's a little bit more mild, but the alcohol still comes out - almost overwhelming the taste of the beer, which hints at apple and bubblegum before the alcohol punch. The taste sits on the tongue after the swallow and doesn't really let up. I suppose this is what they call a "chewy" mouthfeel, in that it doesn't really go away.
All in all, it's just too much, really.
18 June 07 Location: Home
Dogfish Head Midas Touch - Grape almost grape koolaide nose, bubbles like champagne, no head or lacing, champagne coloring, champagne-ish bite, not hoppy, tight almost sour aftertaste that doesn't leave the tongue. Sits uneasy in the stomach. No thanks.
17 June 07 Location: Home
Breckenridge Vanilla Stout - Deep Red color, full head and lacing, vanilla coke, vanilla ice cream float-like nose, very very smooth, mild alcohol taste, very well balanced with no dominant flavors jumping out. no residing aftertaste. leaves a sweet odor/taste on the glass. not bad, not outstanding.
14 August 2007
For our one year anniversary, we wanted to pull out all the stops. And that involved selecting a beer that would be enjoyed by all and be worthy of such an event. We decided on 90 Minute. It was definitely the right choice.
As mentioned before, the crowd was big and happy. Deano's was hopping. And some of the best beer buddies in Indiana showed up. Believe me, no one year old has ever had a 1st birthday party like this!
I will be honest in saying that this is not my favorite beer in the world, but it is certainly in my top ten. I will concur with my fellow knights and give it a 5 mug rating as well. It has the hops scent and mouth kick that I like, but is balanced out with a malty sweet goodness, leaving this double IPA approachable to most everyone. From the beautiful amber color with the foamy head, to the floral aromas given by the hops, to the notes of caramelized fruits in the taste, to the extreme drinkability, this beer is a near perfect all around beer. A perfect beer geek's beer for non-beer geek gatherings.
There is a reason why birthdays only come around once a year: you need that long to recover. I still ain't right from last Thursday night.
Thanks to all who read, to all who came, and to all who helped in making our first bash and our first year a big success.
13 August 2007
Thanks to all the people who came out (unofficial estimates between 50-60) and joined us for the party. It blew my mind to see that many folks show up for some good beer. I hope you all will continue to join us in the future.
And a special thanks to Deano and the crew for their generosity and hospitality! I think Deano was trying to get me drunk, and he took me home, but I don't think he took advantage of me! Though the later part of the night / early morning is all kinda fuzzy and not sure I remember all of it.
Thanks to Dogfish Head 90 Minute for being one kick-ass (and kick my ass) beer! Wow! I know I was drinking from a stein and all, but it's been a real long time since a beer got me in the "I love you, man" State. Without a doubt, 5 mugs!
And thanks to the guys at Peppy's Grill for serving me around 3:30 or 4 Friday morning.
Looking forward to the next year . . .
10 August 2007
I was really going to try and take some concise notes for this tasting, but I didn't get much farther than "Oh My God. This beer is trouble." After that it's incoherent scrawl. I had no trouble remembering that Deano was a fantastic host. His generosity and hospitality were greatly appreciated.
As always, thanks to all of our beer geek friends - new and old. I cannot seem to put into words just how much fun I had meeting and talking with everyone. All of the camaraderie made up for the difficulty of going to work bright and early Friday morning. Fortunately, I faired better than Mike; all I lost was a little bit of dignity (from dancing like an idiot) and a couple hours of sleep.
Not having the opportunity to have the 90 Minute before, my expectations were for a much stronger version of a 60 Minute. I was pleasantly met with something exponentially better (and I'm a fan of 60 Minute). It was absolutely perfect from the first taste. The temperature was right, the nose wasn't overwhelming and it didn't taste overly hoppy. This beer is positively 5 mugs.
Again, thanks to all who came. I really would like to do it again soon...when I'm off work the next day.
Here is what we learned last night at our one-year anniversary party:
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, while a phenomenal beer, should never be served in pitchers or in pint glasses.
- DJ's who spin '80's new wave music rule (thanks, DJ Brian Jones).
- Jason and Gina can cut a mean rug, especially when DJ Brian Jones is manning the turntables.
- When Chris has had enough to drink, he likes to channel a Bud Light commercial from the mid-1990's.
- Mike spent more time in the Deano's Vino parking lot than he did inside the restaurant.
- Don't leave for vacation at 6:00 a.m. on the day after a 90 Minute IPA drinking frenzy (JFK is fun, isn't it, Matt and Kelly?).
- And finally, we have lots and lots of company in this town when it comes to drinking quality beer.
Thanks to all who came out to Deano's to celebrate one year of beer geekhood with us. We enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones. And thanks to Deano for the new drinking vessels and for hosting our little shindig.
As for the 90 Minute IPA - a perfect 5 mugs. No other beer balances hops and malt like this one. Who knew that a taste/nose combination that simultaneously evokes grapefruit and caramel could result in such an unbelievably good beer?
When we started to put together our first anniversary party we joked that we were going to be bringing Deano a huge crowd - as it turns out we didn't need to joke. I met a ton of great people again last night; further proof that beer people are good people.
Dogfish 90 Minute - My notes from last night aren't as specific as usual because 90 Minute is a hard beer to write about. A sweet nose followed by an over the top smoothness (if there is such a thing). Smoother than the 60 Minute, which was previously one of my top beers. 90 Minute is better than that - carmelly, surprisingly not that hoppy, and worth the price of admission. My notes say "JESUS CHRIST". It's a 5 mug beer.
Those folks I talked to last night caught me in rare form - talkative.
My digestive system
My consumption, in a three hour window, went something like this: Dark Horse Crooked Tree, Dogfish 90, another 90, another 90, Bell's Two Hearted, another 90... and then out to the car where I waited for Gina to drive me home. I left about half of what I drank splattered in the parking lot, along with the sandwich I had eaten for supper.
We normally don't drink to get drunk at Hoosier Beer Geek, so this was a rare occasion.
It was great to see so many folks out last night, and I'd like to thank you all for making the evening such a success. Sometimes writing a blog feels like you're working in a bubble, so I was great to see that's not the case.
We hope to see you all again soon.
08 August 2007
"Welcome, fellow beer geeks! I've decided to create this blog to advance the good taste of beer drinkers everywhere! Headquartered in the Circle City, we will strive to educate the masses on what good beer really is! Or, we can just say screw all the "Lite" piss drinkers, and keep the good stuff for ourselves!"
I've made some great new friends this year, especially my fellow Knights of the Beer Roundtable, and that has been the best part of this. Well, that, and occasionally getting free beer. It's a toss-up between those two things. And it's been really cool watching it transform from its original form to the kick-ass layout that Mike does for us, and hearing all the other ideas we're coming up with daily. And it makes me laugh to think of all the media coverage this thing gets.
Now, as I'm sure we'll do many times tomorrow night at the official birthday/anniversary/bar mitzvah/whatever party that I hope you'll join us at, I raise my bottle of brew (which happens to be a Goose Island Honker's Ale - first thing I pulled out of my beer fridge) to you, Hoosier Beer Geeks, and say thanks for all the fun that this first year has brought, and let's look forward to many more to come!
2001 Arcadia Imperial Stout 10% abv
2002 Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout 23% abv
2000 Gale's Millenium Ale 9% abv
2 5oz samples(3oz of Dogfish) for $8
06 August 2007
While we felt a little better about Fat Tire this go-around, we still weren't necessarily moved by it.
Overall: 2 Mugs
Jim: 2.5, Chris: 2, Gina: 2, Mike: 1.5
Our favorite of the four was originally based on a Belgian recipe dating back to, well, 1554. This ale is very drinkable, tasting dry and chocolaty with a very light mouth feel.
Overall: 3.68 Mugs
Chris: 4, Jim: 3.75, Mike: 3.5, Gina: 3.5
The Trippel had the highest ABV of the four we tried (7.8%) and carried notes of grape, apple, and plum.
Overall: 3.12 Mugs
Jim: 3.5, Mike: 3, Chris: 3, Gina: 3
The Abbey was all bananas with a light mouth feel.
Overall: 2.75 Mugs
Mike: 3, Gina: 3, Chris: 2.5, Jim: 2.5
Though we may prefer to buy something more local, we can definitely support New Belgium's environmentally-friendly practices, beautiful artwork, and love for beer. We would definitely stop by if we're in the area.
05 August 2007
Let's just cut to the chase:
1554 - 4 mugs. Had a light mouthfeel, and a hint of wheat & chocolate in the nose. Coming in at 5.6%, it's not that potent, but I could drink a lot of them, and that would be potent.
Abbey - 2.5 mugs. It had a typical Belgian fruity nose, with some plum and banana. Even a bit of a banana aftertaste. It's at 7.0%, which is good, but I just don't fruit the beer that much.
Tripple - 3 mugs. It was fresher than the Abbey, with hints of grapes and apple in the nose and on the tongue. It had a light to medium mouthfeel, and coming in at a big 7.8%, it was certainly drinkable.
Fat Tire - 2 mugs. I know some of you swear by this stuff, but it's just not that good. Maybe, if this is all you have, it could pass for a 3 mugger, but once it's stacked against any competition, the Fat Tire goes flat. I didn't hate it as much as our last time, but there still wasn't anything good about this. It was like Bud Light Plus - I couldn't even pick out a nose or a taste on this.
I'll do better next time ;) Maybe I'll just bring my laptop with me to Deano's on Thursday since Fountain Square is now wi-fi.
03 August 2007
Luckily we've got a friend on the internet who's looking out for us. Jonathan Surratt, a web developer and hard core craft beer enthusiast based out of Chicago, has created beermapping.com, a Googlemaps based database application that aims to locate and chart out all locations where good beer can be found.
Hoosier Beer Geek recently contacted Jonathan to see what inspired the beermapping project, and to find out more about the beermapping project.
What inspired beermapping?
Jonathan Surratt: I started out building and running a beer based community site in North Carolina when I was living there (http://beerinator.com). I still run that site, and it has not changed its focus, although I do not update the front page articles anymore since I don't live there. I have devoted my time mostly at this point to The Beer Mapping Project.
I was inspired to work with google maps to map beer locations when my wife and I moved to Chicago. I wasn't totally sure where everything was in relation to where I was so I decided to give the google mapping api a shot.
What do you hope to accomplish with beermapping?
JS: My goal for beermapping is to promote craft beer by presenting tourists with good beer locations to visit. I don't really view the maps as tools that locals will always get the most out of. I think they are most helpful for people who are traveling to a new area. It may sound corny, but I feel that if I do my best to promote craft beer, then hopefully the industry will only get better.
How long has the beermapping project been going on?
JS: I have been setting up maps based around beer since October of 2005. The url was purchased in December of that year. I think I finished mapping all states with breweries and brewpubs in late December or very early January of 2006. The forums and review system are fairly new. I finished up the review system only three or four months ago.
How much time do you think you've devoted to beermapping? Does the site require a lot of everyday maintenance?
JS: I have probably put a few hundred hours into the website. I spend most days tweaking code, approving locations and adding new locations myself. Most of the time I spend on the site these days is researching places that have been submitted by my users. More often than not, they haven't done a complete search and they have submitted a location that is already in the database. Also, there are lots of bars submitted that are simply not craft beer bars or they aren't bars that have a focus on a good/craft beer selection.
How much money have you spent on beermapping?
JS: If I were to guess, I would say that I have probably spent a few hundred dollars on it. I spend somewhere around fifteen bucks a month for the server hosting. I do all the coding myself, often using open source (re: free) software solutions. I am currently in negotiations with a graphic designer about a new logo for t-shirts and possible sticker printing so that will run me a bit of money, but hopefully I'll be able to recoup that through t-shirt sales.
I make approximately 6 to 10 dollars a month through the google ad pages, so I am in no way profiting from this venture at the moment. In the future, I may entertain some sort of advertising campaign and I will be doing t-shirt sales.
I've noticed that in the about page you don't give your name - is there a reason for that?
JS: I have never felt that this project was about me. I feel like the people who use my site are a very large portion of the site itself. I have users that email me regularly after their travels, telling me of their experiences with certain pubs and breweries. The Beer Mapping Project was started by me, but thankfully it has grown beyond me and I think it includes many other users at this point.
I haven't looked at my about page recently (whoops) and I'm sure it still talks about there being one person behind the wheel, but I probably should consider updating that in the near future.
All of us at Hoosier Beer Geek offer our thanks to Jonathan and all those who've put in work at beermapping.com. It's a project done out of love for craft beer, and that's certainly something we all can appreciate. Beermapping is certainly worthy of a five mug rating.