13 July 2008

KOTBR #50 - Five Knights at the Indiana Brewery of the Year

Indiana Beer Week was kicked into gear Friday and Saturday, with the judging of the Brewer's Cup Competition at the Indiana State Fair. It seems that we know how to pick 'em - this year's Indiana Brewery of the Year was none other than Greenwood's Oaken Barrel - a brewery we visited just last Wednesday.

But we're no beer judges - just fans. There's quite a selection available at Oaken Barrel: Alabaster Belgian Wit, Uber Weizen, Redemption Belgian Pale, Razz-Wheat, Indiana Amber Ale, Snake Pit Porter, Gnaw Bone Pale Ale, and Superfly IPA. Some of us had reviewed the Snake Pit Porter before - and as a result did not review it again here. But that didn't stop us from sampling the rest of OB's tasty treats.

Without further ado, the reviews:

Jason with the Oaken Barrel Polka

There's a brewery, what a brewery
Only happy faces drink there
And there's never any room there
For Bud, Coors, or Miller there.

Oh there are wheats, and more wheat,
And some are tasting sweet,
Like when you drink a Razz-Wheat
It’s a childhood Kool-Aid-like treat.

Their Belgians have a oompahpah
Drinking it feels so tralala:
The lemon of the Alabaster Wit;
Redemption has bitters to it.

The Uberweizen is still on tap
More clove than banana, I’m down wit dat.
Indiana or Victory: it’s all the same
Amber’s buttery malts, I am game.

Snakepit porter

And their porter, it’s good for drinking.
Snake Pit’s smokiness got me thinking
That I’m in the mood
For some good old Barbeque.

Gnaw Bone may bring to mind
Tenderloins but you’ll also find
Floral hops and spicey flavs.
In Greenwood, Gnaw Bone’s an APA.

For hop and malt balance you should try
An IPA known as Superfly
With its strong hop nose and great hop bite
You hear them singing into the night:

Go to Oaken Barrel, a drink up a barrel of beer
Go to Oaken Barrel, their drinks are nothing to fear
Zing, boom, tararrel, sing out a song of good cheer
Now's the time for Oaken Barrel, for the gang's all here!

Ratings: Alabaster 3.33, Uberweizen 3.5, Redemption 3.5, Razz-wheat 3.0, Indiana Amber 3.875, Gnaw Bone 4.0, Superfly 4.25

Gina was also bitten by the Polka Bug: At Oaken Barrel There is Beer

At Oaken Barrel, there is beer
And you'll find it's clear
That when you drink their beer
It's certain you'll be filled w/ lots of cheer.

First, the Alabaster Witbier
The lightest, but not quite clear
Coriander, Chamomile, and
Orange peel added to the boil late here.

Uberweizen won best in show
Brewers Cup two years ago
At the pub the beer does flow
Hopefully they won't soon run low.


Redemption, followed by the Razz Wheat
A nose of flowers, and then quite sweet,
The Belgian Pale reminded me of meat?
And the Razz would be great out in the heat.

The Brewery then was toured
And the Amber we moved toward
Well balanced across the board
Victory Field is a place this beer is poured.

One of my favorites of the night
Snake Pit Porter, it showed no light
And the Gnaw Bone, a floral bite
Was the penultimate of the flight.

The end brought the Superfly
You'll only get it if you stop by
An IPA that's bold, not shy
Now it is time to say goodbye.

Ratings: Alabaster 3.75, Uberweizen 3.37, Redemption 3.25, Razz-wheat 3.05, Indiana Amber 3.27, Gnaw Bone 3.1, Superfly 3.25


Jason and Gina have polka. I've got klezmer. Unfortunately, there are no famous klezmer songs unless you count a klezmer version of that indispensable tune, "Hava Nagila." But that song doesn't work here because it repeats the same words over and over. Oy.

So, to make things short and sweet, I'll go with Installment Three of the Four-Word Review, but with a new theme--Yiddish words beginning with "sh". Blame it all on Jason and Gina. Du bist a yid? You are if you can understand the following--

Alabaster Belgian Wit. Shtern of the show. 4.00 mugs

Uber Weizen. Like freshly fallen shney. 3.60 mugs

Redemption Belgian Pale. Like a sheyne meydl. 3.80 mugs

Razz-Wheat. Just a bit shvach. 3.12 mugs

Indiana Amber Ale.
Serve it up, shoyn! 3.72 mugs

Gnaw Bone Pale Ale. Shveyg! I'm drinking here! 3.33 mugs

Superfly IPA.
Shikers, careful with this. 3.48 mugs


Everyone else is getting back to their roots with this review, and I wanted to join them in paying tribute to my ancestry. Unfortunately ODB lyrics are really hard to adapt to beer review format. Fortunately, my mother is Icelandic - so between the ODB influence and my family's love of the music of Sigur Ros, I was able to come up with a little something.

Alabaster White: Funky bready nose, bready taste, clean, a hint of spice. Nice. Brewed with orange, camomile, and coriander. A GABF silver medal winner. Best Seller in house.ODB lyrical equivalent: Hoeeeee! Yah ha heh 3.5 mugs.

Uberwiezen: Banana nose, a hint of bubblegum, nice moderate mouthfeel. Sigur Ros lyrical equivalent: Allur rennvotur (rennblautur). 3.4 Mugs.

Redemption Belgian Pale: Sweet flowery nose, a hint of ash, flowery/perfume front, drying finish. ODB lyrical equivalent: Hoe, ohhaowwohh! 2.93 Mugs

Razz-Wheat: Framboise nose, a tiny hint of malt, seltzer body, salty? My review is probably tainted by my love of Founder's Rubeaus. This is Oaken Barrel's best selling bottled beer, and second best selling in-house beer. Sigur Ros lyrical equivalent: Bjartar vonir rætast, er við göngum bæinn 2.75 Mugs

Indiana Amber Ale: A hint of bread in the nose, carmelly and sweet, slick but not watery mouthfeel, hoppy but not overpowering fishing. ODB lyrical equivalent: Haaaaaaaah He hawww, heahh 3.0 Mugs

Gnaw Bone Pale Ale: Diggin' the nose - a sweet hint of cookie, bitter on the back, more cream cookie flavor, a bitter and chewy finish. Sigur Ros lyrical equivalent: Blá nótt yfir himininn, blá nótt yfir mér 3.15 Mugs

Superfly IPA: Less hop in the nose than the Gnaw Bone Pale - but a sweet hoppy nose, transformative in the mouth - starts footy (tasting of feet), then meaty, then peppery. Lingering top of mouth bitterness, finishes dry and hot, with a hint of grapefruit. OBD lyrical equivalent: Hoeeeee! Yeah, heyyyy, de haaaaa Ahahaahaaah 3.31 Mugs

Superfly IPA


I'm separated from my real roots by many generations of obfuscation and charlatanry, so I went with some generic corny rhyming nonsense. Maybe I should have made it a huckster-themed review. Too late. This one's already written and as regular readers know, I'm quite lazy. Perhaps another time.

If you'd like a cloudy wit,
a beer to finish faster,
Oaken Barrel's where you'll sit,
and taste some Alabaster.
3.25 Mugs

Banana creme is what you're cravin'?
Some clove and some vanilla?
The Uberweizen's not misbehavin'.
You'd better drink you fill-a.
3.3 Mugs

Another Belgian brew to try,
if full body's your intention.
Hops so flow'ry and so dry.
You'll prolly want Redemption.
2.8 Mugs

A tart tooth will direct you
to OB's famed Razz Wheat.
Just look for the pinkinsh hue.
Raspberries…such a treat.
2.51 Mugs

A balanced brew is on this list.
Vict'ry Amber nicely malted
It's also just a bit hop kissed
For these reasons it's exalted.
3.88 Mugs

If you'd like a carmel nose
and foral hoppy bite
Gnawbone is the one I chose
as my fav-o-rite.
4.16 Mugs

Superfly will kick your ass
and stick with you for hours.
Hops that reach a critical mass,
the wisp of malt surrenders.
3.4 Mugs

(Since I wasn't around for the original Snakepit review, and since it was my favorite stanza to write, I'm going to include it anyway.)

Oaken Barrel has a Snakepit.
The Speedway now does not.
Less likely to be flashed a (insert the word of your choice that rhymes with "pit").
It tastes like smoky chocolate.
3.89 Mugs

* * * * *

KOTBR Totals:
Alabaster Belgian Wit: 3.54 Mugs
Uber Weizen: 3.43 Mugs
Redemption Belgian Pale: 3.25 Mugs
Razz-Wheat: 2.88 Mugs
Indiana Amber Ale: 3.54 Mugs
Gnaw Bone Pale Ale: 3.54 Mugs
Superfly IPA: 3.63 Mugs


  1. If only ODB aka Big Baby Jesus could do a song with Sigur Ros...

    Now that would be something.

  2. This is one of my favorite places to go in town. I like the food, and usually get great service. A while back they were doing some reserve series of beer that I was glad to see being served.

    I am excited about Wednesday as well for the Berliner Weisse. I am really curious how authentic to style they are going to be able to get, and I hope it is quite sour and acidic, and I am curious if they will offer any flavored syrups to people to cut the acid. I am guessing many people may not like the tartness of the beer if it is true to style. Even most German people need the flavored syrup though.

  3. I know from our meeting with assistant brewer (who's name I forget) that there will be syrup.

    Should be great, and quite a departure from the regular ol' styles we see around here.

  4. The assistant brewers name is Andrew.

    He mentioned something about woodruff syrup as well, though I don't know if he was just talking about it or if they are going to have some.