29 April 2008

The Hoosier Beer Geek KOTBR Second Anniversary Party is only Four Months Away!

The first Hoosier Beer Geek Knights of the Beer Roundtable Anniversary Party (back in August of 2007) was an overwhelming success. So despite having a few irons in the fire, we're already thinking about how and where to throw our second anniversary party. After viewing our survey data, it appears that a change of location might be a good way to mix things up.

We want your input. In the far right column* you'll see a poll containing of some of our potential - potential meaning we have no idea if they'll all have us - options. If you don't see your favorite spot, leave a comment here. We'll consider almost anywhere - and maybe we're missing somewhere. So click away, drop us a line, or leave a comment. Your help is greatly appreciated.

* * * * *

*For those of you reading via email, you'll have to visit the site.

26 April 2008

DarkLord Day 2008

We went, we saw, we spent a lot of money.

While I haven't heard a head count for the 2008 DarkLord Day at Three Floyds, I do know there were more people than last year. I know that the beer went on sale at 11 AM and ran out at around 4 to 4:30 PM. I know that some folks went home uphappy when they realized they had spent five hours in line to acquire nothing.

Let's talk about that line... This is what the front looked like at about 11:30.

In this image you'll see what the front of the brewpub looks like - note the water tower in the upper right corner.

In this picture you'll see where the line curved around and went back on itself. For an idea of how far away from the brewpub that is, check out the water tower again.

And this is the end of the line at 1:30. The last guy in line had just arrived.

Or like this:

For Gina and I, who arrived at Three Floyds at 8 AM and got into line, the day was an overwhelming success. We were lucky enough to secure 12 bottles, sample the Oak Aged Dark Lord (which might be the best beer I've ever had, and I'm not really that big a fan of Dark Lord...), and meet and drink with a ton of good folks.

So how about you? Did you make it up? Leave a comment, and tell us how your day went. And if you weren't fortunate enough to make it up to Munster, stick around.

Hoosier Beer Geek will be giving some away in the future.

DarkLord Day Follow-up from HBG Friends: Matt's Beer Blog, DIG-B, Indiana Beer, StlHops

24 April 2008

Pannepot/Struise Mikkeller Update

For those of you intriged by our rating of Struise Pannepot - our second highest rating ever - here's some information on where to find it, the Struise/Mikkeller IPA, and Stuise's Struiselensis Wild Ale (not yet tested by HBG) right from the distributor's fingertips:
Struise Pannepot Danish Version: Crown Liquors - 6165 Allisonville, Crown Liquors - Carmel, Kahn's Fine Wine - Keystone, Hot Shotz Ale and Grill

Struise Mikkeller Double IPA: Crown Liquors - Carmel, Crown Liquors - 6165 Allisonville, Hot Shotz Ale and Grill

Struise Struiselensis Wild Ale: Crown Liquors - Carmel, Kahn's Fine Wine - Keystone, Payless Liquors #7 Rangeline

We still have a few cases of the Wild Ale in stock. I have ordered more and we will see what we get.

Mat Gerdenich
Cavalier Distributing
I just made a run myself and picked up a bottle of both the Pannepot and Struiselensis Wild Ale from Kahns - 12 oz. each, $7.99 per bottle. It looked like there were three bottles of Pannepot left, and maybe four of the Struiselensis.

23 April 2008

How to Get Rid of...

On occasion you might find yourself with beer you just have no desire to drink*. At our house there's a few beers especially reserved for guests - the "here, maybe you'll like this" stash. Perhaps unfortunately, most of our guests these days know their beer. And so we're left to getting rid of this beer by our own devices.

With that in mind...

Lakefront Cherry Lager - A fizzy golden body supports an active head. Nose of sweet cherries and alka-seltzer, lively front, but drinking reveals little character - a light cherry flavor on the back end... a hint of apple? It's kinda like Budweiser plus a weak cherry tootsie pop flavoring.

Blatz Beer - The last of the left-overs from the Retro Beer Challenge. Poured with a thin head that quickly settled to nothing. Looks like a glass of yellow water... Nose - a hint of old trash can. Front - not too bad, really doesn't taste much like anything. Weird mouthfeel - kinda alkaline maybe? Not in taste, just in feel.

So what happens if you mix the two?

Lakefront Cherry Lager + Blatz - Half a finger of head, copper colored, quite lively. Nose - seems like it brought the cherry out more, actually... somehow it's almost like the Blatz filled the beer out MORE. Really odd. I think it's actually an improvement? If you really like Lakefront Cherry Lager but don't want to pay for more than one... Then again Blatz is only available by the case.

Well that turned out ok, what if I add something else? And in the spirit of Chelada...

Lakefront Cherry Lager + Blatz + Diet A&W Root Beer (were you expecting Clam Juice?) - Root Beer is beer, right? Two and a half fingers of head, nice copper/brown coloring...the root beer appears to be sitting on top, mostly. Actually looks really tasty. Nose of root beer and a hint of alcohol. Front is all root beer, but as it works it's way in I get a hint of corn flakes, or bran maybe. Once again, I think this is an improvement! You know the way soda works in an ice cream float, with the really thick pillowy head? Same thing here.

I'll admit this was a dumb experiment, but surprisingly enough I drank the whole thing. Not bad at all!

So let that be a lesson to you.

* * * * *

*I'll admit this concept may be foreign to you.

22 April 2008

Bread of Affliction Blues | Dealing with a beer-free week

Every year, I do something that fellow beer geeks rarely do voluntarily: I swear off beer for eight days. Why? Because I'm Jewish and it's Passover, the annual celebration of the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery (cf. Charlton and Yul squaring off in Technicolor). Aside from sitting down to at least one long dinner called a Seder and stuffing ourselves silly, those of us who are at least somewhat observant also try to forgo the consumption of chametz, which my buds at Chabad concisely define as "any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, or their derivatives, which has leavened (risen) or fermented." This prohibition is why Jews eat that unleavened crappy cardboard cracker stuff called matzah (also known as the "bread of affliction"). In addition, for the eight days of the holiday, there's no bread, no bagels, no pizza . . . and no beer.

So what's a Jew to drink if he or she doesn't want to subsist on bad kosher wine? Well, Ramapo Valley Brewery of Hillburn, New York, makes the only beer that is certified kosher for Passover. Called Passover Honey Beer, the drink at first glance appears to be mead because it's made with honey. However, mead is not normally made with hops, and the Passover Honey Beer is. The beer is also gluten-free, so people with celiac disease may freely partake in it.

While the Passover Honey Beer hasn't received glowing reviews, I'm willing to give it a try because it is described as having a character similar to that of hard apple cider, and I love hard cider. So, beer sleuths, I put this question to you: may I find this beer in Indiana?

Not So Random Beer Roundup: World Beer Cup Winner Beers Avaialable in Indiana

Indiana's brewers do good work - Shoreline, Upland, and Three Floyds were all winners at this year's World Beer Cup, held in San Diego. Of course you know that beers from those breweries are readily available from your local craft beer store - but what other medal winners are available in Indiana? We contacted (or were contacted by) our beer distributor friends and found out.

World Beer Cup Winners available from Cavalier Distributing:

Coffee Flavored Beer: Silver - Meantime Coffee Porter, Meantime Brewing Co. Limited
Bronze - Hitachino Nest Beer Espresso Stout, Kiuchi Brewing

Other Strong Ale or Lager: Gold - Dark Horizon, Nøgne Ø

German-Style Schwarzbier: Bronze - Eisenbahn Dunkel, Cervejaria Sudbrack Ltda.

Traditional German-Style Bock: Silver - Lakefront Bock, Lakefront Brewery, Inc.

Baltic-Style Porter: Bronze - Baltika N6 Porter, Baltika Breweries

Belgian-Style Sour Ale: Gold - Geuze Boon, Boon Brouwerij N.V.

Extra Special Bitter or Strong Bitter: Bronze - Stone Pale Ale, Stone Brewing Co.

Robust Porter: Silver - Porter, Nøgne Ø

Sweet Stout: Gold - Left Hand Brewing Company Milk Stout, Left Hand Brewing Co.

German-Style Pale Wheat Ale: Bronze - Weihenstephan Kristall-Weissbier, Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan

German-Style Dark Wheat Ale: Gold - Schneider Weisse Original, Schneider Weisse

South German-Style Weizenbock/Weissbock: Bronze - Aventinus Schneider Weisse

International Pale Ale: Gold - Winter Storm, Clipper City Brewing Co.
Bronze - Punk IPA, BrewDog

World Beer Cup Winners available from World Class Beverages:

American-Style Amber Lager: Bronze - Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Brewery
Silver - Old Scratch Amber Lager, Flying Dog Brewery

American-Style Hefeweizen: Silver - UFO Hefeweizen, Harpoon Brewery

American-Style Imperial Stout: Gold - Gonzo Imperial Porter, Flying Dog Brewery

American-Style Wheat Beer: Gold - Crystal Wheat Ale, Pyramid Breweries Inc.

Belgian- and French-Style Ale: Gold - Brugse Zot Blond, Brouwerij De Halve Maan

Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale: Silver - Malheur 12°, Brewery Malheur

Belgian-Style Dubbel: Gold - Allagash Dubbel, Allagash Brewing Co.

Belgian-Style Pale Strong Ale: Gold - La Fin du Monde, La Brasserie Unibroue

Belgian-Style Tripel : Gold - Affligem Tripel, Affligem Brewery
Silver - Allagash Tripel, Allagash Brewing Co.
Bronze - Westmalle Trappist Tripel, Westmalle Trappist Brewery

Belgian-Style White (or Wit)/Belgian-Style Wheat: Silver - Ommegang Witte, Brewery Ommegang

British-Style Imperial Stout: Gold - Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn Brewery

Brown Porter : Gold - Porter, Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Classic English-Style Pale Ale: Gold - MacTarnahan's Amber Ale, Pyramid Breweries Inc.

Imperial or Double India Pale Ale: Bronze - Dread Naught, Three Floyds Brewing Co.

Imperial or Double Red Ale: Gold - Behemoth, Three Floyds Brewing Co.

Old Ale: Silver - Upland Winter Warmer, Upland Brewing Co.

Other Belgian-Style Ale: Silver - Malheur Brut Reserve, Brewery Malheur

Specialty Beer: Gold -Morimoto Soba Ale, Rogue Ales*
Bronze - Morimota Black Obi Soba Ale, Rogue Ales*

Specialty Honey Lager or Ale: Bronze - Midas Touch, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Wood- and Barrel-aged Strong Beer: Bronze - Allagash Curieux, Allagash Brewing Co.

*I'm a fan of these beers - Though I prefer the Black Obi variety. Hopefully we'll get around to reviewing them soon.

21 April 2008

KOTBR #43 - Pop Quiz

Mike, Jim, and Gina met up at Hot Shotz last Saturday for a few drinks.


Struise Pannepøt Old Fisherman's Ale (Danish version)

For our first beer at Hot Shotz, we went big guns with the highly-touted Struise Pannepøt, a brand from Belgian brewery De Struise Brouwers. I first learned about this beer when Jeffrey T. and his crew reviewed it on the Good Beer Show and raved about it. When we arrived at Hot Shotz, I spotted a few bottles of the Pannepøt in the back of the bar's fridge. I wasn't surprised to see it given that Hans, who is quickly becoming our favorite bartender, is probably more of a hardcore beer geek than we are.

Without question, Pannepøt is the most complex beer we've reviewed. It is a chameleon of a beer, and I mean that in the best sense. The only thing that didn't change about this beer was its color, which was a dark, chocolaty brown. Every other attribute of the Pannepøt seemed to change with every sniff and sip. The nose began as a spice festival but morphed into an odor that reminded me of dark fruit drizzled with chocolate. The mouthfeel ranged from a medium slickness to a heavy chewiness. And the taste, like the nose, was all spice at the beginning but mellowed into a flavor reminiscent of raisins and caramel.

About halfway through this beer, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Its changing character threw me for a loop. Yet when I got to the last three or four sips, I found myself really savoring this beer. My final verdict: This is a beer not to be missed for its absolutely unique character. It's an awesome beer (and I'm using the term "awesome" in its original sense, not its hot dog sense). 4.75 mugs.

Struise Mikkeller

For our second beer, we reviewed Struise Mikkeller, which is another unique ale. Brewed in collaboration by De Struise Brouwers and Danish craft brewery Mikkeller, Struise Mikkeller is their take on the Imperial IPA style. But to make this beer different, it is brewed using Belgian yeasts and candi sugar. The result was quite enjoyable but somewhat bizarre to my palate. It poured with a hazy orange color. The nose was, as one might expect from an IPA, very floral and citrusy, but there was a different note in the background: yeast. The mouthfeel was crisp and carried a lot of fizz. As for the taste, the Struise Mikkeller packed a full-on hop wallop, but finished with a yeasty flavor that is not present in most IPAs. Mike and Gina didn't seem to like this beer as much as I. I found it, like the Struise Pannepot, to be one of a kind. 4.10 mugs.


I agree with Jim that the Pannepøt was awesome, indeed. In the Venn diagram of beer, it would be on the far left (the window side). Just a few things I got from the nose were licorice, sweet mint, apples and nutmeg. The simply luxurious mouthfeel reminded me of a piece of melted dark chocolate. This beer was amazing and I am looking forward to the opportunity to try the Belgian version. 4.98 mugs.

As far as the Struise-Mikkeller, I really did like it, but not nearly as much as the Pannepøt. I really had a hard time deciphering the mix of flavors and I think the mix of Belgian and IPA qualities threw my taste buds off. However, the flavors did balance into an interesting combination. 4.0 mugs.

Other highlights for me were Kasteel Rouge on tap (SPECTACULAR), and Hans' offering of Autumnal Fire, a Dopplebock from Capitol Brewing Co. (Wisconsin). A good time had by all, as usual.

***As a note, Jim and I will continue to quote Eddie Izzard and generally annoy the rest of you at least until his show on May 10. Then we may have a whole new batch of quotes to dish out.


If you've been reading this site for a while, you already know Hans is the special breed of bartender. You already know that Hot Shotz has a nice variety of rare beer in bottles or on tap. You know that I like the BBQ pork sandwich. What you don't know is that their chairs are sort of wobbly.

Perhaps I'm easy to please, but that's the only thing I can think to complain about. But when you gaze into the cooler and find beer as rare as the two we had, everything seems a little better. These beers weren't cheap ($10 each), so if you're interested but frugal, use the buddy system. We split our samples three ways.

Struise Pannepøt 2006 - We knew from our past experience with Struise that this was a highly regarded beer - a Ratebeer 100, and a BeerAdvocate "A" in fact. But the problem with beers hyped so much is that the expectations are so unusually high that disappointment is a common occurrence. I'm happy to say that wasn't the case this time.

A dark tea-colored body supported a thin bit of ghostly lacing. The beer had an extremely tempting and strong nose of strong sweet sugary apple which lead to a similar taste. The beer had a similar nose feel to nail polish, but was smooth and warming on the pallet, and not overly strong. Tart but not tart. Typically Belgian, and yet the beer had something more - hints of fruit and fig, a little punch on the tongue - every sip revealed something new. This is the kind of beer that leads a guy to inventing new words ("nose feel?") and contradicting himself all in one paragraph (tart but not tart, smooth and yet "a punch on the tongue").

The label reads as follows:
"Pronounciation is a bit difficult, but sounds like pannepeut but is totally different than pannepot."
This seemed to confuse both Jim and Gina, but for some reason I thought it fit the beer exactly. Exactly What. 4.89 Mugs

Struise Mikkeller - When brewers and websites get together, it usually leads to great things. Example number one would be Brugge Beer's Sint Sylvester Vooranvond - A HBG Commemorative Ale. For another example, you can check out Struise Mikkeller, whose bottle reads as follows:
"Behold the second of RateBeer.com’s Worldwide Masters Series! This request edition ale is the crafted alchemy of a party of some of Europe’s finest brewers, Mikkel Bjergsø and Kristian Keller of Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Urbain Coutteau, Carlo Grootaert, Phil Driessens, and Peter Braem of De Struise Brouwers (Woesten-Vleteren, Belgium).

Both breweries have attracted considerable international attention for their artful interpretations of traditional ale styles enlived by a rich sense of invention. And both are also very highly esteemed by the RateBeer.com international community of beer tasters. We hope you enjoy this unique little treasure.

Struise Mikkeller -- the product of master brewing and friendship. Celebrate this sense of camaraderie by sharing this bottle with your good friends!
- Joe Tucker, RateBeer.com"
What's the result? A cloudy copper colored beer with light lacing, a nose of flat (think old flowers) hops, glue, and the medicine they use on cavities (I've been to the dentist lately), a hint of apple, and feet. Surprisingly enough, none of those elements were off putting; instead they led to a sort of wonderment. A floral and tight hop bite front lead to absolutely no middle and a lingering bitterness on the finish. Chewy. Tasty. Different. 3.62 Mugs

* * * * *

Jason was highly jealous of our Pannepøt experience and decided to review it later by himself, which altered the overall score slightly. You can check out Jason's review here.

19 April 2008

How to Drink when the Nails go in the Coffin

With the quick strike of Peter Crouch's boot the nails were finally driven into Fulham Football Club's coffin this morning. Soccer fan or not, I think the misery of a big loss is one that anyone can understand. In Fulham's case, the loss to Liverpool meant not just the end of a season (although there are three games left), but a demotion to a lower league, and the end of American television coverage for the club.

That's a bitter pill for fans of the club to swallow. Although there are bigger names in the league - teams that most people have heard of, like Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea - Fulham's continuing support of American soccer (the clubs employs five Americans) made it a natural choice for American fans. With the purchase of just two sports packages on DirecTV, fans of the club could be assured of television coverage of about 95% of Fulham's games. With a finish in the bottom three of the Premier League and relegation to a lower league, Fulham have made it impossible to watch the club on television. In any case, this loss to Liverpool was the final in a series of nails in the coffin - we've seen this coming for some time.

For me there's only one way to send the club off - with beer. So when it happens to you, here's how you do it.

1. Pick something bitter - Your first thought might be to pick something English - after all, this is English Football. But that'd be a mistake - you want something bitter enough to reflect how the whole experience has been for you. No one does bitter as well as the big hopped American IPA's - like my choice, Founder's Devil's Dancer Triple IPA. This best has the highest documented International Bitterness Units (IBU) available, and is dry hopped with 10 varieties of hops for 28 straight days.

2. Pick something special - You're drinking in tribute to your club - a team you've followed through the thick and (more so) the thin of the season - and although times are bad now, not just any beer will do. You wouldn't toast a friend with cheap wine, so don't shortchange your football club. Founder's Devil's Dancer is a limited release, pre-order only beer. I paid somewhere from $4 to $6 for the 12 oz. bottle. This is not your everyday beer.

3. Pick something great - Devil's Dancer is just another great beer from the folks at Founder's, who do consistently great work. Remember - although this English Premiership season has ended in heartbreak, next year your team will be in a league where they might actually win a few games. Your beer should reflect the greatness that lies in the possibility of next year. And besides, the Major League Soccer club you support is on the tv this afternoon. And this just might be their year...

17 April 2008

It's almost here!

DarkLord Day is Saturday the 26th, and a couple of the Knights of the Beer Roundtable are planning on attending. But we're rookies...

How about you? Headed to Munster? Care to share your plans? Wanna give us a ride? Got any tips? Leave a comment!

16 April 2008

Beer Diary #9 - Mike

My first thought when looking at my notes was "well these were boring." If you've got any experience with any of beers covered, let me know - I'd be interested to hear what your thoughts are.

6 March 08 Location: World Class Beverages

These are beers we sampled for beer school - they probably should have made it into that post but... they didn't.

Paulaner Salvator Dopplebock - Apple cider appearance, apple juice nose, middle of tongue tastes with caramel, malt, a hint of cooked corn, and the reappearance of apple on the back end.

EKU 28 - Apple characteristics again. Bubbly and yellow, lots of lacing, sweetness on front, strong caramel flavors balance w/ alcohol notes. Crawls up the throat and out the out. More punch than the Paulaner.

Harpoon Hibernian Irish Red - Red/Copper color, lacing around the edges. Flat front, works the back and sides of the tongue, easy drinking.

Bellhaven Scottish Ale - Light woody color, lacing. No nose. Earthy flavors, lively on the tongue, easy to drink, extremely balanced with a slight bitter aftertaste.

Orkney Skull Splitter - Strong scotch ale - dark tea color, alcohol comes out the more you drink, smooth and easy, hint of fruit on front.

29 March 08 Location: Chatham Tap - Post a painful Fulham Tie

Leinenkugel Creamy Dark - This is the first Leinenkugel beer I've ever drank. After reading a review in Beer Advocate that stated something about "always being pleasantly surprised" by the brewery, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Looks-wise the title is fitting - creamy, dark and coke-colored, with a thin oily head. A sweet sulfury nose leads to a hit of sweetness on the front and a burnt pretzel middle. I gave Jason a sample and I think he agreed that pretzel was the overwhelming characteristic. A little chewy. Not bad. But I wouldn't be in a hurry to try it again.

7 March 08 Location: Home

Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock - Cherry coke color with a dead head. Nose of grape bubbelgum. Middleweight mouthfeel with a hint of bubbly grape taste. This might make a nice soda. Alcohol presence was non-existent. Highly drinkable. Pretty forgettable.

14 April 2008

The Hoosier Beer Geek Readers Survey - Results (Part 2)

As we stated yesterday, a fine fifty-nine Hoosier Beer Geek readers took the time to answer our first every whole-hog survey. Thanks again to those of you who took time out of your busy days to give us a little feedback on what we do.

Because there was a lot of data to cover, we broke this up over two posts. Part one is available here.

6. How much beer do you drink?

A few every month: 3.4%
A couple a week: 39%
One a day: 33.9%
A couple a day: 16.9%
More than a couple a day: 6.8%


7. Have you ever bought a beer because of a Hoosier Beer Geek review?

Because we're not getting paid to do this, we hope that whatever influence we can have on breweries or distributors will lead to benefits we can somehow pass on to our readers. We've certainly seen the appreciation of breweries like Brugge (free beer for our New Year's Party), restaurants and bars like Deano's Vino, Hot Shotz, and Badaboomz, and distributors like World Class Beverages (beer for sampling at our Big Car Events) and Cavalier. We hope that whatever influence we can have continues to foster these relationships in a way that can be beneficial for anyone reading.

Having said all that, 49.2% (29 readers) said that they had bought a beer because of a Hoosier Beer Geek review, with twenty of you taking the time to relate that it was a good to great experience. That's pretty damn awesome.

Only one comment left was of a negative experience:

"Not well, I normally don't like IPA's but the raves that DFH 90 IPA got I thought maybe I had the wrong beer to try. Nope...I really don't like IPA's."

Sorry about that. We salute your efforts, anyway.

8. Have you ever visited a bar/restaurant/brewpub/liquor store because of a Hoosier Beer Geek review?

28.7% (17) of you responded that you have visited a beer location because of a Hoosier Beer Geek review. So how did it go for those folks?

"I can't remember"

"That belgium place. Great food, good beer."


"I went to Hot Shotz because you are always talking about it. Great Place that I've been back to."

"BBC in Louisville. Kahn's on Keystone. If my business trip allows for it I'll go to the beer mapping site to look for something interesting to bring back home."

"Excellent, it is one of my favorite drinking holes. The Legend Cafe in Irvington."

"Thank you for introducing me to Hot Shotz."

"All of the places with good beers are always good experiences. Seriously."


"I think an option for Not Yet would be more appropriate. :)"

"We had never been to Deano's Vino and probably would not have gone without the HBG events there. Now that we have been, we will definitely come back. The atmosphere was great and it's very impressive that craft beer stays on all 3 of their taps and the regular prices are very fair, not to mention the pitcher specials!"

"Very well, although it was just the beer dinner at L'ex. Most of the other places we had been to before."

For those of you who've make the trips and had a good time, we've glad we could be of service.

"Not well. The Badaboomz downtown is a dump."

To be honest, we've heard varying reports on Badaboomz over the past few months. It strikes us as odd because short of a little confusion with the beer menu, none of us have every had a bad Badaboomz experience - and we all visit Badaboomz fairly regularly.

Apparently some changes are in the works for the downtown location - so keep an eye out for that. Hopefully the full beer menu stays - if nothing else they deserve kudos for the expansive selection.

9. Please rate these Hoosier Beer Geek features in order of how likely you are to read them.

The graphic is a little hard to read, but I think I can sum it up for you. As it turns out, everyone likes (at least a little bit) almost everything we do. There were very few negative responses.

It was good to know that our Roundtable reviews remain amongst the most popular of things we do - sometimes they get a little long-winded. We'd like to think that's what sets them apart from typical beer reviews.

10. Why do you read Hoosier Beer Geek?

Forty-nine responses for this one. Greatly appreciated.

Some highlights:

"The love of beer is something that has to be shared, whether in person or via the internet."
I couldn't agree more

"Along with a beer it helps put me to sleep.... just kidding."
I just want to point out that came from the oldest person responding.

"My husband and I just began homebrewing and we want to learn more about beer. We would also like to learn about events where we can meet other homebrewers in our area."
We certainly appreciate your readership and hope you'll stick around. We can we also recommend the Foam Blowers of Indiana.

"I like to hear about my beer. And Jason's a pretty cool guy."
Apparently Jason's mom is reading.

"I like beer, I like Hoosiers, I like geeks. I like Hoosiers who are geeky about beer. I like Hoosier geeks who talk about beer. I like beer that is enjoyed by geeky Hoosiers."
We like wordy comments.

"Beer, Soccer fans, throw in a good friend of mine... what's not to like? Once again, it's well written, the descriptions of the beers are excellent, it's free, and it shows up in my inbox randomly -- a literary present of sorts. If you want to reach out to your readers, and perhaps reach a few more at events, why not promote your ladies? Both men and women love them beer drinking females. The men perhaps for the wrong reasons..... especially those prone to stalking, but there are lots of women out there who just want to know that there are other female connoiseurs of beer. Then they might come out of their shell? Bring the husband or boyfriend? Just a thought."
A literary present? How many beers did Jim buy you? Thanks for the idea about promoting the ladies - we're working on a Ladies Only event.

"I like reading up on new beers to try and like that Indy has a group of people who don't consider specials on beer a $3 pitcher of Coors Lite. I drink to enjoy the beer, not because I'm looking to get sloshed--so while I haven't shown up yet to a local beer event, I think that my boyfriend and I may come to one eventually."
If he's not up for it, you're still welcome to show up.

"I like beer It makes me a jolly good fellow I like beer"
Is that a song? I can't find it on Itunes.

"You guys (and gals) do a great job and I like your witty writing and no-holds-barred approach to tastings - since I frequently go through Indiana on my way from wisconsin to Ohio, it's not abnormal to stop and pick up beer in Indiana and you do a good job of promoting the local beer scene. Good job!"
Your check is in the mail.

"You guys rock. It is really nice to see real reviews from true beer lovers. The my first beer story with the fishing trip was excellent.
A little love for a guest column! Nice.

"HBG is a great source of local beer news and is written with great personality. The reviews are very accessible and lacking in pretension. Overall just a great combination of current beer news in Indiana and good beer people.

We'd say the good beer people are our readers - Thanks everyone.

The Hoosier Beer Geek Readers Survey - Results (Part 1)

We'd like to thank everyone who participated in our first full fledged readers survey. Fifty-nine of you took the time to answer the questionnaire, and thanks to your answers we hope to continue to bring the beer to you in new and adventurous ways.

Because there was a lot of data to cover, we'll break this up over two posts.

1. Demographics

As could be expected, the vast majority of Hoosier Beer Geek readers live in Indiana. We do have a few out of state readers - a few in St. Louis, Missouri, a few from Kentucky, a gentleman in Madison, Wisconsin who is welcome to mail us New Glarus products, another fine reader from Orlando, Florida, who is welcome to send us some warm weather, a class act of a man from Greeley, Colorado that we'd love to receive regular shipments of Oskar Blues products from, and a dashing young man from Seattle, Washington who we should probably send a t-shirt. For those of you reading from far away, thanks for your support - we hope your as excited about Indiana beer as we are about beer from everywhere else.

The average age of our readers? 34.35, with our youngest reponder being 22 and our oldest at the sprightly 58.

Hoosier Beer Geek is very much a boys club, with 85% of our readership being male, and the better 15% female. Luckily the attendance at our parties hasn't been so one-sided. We'd very much like to raise that percentage - the fine females of Hoosier Beer Geek are looking into a ladies-only event in the upcoming months.

2. How did you first find out about Hoosier Beer Geek?

The majority (52.9%) of Hoosier Beer Geek readers found out about us through links from another website - which means my trolling (just kidding) of messageboards and other beer sites has paid off! A few of you found us through press coverage (InTake, Nuvo, Time, People, National Geographic). While we certainly appreciate all our readers, for those of you referring us to friends (at least eight readers), a special thanks.

3. How do you read Hoosier Beer Geek?

This was pretty balanced, with 49.2% of our readers saying they visit the actual site, 39% reading through RSS, and 23.7% receiving our posts through email. Only one person responded that they weren't a reader and just enjoyed surveys.

4. Which of the following Hoosier Beer Geek events have you attended?

This was certainly eye-opening. Of 59 responses, only 10 readers admitted to attending a Hoosier Beer Geek event.

5. If you have not attended a Hoosier Beer Geek event, what's keeping you from attending?

It seems the reason most of our readers haven't attended our parties comes down to date/time issues or location. Date and time issues are pretty much out of our control, but we're certainly hoping to diversify our event locations in the future.

Five of you said you haven't attended because our events "are not (my) scene", and four of you said you're not comfortable with introducing yourself to people with the phrase "I read your blog". While we certainly understand that line of thinking, we really do want to let you know that if your comfortable with meeting new people, we're more than happy to have you out.

There were a few comments left that we'd like to address:

"The events don't seem welcoming to new people. It seems like you have a group of friends that all get together. Are there typically a lot of new people?"

While it's true that we have a group of friends that get together - it's only been through regularly seeing each other at the events that we got to know each other. There are a few pairs of folks who knew each other before Hoosier Beer Geek, but for the most part it's been an entirely blog-based group. If we haven't been welcoming before, we'd love it if you'd give us a second shot. Just let us know ahead of time that you're coming out - that way we know to expect you.

"(I) Don't know if I'm enough of a beer geek."

For those of you who are new to this - We want to meet you more than almost anyone. I'll be honest in saying that it's incredibly rewarding to know that we've had some part in introducing folks to something new. It's great to hear the opinions of those who are just walking through the craft beer door - a door some of us walked through not so long ago.

By the way, only five of you called us dorks. I think we all expected more votes there.

13 April 2008

Upland Beer Tasting at BadaBoomz

Monday, April 14th: BadaBoomz Downtown is hosting a free beer tasting featuring Upland beers. Starts at 8pm. Lasts until the very last drop. Better than Maxwell House.

12 April 2008

Beer Diary #4 - Jason has the blues

The week of March 30th, 2008 at home

It's nice having neighbors. Especially neighbors who leave gifts on your front porch. Gifts like beer. Good beer. Actually, great beer. No reason to be sad, but I've got the blues.

Specifically, beer from Oskar Blues Grill and Brewery in Lyons, Colorado. Judge Sandy, who was recently (as in earlier today) featured at HBG as a guest reviewer, left me four beers on one of her weekend trips back home with the requirement that I have to write a review. Oh, and the four beers are in cans. Yeah, they can their beer. Awesome.

Before I talk about these beers, I want to painfully point out that this is another "fly-over" beer brand that has somehow made its way through Indiana to other points without actually leaving any beer for us to try. Having tried Oskar Blues' four distributed beers, they have made their way to the "Top 5 beer brands not in Indiana" list, which only exists in my head right now, but will most certainly be a future posting.

I guess not having Oskar Blues available in Indiana is enough reason to sing the blues.

But enough pining about what we don't have. Let me talk about the four beers that I consumed last week that now makes me a better person than the rest of you!

Dale's Pale Ale is the flagship beer of Oskar Blues. As you can see, it pours a cloudy gold/amber with a thick, bubbly white head. It has a clean smell with a bit of citrus, maybe some other spices. In spite of the thick head, it is not overly carbonated and has a nice hop/malt balance to it. Some caramel flavors meet up with the Centennial hops to create an enjoyable summertime beer. It is a very substantial American Pale Ale. It reaches #2 on my blues charts.
Old Chub is a funny ass name for a serious Scottish ale. It truly smells like a Scotsman. Not that I ever smelled a Scotsman before. I'd imagine he'd smell like a Scotch whiskey, which often is strong and peaty. And I mean this is a very complimentary way.

It is a dark, cloudy beer with a dark tan head. It has a smokey flavor with several layers of malts. Coffee, toffee, maybe some not-so-sweet chocolate. It was very complex. Even though it is their "malty beer", it still has a bit of a spice bite. Just enough hops to keep it interesting.

Personally, I'd pick a Dirty Bastard, a Robert the Bruce, or a handful of Scottish Ales from Scotland (of all places!). I find these beers to have a more straight forward, honest Scottish Ale flavor profile compared to the Old Chub. But if you stumble across this somewhere, pick it up. It's complexity in flavor may put it over the top in your books. Me, it ranks #3 on the blues chart.
Pardon my profanity as I say this: Holy. Fucking. Shit.

The Oskar Blues website describes Gordon as this: "...a hybrid version of strong ale, somewhere between an Imperial Red and a Double IPA. We make it with six different malts and three types of hops, then dry-hop it with a mutha lode of Amarillo hops."

It pours out looking like an Imperial Red. It tastes like a DIPA along the lines of a Dogfish Head 90. In both aroma and flavor, it has a mix of hops and malt. In comparison to DFH90, I'd say the mix in Gordon is slightly hoppier. Or less maltier. Or both. Whatever. It doesn't carry quite the amount of sweetness that you find with 2008 Hopslam though.

Judge Sandy agrees with my sentiment. About Gordon, she wrote "I think it is better than DFH 90 minute as it is less cloying on the body. 90 min just has too much residual sweetness for me."

It is number 1 on the blues chart and is now in the most desirable/most have it category. More desirable that Racer 5. One of my top five favorites at the moment. A 5 mugger in my book. And if I get a hold of a four pack (please Judge Sandy!), I'm going to attempt to split it with my fellow knights. If I don't drink them all first.
The TenFidy Russian Imperial Stout is my least favorite of the four Oskar Blues beers. Which based on the quality of the ones listed above isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is listed as having a 98 IBU rating, which I had a hard time finding under all the malts. Until this past winter, it was purely a seasonal beer. As a year round regular, it will certainly pass up Old Chub as the preferred beer of malt fans. It pours out like a black hole, sucking in light that approaches it. It has a dark, thick head. And it is chewy. And dangerous. 10% ABV. Look out.

Russian Imperial Stouts are not my favorite style, so I am probably not the best judge of TenFidy. But there are definitely better Russian Imperial Stouts out there. Like the Old Chub, I find the layering of flavors to be a bit overwhelming and would prefer a more straight forward version of this style.

Overall, though, Oskar Blues appears to be a quality and creative brewery. Should I get my hand on any or all of these varieties again, I'll hopefully have the will power to share these at a roundtable instead of hoarding them for myself.

A Hoosier in New England

Being a part of Hoosier Beer Geek has provided many benefits. Drinking great beers is the obivious perk. But meeting people and having the opportunity to drink and talk with them would be tops. So on occassion, one of our friends drops us a line, especially during their travels.

One friend is Judge Sandy. Some of you probably know her; she's a beer judge and can often be found hanging out at Deano's Vino. That is, of course, when her job doesn't send her out-of-town. She has spent several weeks in Boston recently and to help occupy her time, she's been finding good beer stores, bars, breweries, and homebrew groups. And she has been emailing me about her hopped up adventures (as Judge Sandy recently said: "ok, can you tell I am a bit bored??").

On Thursday, she sent me her review of a "fly-over beer" (in that it is brewed on one side of the country and travels through Indiana on its way to the other side of the country without leaving any of its goodness with us Hoosiers). Some of you may be familiar with Lagunitas Brewing Company and its double India pale ale "Maximus". It brewed and bottled in California and, along with Boston, is also available in Chicago and parts of Ohio.

Without further ado, here is Judge Sandy's review. Enjoy!

Lagunitas Maximus
Maximus has a complex hop aroma of citrus and tropical fruit with resiny tones. I, also, get a hint of eucalyptus or some sort of herbal character. Underlying the hop fest is a malty sweetness. It is subtle at first but bigger as the beer warms up.

It pours a rich gold/pale amber with an off-white/ivory dense rocky head. It has a decent head retention, but is not the best I've seen. There is good Belgian lacing on the glass, as well as good clarity.

There is initially a little malty/carmelly sweetness that comes across on this, but then the hops catch up and run it over! I don't pick up any of the astringency that sometimes comes with some highly hopped beers (Lagunitas says this one packs 72 IBU's). The hop bitterness makes a happy cringe on the back of my tongue. Even in the flavor the hop profile is very complex, but it is more herbal than resiny.

Maximus has a medium body and a medium to medium-high level of carbonation that makes a happy tingling sensation on the tongue and palate. The finish is a bit drier than some IPA/I2PAs than I have had, but it is not bone dry. Actually, I prefer a drier finish as I don't really enjoy a high level of residual sugars.

Overall Impression: This is a great beer! Some call it an IPA and some a DIPA. I would have to call it a 1.5 IPA. At 7.5% a.b.v., it is a pretty big beer, but deceptively so. This one would be great in pitchers and would quickly get a table full of beer geeks in trouble. I enjoy the smoothness of the beer despite it's good hop bite. In the Hoosier Beer Geek rating system, I would give this a minimum of 4 mugs!

Sounds like another beer to add to my list of future out-of-town purchases. I'm guessing I'll hear from Judge Sandy again as her stay in Boston continues. If you are on the road and want to drop us a line about a bar, a brewery, or a beer you tried, be sure to email us at HoosierBeerGeek@gmail.com.

10 April 2008

Random Beer Roundup

It's that special time of year - April 10th - which means we're only twelvetyteen days from our next anniversary party. Sounds like as good an excuse to drink as any, right?

Even we can't make "brewed with barley, hops, and shards of glass" sound good - It's in the best interest of everyone that we let you know about the Sam Adams recall.

Sure, but which on goes better with Oscar Meyer bologna? - From the Mercury News comes this article about one of Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione's beer vs. wine dinners - and a mention of his new book.

Beer people: Dedicated. Maybe a little crazy. - A guy over at the beer advocate forums spends his spare time browsing Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau records and stumbles across what appears to be a new beer from Bell's.

Three blogs for every beer - The always growing Indiana beer website family adds a new member with Brew Bits - who's reporting on the R. Bistro/3 Floyds Craft Beer dinner on Tuesday, May 6. Welcome to the family, Brew Bits - I'm right there with you on the Triple.

Subscribers: 0 - And if you were ever wondering about the creative process behind the graphics at Hoosier Beer Geek, I've written a short guide over on my stupid blog. One thing I failed to mention - it was Jason's idea to have the sausages flying out of the car windows on the Oktoberfest poster. I guess the odd thing is that he's requested sausages on every poster since.

09 April 2008

"Brew-Heads" | A recap of the first annual Indiana Craft Beer Roundtable

NUVO's Rita Kohn, who shares our love of craft beer, has posted the transcript of the first annual Indiana Craft Beer Roundtable, which took place last month at the state fairgrounds. There's also video of the event here. The Roundtable was a panel discussion among Indiana's craft beer pioneers and leaders. Panelists included Kevin Matalucci from the Broad Ripple Brewpub and Ted Miller from Brugge Brasserie/Brugge Beer. This transcript is a must-read for anyone who wants to see how much the Indiana craft beer industry has grown in the last 18 years and how much growing it still has to do.

08 April 2008

Beer Diary #8 - Jim | Then and now

4 April 2008, 10:00 p.m.
Location: Home

At last, it's time for the premier of the fourth and final season of the SciFi Channel's updated version of Battlestar Galactica. The highly lauded show has been on hiatus for nearly a year, and that's a year too long for anyone who watches the show. Before you sneer at me for being a sci-fi nerd, go out and rent the first three seasons of this show on DVD. Then, tell me you're not hooked and jumping on the small but sturdy BSG bandwagon, joining the rest of us who are already following the final chapter of the BSG story. Even if you're not a sci-fi fan, you'll get addicted to the dark drama, which is laced with contemporary social and political commentary and conveyed by a superb cast. You too will want to see the survivors of the Twelve Colonies reach Earth. And, you too will desire the answer to the colossal burning question: Who is the final Cylon?

Five good reasons to watch Battlestar Galactica

To grease my BSG viewing gears, I grab a Bell's Hopslam from the fridge. I wish I had cellared some of the six pack I bought because, for me, the 2008 Hopslam has a sharper hop edge than it did last year and could use some mellowing. It is also drier to my palate and doesn't carry the sugary back and peachy nose it had in its inaugural batch. Still, Hopslam is beautiful stuff, a pineapple-scented bomb that improves with each sip. I nurse my pint through the entire gripping BSG episode, letting the tranquil buzz slowly permeate my frame.

5 April 2008, 8:00 p.m.
Location: Broad Ripple
The Usual Suspects
The Corner Wine Bar

The Redhead and I end a working Saturday with dinner in Broad Ripple at The Usual Suspects. I rarely drink a beer with dinner (I know what you're thinking, Brewmaster's Table people: Sacrilege!), but a Bell's Oberon feels like the right pairing with my entree: potato fritters. Besides, we're dining alfresco, feeling the remaining tendrils of warmth from the setting April sun, and the Oberon suits Spring's ushering in of more pleasant days.

The server brings out the Oberon with my salad. The wheat ale looks exactly like it did last year with its orange/golden tint and slight white head. The nose carries that same clove character the beer had in 2007, so I expect that this 2008 Oberon will be similar to a visit with an old friend: comfortable and familiar. Yet the first sip brings more spice and sweetness than last year's batch brought. The 2008 Hopslam tasted a bit different from the 2007 release, and now I get the same experience from the Oberon? Larry Bell, w
hat's going on up there in Comstock? Not that I'm complaining, 'cuz I'm a longtime member of the "different is better" school of thought. Oberon is not normally the sort of beer I'd be yearning to stock my fridge with, but I'm smitten with the 2008 edition.

After dinner, we venture next door to the Corner Wine Bar, a place we find ourselves returning to with some frequency given that it's where we had our first date. We find an open table in the pub half of the restaurant and sit next to a rambunctious group of ladies in their mid-20's who have all the hallmarks of a bachelorette party crew, only sans the penis-themed accoutrements that you normally see these groups toting around. Despite the smoke and the noise, we still settle in comfortably with the lively vibe.

The Redhead goes with her favorite libation: a vodka martini, dry with olives. I look over the beer choices, which are not many but impressive nonetheless: Three Floyds Gumballhead, Founders Pale Ale, Chimay. Once again, I see another acquaintance from the past waiting for me on the draft beer menu: Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale. I first had this superb Clipper City brand at the 2007 Phoenix Theatre Brew-Ha-Ha. This American IPA pours with a cloudy amber color and thin off-white head. Like the Hopslam, Loose Cannon is all pineapple in the nose; however, it also has a faint sweaty funk that the Hopslam doesn't have. It's flavor is heavy on the pine notes with a light caramel and molasses back. The mouthfeel on this beer is medium, and a
t 7.25% ABV, this IPA is a little more drinkable than some of its heavier hopped cousins. All good, like it was last summer at the Brew-Ha-Ha. A good candidate for a formal KOTBR review.

I see now that visits to familiar places still bring something new each time you go to those places.

KOTBR #42 - Smokin'.

Roundtable #42 found the Knights of the Beer Roundtable at Shallo's Antique Restaurant & Pub in Greenwood. This wasn't our first trip to the venerable Southside establishment, but it was our first time bellying up to the bar.


One of the benefits of being Knights of the Beer Roundtable is emails like this:
I'm back home for a family visit, and that doesn't happen without a visit to Shallos. Well, look-ee there Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier on tap. Yep. As crazy as it sounds, the great purveyor has it on tap right now. And, get this, according to the waitress, who thinks that "all beers are mostly wheat beers," only two other people liked the smoke beer, and this would be the last ever keg they would order. I had three pints today, and I'll probably do the same tomorrow. So, just a heads up from a fellow hophead that it's there...waiting to be savored.

That sounded like a good excuse to visit Shallos to us.

Jon did a good job of letting us what we were in for - "Fastenbier" "Smoke" "Three Pints" - we expected a beer unlike most, and that's what we got. Fastenbier, a type of Rauchbier brewed specifically for the lent season, is described as having "smoky flavors and aromatics, juicy, carmelized" by Garrett Oliver's The Brewmaster's Table. Dead on, Garrett Oliver. The bartender called this "the bacon beer."

I got a nose of smoked pork, ketchup, bbq sauce, and deer sausage, with a hint of that rubbery band-aide phenolic taste Gina will mention shortly. And all back-of-tongue taste that echoed the nose followed - a little bit chewy, and really tasty with the loaded baked potato I had specifically chosen to match the beer. Does it pass the "would I buy this again" test? Yes - but a six pack would be too many. If you're sharing with friends for the experience, be sure to look for foods to match. Grilled or smoked pork, bacon, and baked potato would seem to work well. 3.17 Mugs.

An aside: Every beer I bought at Shallos - pints of Oberon, the Fastenbier, and a 60 Minute/Guiness Black and Tan - came in at $5.70 each. Don't say we didn't warn you.


Lt. Colonel Kilgore leaps out of the chopper with a pint of Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier in his hand. The amber liquid sloshes across his wrist as he crouches over the gray Vietnamese sand, gazes at the sky, and proclaims, "I love the smell of fastenbier in the morning. Smells like . . . a campfire."

My mind works in bizarre ways. If you're a frequent reader, you know that bizarre thinking is a staple of the Knights of the Beer Roundtable.

So leave it to us to review a bizarre beer. A smoked beer. A beer that conjures up weird thoughts, like the scene above, plucked from Apocalypse Now and tweaked to feature that famous line, which used to be about napalm.

Close your eyes and think of the last time you stood near a bonfire for at least five minutes. Take a deep breath and recall how your clothes smelled afterwards. There it is. Burnt wood. Charcoal. Embers, the remains of seasoned firewood. This is the nose of a smoked beer, and it plays tricks on your brain. The mind struggles to grasp it, to throw that odor together with its source--a pint of cloudy, copper-hued beer from Bamberg, Germany.

Then comes the first sip. As your senses reel, thrashing about in an attempt to achieve equilibrium, stability continues to elude your senses as your tongue latches on to the malty, bock-like flavor. That flavor is a bit sugary up front. Then, the tiny teeth of the hops lightly graze the back of your tongue. The smokiness is still there, now in the taste, but the smoke is just a hint, floating above the bone-colored cloud of foam that crowns the beer.

A few more sips and your mind has finally arrived at its desired destination: tranquility. You know that the sensory trip you've just been on has taken you to a corner of the map to which you've never ventured, and you're wiser now that you've gone there. You can now show others the way, but you're just not sure you want to go there again any time soon. 2.90 mugs.


Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier which of course, in German means "a whale's vagina". No really, I don't know what it means. Scholars maintain the translation was lost hundreds of years ago.

I am surprised at the high ratings this receives on ratebeer, and I'll have to say I don't get it. I can tell you that it kinda tastes like a band-aid retrieved from a fire. I still drank the whole pint but I can't say that I would ever drink another...on purpose at least. Oh, also, as a side note - this should not be considered as a pairing with the extremely pleasant wings. You may think that the hot in the wings may complement the smoke in the beer, but it does not. It further pronounces the already prominent smoke flavor.

Aecht Schlenkerla Fastenbier - 60% of the time it works every time.
2.75 Mugs.


I like bacon. I like beer. This is a situation in which I had expected that the Reese's peanut butter cup philosopy was less than likely to apply. I'm pleased to say that I was wrong, at least partially.

When my fellow geeks and I parked ourselves at the bar, there was a bit of trepidation about what we were about to either ingest or waste upon tasting and smelling it. After our warm-up beer we ordered a round of the "bacon beer", and our bartender warned us that it's "too German for most Germans", so we knew we were in for an adventure. I had been pretty excited about this beer style since I found out that it existed, a historic style that is often forgotten.

When it arrived, I struggled to restrain myself from sampling a novelty that many would find repellant in favor of going over the visual characteristics, observing the dark brown not-quite-opacity and the not quite foamy not quite creamy head. As I leaned over the glass I immediately thought "Bacon! Bacon? Only one thing smellS like bacon, and that's bacon!" and my expectation of a subtly smoky character blown out of proportion due to it's uniqueness, was dashed.

The smell is quite strong in its smoky character that is linked in most minds to bacon and campfires. The taste is where my prediction was the farthest off. The flavor was dominated by malt with just a bit of wood smoke, I wrote down hickory, but I'm not sure if that's actually what I tasted. The bacony characteristic isn't really there in the taste, which surprised me given the strong presence it had in the nose. This was a pleasant surprise for me. 3.47 mugs.

Beer Diary #3 - Jason

I've been doing the British style beer kick recently. I blame Mike and Jim and their love of soccer. It's infectious. On a couple of different occasions, I've watched Premiership League with one or both. All that English soccer leads to English beers. Just a warning to all of you non-soccer types out there.

March 28, 2008, 7pm, at the home of Christopher Maples (KOTBR, Retired)

On this night, it was actually NCAA basketball being watched. But I brought my own beers. I had picked up a Lakefront Organic E.S.B. and a Left Hand Sawtooth Ale. The former I found lacked the bitters I was expecting from an ESB, but wasn't terrible. The later I found to be well balanced and very tasty. Some caramelly malt flavors, but also some floral hops goodness. Definitely worth getting again.

March 29, 2008, 11am, at the Chatham Tap w/ Mike and Gina

I've never been big into basketball, so watching soccer on Saturday morning was an improvement from Friday night's sports options. Derby and Fulham were on at 11am on Fox Soccer Channel (game tied 2-2); Bolton and Arsenal were on Setanta (2-3 Arsenal), and Nurnberg and FC Bayern from Germany started 30 minutes earlier on GOLTV. That finished tied at 1.

I started with a Fuller's London Pride on tap. Previous experiences told me that many of the beers from Europe won't stand up to the edgy American counter parts. But since I didn't start with a beer that was blazing with hops, my taste buds weren't burnt out and could enjoy the subtle but enjoyable flavors of the English Pale Ale. It was high in maltiness (caramel flavors were present) but had just a slight bitterness to it. A very crisp beer to be enjoyed while watching soccer, whether it be in the bar or in the stands. Good spring and summer beer, I think.

I ordered the stuffed tomatoes from the ChaTap. Roma tomatoes stuffed with cheese, rasher bacon, bread crumbs, topped with parmesan and garlic mayo. A tasty treat served cold, but I bet it would be 10 times better baked.

The Fuller's was followed by the Hobgoblin by Wychwood, also on tap. Gotta love the ax as a tap topper. We reviewed this back in October, and I gave it a 3 mug rating and commented that it seemed watered down. This time around, I didn't think that. In fact, I thought it was pretty damned good. If we were reviewing it on this day, I'd probably bump my rating up by a quarter of a point. Watered down did not enter my mind at all. Chewy, nutty, malty goodness is what I found.

Montauks was next on the plate. Bread topped with smoked gouda, rasher bacon, tomatoes, and basil, then baked. Take the stuffed tomatoes, chop 'em up, throw 'em on bread like a brushetta dish, and enjoy. This is very enjoyable.

At 1pm, the Manchester United v. Aston Villa match was starting. Mike had always said that I should watch Man U once just to enjoy the mastery. He was right. Ronaldo made this one goal that he kicked from behind and sent through the legs of a defender. Beautiful. Needless to say, Man U had their way with Aston and their women.

I had an Old Speckled Hen, on tap. Like the Fuller's, this is an English Pale Ale. Drinkable, but not as flavorful. Basically, Fuller has a fuller flavor.

I finished the day of soccer off with a cup of Stuffed Pepper Soup which tastes exactly like a stuffed pepper, but in soup form. I washed it down with a Blackened VooDoo Lager from Dixie brewing in Louisiana. Yes, I know, not exactly English. But it caught my attention, so I had to try it. It tastes and smells like the seasonings you would use in blackened chicken. Peppery, garlicky, I'm not sure. Did they purposely burn the grains to create the flavor? I don't know. I drank it, I was fascinated by it, I was tempted to take my bottle of beer down the street to Yats and see how it paired up with their fare.

And that was the end of my soccer day. We noticed a table tent advertising their opening day of baseball event with cheap Old Style and grilled hot dogs (Mike needs to eat more wienies!). Going from the soccer pitch to the baseball pitch.

07 April 2008

The final harrassment of this type on this day

The responses to our readers survey have been impressive - as of this very second 48 fine readers have chimed in with their thoughts on all things HBG. We are now nearing the time in which we'll tally the results, finding out just what it is we're doing right and wrong.

But first we'd like to poke those of you who haven't answered yet with a stick.

So if you haven't responded yet, please do so here. As a reward for your participation, those of us who do not worship Satan (Jim, Jason, and sometimes Kelly) promise to say a prayer for you. We can't promise it'll be a good prayer, but it'll be a prayer nevertheless.

The link to the survey is right here. Thanks again.

* * * * *

And in case you missed it (shame on you), DIG-B reports that Badaboomz features $1.75 pints this evening (Monday 4/7/08). For cheap beer prices, that's as good as it's ever gonna get. The Hops for Pops planning committee (featuring more than one Knight of the Beer Roundtable) will be in attendance - will you?

06 April 2008

What you missed...

Wheat beers. Good wheat beers. Barley Island's Sheet Metal Blonde. Three Floyd's Gumballhead. Bell's Oberon. Flying Dog's Tire Bite. And Franziskaner's Weissbier.

Don't want to make the mistake of missing again? Then mark your calendar:
Big Car Gallery at the Murphy Arts Center in Fountain Square
1043 Virginia Avenue, Suite 215
Indianapolis , IN 46203
Friday, May 2nd, 6pm-9pm

Thanks to World Class Beverage for giving us beer, thanks to Big Car Gallery for giving us space (and a liquor license), and thanks to all who came for giving us reason to do what we do. See you in May!

03 April 2008

Been a long time since we got our free beer on

We don't know what beers we are serving yet, but hey, free beer. How could it go wrong?

Big Car Gallery at the Murphy Arts Center in Fountain Square
1043 Virginia Avenue, Suite 215
Indianapolis , IN 46203
Friday, April 4th, 6pm-9pm

You should see Kelly and myself there. Stop by and say hi and have a drink on us (and World Class Beverages).

I'm in the wrong line of work

I can't be absolutely sure, but I like to believe the happiness and reception shown in the following film (from that New Belgium place) is typical for those folks who work at a craft brewery. Until I'm told differently, anyway.

01 April 2008

New Belgium's Fat Tire coming to Indiana...sort of.

This post was our 2008 April Fool's Joke. Now, in April 2009, Fat Tire really is coming to Indiana. Click here to read all about it.
Not since Coors Light has a beer been so desired in Indiana as Fat Tire Amber Ale. And finally Hoosiers will be able to get their lips on that brew. You won't be able to buy it in bottles and take it home, however. No, you'll have to go to your friendly neighborhood bar...Applebee's.

Yeah, you heard us. According to NRN (Nation's Restaurant News), Applebee's has struck a deal with New Belgium Brewing to dedicate four taps at all of their restaurants to New Belgium beers. Three will remain the same year round: Fat Tire, Skinny Dip American Blonde, and Sunshine Wheat. The fourth will rotate between some of their other standards like the 1554 Beligian and the Blue Paddle Pilsner.

Still no word on when the New Belgium beers will be available in Indiana outside of Applebee's.
This post was our 2008 April Fool's Joke. Now, in April 2009, Fat Tire really is coming to Indiana. Click here to read all about it.