A book I once read1 contained a sentiment I'll now do a poor job of conveying: There's very rarely excitement in visiting your own monuments. I'll consider a few vacations I've made; I've been to Devil's Tower in Wyoming, and the Parthenon in Nashville, but I've never been in the State Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in the middle of Monument Circle in Indianapolis. It's a rare thing to appreciate what's right in front of you.
Consider Broad Ripple Brew Pub (840 E 65th St, Indianapolis, (317) 253-2739, indoors smoke-free, smoking section on outdoor patio) - a true monument to craft beer in Indiana. Very few would consider it a "sexy" location, but perhaps it's only because of familiarity. It's cozy, inviting, and everything a brewpub should be. Despite all that, it's rarely our first choice when looking for a place to get a drink.
But it should be. A beer lineup that touches on most styles, a brewer who's been at it longer than most, and a menu with enough variety to keep even a Jewish vegetarian lawyer2 happy mean that Broad Ripple Brew Pub is the perfect kind of place for a rolling group of beer fans like ourselves.
But lets talk about the now on cask Monon Porter ($4.50/pint), the best reason to visit BRBP right now. A cloudy brown beer that laces the glass nicely, a sweet chocolately nose (with a hint of root beer?), a sweet pretzel-like taste, and a perfectly balanced mix of nose, flavor and mouthfeel meant that I knew immediately that this beer deserved a score with numbers I don't throw around lightly. 4.86 Mugs.
I agree with Mike's sentiment that the Broad Ripple Brewpub is a place we tend to take for granted but shouldn't. Case in point: the Brewpub's Monon Porter is undoubtedly one of the best beers we've reviewed. It is so good, in fact, that I had to make a return visit with my wife three days after our review just to get some more (along with some of the Brewpub's excellent vegetarian offerings--I had the delicious garden tacos). The Monon Porter has a luscious, creamy mouthfeel. The creaminess is enhanced by its low carbonation, thanks to the fact that it's a cask ale. And how to describe the flavor? Well, if there were a way to make a milk chocolate cookie, I imagine that it would taste like the Monon Porter. Heavenly...
I wish the Brewpub would have this beer on tap as a year-round offering. But since that's not the case, I'm simply happy to get it when I can. So, good readers, get yourselves to the Brewpub to drink some while it lasts. My rating: 4.90 mugs.
Sometimes when you're really into beer, you get stuck in a rut. You keep going bigger and bolder, more hops, more malt and more alcohol and especially more rare. You forget to enjoy the simple things in beer. Beers that you could drink the rest of your life and be perfectly happy. Personally, I would say those are the kinds of beers Broad Ripple Brewpub brews. Their Monon Porter is a perfect example of one of those beers.
The cask conditioning makes this beer perfectly smooth. Served at just the right temperature (the mountains would NOT be blue), this beer goes down easily. You might have to strain to pick up the coffee notes in the nose, but they are definitely present when you take your first sip. Those coffee flavors blend nicely with dark chocolate, vanilla and a creamy milk-like flavor. A nice dryness follows and keeps this beer from overpowering your tongue.
If you like Founder's Breakfast Stout, you're going to like this. The more relaxed alcohol content and more balanced flavors make me somewhat prefer this beer. If I'm just going to have one, I'd go for Breakfast Stout, but any more than that and the Monon Porter is where it's at. 4.6 mugs.
I've been craving balance lately (sometimes you just want a sessionable beer with a lot of flavor) and with watching the NFL Playoffs I find myself craving a beer with drinkability. Maybe I've just been watching too much TV, or maybe it says something about the state of the advertising industry, either way this beer is what the drinkability concept should be.
The Monon Porter starts out with a creamy, pillowy head leading to a dark brown beer with hints of ruby where the light is able to escape. When you lean in to take a sip you notice the roasted malt, hints of chocolate and a bit of a coffee scent. This is only the beginning of what draws you in, begging for more. Monon Porter is on cask, so it is supposed to have a slightly higher temperature and a slightly smoother finish. This beer was made for cask conditioning, it's smooth creamy mouthfeel coats your tongue with coffee, chocolate and toffee notes. It leaves you with just a hint of nuttiness on the finish and makes you wish you had just one more.
I think Kevin hit the nail on the head with this amazing beer, and it's a shame that it's only seasonal. I highly recommend you get there before it's gone. 4.7 Mugs.
Mike: 4.86 Jim: 4.90 Rodney: 4.60 Jess: 4.70 Matt E: 4.80 Gina: 4.40
Final Score: 4.78 Mugs
Currently at fourth place in our all time rankings
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1If this seems familiar to you and you've read the book, leave a comment with the title. It's driving me crazy.
2KOBTR Jim is the Jewish vegetarian lawyer I refer to.