30 April 2009

KOTBR #71: Indiana Beer Night at Zing

It was a dark and drizzly Tuesday night when Hoosier Beer Geek decided to visit Zing. And it is too bad, because the latest addition to Indy's small plates restaurant scene has some stellar outdoor seating at the corner of Indiana Avenue and West Street.

The brick building is one of the few remaining historic structures along the storied Indiana Avenue. But on the inside, it is very contemporary in design with lots of light colors, metals, and funky shapes. We made ourselves right at home at the upstairs bar where we met bartender Joel, a self proclaimed "spice pussy" (ask him about it sometime).

He not only provided us with beer (which we greatly appreciate), but some entertaining quotes. When a suspicious man wearing a large backpack (an obvious HBG stalker) entered the bar, without missing a beat Joel stated, "He's hear to kill us all!" If you didn't find that funny, you obviously weren't drinking three buck Indiana beers all night.

Which was the purpose of our visit, by the way. We have reviewed many beers, but there are several gaps, especially when it comes to Indiana beers. We plan to start rectifying that, and on this night, it was a good start.

Upland Wheat
I freely admit that I am still a novice when it comes to wheat beers. It's not like the sour beers, where I just don't like them (send hate mail now). I just haven't found that one wheat beer that really wowed me and provided me a reason to drink more. At least not yet.

No, this isn't that beer. But it is good. It has been one of the more enjoyable wheats that I have consumed. Probably because it isn't very wheatish. It made me think more of a pilsner with a lemon twist. When I explained this, Rod suggested I try crystal meth.

Actually, he said that it is probably because the Upland Wheat is like a kristallweizen (which translates "crystal wheat"), which is a filtered wheat. Well, that definitely sounds better than crystal meth. Anyway you look at it, though, it is very refreshing and clean, a good session/lawnmower beer. A wheat beer that I'd probably buy to keep in my beer fridge.

Upland Wheat
Chris 3.75 mugs Rod 3.85 mugs Jess 3.75 mugs Jason 3.25 mugs Gina 3.5 mugs
KOTBR Score - 3.62 Mugs

Alpha King
I’ve learned a few things in the last couple years about my preferences for beer. One thing that has surprised me over the last few months is how much I’ve grown to appreciate many highly-hopped APAs and IPAs. What I love about these beers are the same kinds of things I love about sour beers. They make my mouth water when I as much as think about drinking one.

My preferences tend to lean toward the maltier versions of these styles, like DFH 90 or Bell’s Two-Hearted, and away from those that are dominated by a floral hop flavor. Alpha King falls into the former category. Even though it has floral overtones, the malty body keeps the flowery taste at bay and keeps me coming back for more.

Alpha King
Chris 4.5 mugs Rod 4.2 mugs Jason 4.3 mugs Gina 4.7 mugs Matt E 4.25 mugs
KOTBR Score - 4.39 Mugs

Bar Fly
As I mentioned before, I'm not all over the wheat beer scene. But IPA's: love 'em. I've come a long way from my early days at HBG where hops were not a favorite thing of mine. But once I found "that one" beer, the hop switch in my head turned on and I became Captain Hophead! American Pale Ales, India Pale Ales...I really dig them all.

That goes with Barley Island's BarFly IPA as well. The hop characteristic isn't as fruity as many IPA's, but it is there in the form of grapefruit. And there is a malt presence there. Not as much as Dogfish Head's IPA's, but more than most. And at 5.6% ABV, it isn't as big as many IPA's. But big enough to make itself known. But like many other Indiana breweries, Barley Island makes a good IPA.

Bar Fly
Chris 3.2 mugs Rod 3.1 mugs Jess 3.5 mugs Jason 4.25 mugs Gina 3.2 mugs Matt E 3.5 mugs
KOTBR Score - 3.46 Mugs

28 April 2009

Beer Diary #13 - Jim | (Not) Banned in D.C.

Date: 24 April 2009
Location: Rustico Restaurant & Bar
Alexandria, Virginia

While most of the KOTBR were heading up to Munster for Dark Lord Day, I traveled to the Washington D.C. area to visit my sister, Lisa, for a long weekend. Being the wonderful sister that she is, Lisa was more than willing to accommodate my desire to adopt a beer-centric agenda for our dining plans. Therefore, upon my arrival in Alexandria, Virginia (where Lisa lives), we headed to Rustico Restaurant & Bar for dinner and beer.

Rustico anchors a commercial corner in a new "village concept" neighborhood in Alexandria. It's one of those modernish restaurants that features Italian-influenced cuisine with a heavy emphasis on wood-fired cooking. Pizzas are their specialty, and so is beer. Rustico has dozens of brands in bottles and 30 on tap, including a hand-pull tap for cask conditioned ale.

On the night of our visit, Rustico's cask ale was Weyerbacher's Old Heathen Imperial Stout.

Lisa isn't much of a beer drinker; she's all about wine. So, while Rustico listed some heavy-duty craft beer selections that looked amazing (e.g., Del Ducato Verdi Imperial Stout), I started with something light that I thought Lisa would enjoy--St. Louis Framboise. St. Louis Framboise was a solid raspberry lambic with an excellent balance of sweet and tart flavors. Indeed, it struck a great balance between the sugary-sweet lambics like Lindemans and the heavily sour lambics like Cantillon. With its champagne-like character, the St. Louis Framboise was a great beer to use to introduce Lisa to the craft beer world. Yes, she liked it, and I won't be surprised if she orders it the next time she goes to Rustico.

As we waited at the bar for a table to open up, I polished off the rest of the St. Louis and decided to drastically switch gears by ordering a Weyerbacher Old Heathen. I wanted to show Lisa what a real ale is like. This Imperial Stout was served in a glass that was too cold. As a result, the beer's chocolate and coffee notes were muted into a bland chalkiness. Therefore, I let the beer sit for a little bit while I explained the concept of cask conditioning to Lisa. After warming up, the Old Heathen displayed its true character; it was very chocolaty and light for an Imperial Stout, and surprisingly smooth as well.

We finally got our table on the outside patio, ordered our dinner (a great asparagus salad and a pesto pizza), and hit our last round of drinks. At this point, I was yearning for a crisp, hoppy beer to complement the salad and pizza. Therefore, I went with a known quantity: Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale. The KOTBR previously reviewed this beer (served from one of Oskar Blues's trademark cans) and gave it a middling mug rating. On tap, however, this beer was amazing. It's a great representation of the American Pale Ale style--slightly malty with a piney hop nose and a somewhat soapy character in the nose and flavor.

Date: 25 April 2009
Location: Dogfish Head Alehouse
Falls Church, Virginia

Beer-drinking target number two was the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Falls Church. My visit wasn't the first by a member of the KOTBR; Mike and Gina visited in 2007. Even the beer coasters seemed to realize the attractiveness of the place to our ilk:

Mike gave a good physical description of the place in his post, so I won't rehash it here.

The restaurant was experiencing a crowded Saturday night when Lisa and I arrived. Fortunately, we snagged a couple seats at the bar right away. With three bartenders behind the bar, the staff was doing a friendly and efficient job of taking care of everyone.

Our bartender was extremely knowledgeable and helpful with potential selections. Here were our options:

Lisa went back to the wine well with a pinot noir; I started with an Alehouse 75, which is actually DFH's 75 Minute IPA, a blend of DFH's 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs. It's not a stretch to say that DFH would sell the hell out of this beer if it bottled it because the 75 perfectly walks the middle path between the 60 Minute's dry pine character and the 90 Minute's malty sweetness.

I really wanted another 75, but I needed to hit some other DFH beers that I'd never tried. Our barkeep gave me samples of the following: Midas Touch, Immort Ale, and Black & Blue.

The Midas Touch was wine-like in color and character with a mild apple flavor. It made me think of a Tripel that was dialed back several notches. The Immort Ale, an oak-aged Strong Ale, is brewed with maple syrup. The nose was a bit disconcerting, as the maple syrup gave it a dog-pee character. The flavor was definitely oakey and syrupy, sort of like a lighter version of the ubiquitous bourbon-barrel-aged beers. After trying the Black & Blue sample, I settled for a snifter of the stuff. Brewed in the Belgian Strong Ale style, this beer is fermented with blackberries and blueberries. It poured with a purplish-orange color, smelled of candi sugar and berries, and had a silky mouthfeel. The flavor was like that of a Quadrupel--sweet and heavy--but with a touch of berries. Had the berry presence been greater, I don't think that I would have liked this beer at all. However, the berries were just barely there, which made it a truly enjoyable beer.

Post-script. We had plans to go to The Brickskeller (which Mike and Gina also visited in '07), but didn't have the time to make it there.

Some advice for falafel fans--Check out the Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan. There are only three menu items: the falafel sandwich (accompanied by a huge toppings bar), Belgian-style frites (with several sauces, including peanut sauce and Dutch mayonnaise), and brownies (I know what you're thinking, but they're not that kind). Despite the limited menu, all menu items are done amazingly well. You won't regret a visit. Just make sure that you have time for an afternoon nap if you visit for lunch.

26 April 2009

DarkLord Day 2009

The lead up to this year's DarkLord Day was filled with intrigue. Would there be lines? Would things move quicker? Would there be guest beer? How many bottles per ticket?

In the end, there were lines. Lines that were probably longer than last year.

But the lines moved fairly quick, and as anyone there can tell you, standing in line is half the party.

And there was guest beer, with a lineup that looked like this:
Pizza Port Carlsbad's Poorman's Double IPA
Stone Levitation
Rock Bottom Chicago Bourbon Imperial Stout
Three Floyds/Dogfish Popskull
Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA
Flossmoor Station White Lady Imperial Wit
2008 Brandy Barrel Aged Double Bastard
Pizza Port Carlsbad Trigger Hoppy
Synobynkoff Porter
Dogfish Palo Santo
Three Floyds Oak Aged Behemoth
Flossmoor Station X-IPA
R.I.S. 2007
Pizza Port Solana Booya Stoez
J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale
Dogfish Fort
Three Floyds Oak Aged Behemoth w/ Cherries
Victory Golden Monkey
Old Guardian Barleywine Aged in Red Whine Barrels
Pizza Port Faceplant
Gordon Biersch Bollingbrook
Three Floyds Oak Aged Dark Lord
Three Floyds Oak Aged Alpha Klaus
Bell's Hopslam
Stone Smoked Porter
Pizza Port Solana Parable Pale
Firestone Walker Abacus
Struise Black Albert
Stone IPA
Pizza Port San Clemente Infamous Chocolate Imperial Stout
Stone Bourbon Barrel Arrogant Bastard
Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout
Stone Vertical Epic
Surly Teabagged Furious Cask
Founders Dry-hopped IPA Cask
(somebody's) 10th Anniversary
Stone Old Guardian Barleywine

As for bottles per ticket? The number was four. So if you bought your full allotment of tickets, you could have gone home with 8 bottles this year, which was actually 2 more than you were allowed last year.

In the end, there was very little drama to the day, other than some random rainshowers and the one arrest I witnessed. The crowd seemed controlled but lively, the rare beer flowed, and everyone seemed to go home happy.

Props to the folks at Three Floyds, who listened to last year's post-event (perhaps undeserved) complaints and put together an even better event this year. In addition, they raised a ton of money for a local animal shelter. Just another example of how craft beer can really benefit a community. Congrats to the staff at Floyds for their excellent work, and their deserved success.

My only complaint? I know you all saw our shirts... Say hello! We were giving away beer, for chrissakes. We'll see you next year. Don't be shy.

Lastly, here's a video of the photos I took - so if you couldn't be there, this may be the next best thing. And if you were there, let us know how it went on your end.

24 April 2009

DLD Eve - "And it begins..."

Jess and I just officially retired from Dark Lord Day Eve. Here's our beer diary from the night...

Crown Brewing

Jess and I were the first of the HBG crew to show up at Crown (around 5) and things were still fairly slow. Bob O's posse was already hanging out on the patio. We inquired about the HBG special and by doing so, helped educate all the wait staff on tonight's special. Turns out it's 20 cent wings and $5 off an extra large pizza. Still not too shabby. We started off with a Celtic Pride Stout and a Crown Town Brown.

The Celtic Pride Stout was opaque black in color with a toffee colored head. The nose contained coffee, roasted malts and chocolate. Fairly characteristic of an Irish Stout. The flavor of the beer was filled with roasted flavors and a touch of caramel. This Irish Stout weighed in at 5.5% ABV.

The Crown Town Brown had toasted hazelnuts, walnuts and coffee in the nose. This beer was surprisingly sweet with a lot of brown sugar notes and sweet malt. The finish was slightly nutty with a hint of herbal hops.

The Smokestack Amber was surprisingly hoppy. The nose was quite odd, with metallic characteristics similar to that of well water in addition to pine hops. The flavor was very prominently dominated with pine and grassy hop notes. Reminiscent of Troegs Nugget Nectar but lower ABV at about 5%.

We're not really Hoosier Wings and Pizza Geek, but if you're curious what was on special tonight, here's a quick rundown of what we ordered. The wings were fried and tossed in a decently spicy traditional buffalo sauce (I'd guess hot sauce and butter). The sauce was pretty good and we managed to consume most of the excess. We had a thin crust Vegetarian pizza with added pepperoncinis (the peppers in the Papa Johns' box). The crust was very cracker like and there was at least twice as much cheese as a regular pizza loaded on this thing. Quite tasty, but very filling with all of the cheese. We took half of it back to the hotel with us... and we're snacking on it now. It's good cold too!

Flossmoor Station

In case you haven't heard, Flossmoor recently turned over brewers. Matt Van Wyk has moved on to the great state of Oregon, leaving Bryan Shimkos at the helm of Flossmoor Station. This is the first time we've been up since Bryan has taken over, and for the most part everything seems to be business as usual. Although in previous years Matt has hosted an amazing Dark Lord Day Eve party (or so we hear), this year things seemed to be fairly casual. The crowd was mostly beer geeks and the bar was very busy, but not over-crowded.

In addition to their typical lineup, the special Flossmoor beers on tap included the Shimko's Simcoes IPA, Farewell Pale, Killer Kapowski, Recession Ale and Belgian Wit. Guest taps were occupied by Two Brothers' Cane and Ebel and Great Lakes' Blackout Stout. We decided to go for a double shot of hops, with Jess trying out the Shimko's Simcoes IPA and I went with the Farewell Pale.

Shimko's Simcoes poured a deep copper with very slight white head. The nose contained hints of juicy fruit gum, citrus, grapefruit and pine. All signs pointed towards Simcoe hops. The mouthfeel was very pillowy with predominantly sweet, sticky hops and a nice caramel balance. This was a sugary sweet IPA with spice notes. For those of you playing along at home, this IPA carries a white wax finish on the bottle.

I wish I could elaborate more on the Farewell Pale, but it honestly was a fairly standard Pale. Good hop balance, but not much stood out. Pine and grassy notes in the nose with a matching pine flavor. Hints of mint, with a creamy milk character and the sweetness of caramel and orange cream rounded out this easy drinking Pale.

I finished out the night with a Great Lakes Blackout Stout, only because I had never seen it on tap. This beer was amazingly sweet compared to the bottled edition. Great Lakes is no longer available in Indiana, but you can still pick it up in Illinois and Indiana. The Blackout Stout is their Imperial Stout, brewed in honor of the big northeast blackout of 2003. On tap, this beer has a nice roasted malt nose with big portions of chocolate, coffee, molasses and cocoa powder. The sweetness of this beer was surprising. Maple syrup came out first, followed by honey, toffee and peanut brittle. Then, as if out of nowhere, chocolate covered bananas came to mind. This was verified by Jess, so it is clear that I am not insane. The alcohol was well hidden in this one and didn't come out until the end of the snifter.

I think we had a pretty great DLD Eve overall. We grabbed a bottle of Shimkos' Simcoes (I have no idea where that apostrophe is supposed to go) to go. Not sure if we'll open it up tomorrow or not. We have the Downtown Indy Rock Bottom's Hacker Schwarz and Fire Chief Red in growlers to share with the Dark Lord crowd tomorrow. If you can find us we'll be glad to share!

Random Beer Roundup- Chaos Rules Edition

Over the past few months, you've probably become accustomed to seeing Jason's face leading off this column. But your beloved Jason is sick, which means you're stuck with me. MUWAHAHAHAHA.

Now watch as I destroy everything he's worked so hard to create. First off, that header image.


That's better. Next up, the news - in a completely different order than Jason does it. CHAOS!

Remember, if you have beer news that you want to share, drop us a line at hoosierbeergeek@gmail.com.

* * * * *

Firstish: (That's not even a word!)

On Friday, April 24th, Hoosier Beer Geek will be roundtabling at Crown Brewing. And we'd like you to roundtable with us. It will be the first day of having their patio open for the summer, so it should be a fun time. All day they will be serving $3 beers. On tap right now:
"Crown Brown Ale" - This ale is malty and sweet on the palette and will prove to be one of our best yet!

"Celtic Pride" - Move over Guinness, this 12 malt Irish Stout is to die for.

"Exstacy of Gold" Blonde Ale ~ This "blonde" will surely meet the expectations of all beer loves. Smooth, crisp and hoppy.

"Smokestack Amber Ale" ~ This exceptionally balanced beer offers a perfect combination of malts and hops
Also, in the taproom, if you mention "Hoosier Beer Geek", you can order 10 cent wings and $5 off all pizzas. So hit exit 247 off of I-65, head west on US 231 for less than three miles, a left on East Street and in the words of John Madden, "Boom! You're there!". Crown Brewing is located at 211 S. East Street in downtown Crown Point. Look for the smokestack with the crown on top.

The food and beer specials are all day Friday, so come early to eat and drink. We will be roundtabling at 9pm central (local time)/10pm eastern and we want to hear what you think.

Beer Events:

Friday, April 24, 4:30-6:30pm, at Parti-Pak Liquors in Indianapolis:
Free Beer Tasting featuring Cavalier Distributing Beers: Founders, Stone Brewing Co., Two Brothers, Berghoff Artisan Series, & BB Burgerbrau

Friday, April 24, 9pm central/10pm eastern, at Crown Brewing in Crown Point:
FRIDAY DETOUR: Hoosier Beer Geek public roundtable; $3 beers all day; 10 cent wings, and $5 off pizzas all day when you mention "Hoosier Beer Geek"
Saturday, April 25 at Three Floyd’s Brewery in Munster:
Dark Lord Day

Sunday, April 26, 12:00pm at Great Fermentations in Indianapolis:
Spring All-Grain Class, $25 per person or bring a friend and pay only $20 each. Details and registration on website.

Sunday, April 26th, 6 p.m. at Zing! in Indianapolis:
Beer Tasting Dinner, $30 per person, Reservations required at (317)636-7775; (details here)

Monday, April 27, 5-7 p.m. at Kahn's:
Scandanavian Tasting, featuring Olfrabrikken, Mikkeller, and Nogne O

Wednesday, April 29, 6-7:30pm at Great Fermentations in Indianapolis:
Beginning Brewing Class, $15 per person or bring a friend and pay only $10 each. Details and registration on website.

Thursday, April 30, 6pm at Lafayette Brewing Company in Lafayette:
Firkin Thursday featuring a sneak preview firkin- Dry-Hopped Maifest

Thursday, April 30th at Half Moon in Kokomo:
Oatmeal Stout tapping

Saturday, May 2nd: National Homebrew Day

Monday, May 4th at Granite City in Indianapolis:
Blueberry Ale tapping

Tuesday, May 5th at Rock Bottom - Downtown in Indianapolis:
Cinco de Mayo Brewer's Dinner; Four course authentic Mexican dinner paired with four lagers; 317-681-8180 to reserve

Thursday, May 7th at Half Moon in Kokomo:
Amber Wheat Tapping

Friday, May 8th at Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington:
Entries for the UpCup Competition are due.

Saturday, May 9th, 4pm, at Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown Indianapolis:
High Gravity Summer Kickoff, a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (details under the News heading of RBR v.2009.04.03)

Monday, May 11th - Sunday, May 17th: American Craft Beer Week:
Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora will be open everyday this week, noon-8pm
We will have our regular lineup - Blonde Ale, Mild Ale, Wit, Stout, Cherry Ale. In addition we plan to have IPA and Coconut Porter ready for our Open House on Saturday, 16 May. Please join us for the Open House - we will have complimentary food and available and drawings for small prizes.
Monday, May 11th at Old Town Ale House in Fishers:
Stone Levitation Celebration; no cover

Saturday, May 16th, noon-8pm at Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora:
Open House; (details under On Tap heading below)

Saturday, May 16th at Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington:
UpCup judging and ceremony.

Monday, June 22nd at Beer Sellar in Indianapolis:
Big Bell's Brewing tapping, a record breaking 30 different Bell's beers on tap at once.

Now On Tap:

From Jerry at Rock Bottom Downtown comes their latest tap list:
Seasonal Wheat
Hefeweizen-South German
Wheat Ale. Banana aroma,
citrus and clove flavors
Hops: Mt. Hood Malts: Canadian Pale, Winter Wheat
ABV. 5.3% O.G. 12°

Hoosier Ma Stout
Milk Stout-
sweet and creamy.
Udderly delicious!
Hops: Golding Malts: English Pale, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Rolled Oats
ABV. 4.6% O.G. 13.8°

St. James Irish Red
Malty sweet garnet colored ale
with a spicy, dry finish.
Hops: English Fuggle Malts: English Pale, Rye, Crystal
ABV. 5.7% O.G. 12.7°

Naughty Scot
Strong Scotch Ale-
very malty sweet
garnet coloured strong ale.
Hops: Willamette Malts: English Pale, Crystal, Chocolate
ABV. 9.3% O.G. 20.2°

German Black Lager-
Roasty and smooth.
Hops: Mt. Hood Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Carafa
ABV. 5.4% O.G. 12.7°

Fire Chief Ale
American Red Ale.
$.25 from every pint goes
to Survive Alive, our local
fire charity.
Hops: Centennial Malts: English Pale, English Crystal
ABV. 5.3% O.G. 12°
From John at Half Moon in Kokomo:
Current seasonals are a Blueberry Wheat and a Strong Ale.
Now On Shelves and at the Bar:

From Cari at Kahn's:
New this week:
New Belgium Fat Tire 12 pack cans
New Belgium Fat Tire 22 oz.
New Belgium 1554 Black Ale 22 oz.
New Belgium Mothership Organic Wit 22 oz.
Stone Levitation Amber Ale 6 packs
Jolly Pumpkin Madruga Obscura
Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen
Schlafly Kolsch-Style Ale
Oxford Organic Amber Ale
From Patrick at Patrick's Kitchen and Drinks:
Brewdog Punk IPA.
Mikkeller Stateside IPA
Shipyard IPA
Are you sensing a theme here? We have Fat Tire Amber available in 12oz bottles for $4.25, and on tap currently is..
BBC Nitro Stout
BBC Quarrymen's Pale
BBC Ruby Bloom Amber
Victory Hop Wallop
Gaffel Kolsch
Coming soon..........as in it is in the cooler and waiting to be tapped, we have Founder's Double Trouble on deck.
Several cool beers booked for delivery later this summer.
From Kirk at Mr. G's:
New Belgium Fat Tire
New Belgium 1554
New Belgium Mothership
Stone Levitation Ale
Two Brothers Dog Days of Summer
Two Brothers Bare Tree Weiss
Great Divide Dunkel Weiss
From Dustin at Spencer's Stadium Tavern - current tap list and a little news:
Old Style
Spaten Lager
Dog Fish Head 60 Min
Stone Levitation Ale
BBC Bourbon Stout
Dirty Helen Brown
Brugge White
Sawtooth ESB

Beer Menu
I am working on putting together a Beer Menu. Yes, you read that right. We will be averaging 60 beers and rotating many of them every couple of months. So maybe the next time you stop in and ask what we have you might just have to read it for yourself.
News and Rumors:

Pyramid Breweries has recently undergone a packaging facelift. Here's some analysis of the redesign.

Jason, of Hoosier Beer Geek's Knights of the Beer Roundtable, is giving up beer and meat, and taking up an all-spritzer diet exclusively.

From Mat at Cavalier Distributing:
As I am heading out of town today to Boston for the Craft Brew Conference, cases and kegs of Stone Levitation that was bottled on 4/17/09 is arriving to Indiana for the first time in mass quantity! Yes that is correct it was bottled last Friday, two days after tax day! Since there is no good reason in letting the beer sit in the warehouse, we are going to push up the release date a bit and get it out to Hoosier beer drinkers ASAP!


Please save some for me for when I return from Boston.
From Greg at Cavalier, a little follow up to Mat:
We have a plethora of incredible new brews this week:

This is the official release week of Stone Levitation Ale! This 2007 GABF winner is an incredible Amber Ale and the perfect session beer! You can find it in retail stores and bars around the state.

Great Divide Saison and Dunkle Weiss are making their debut in the Indy market. Both are incredible beers that are a must try.

Clipper City Red Sky @ Night Saison is making its annual debut this year in both 6 packs and draft in select locations.
From Lauren at Scotty's Brewhouse came a lot of news, but here's the stuff that pertains to what we do. I'm picky like that:
First and foremost We now serve FAT TIRE BEER!

ALSO SCOTTYS BREWHOUSE INDIANAPOLIS GRAND OPENING IS THIS WEEKEND!!! (A lot more details on the other side of this link.)

Tuesday April 28, 2009

$7 48oz Sam Adams Draught Pitchers
$3 12 oz Select Microbrew/Import
Broad Ripple Brewpub is now listing what's new on tap on their twitter feed. Here's a link. We still love you, BRBP.

Here's a video by Greg Koch of Stone Brewing:

From Jeffrey T of The Good Beer Show comes this video of the KBS tapping at the Fickle Peach in Muncie:

Lastly, from our very own Rodney comes a link to a beer review generator. The next time you're reading a weird HBG beer review and wondering why we went that route..

Enough CHAOS for one day? This roundup stuff is hard work. Consider yourself lucky to have lived!

22 April 2009

What the Hell Does "Triple Hops Brewed" Mean, Anyway?

Unless you've been living under a rock, there's a good chance you've been subject to Miller Lite's newest ad campaign, in which they state that Miller Lite is "triple hops brewed". While the statement is true, it doesn't mean much, and might be a little misleading.

Imagine you're baking up a batch of cookies for sale to the public. You'd like to say you make a quality chocolate chip cookie, but you've only got 3 chocolate chips per cookie. You're starting an ad campaign for your cookies, in which you'd like to differentiate your brand. Your marketing team comes back with the follow options:

1) Don't mention the chocolate chips, and don't try to sell your cookies as chocolate chip cookies. Sell your cookies as a good time with attractive women. This has worked for you in the past, but not well enough to gain the sort of market share you'd like to have.

2) Mention the chocolate chips, but also mention the flour and eggs used in the making of your cookies. Don't mention that everyone uses these ingredients. Also don't mention that in 1982, the Center for Science in the Public Interest reported that your cookies contained propylene glycol alginate (a seaweed extract), water, barley malt, corn syrup, chemically modified hops extracts, yeast, amyloglucosidase, carbon dioxide, papain enzyme, liquid sugar, potassium metabisulfite, and Emka malt (a food coloring). I'm still taking about cookies.

3) Mention that you added chocolate chips to the cookies THREE TIMES. Which you did, technically. You might even say your cookies are "TRIPLE CHIPS BAKED".

So, cookie salesperson, which campaign would you prefer your brand run with?

* * *

Let's go back to beer, and the hops used to make it. According to How to Brew:
"There are many varieties of hops, but they are usually divided into two general categories: Bittering and Aroma."
When making almost any beer, brewers add hops at least twice, giving the beer flavors, scents, and balance.

Miller Lite's site claims that step one of the hop addition gives Miller Lite a clean flavor and aroma. The second hop addition gives the beer balance and body, and a hop taste. The third addition gives the beer its head and locks in "great taste".

All these things may be true. But if its the triple hop process that makes Miller Lite so great, wouldn't quadruple hopping be even better? Why stop at three times?

So while factually true, triple hops brewing doesn't mean all that much. Yes, there are hops in Miller Lite. But Miller Lite isn't a hoppy beer. You didn't need me to tell you that.

21 April 2009

Revisting: DarkLord Day 2008

The following story originally ran on April 26th, 2008. We thought we'd wet your whistle for this year's DarkLord Day, happening this Saturday. Are you headed up to Munster? Drop a comment - we'd love to share a beer with some readers.

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