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


  1. Had I been able to review these beers, I have a feeling that the mug ratings would have been higher, especially for the Alpha King and the Barfly. I love both of them.

  2. So this is what happens when we don't send you reviews - you turn Rod into a sex object?

  3. Bell's Two Hearted is a "malty" IPA? What little malt is there is a conduit for Centennial hops. Lots and Lots of Centennial hops! :)

  4. I'm certainly not denying there are loads of hops, but I do feel there is a noticeable malt presence as well. Either way, I better have another just to be sure :)

  5. Thanks for fixing the KOTBR # on the first graphic. You can barely tell that it was modified...

    I suck.