29 December 2010

Hoosier Beer Geek Indiana Brewing Guide: Bier Brewery

We are continuing to add breweries to our Hoosier Beer Geek Indiana Brewing Guide. This time, it is Bier Brewery. Parts of this article previously appeared in the December 16th issue of Metromix.

Darren Connor started home brewing while attending college at Indiana University. “I made beer because I couldn’t buy it.”

While in college, he would spend some time at the Bloomington Brewing Company helping Floyd Rosenbaum brew. After graduation, he returned to his hometown of Indianapolis where he found a job working at homebrewing supply store Great Fermentations. That was almost ten years ago.

He had become a fixture at Great Fermentations, helping new homebrewers learn how to brew beer. But the time had come for Connor to move on. “I had more fun making (beer),” he said, “than teaching other.,” But he hasn’t moved that far; he’s just a few doors east. This is where he opened Bier Brewery and Taproom on November 24th.

Bier is different from most breweries in Indianapolis. They are operating a small 1.5 barrel system, which means he’s brewing more often to meet demands, but he is also brewing a greater variety. The opening week lineup of beers included kolsch, German wheat, Belgian blonde, pale ale, brown, porter, and oatmeal stout.

But don’t expect to see the same beers every week. “Each beer has a place or time. As the seasons change, the beers are going to keep changing.” A pumpkin beer, a dunkelweiss, a chocolate mint stout, and a Belgian dubbel were recently on tap.

Another difference with his brewery is that it is neither a brewpub, serving food and pints to patrons, nor a production brewery, selling their beer to a store or restaurant to then sell to the consumer. To purchase a Bier brew, you have to visit the brewery. At the taproom, visitors can sample the beers before purchasing them in 64 ounce refillable glass containers called growlers. Refills for most beers will cost $12; a new growler is $4. How has the drinking public responded to this setup? “On the first day, we had a line out the door for two hours,” says Connor.

The demand for Bier’s beer continues to ride high. Some beer styles have sold out within a day of release. The chocolate mint stout was a highly sought after beer (I personally arrived a day too late to sample and purchase; based on tweeted reviews, I’m missing out).

While the beers are small and varied, there is a common element that can be found among them: quality. “We’re going to brew clean, balanced, easy drinking beers. Each batch has its own unique water profile. Each style has its own yeast strain.”

Quality is of such importance to Connor that he has page on the Bier Brewery website dedicated to his promise to produce quality beers. And he says he will not sell an inferior product. To prove his point, he tweeted yesterday that he had dumped batch #40 down the drain for not meeting quality expectations.

Connor believes that if he sticks to his high standards, he will be successful. Not just in the amount of beer sold, but also the number of awards won: “We’re going to be gunning for the (Indiana State Fair Brewer’s Cup) beer competition this year.”

If you haven’t made it yet to Bier Brewery, they will be at the upcoming Winterfest on Jan. 29th. Connor plans on bring a wide variety of beers, so be sure to visit early and often.

Bier Brewery and Taproom
5133 East 65th Street, Indianapolis
Hours: Thursday & Friday 3-7p; Saturday 1-7p; Sunday Noon-4p

27 December 2010

The 2010 Knights of the Beer Roundtable Beer of the Year - Brugge Brasserie's Spider

To arrive at our candidates for the 2010 Knights of the Beer Roundtable Beer of the Year, we took a look back at all the beers reviewed during our roundtables over the past year. In some cases, not all the Knights attended, but their familiarity with a reviewed beer allowed them to place it in their rankings.

This year's field was made up of 68 competitors from 11 states and three countries. The vast majority of the candidates were from Indiana - this is Hoosier Beer Geek, after all - but we feel confident that the beers receiving votes are as good as any beers you'll find anywhere.

This isn't science; this is Hoosier Beer Geek. And it's possible that we may have decided that we like a beer more or less since the original roundtable has happened. In any case, looking back, we've decided that these beers left us with the fondest of memories.

And our fondest memory of them all?

Brugge Brasserie's Spider

When we stopped in at Brugge in May for their fifth anniversary, it wasn't to try Spider - it was because we knew Diamond Kings would be on tap. Needless to say we were equally impressed by the newcomer.
"Spider offers up an enjoyable pairing of sour yeast, Belgian fruits and chocolate undertones. "

"Ted calls Spider 'one of the three best beers I've ever made', and from my three plus years of Brugge experience, I'd agree."

"I mean this in the nicest way possible - the boys at Brugge have somehow combined Nestle's Nesquik and Lemonade into a Belgian taste experience that leaves me craving more."
Our congratulations go out to Brugge's Ted Miller, who continues to surprise and amaze us.

* * * * *

And here's how the vote came together. We awarded 3 points for a first place vote, 2 points for second, 1 for third, and 0.5 points for an honorable mention:

3 points - People's Hopkilla - A boat load of hops, addictive

2 points - Brugge Spider - Super sour, tart, mouth-watering goodness.

1 point - Rock Bottom College Park - Simcoe IPA - Clean, delicious, hoppy.

Honorable mentions to : Oaken Barrel Apple Buzz, Great Divide Hercules DIPA, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale

3 points - Brugge Spider - Oaky and tart awesomeness. Up there with the best Flanders sours.

2 points - Schlafly Pumpkin Ale - The perfect pumpkin ale. No one else is even close.

1 point - Founders Porter - On draft, this is the best porter I've ever had.

Honorable mention: People's Hopkilla, He'Brew Vertical Jewbelation, Sun King Osiris Pale Ale, Great Divide Hercules DIPA

3 points - Brugge Spider - Chocolate lemonade that kind of reminds me of purplesaurus rex in a good way.

2 points - BRBP's 2001 A Stout Odyssey - This chocolaty delight stands out in my mind as being a top pick from this year.

1 point - Schlafly Pumpkin - I like pumpkin anything.

Honorable Mention - Sun King Osiris Pale Ale, Founders Porter, People's Procrastinator Helles, New Belgium Ranger IPA

3 points - Founders Porter - Founders says it right. Rich. Dark. Sexy. Damn straight.

2 points - People's Hopkilla - I still don't think it is a DIPA, but it tastes great and I want seconds on it, and that is unusual for me with a DIPA.

1 point - New Albanian Beak's Best - This is a drinking man's beer. Not too heavy, and loaded with flavor.

3 points - New Albanian Beak's Best - 2010 seemed to be the year that craft beer fans came back to sessionable (easy-to-drink, lower ABV) beer, and at 5.3% ABV, Beak's Best certainly fits that bill. I wrote, "The beer features a sweet malty front that's immediately chased off by a bitter bite. The nose is malty grainy goodness, and the beer tastes like a good brewery smells. It's a beer that's bitter in the best way." What I didn't know then was that I'd never be able to pass up the beer again; if I'm in a bar and it's on tap, I'm going to end up with a glass of Beak's in my hand.

2 points - Brugge Spider - Every year Ted Miller rolls out a few barrel-aged surprises, and Spider surely ranks among the best of them. Chocolate and sour aren't supposed to go together - it doesn't even sound good - but somehow Spider combines them both in a beer unlike any I've ever come across. In an industry that thrives on consistency, it's Ted's one-offs that always please the most.

1 point - Upland Teddy Bear Kisses - There are plenty of beers out there that have chocolate elements, and even a lot of them with chocolate in the name, but none of them seem to have the complete chocolate package like Upland's Teddy Bear Kisses. If you're lucky enough to stumble across a barrel-aged version, you're in for something even better. In any variety, this beer stood out in 2010.

0.5 points - (Honorable Mention and a beer we actually roundtabled but never posted) Dogfish/Three Floyds Poppaskull - Since my first taste I've not be able to pass up this beer. Maybe not a year-round kind of beer, but definitely perfect for the holiday season. I even drank a bomber at home by myself.

0.5 points - (Honorable Mention) Sun King Oktoberfest - In a year where I'm pretty sure I've had every beer Sun King has released (and some they haven't), it's their Oktoberfest that sets a standard by which I'll now compare all others. And believe me when I say I know what an Oktoberfest tastes like.

3pt - Brugge Spider - Nothing else we tasted this year remotely sparks my memory as well as this beer. Unfortunately seen too rarely, this rich, tart beer is a gem in the local beer market.

2pt - Sun King Osiris - From day one, this was a very good pale ale. In 2010, Dave Colt and company dialed in this beer's recipe to hoppy perfection and went on to can one of the best pale ales on the market. I'd put a fresh growler of Osiris up against any pale ale on the market -- that's saying something given the crowded field.

1pt - Schlafly Pumpkin Ale - It's a familiar refrain: no one makes a Pumpkin Ale as delicious as Schlafly.

0.5 pts - New Albanian Beak's Best, Founders Porter

3 points - Brugge Spider - Haven't had too many dark sours, but the depth of flavor certainly made it more enjoyable. Had this later in the year and it wasn't quite as good, so this may have some batch-to-batch variation - but the first one was incredible.

2 points - Founder's Black Biscuit - Black IPAs are the "in" thing right now, but something about this one just really stands out. I wish they would bottle this; it's one of their best beers.

1 point - People's Hopkilla IPA - Heard lots of hype about this on Twitter and was kind of apprehensive, but this is a really solid IPA. I wouldn't say it's a DIPA, but it's certainly on the upper end of IPA. Great hops and great balance. Would order again.

0.5 points - New Belgium Ranger IPA, Founders Porter, New Albanian Beak's Best - Session beers are coming back strong, and these three are some of the best I've had all year. Won't break the bank and are all great go-to beers.

What a wonderful problem to have... I am having trouble picking from all of the wonderful beers that 2010 had to offer. There were plenty of beers we didn't get around to reviewing. If we had, we'd all be in a hospital waiting for liver transplants. I went through the list of 2010 KOTBR beers and nine (or 16, depending on how you do the math) stood out. And picking out my favorites from there was not easy. But here we go...

Honorable Mentions:
-Schlafly Pumpkin Ale: Full body, full flavor, year after year the best pumpkin beer around.
-Sun King Osiris: This has become the new standard at my tailgate parties. Hoppy enough for hop heads, balanced for those who are not, all in all a great beer.
-Crown IPA: Despite not being over the top in hops, a very tasty beer with a balance of malt to boot.
-He'Brew Jewbilation Vertical: With some verticals, the beer is supposedly the same year after year. He'Brew's recipes changed, and their gift pack was extremely fun.
-Broad Ripple Brewpub 2001 A Stout Odyssey: It wasn't a huge stout, but it was an enjoyable and fulfilling stout. Looking forward to its sequel 2010.

It came down to four beers for me this year. After going around and around, here are my results:

-2nd place - three way tie (1 pt. per beer) - Upland Teddy Bear Kisses, Sun King Oktoberfest, New Albanian Beak's Best. These beers have very little in common, but I enjoyed them for a multitude of reasons. TBK ended up being my big beer pick of the year. Chocolate and stout in a beautiful combination. O'fest from Sun King may be my favorite all time Oktoberfest beer; I will have to drink some more to make sure. And Beak's Best, which is my sessionable beer pick of the year.

-1st place - People's Hopkilla - Not surprising that a big hoppy beer won me over. People's may be a Lafayette brewery, but they have been making their way across the state. I'm a fan of their pilsner and their helles, but the Hopkilla knocked me out. Super hoppy but not overly sweet. I'd like to see this beer more often.

* * * * *

Spider 16.0 pts.
Hopkilla 9.5
Beak's Best 7.5
Sch. Pumpkin 4.5
Osiris 3.5
Founder's Porter 3.0
2001 2.5
TBK 2.0
Black Biscuit 2.0
SK O'fest 1.5
Ranger 1.0
Simcoe 1.0
Jewbilation Vertical 1.0
Great Divide .5
Procrastinator .5
Crown IPA .5
Poppaskull .5

25 December 2010

KOTBR #118 - The 12 Days of Chrismukkah, Part 2

Merry Christmas, readers! The Knights of the Beer Roundtable's celebration of holiday cheer started in Part 1 of "The 12 Days of Chrismukkah." We continue our celebration here in Part 2. Unfortunately, our host, Burl Ives, has been called away by Rankin/Bass to film a sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (we hear that the working title of this motion picture is "Reindeer Centipede"; sounds like a winner).

But never fear. Burl's more-than-worthy successor, the jovial Jewish singer (and Burl Ives doppelgänger) Theodore Bikel, has joined us. He has just stepped out of Taïm in the West Village, having just polished of a massive plate of falafel for lunch. I see him brushing the falafel crumbs from his beard, and a song is springing to his lips....

On the 7th day of Chrismukkah, the beer geeks gave to me:

He’brew Jewbelation 12 - As the numbers grow higher, the bigger, bolder dark fruit and boozy flavors are coming out more prominently than before. This beer is super-rich, full of roasty, alcohol flavors and has a chewy, raisiny texture. If this beer were a swan (as in 7 swans a swimming), it would be black and it would drown in a pool of syrupy bourbon. So while it is a nice sipping beer now, I think a bit of aging would mellow the heat and unmask the dark fruits more.

Be careful opening that beer. You might shoot your eye out.

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Jewbelation 12
Jess: 3.60 Mugs | Rod: 3.60 Mugs | Jason: 4.20 Mugs | Mike: 3.30 Mugs | Gina: 3.80 Mugs | Jim: 4.00 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.75 Mugs

On the 8th day of Chrismukkah, the beer geeks gave to me:

He’brew Jewbelation Bar Mitzvah 13 - The good news about this beer is that despite my last comment about how the flavors and booziness were jumping out of the beer as the numbers grew, this one turned out to be a little more subdued. Don’t get me wrong; 13% is still quite powerful, but Jewbelation 13 seems to be a bit more balanced than the 12. The alcohol gives way to brown sugar, molasses, and raisin flavors. If I had a choice of receiving either 8 maids a-milking or this, I would pick this. Because 8 maids a-milking as a gift, really? Who the hell would give this as a gift? And from someone who is claimed to be your true love? Do they really know you at all?

In case you were wondering--yes, that is a kosher pickle.

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Jewbelation Bar Mitzvah 13
Jess: 4.30 Mugs | Rod: 4.00 Mugs | Jason: 4.60 Mugs | Mike: 3.70 Mugs | Gina: 4.00 Mugs | Jim: 4.50 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.18 Mugs

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine ladies dancing....

Okay, we've spent this whole roundtable focusing on this ubiquitous Christmas song. But have you ever thought about who writes the songs? "White Christmas," for example? Writer: Irving Berlin (born Israel Baline). "The Christmas Song"? Mel Tormé (born Melvin Torma). "Let It Snow"? Sammy Cahn (born Samuel Cohen). "Winter Wonderland"? Felix Bernard (born Felix Bernhardt). "Sleigh Ride"? Mitchell Parish (born Michael Hyman Pashelinsky). "Silver Bells"? Jay Livingston (born Jacob Levinson). "I'll Be Home For Christmas"? Buck Ram (born Samuel Ram).

Are you seeing a connection here? Yeah, I thought so.

And do you know what's so wonderful about all of these Christmas songs written by people who don't celebrate Christmas? They're all classics that give you the warm fuzzies. I like 'em all (and don't tell my wife that; she thinks I hate Christmas music, so I've been fooling her all this time).

Like all this Jewish-written Christmas music, Jewbelation 14 is an instant classic of a beer. With 14 hops, 14 malts, and 14% ABV, Jewbelation 14 is bound to give you the warm fuzzies. While you might think that this beer should be cellared, it's a winner in its youth and worth drinking right now. Indeed, 14 is amazingly drinkable for such a big beer. For me, it tastes like a hybrid of Monumental Jewbelation 10 with its burnt sugar sweetness and the Jewbelation 12 with its Maraschino cherry character. Couple those attributes with a moderately chewy mouthfeel and you have a beer that you may be reluctant to share with your friends. But the holiday season is all about sharing, so spread the good karma and invite your friends to join you in enjoying this beer.

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Jewbelation 14
Jess: 4.29 Mugs | Rod: 3.80 Mugs | Jason: 4.25 Mugs | Mike: 4.40 Mugs | Gina: 4.20 Mugs | Jim: 4.25 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.20 Mugs

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love game to me ten lords a-leaping...

If you're the sort of person who consults Wikipedia regularly, you might already know that the Twelve Days of Christmas song has no satisfactory explanation. Some folks believe that the whole thing is a Catholic plan to teach young Catholics their faith, with each day standing for something - Jesus is a partridge in a pear tree, six geese a-laying are the six days of creation, and ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments. This makes for a nice story, but seems like an ineffective way to teach anything - now instead of just remembering who Jesus is, we have to remember which bird he is, who the other nine guys he's leaping with are, and if he hangs out in trees or lays eggs. Sounds a lot like Easter to me.

If you're the sort of person who doesn't consult Wikipedia, you might know the Twelve Days of Christmas better as an excuse for John Denver to get together with the Muppets.

Some people seem to forget that Jesus was Jewish. This is sort of a reminder.

Regardless of your background, I can tell you that most folks' sources say that there's no real explanation for the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Again, regardless of your background, I think we can all agree that a person who can tell you that your version of the story is wrong without giving you the right version is the worst kind of person. Right now I'm that person.

There's good news here, though - this is a beer review, so we can pretend none of that just happened.

The eighth and final (depending on which way you're drinking) beer in the He'Brew Vertical Jewbelation gift set is near and dear to our hearts because it uses an idea that we often do - it takes seven versions of the beer and combines them: the beer suicide. We do it because we're a bunch of goofballs that generally open too many bottles at a roundtable. He'Brew does it because it's delicious. To take things a step further, Vertical Jewbelation is aged in rye whiskey barrels, bringing out a hint of whiskey to go along with the rich dark fruit flavors that seem to carry throughout the series.

As a result, this is a beer that actually might benefit from some aging. But as far as I can tell, the only way to get one is to buy the entire box set, and if you're like us that means you'll want to drink them all at once. Drinking them separately.. well that makes no sense. Kinda like that 12 Days of Christmas song.

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Vertical Jewbelation
Jess: 4.567 Mugs | Rod: 3.90 Mugs | Jason: 4.20 Mugs | Mike: 4.70 Mugs | Gina: 4.40 Mugs | Jim: 4.50 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.38 Mugs

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Jess gave to me, eleven pipers piping. Now this one actually did happen. Eleven pipers arrived at the Larrison household with a bottle of Mikkeller Black Tie. They all told us what an incredible beer this was and how, despite its high price, this honey-infused imperial stout would make for a great Christmas. We cracked open the bottle with much excitement and were greeted with warm notes of tire rubber and charcoal. At this point, we were all suspicious of the pipers. How could this make our Christmas great? We warily sipped the Black Tie and tasted a bit of the honey. Then came the chocolate and cocoa nib flavors. Then came the horrid, charred, bitter, mouth-drying finish. I've scorched the brew kettle while homebrewing in the past, and that's exactly what this beer tasted like. We all agreed that we could not get past this burnt, rubbery sensation. It was only then that we realized that all eleven pipers were smoking crack. Damn you, crack smoking pipers. Damn you.

Sorry Mikkel. We love your beers, just not this one.

Mikkeller Black Tie
Rod: 1.00 Mugs | Jess: 1.20 Mugs | Jason: 0.125 Mugs | Mike: 0.00 Mugs | Gina: 1.50 Mugs | Jim: 2.00 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 0.97 Mugs

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

Okay, you're sick of this by now, aren't you? Well, we're almost done.

As Mike noted above, we occasionally throw together a beer suicide with the leftovers of the beers we've reviewed at a roundtable. And wouldn't you know it, we ended up with a little bit of each Jewbelation left in each bottle. So we poured the leftovers into a single glass to build our own version of Vertical Jewbelation. Our apologies to Shmaltz, but we couldn't resist.

Hoosier Beer Geek's Jewbelation Mash-Up
Jess: 3.70 Mugs | Rod: 3.50 Mugs | Jason: 3.67 Mugs | Mike: 3.50 Mugs | Gina: 3.00 Mugs | Jim: 3.25 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.45 Mugs

In closing, the Knights of the Beer Roundtable would like to wish our readers Happy Holidays! May your time be joyous, and may your glasses be filled with craft beer!

Jason, Jim, Mike, Gina, Rod, Jess, Matt, & Chris

23 December 2010

KOTBR #118 - The 12 Days of Chrismukkah, Part 1

Three years ago, we convened for our second ever holiday beer roundtable. Among the beers we reviewed were several from Shmaltz Brewing Company's He'Brew line. The result of the roundtable was a post that a renowned professor of Jewish studies called "glowing, lengthy, and somewhat bizarre." We considered (and still consider) the professor's description to be a compliment. Believe me, our work has been called much worse.

The opportunity to hit He'Brew beers recently arose again with Shmaltz's release of the He'Brew Vertical Jewbelation Gift Pack.

8 kosher Molotov cocktails.

If you're unfamiliar with the He'Brew Jewbelation series, here's the lowdown -- Every year around Chanukah, Shmaltz releases a new Jewbelation beer. The number of each Jewbelation release corresponds to the number of years that Shmaltz has been around, the number of different malts and hops used to brew the beer, and the percentage of alcohol by volume in the beer. For example, the first Jewbelation, called Miraculous Jewbelation 8, came out in Shmaltz's eighth year; therefore, it was brewed with 8 hops, 8 malts, and had an ABV of 8%. This year saw the release of Jewbelation 14.

Yes, we're talking big kosher beers here, especially as we march into the high teens in the upcoming years.

When we heard about the gift pack release a few weeks ago, we were quite curious about it. As a result, I rushed over to the local dram shop (thanks to Eric at 21st Amendment in Broad Ripple) to procure one for this year's holiday beer review. Inside our box o' Semitic goodies was the following: 8 beers, a custom tasting glass, a set of Chanukah candles, and instructions on how to build a beer bottle menorah. The beers consisted of all seven recipes of the Jewbelation series plus Vertical Jewbelation, which is a blend of the seven Jewbelations aged in Sazerac Rye Whiskey barrels.

Yet by the time we met for the roundtable, we had a problem: our schedules had been so packed that we weren't able to meet until Chanukah was over. Hence, there was no reason to assemble a beer bottle menorah with our empties. This made us quite sad. But being the astounding, synergistic meld of Jew and Gentile that we are, we knew that we could still have a joyous occasion. So we added two Christmas-themed beers to the mix, along with a Mikkeller one-off and our own mash-up of all 8 Jewbelations. In all, 12 beers. Yes, 12 beers.

So we present to you "The 12 Days of Chrismukkah." This post is Part 1, which will cover the first 6 beers from the roundtable. The last 6 beers will be covered in Part 2.

And now, imagine Burl Ives wearing a yarmulke, gliding through the snowy streets of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, with the smells of the kosher bakeries and delis in his nose and a festive song on his lips...

On the first day of Christmas my true love, Rodney, gave me a growler of Pumpkin Ale from Bier Brewery and Taproom instead of the traditional partridge in a pear tree. Since he knew my love of squashy treats in the colder months, this beer was much appreciated instead of the crappy bird (and who really wants the hassle of a tree). Pumpkin Ale is the perfect blend of vegetative flavor (mmmm...pie pumpkins) and holiday spices (hold the anise please). It was nice and moderately sweet with a dry finish that did not overpower the beer (or is it Bier?). The only thing this beer left me wanting (other than more) was a little bit fuller mouthfeel. I felt it was thinnner than expected for a pumpkin beer.

Since we're going to keep singing about this partridge in a pear tree, I'll keep it short but sweet - I'm a fan of this beer from Bier (redundancy anyone?) and can't wait to try their other seasonal offerings!

Bier Brewery Pumpkin Ale
Jess: 4.00 Mugs | Rod: 3.90 Mugs | Jason: 3.75 Mugs | Mike: 4.00 Mugs | Gina: 3.30 Mugs | Chris: 3.80 Mugs | Jim 4.00 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.82 Mugs

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Ah, turtle doves. They form a bond together and are rarely seen apart. That is why they are considered a symbol of devoted love. A perfect gift for true loves to give as Christmas gifts.

Apparently, they also make for a great sacrificial slaughter--

“Hey everybody! We had a baby boy! A bundle of joy! Oh happy day!”

“Congrats! Let’s kill a couple of doves to celebrate!”

“Umm…uh…okay? I guess? That’s seems kinda weird.”

“Nah, it’s great. We’ll take them to the temple, cut their heads off… it’ll be fun!”

I don’t know about you, but when I celebrate, I usually like to be surrounded by family and friends; eat, drink, and be merry!

So instead of shanking some unsuspecting birds, why not polish off a few Snow Cap Winter Warmers from Pyramid Breweries? It may not be the first winter ale you think to buy, but you should know this: the dark copper colored beer comes in at 7% abv, making it not-so-big but big enough; it has plenty of roasty malted goodness without being terribly chewy; and it runs about $7 a six pack. Plenty of beer at a great price…it’s easy to share. And it won’t leave you trying to get spilled dove blood out of your favorite Christmas sweater.

Pyramid Breweries Snow Cap Winter Warmer
Jess: 3.20 Mugs | Rod: 2.80 Mugs | Jason: 3.33 Mugs | Mike: 3.20 Mugs | Gina: 2.90 Mugs | Chris: 2.30 Mugs | Jim: 3.30 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.00 Mugs

On the third day of Christmas my true love, Rodney (isn't he sweet?), gave me a He'Brew Miraculous Jewbelation 8 along with three french hens. GOD ENOUGH WITH THE BIRDS AND IT'S ONLY DAY THREE. I can only clean up so much poop before I'm over the birds and just want a meal of fried chicken. He could have just given me one beer instead of three smelly birds (here come the animal rights activists), but I digress.

We recreated a scene from the graphic novel Maus.

On first whiff, Miraculous Jewbelation 8 smells like a decadent molasses cookie with sweet, graham crackery notes popping up. On first taste there's a big molasses flavor with a hint of caramel and dried fruits. It reminds me of a molasses oatmeal cookie with a hint of too much carbonation. The more I let this kosher brew roll around on my tongue, the more it brings out a dark maltiness tasting of semi-sweet chocolate-coated raisins and black cherries, toasted pumpernickel bread, and a hint of black licorice. Once again I'm searching for a fuller mouthfeel on my beer and am slightly disappointed in the high amount of carbonation tingling my nose. All in all though a solid offering and I highly recommend it!

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Miraculous Jewbelation 8
Jess: 4.20 Mugs | Rod: 3.20 Mugs | Jason: 3.25 Mugs | Mike 3.50 Mugs | Gina: 2.80 Mugs | Jim: 3.00 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.33 Mugs

On the fourth day of Christmas, Jess gave to me, four calling birds. Wait what? Oh I get it, it's a twitter reference. Those calling birds were all tweeting about He'Brew Jewbelation 9. One of them was @ShmaltzBrewingW, and they were telling us how this beer was similar to a Belgian dubbel. The 9 hops didn't stand out so much, but the yeast brought out lots of raisin, date, and fig aromas. Just like Christmas! Or maybe even Hanukkah! To be honest I don't even know what Hanukkah smells like, but I bet @ShmaltzBrewingW knows. Jewbelation 9 definitely had a great presentation for the 9 malts involved. Flavors of brown sugar, chocolate, caramel, and a bit of smoke rounded out the beer with a great balance. I'm certainly glad Jim picked this up from @21stBroadripple. The other two calling birds were @hoosierbeergeek and @brewhouse, but they weren't even talking about the beer. In fact, they didn't say much of anything with all the snuggling they were doing in the corner.

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Jewbelation 5766 9
Jess: 3.30 Mugs | Rod: 3.60 Mugs | Jason: 2.90 Mugs | Mike: 3.10 Mugs | Gina: 2.60 Mugs | Jim: 3.20 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.12 Mugs

On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me--

Oh, screw this. We're talking about Chanukah beer here. So I'm sorry if you were dying to hear the "fiiiiiiiive golden riiiiiings" bit that is the only part of the song most people know.

So let's talk about Judith instead. Judith lived in Judea around the time of the original Chanukah story--you know (or maybe not), the one in which the Assyrian rulers of Judea were oppressing the Jews until some hard case Jewish guerrillas called the Maccabees overthrew them, then rededicated the temple in Jerusalem by relighting the temple menorah with one day's worth of oil that miraculously lasted for 8 days, yadda yadda yadda....

Judith lived in a village under siege by the Assyrian army, who were led by a general named Holofernes. Holofernes had the hots for Judith. He also liked to get his drink on. Unfortunately for Judith and the villagers, their water supply was getting low because of the siege. But Judith was resourceful. She visited the village's version of Goose the Market--called Shmuely's Kosher Cheese and Wine Castle--where she bought an armload of kosher cheese made from the succulent milk of shrubbery-fed goats, along with several flagons of Mogen David wine. She then schlepped over to Holofernes's tent where she first served him the cheese. The cheese made him thirsty, so he drank lots of the Mogen David until he passed out. Being the badass that she was, Judith chopped off Holofernes's head and left the headless body for his troops to find. The troops panicked and were routed in a Jewish counterattack. Kol HaKavod, Judith!

So as you can see, Chanukah is all about festive holiday cheer.

If Shmaltz Brewing Company had been around in the time of Judith and Holofernes, I have a feeling that Judith would have opted for some bombers of He'Brew Jewbelation instead of flagons of Mogen David. In fact, she might have chosen Monumental Jewbelation 10.

As you might expect with a beer brewed with 10 malts, Monumental Jewbelation 10  is sweet, but not cloyingly so. The sweetness comes through in delicious burnt sugar and creme brulee notes. Unlike Jewbelations 8 and 9, which had a thin mouthfeel, 10 has a slightly hefty and silky mouthfeel. Even the choosiest Assyrian general would be smitten with this beer. Because everyone knows that if you can please an Assyrian general, you can please just about anyone.

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Monumental Jewbelation 10
Jess: 4.0 Mugs | Rod: 3.80 Mugs | Jason: 2.90 Mugs | Mike: 3.70 Mugs | Gina: 2.80 Mugs | Jim: 4.00 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.53 Mugs

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Six Geese-a-laying? It sounds like foul fowl porn. I’ll take the high road though. Six geese, sitting around, laying eggs. Maybe geese eggs are tasty. But I’ll probably never know. Every goose I have ever met gets all sorts of pissy if you get near its nest, starts hissing at you, and leaves the worst messes you’ve ever seen. Six Geese-a-laying. If that’s an ideal Christmas gift, I’m changing religions.

Now the Jews, they got it going on. Their winter holiday is eight nights long? I’m cool with that. Spin the dreidel? Sounds like fun (I’m assuming it’s like spin the bottle). And I think they have He’Brew beers on tap in the synagogue. In between the ark and the ner tamid.

If that is true, I hope they have some Jewbelation 11 on tap. While I enjoy all of the editions of Jewbelation, the 11 stands out. It’s a mighty big beer with a lot of flavors going on. Hanukkah may be the Festival of Lights; Eleven is the festival of darknes. Dark brown sugar. Dark fruits. Dark malty goodness. It’s almost like being bourbon barrel aged, but without so much of the bourbon booziness. The Maccabees would have gladly traded in their miracle oil for a six pack of 11!

So…oh, wait, pardon me a moment; I just received a text from Jim…okay, so they don’t have He’Brew beers on tap in the synagogue. They don’t have any beers on tap.


Maybe I’ll celebrate Yaksmas instead.

“On the 6th day of Yaksmas cousin Sven he sent to me, six Yaks a shaven…”

Well, it’s better than six frickin’ geese.

Shmaltz Brewing He'Brew Jewbelation 11
Jess: 4.60 Mugs | Rod: 3.50 Mugs | Jason: 4.50 Mugs | Mike: 3.70 Mugs | Gina: 3.50 Mugs | Jim: 4.25 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.01 Mugs

Coming soon: The 12 Days of Chrismukkah, Part 2.

Give the gift of cheese

We really like the fantastic cured meats, cheeses, and beer selection at Goose the Market. We've done our own beer and cheese pairing with them, a pairing charity event, and now we want to bring beer and cheese to your home. So we've teamed up with Goose the Market to present the Beer and Cheese Club.

The Beer and Cheese Club runs $99 for 4 months and includes hand-selected beer and cheese pairings each month.  Each pairing will include details about the beer and cheese as well as tasting notes.  As if this wasn't awesome enough on its own, if you purchase a subscription BEFORE December 31, you'll receive a free one-year subscription to Beer Advocate Magazine!  How's that for a deal!

Contact Goose the Market in store, via phone (317-924-4944), or by email for more details or to sign up.  Beer and cheese make a great last minute gift that you won't have to wrap. Or they make a great gift for yourself! Or I suppose you could subscribe next year, but then you won't get a free magazine subscription, and we know how much everyone likes free stuff...

17 December 2010

Drunk Desserts: Dark Lord Tiramisu

This recipe for Dark Lord/Imperial Stout Tiramisu is the first is what I hope will become a series of posts about beer-based desserts. Often times when using beer in desserts the alcohol is cooked off; that is not my intent here. I'm trying to put together a series of recipes in which the punch remains.

We are some fancy motherf*ckers here, and by "prepared deserts" we don't mean something easy, like brownies or jello. Instead, what we've got here is the perfect way for you to use those spare bottles of Dark Lord - perhaps making the ladies in your life a tiramisu desert for the holidays is the ultimate gateway into better beer.

Look at this f*cking thing. More badass than that Dark Lord bottle, and even your mom might like it.

Before you begin make sure you read the whole recipe through. If you don't have an electric mixer or a sifter you're going to be out of luck when you hit those later instructions.

Recipe adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1996 Edition.

Before you start, you should know there are two ways to do this - (1) the time consuming way, or (2) the even more time consuming way. You might think that baking a cake from scratch sounds difficult - then again I've managed it more than once - and if that's the case you should skip steps 1 through 4 (and ingredients list #1) and just go buy two or three packages of ladyfingers from the grocery store.

I realize "two or three packages" isn't exactly the clearest set of instructions, but it's been a while since I made it that way. Just buy three or four to be sure - buying ingredients for this thing is like asking Kroger to kick you in the ass anyway.

If you want to bake your own cake (it tastes better this way), you'll need:

Ingredients List #1 - Hot Milk Sponge Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Pam for Baking Spray to grease and flour the pan
Some wooden toothpicks to test cake doneness

This is what you're making in the first set of instructions.

If you're like me this list of ingredients is going to come straight off the store shelves - you'll end up with a giant can of baking powder you won't see again until you decide to make this again in 3 years - and you'll only find that can again after you went and bought another one (don't worry, that old can is probably expired anyway).

The last time I made this I purposely passed on buying sugar at the store, then came home and discovered not one but five half empty cans of sugar in my cabinets. I have no idea when I bought any of them, but I ended up using most of them in the recipe. No one died.

You can lighten it up with skim milk or margarine (I guess) but seriously this thing is probably come out at about 800 calories per serving anyway, so I bother trying to fool myself that there's anything light about this.

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease (I used Pam for Baking, which also contains flour) a 9x9x2 baking pan (actually I use and 8x8x2 and it turns out fine), set pan aside. Stir together flour and baking powder and set aside.

2) In a mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for about 4 minutes or until thick*. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy*. Add the dry mixture (the flour and baking powder), beat on low to medium speed just until combined - you're looking for a fairly consistent mixture (it is cake batter, after all), but don't freak out if it seems too lumpy yet. You'll be adding a little moisture in step 3.

*In this case thick, light, or fluffy are whatever you think they are. I've been known to see a timer because I get paranoid about it. That'll at least get you close.

3) In a small saucepan heat and stir milk and butter just until butter melts, add to batter, beating until combined. Pour batter into your pre-greased pan.

4) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes (until a wooden toothpick can be poked into the cake and comes out completely clean). Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then continue to cool on a wire rack.

(The recipe says that this makes 9 servings, but the end result will depend entirely on how you cut this. Because I made it and I wanted a lot, we ended up with something like 9 servings).

At this point you can go ahead an open that bottle of DarkLord (or any Russian Imperial Stout). You should only need about half the bomber for the recipe, so go ahead and pour yourself a small sample. That cake will take a little while to cool anyway.

In the case that you don't have Dark Lord and decide to use a different Imperial Stout, you'll want to go with something heavy on coffee flavors - and probably stay away from any RIS that's heavy on smoked meat character. Remember, you're making a desert, and smoked meats and whipped cream do not a desert make.

Let's make a Tiramisu!

You're already thinking "that was a lot of work" because if you're like me you sit at a desk all day looking for funny youtube videos, and all that standing in the kitchen is enough to make you reconsider how fun Top Chef looks. Good news! You're just getting started.

Ingredient list #2

1 recipe Hot-Milk Sponge Cake (or those ladyfingers you bought because you're lazy)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 bomber of Dark Lord (or 2 regular bottles of Russian Imperial Stout*)
2 8-ounce containers of mascarpone cheese or two 8-ounce packages of cream chese, softened
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (I used some old kahlua - this ingredient is probably optional)
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated
*You may not need two bottles but you can always drink the other one.

1) Prepare Hot-Milk sponge cake. You've done that already. Or if you're using ladyfingers*, open the first package.

2) Prepare your syrup - pour the Dark Lord (or RIS) into a container that will work with your pastry brush.

3) For filling, in a medium bowl stir together mascarpone or cream cheese, powdered sugar - You sifted it, right? I ran mine through a splatter screen. That was a pain in the ass and made a huge mess. BUT I got it done - and vanilla. Stir in the 2 ounces of grated chocolate.

Your first level should look something like this. Brush the whole thing with beer - this is halfway through. I know you're not that stupid but better safe than sorry.

4) To assemble your tiramisu, cut cake horizontally into 3 layers. You'll need a long knife. Put your first (bottom) cake layer back in the cake pan (or just layer ladyfingers in there until they fit), and brush the layer with Dark Lord until the whole thing is coated. You can go as thick as you want here, but remember that the alcohol isn't cooked off here, and that means this can get pretty strong. I brushed the layer until the whole thing was wet but not soaking. Now spread half of the cream cheese filling on top of your first layer. Repeat layering the second layer, following the same steps - paint with Dark Lord, spread the other half of the cream cheese. Now place the final cake layer on top, and brush with more Dark Lord. Don't be shy - you don't want this thing to be dry, you're looking for moisture throughout.

You've layered your cream cheese and cake layers and this is the top layer. Look at it glisten with Dark Lord. Like a fat guy that had too much in Munster.

5) In a chilled bowl combine whipping cream and a couple tablespoons of Dark Lord. I threw in two tablespoons of coffee liquor (Kahlua) here because I like eating myself drunk. Beat the whipped cream/beer/liquor with chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks* form. Spread whipped cream over top cake layer; sprinkling with the 1/2 ounce grated chocolate. Refrigerate at least four hours before serving.

*Your guess is as good as mine.

End results should look something like this.

*Can we talk about the name "ladyfingers"? After you realize they're not based on a Bond movie title, you're left with this:

Joe: "Hey guys! I'm baking some tiny cake things!"
Guys: "Tiny cake things?"
Joe: "I'm thinking of calling them ladyfingers!"
Guys: "You're a f*cking creepy bastard, Joe."

Random Beer Roundup - The Holiday Edition

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Just a reminder, the Roundup will be in hibernation for the next two weeks due to the crazy holidays.  The calendar will be updated as new things come in, so please refer to that until the start of the new year.  Thanks!

If there is something coming up that is not listed, we would love to hear about it. News, reviews, info, etc., to share for our next Random Beer Roundup can be submitted to hoosierbeergeek@gmail.com. Don't see your favorite craft beer establishment? Let them know you'd like to see them here! Work for an establishment that serves craft beer? We want to hear from you too!

Hoosier Beer Calendar
Events are subject to change

What's Brewing
From Greg at Lafayette Brewing Co. in Lafayette:
On tap at Lafayette Brewing Co. this weekend: Star City Lager; Prophet's Rock Pale Ale; Pipers' Pride Scottish Ale; Tippecanoe Common Ale; Eighty-Five American Ale; Black Angus Oatmeal Stout and the last of our Christmas seasonal- Vanilla Porter. Next specialty beers to hit the taps: Big Boris Barleywine on New Year's Eve and Snow Daze IPA coming Saturday, January 8.

Speaking of New Year's Eve: Don't miss all the NYE festivities here at LBC. Big Boris Barleywine will be available upon opening, and we'll be hosting our annual NYE Bash beginning at 9 pm on our 2nd floor. Local rock veterans Root Hog will be the featured band, and we'll be serving up party favors, free champagne toast at midnight and some late night munchies, as well. Tickets are $8 advance/$10 day of show.

Merry Christmas and Hoppy New Beers to All!
From Andrew at Ram Restaurant and Brewery in Indianapolis/Fishers:
New Beer – Chocolate Stout!
January 6th - We welcome all comers to join us for the tapping of Coo Coo for Cocoa Stout at our Fishers location at 6:30 p.m. Built on top of an Oatmeal Stout base that oozes with caramel, roast, and dark fruit flavors, pure Cocoa will be added to the brew to create decadent chocolate flavor.

On Tap Now – Downtown and Fishers
Aries American Wheat – Light and citrusy
S’no Angel Weizenbock – Rich, bready malt with hints of clove and dark fruit
Blue Pride Pilsner – Traditional German Lager

From Charles at Upland Brewing Co. in Bloomington:
Sour ales reserved last week are available for pickup at the Bloomington Tap Room through Dec. 22. See you there!

At the Bar
From Corrie at Goose the Market in Indianapolis:
What could be better than beer or cheese? Beer AND cheese. The Hoosier Beer Geeks and Goose the Market are proud to announce a new club to feed your curds-and-whey craving and appetite for artisanal ales. Register in the Beer and Cheese Club before Dec. 31st and get a 1 year subscription to Beer Advocate Magazine! $99 per 4 monthly allotments of farmstead cheese paired with craft beer plus tasting notes and HBG reviews. Call the Goose to register: 317.924.4944

What's with the sour face? The Goose has a few bottles of Upland's lambics and even more bottles of New Holland's Blue Sunday Sour. Pucker up...these are the bottles for Goose-style meat treats (charcuterie, that is).

Nogne O is keeping us O so thirsty with nogne other than their new Red Horizon fermented on sake yeast and aged in red rice barrels. O...and this year's Dark Horizon is "an imperial stout on steroids." How do you say that in Norwegian? Doesn't matter...just come get some before there are nogne left.

From Martin at Tavern on South in Indianapolis:
Sun King Cream Ale
Sun King Cowbell Porter
Sun King Winter Storm Warning
Bells Amber
Upland Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA
Three Floyds Gumballhead 
Goose Island Winter 
New Holland Mad Hatter IPA 
Founders Dirty Bastard 
New Albanian Beaks Best 
People's Pilsner

Coming Soon:
Left Hand Milk Stout (Nitro)

Sun King Wee Mac
Sun King Osiris
Loose Cannon Hop 3
Mad Anthony Auburn Lager
Barley Island Dirty Helen
Oaken Barrel Razz Wheat
Great Divide Hibernation
Lakefront New Grist (Gluten Free
New Holland Cabin Fever
Saison Dupont 
Carry Out
From Jeremy at Big Red Liquors (E. 3rd Street) in Bloomington:
*Just Arrived:

Sam Adams Infinium
(limited availability)

*Sales this Week:

Leffe 6pk
Harpoon IPA 6pk
Redhook ESB 6pk

Brew Appetit 12pk Sampler

*All Beer Merchandise Buy 1 get 1 FREE!

Can Huggies

*Give Beer this Year

Tyranena Legendary Collection 12pk Sampler
Bells Batch 10,000
3 Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf
From Joe at Crown Liquors (U.S. 31 South) in Greenwood:
On Friday, December 17 from 5-8 PM we will sampling:

Bell's - Christmas Ale
Lefthand - Fade To Black (Smoked Baltic Porter) (Brand New!)
New Holland - Blue Sunday (Sour Ale) (Brand New!)

Other new brews this week include:

Belhaven - Scotch Ale
Boulevard - Dark Truth, Double-Wide IPA (in 4-Packs), and Bourbon Barrel Quadruple (Brand New!)
Dark Horse - Reserve Special Black Bier
Hoppin Frog - Bodacious Black and Tan
La Trappe - Quadruple
New Belgium - Vrienden (Wild Ale) (Brand New!)
Rogue - Santa's Reserve Ale
Shoreline - Discombobulation Celebration Ale and Lost Sailor Imperial Stout
Southern Star - Pine Belt Pale

Don't forget we still have Winterfest tickets available! $35!

There is also a rumor of a holiday blowout tasting, more information forthcoming.

From Josh at United Package Liquors (Countyline & Meridian) in Greenwood:
New beer in stock-

Goose Island Rare BCS (very limited quantity)
Left Hand Fade to Black
Left Hand Wake Up Dead
Sam Adams Infinium
Three Floyds Black Sun
Sun King Wee Mac
New Belgium Frambozen
Bell's Batch 10K
Bouleveard 21st anniversary Wet Hop Ale

From the Distributors/Reps:
From Greg at Cavalier Distribution:
New Arrivals:

Left Hand Fade to Black arrived on Monday and was sold out of the warehouse by Thursday!! This year's style is a Smoked Baltic Porter (7.8%abv). Get it while you can, b/c we're out!

Left Hand Wake up Dead is a brand new Big Mo Series Beer, released in extremely limited quantities for the first time. It's a BA Russian Imperial Stout aged over 12 months in Heaven Hill Brandy Barrels, available every other year only and allocated in very small amounts (10.2% abv).

A few kegs of NABC Bonfire of the Valkyries made their way up north last week! A fusion between a German-style Schwarzbier & Rauchbier results in this wonderful Smoked Black Lager. Available in top NABC accounts now.

Nogne-O Dark Horizon has arrived in limited quantities; grab some if you can find it!

Nogne-O Red Horizon is available in extremely limited quanties for the first time! This new release in the Horizon line from Nogne-O is fermented with Saki yeast from Masumi Saki in Nagano, Japan (17%, 75 IBUs). Very, very limited.

People's Mr. Brown has been officially released outside of Lafayette area, and is now available on draft in both 5 & 15.5 gallon kegs!!

Upcoming Cavalier Events:
12/17 Holiday Cavalier Craft Beer & Wine Tasting, Spirits at Geist--Fox & Oaklandon, 4:30-6:30
12/17 Craft Beer Tasting, Cap n Cork on Dupont & Lima, Fort Wayne, 5 - 7.
12/23 Craft Beer Tasting, Pikk's in Valpo, 5 - 6.
01/04 Monthly Cavalier Craft Beer Tastiing @ Birdys, 6 - 8.
01/05 Monthly Brew Club Event @ Binkley's, Featuring Stone Brewing Co.
01/12 Craft Cider Tasting, Down to Earth in Granger, 4 - 6.

16 December 2010

Metromix 2010 Local Brewing Guide: Other Breweries in the Greater Indy Area

Hoosier Beer Geek worked with Metromix to create their 2010 Local Brewing Guide. It was published in the November 18th issue and we are republishing the articles we wrote. Enjoy!

Big Woods Brewing Company
60 Molly Lane, Nashville
Website: www.BigWoodsBeer.com
Ph: 812-988-6000

Jeff McCabe, Ed Ryan, and brewer Tim O’Bryan opened their Brown County brewpub in 2009. Their brewery has already expanded once, indicating that their beers are being well received.

Bloomington Brewing Company
1795 E 10th St, Bloomington, IN
Website: www.BBCBloomington.com
Ph: 812-323-2112

Jeff Mease and Lennie Busch opend Bloomington Brewing Company inside Lennie’s Pizza. Brewer Floyd Rosenbaum’s work has been available in Indianapolis in very limited quantities but should be more readily available soon as a new brewing facility is being constructed.

Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery
4051 S. Lafountain, Kokomo
Website: www.HalfMoonBrewery.com
Ph: 765-455-2739

If you want to drink head brewer John Templet’s beers, you’ll have to travel to the Kokomo restaurant to get it.

Lafayette Brewing Company
622 Main Street, Lafayette
Website: www.LafayetteBrewingCo.com
Ph: 765-742-2591

Owner and brewmaster Greg Emig spent time at Broad Ripple Brewpub before opening his own brewpub in 1993. His beers are bottled and can be found in limited supply in the Indianapolis area.

People’s Brewing Company
2006 N. 9th Street Rd., Lafayette
Website: www.PeoplesBrew.com
Ph: 765-714-2777

Owner and brewmaster Chris Johnson opened his production brewery and taproom in 2009 after working at Lafayette Brewing Company. His beers can be found on tap at several locations around Indianapolis.

Power House Brewing Company
322 Fourth Street, Columbus
Ph: 812-375-8800

Owner and head brewer Jon Meyers opened Power House in 2007. It is located inside of the historic Columbus Bar, which opened in 1939. His beers are only available in this downtown Columbus landmark.

Upland Brewing Company
350 W. 11th Street, Bloomington
Ph: 812-336-2337

Upland opened in 1998 and has grown its brand across Indiana and parts of the Midwest. Head brewer Caleb Staton’s beers can be found on tap and in bottles at several locations around Indianapolis (including Lucas Oil Stadium and Victory Field) as well as at their Indianapolis tap room.

Metromix 2010 Local Brewing Guide: New and Proposed Breweries in the Indy area

Hoosier Beer Geek worked with Metromix to create their 2010 Local Brewing Guide. It was published in the November 18th issue and we are republishing the articles we wrote. Enjoy!

Bier Brewery & Taproom
5133 East 65th St., Indianapolis
Website: www.BierBrewery.com

Bier Brewery owner and brewer Darren Connor was most recently working at Great Fermentations, a homebrewing supply store. His new brewery will produce small batches and sell them in-house only. They hope to have six to eight beers available at a time with a focus on seasonal beers. According to their website, they hope to open by Thanksgiving.

Flat 12 Bierwerks
414 N. Dorman St., Indianapolis
Website: www.Flat12.me
Ph: 317-635-2337

Another production brewery is opening up in downtown Indianapolis, this time in the Cottage Home neighborhood. Rob Caputo, director of brewing, is teaming up with Steve Hershberger and Sean O’Conner. They have already been spreading the word about their operations through social media and their “Hopstar” fan program. Their goal is to have beer available yet this year.

Scotty’s Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company
1021 Broad Ripple Ave., Indianapolis
Website: www.Thr3eWiseMen.com

Owner Scotty Wise (of the local Scotty’s Brewhouse chain) has hired Omar Castrellon (formerly of Alcatraz Brewing Company) as head brewer. The brewery is currently under construction in Broad Ripple and will have a tasting room as part of their operations. The Scotty’s Brewhouse and Lakehouse restaurants will have the beers on tap as well. They are hoping for a January opening.

Triton Brewing Company
Fort Benjamin Harrison, Lawerence
Website: www.TritonBrewing.com

Head brewer Jon Lang was most recently at Barley Island Brewing Company but has partnered with Michael DeWeese and David Waldman on this new production brewery. They hope to have their beers available in kegs and bottles in January with their tasting room opening soon after.

Black Swan Brewpub
2067 E. Hadley Rd., Plainfield
Website: www.BlackSwanBrewpub.com

The Black Swan Brewpub is open as a restaurant and bar, serving 15 different beers on draft from Indiana breweries. Owner and brewer D.J. McCallister has worked previously at Oaken Barrel and Lafayette Brewing Company. They hope to open their brewery in 2011.

Three Pints Brewpub
5020 Cambridge Way, Plainfield
Website: www.ThreePintsBrewpub.com
ph: 317-839-1000

Tom Hynes has been homebrewing for twenty years and hopes to make his professional brewing debut in January. The restaurant is now open and will start off serving Indiana craft beer until their brewing operations are on line.

Brownfield Brewing Company
Fountain Square neighborhood, Indianapolis
Website: www.BrownfieldBrewing.com

Kenny Allen, formerly from Delaware’s Old Dominion Brewing Company, is working with Ken Warren and Arifah Aronson to open a brewery that is sustainable and organic. A location and opening date have not been announced.

Blue Republic Brewing Company
Shelby County
Website: www.Facebook.com/BlueRepublic

Award-winning homebrewer Bill Ballinger is looking to go pro with a new production brewery. A location and opening date have not been announced.

KOTBR #117 - Canadian Thanksgiving with Peter Brewster

As has become Hoosier Beer Geek tradition, the Knights of the Beer Roundtable gathered on the Sunday after Thanksgiving to celebrate our collective culinary capabilities and to give thanks for beer. No Thanksgiving feast would be complete without remembering those who came before us, and it is with that in mind that we share two forgotten stories from Thanksgivings past with you now.

Many stories have been told of the traditional first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony in 1621. But not many know the story of Peter Brewster, the younger half brother of William Brewster. I’m here to fix that for you.

Peter was an aloof man known for being lazy and always putting things off. It earned him the nickname Procrastinating Pete. It was because of Procrastinating Pete that the launch of the Mayflower to the “New World” was delayed several times. He kept oversleeping and missing the scheduled launch.

Finally, his older brother Will said, “Screw that wanker” and decided to leave without him. Distraught that he would be left behind without a brother to mooch from, Pete borrowed a dinghy and set sail across the ocean.

It was a surprise to no one that Procrastinating Pete arrived in Plymouth just in time for Thanksgiving supper. He was very hungry and thirsty, having only brought four bags of Doritos, a dozen sticks of beef jerky, and a case of Four Loko with him on the journey.

One of the pilgrims offered him a drink upon his arrival: “Hey Procrastinator! Want a beer?”

“Hells yes, people!” And it was a delicious beer, smooth and malty. And from that day forward, the beer would be known as the People’s Procrastinator Helles.

That winter, Procrastinating Pete found himself in a pickle. He hadn’t made any provisions to feed himself during the cold months and was very hungry. Again. His brother Will was frustrated but took pity on him. “I have a cow in the barn,” Will said. “Take it and trade it for food.”

Pete walked the cow to a trading post run by an old Norseman who was the descendant of explorers that traveled with Leif Erikson. His name was Jofur Herjolfsson, but everybody knew him as Trader Joe.

“I’ll give you some beans for that cow,” Joe said.

“I don’t know,” replied Pete, “that doesn’t sound like much.”

“Tell ya what, someday there will be a chain of stores named in my honor. And they will have beer there. I will give you a bottle of Ale on Lees from 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.”

“That’s like 400 years from now? I won’t be alive then,” Pete replied.

Joe thought about it and came up with a shrewd reply. “Those beans are magic beans. They’ll let you live forever!”

Procrastinating Pete was very gullible. He made the trade and immediately ate the beans. At first, they just gave him gas. But much to Joe’s surprise, the beans did make Pete immortal. Which is why he recently stopped at Trader Joe’s in Castleton and picked up his vertical of beer.

The 2007 vintage was his favorite, as the flavors seemed to be tastefully blended. 2008 and 2009 had sharper tastes and more booze in his mind. The 2010 vintage was completely different, being very mellow and thin in mouthfeel right out of the gate.

And that’s the story of Procrastinating Pete. Don’t you feel more enlightened for having heard it?

People's Procrastinator Helles
Jason: 3.8 Mugs | Mike: 3.33 Mugs | Jess: 3.8 Mugs | Rodney: 3.5 Mugs | Gina: 3.6 Mugs | Chris: 2.9 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.48 Mugs

While Jason may have just filled you in on American Thanksgiving, we Canadians* know that your Thanksgiving stories and traditions pale in comparison to ours. But before I bring you up to speed on Canadian Thanksgiving, I'll start with a quick lesson in Canadian history.

In 1480, the great Czech King Petr Prcrztnate decided that it was high time for the Czech Republic Navy to claim its rightful place among the worlds greatest navies. He brought his most trusted Admiral, Kanada Kolumbus, to his castle in Ostrava, and gave him a choice of three missions:

1) Win the America's Cup
2) Participate in the Red Bull Flugtag
3) Discover a new country

Admiral Kolumbus was a drunk; he knew that he had no chance of winning the America's Cup. And he knew that the Red Bull Flugtag was for hippies - he was an admiral! He had no time for hippies, even if he had a drug problem and lack of ambition himself. He knew that discovering a new country would be difficult. But given his options, it seemed like the one he would most likely be able to complete. And so he set forth from Ostrava in four vessels - the Nela, the Fanta, the Santa Meringue, and Russel - very hard going considering that Ostrava borders no sea or river. But just as he reached the Czech Republic/Germany border, he received word from King Prcrztnate. "Wait!"

And so he did, for many years - 11 to be perfectly clear. It was then, finally, that the Admiral and his four ships set course for a new country. Any country.

When asked why he made Kolumbus wait so long, the King Prcrztnate said, "Well, I...I just thought...What's the hurry?"

It was while carrying his boats on horseback through Munich that Kolumbus told his story to the locals, and they decided to award his predicament by brewing a beer to mock the Czech king. Thus Prcrztnator Helles was born.

Of course it wasn't until 1491 that Kanada Kolumbus reached what today is known as Canada. When Kolumbus finally reached Canadian shores, he was greeted by four Chiefs of the Loki tribe, each of them presenting him with a bottle of Ale on Lees. Now considered as the founders of modern day Canada, these Four Loko (much like a group of gooses are called geese, a group of Loki are called Loko) helped Kolumbus and his men found the city now known as Leduc (city motto: "This place is Leduculous!") and it is in their honor that we gather each year on Canadian Thanksgiving to drink four bottles of Ale on Lees.

*I'm not Canadian

Trader Joe's Vintage Ale 2007 (by Unibroue)
Mike: 3.6 Mugs | Jason: 3.75 Mugs | Jess: 3.1 Mugs | Rodney: 3.6 Mugs | Gina: 3.3 Mugs | Chris: 3.9 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.54 Mugs

Trader Joe's Vintage Ale 2008 (by Unibroue)
Mike: 3.6 Mugs | Jason: 3.5 Mugs | Jess: 2.8 Mugs | Rodney: 3.5 Mugs | Gina: 3.1 Mugs | Chris: 3.9 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.4 Mugs

Trader Joe's Vintage Ale 2009 (by Unibroue)
Mike: 3.9 Mugs | Jason: 3.25 Mugs | Jess: 3.3 Mugs | Rodney: 3.0 Mugs | Gina: 3.2 Mugs | Chris: 3.9 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.42 Mugs

Trader Joe's Vintage Ale 2010 (by Unibroue)
Mike: 3.8 Mugs | Jason: 3.33 Mugs | Jess: 3.6 Mugs | Rodney: 3.3 Mugs | Gina: 3.4 Mugs | Chris: 3.9 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.55 Mugs

15 December 2010

The Hoosier Beer Geek 2010 End of Year Reader's Survey

We realize this thing is a bit clunky and hard to work with, but it does work, and it keeps realtime results, so we're going to run with it.

Thanks for understanding.

Metromix 2010 Local Brewing Guide: Breweries with Indy outposts

Hoosier Beer Geek worked with Metromix to create their 2010 Local Brewing Guide. It was published in the November 18th issue and we are republishing the articles we wrote. Enjoy!

Upland Tasting Room, est. 2009
4842 N. College Ave., Indianapolis
Website: www.UplandBeer.com
Ph: 317-602-3931

The Bloomington brewery has six beers on draft. They are available for sampling and growler fills (a growler is a container, usually glass, that is filled off of draft lines for at-home consumption; they generally come in 64 ounce containers, but some places have 32 ounce as well). Kegs are also available for sale. Pints of their beer are sold only on Sundays and Mondays.

Granite City Food & Brewery, est. 2008
150 West 96th Street, Indianapolis
Website: www.GCFB.net
Ph: 317-218-7185

The Minnesota based chain uses a process called “Fermentus Interruptus”, where the brewing is conducted at a central facility. The wort is then shipped to their individual locations (including the three Indiana locations), where the beer is fermented. The restaurant sells their beer as samples, pints, and growlers.

BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
1251 U.S. 31 North, Greenwood
Website: www.BJsBrewhouse.com
Ph: 317-881-3500

The California based chain does not brew their beer on site, but they offer beers that are proprietary to their chain and brewed at one of their larger facilities. The restaurant’s beers are available for on-site consumption, but because the beer isn’t brewed in Indiana, it is not available for sale in growlers.

14 December 2010

Metromix 2010 Local Brewing Guide: Wilbur Brewing Company

Hoosier Beer Geek worked with Metromix to create their 2010 Local Brewing Guide. It was published in the November 18th issue and we are republishing the interviews we conducted. Enjoy!

Wilbur Brewing Company, est. 2009
Martinsville, IN
Ph: 765-346-0023
Website: www.WilburBrewCo.com

Like most people, Dan Hause plans on retiring someday. And when he retires, he wants to open a brewpub as his retirement “hobby”. He started homebrewing eight years ago and opened his commercial brewing operation last year.

Wilbur Brewing Company is operated out of an A-frame lake cabin that used to be part of a Girl Scout camp. It is located on a lake in the middle of the woods out in the country of Morgan County. Hause still works full time as an engineer in the mining industry, so his brewery doesn’t have regular hours. He does welcome visitors, but they need to call in advance and schedule a time.

His brewing equipment is pretty simple. Hause uses a large brewing pot that he puts over a wood fire outdoors during warmer months. In the winter months, it sits across all four burners of a residential stove. His beers are bottle conditioned, meaning the yeast is added to the bottles where they then ferment. Wilbur beers are sold in bottles at stores and restaurants in Morgan, Monroe, and Marion Counties. Two restaurants in Bloomington carry Wilbur on draft. But Hause expects his beers will receive wider distribution next year.

While his brewing facility is atypical, what sets him apart from other breweries is that the beers from Wilbur Brewing Company are certified organic. Hause explains: “The malts are not grown with pesticides. The hops are not grown with pesticides. I have to keep my place pesticide free. The biggest challenge was the cleansers [for the brewing equipment]. I found a peroxide cleanser that is approved. It does a really nice job.”

Wilbur Brewing Company is the only brewery in Indiana that is certified organic and is one of the few organic breweries in the Midwest. “The organic ingredients cost me between 10 and 20 percent more [than regular ingredients],” he adds, “but the cost of beer ingredients are a small part [of the total cost].”

Regular Beers (styles in parenthesis): Country Mellow (Amber Ale), Biker Brown (Brown Ale)

Seasonals: Summer Ale, Octoberfest, Midnight Stout