04 March 2010

Beer Diary: Crown Brewing

The Calumet region has become an enjoyable pocket of craft beer goodness. Everyone on the planet knows that Three Floyds is located there, but other towns have good microbreweries too. Shoreline in Michigan City. Brickworks in Hobart. Back Road in LaPorte. And coming soon: Figure 8 in Valparaiso.

Crown Brewing is another one of those breweries. Located in downtown Crown Point, Crown Brewing has come a long way in its short life with seven beers on tap. Brewmaster Steve Mazylewski has been putting together some impressive recipes during his year at the helm.

On this particular trip, I ordered a flight of six samplers:

-Crown Light is a blonde ale. It is light bodied, clear gold in look, easy on hops, and has a touch of lemon in the flavor profile. Definitely a session beer. And it's a good start for macro drinkers, yet won't make a geek gag.

-Crown Brown is light in mouthfeel but full on flavor. Caramel sweetness comes through. Its nutty nose is enjoyable. I like a fuller mouth in my browns, but its lightness makes it highly sessionable.

-Marzen is copper in color and crisp in flavor and mouthfeel. It has a malty nose, and there is a hop kick that shows up in the back of the throat.

-Celtic Pride Oatmeal Stout is dark and black with roasty malt nose. Roasted malts are very strong in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is very milky. I find some coffee-like bitters in back of throat.

-Coffee Stout starts out as the Celtic Pride. It looks the same, but it has slight coffee nose. The Oatmeal Stout has some coffee notes to start off with. The additional coffee gives this beer a big coffee flavor. I think Gina would like it.

-Special Force Ale is an IPA with a light copper color. I find that it has a light citrus and flowery nose, but the hops are tamed in the nose. They are, however, much bigger in the mouth. There is a dry mouthfeel that you commonly find in hoppy beers. In this beer, they use Summit, CTZ, Centennial, and Cascade hops. No one hop overwhelms the others. They play really well together and create a nice balance of hop characteristics. Crown has been bottling this beer in 22 ounce bombers.

In additional to the flights, I ordered a Grand Poobah, which is a Russian Imperial Stout. It is darker than dark. Big and rich with a thick, full mouthfeel. Is that dark chocolate in the nose? There's something else there, something familiar. Roasted malts and chocolate come through. And creamy. Its 10 percent ABV is kinda hidden, as this beer is not boozy at all. So be careful.

The Crown Brewing taproom has a nice relationship with the adjacent Carriage Court restaurant. I visited on 30 cent hot wings day, which are on Tuesdays. I ordered the hot wings, which are sweet and flavorful with heat building up over time. The wings are meaty and not overly breaded. I also ordered the Irish nachos which are battered fries topped with melted cheese, bacon crumbles, and ranch dressing. They use bagged, frozen fries, but I don't care. The fries are tasty and even better with the toppings. It is big enough for two and at $3.25, it is a great deal.

Other notes from Crown Brewing:

-They plan on bottling the Crown Brown and then, hopefully, the dopplebock. The bock is aging right now and will be served at Three Floyds Dark Lord Day. Some will be served at Crown.

-Coming up in Crown Point: The St. Patty's Day parade. Apparently it is a big deal. Crown Brewing will have a float in the parade and a root beer stand on the streets. Back at the brewery, corned beef and cabbage pizza will be on special. And along with the stouts, they will be serving Patrick, an American red ale. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Patrick Tillman Foundation.

-And on May 22, the Illiana Mayfest will host area breweries, including Crown Brewing. The plan is $25 in advance, $30 at the door. The fest will be held indoors in a Lake County Fairgrounds building. But if the weather is nice, they will have the big doors at each end opened up. More details to come.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for stopping in to visit with us. You guys are welcome anytime. Bring the RV over to the brewery if you get a chance over Dark Lord weekend. Keep up the awesome work. Have a great day!