27 May 2011

Random Beer Roundup - The 100th Running Edition

A round of applause to Jason for holding up the Roundup fort last week.  Looked like it was a fun week here for American Craft Beer Week.  Hope you found yourself with some great beer.

What does it say when you get back from vacation and you're ready for the long weekend? I think I miss New Orleans a little bit already. I highly recommend the Royal Street Inn in New Orleans if you get a chance to stay there. They only have three or four rooms, but they are really, really nice. Plus they give you tokens for a drink every night you stay and they have a nice selection of local beer. I do not, however, recommend the International Beer House on Bourbon Street. They did have a nice selection, but we could have bought a six pack (at the liquor store a block away) with what we paid for one beer. Live and learn, I suppose.

Hey, have you gotten your tickets for the first annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival or Microbrewers' Festival?  They are on sale here.

Hoosier Beer Calendar
Events are subject to change

From the Breweries

From John at Half Moon Brewery in Kokomo:
Applebottom ESB (Seasonal)
The Applebottom ESB (Extra Special Bitter) is an English-style beer with a soft aroma of hops and caramel malts. It's amber in color, has a medium bodied mouthfeel with medium-high hop bitterness, and a background of caramel and biscuity malt flavors. A great session beer for people that enjoy hops.

OG=1.052 ABV=5.25% IBU=45
From Jerry at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Downtown Indianapolis:
Hello! I've got the usual suspects as well as:

Belgian Red Ale- malty sweet and fruity
Goat Toppler Maibock- perfect to style
and...Hop Bomb is back!!!

From Clay at Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis:
Warm weather is finally here and we have a slew of new beers for your enjoyment! Firefly Wheat has been making its way onto taps around the city and will be available throughout June and July around town and in the Tasting Room. Fistful of Hops should make it through this week in the Tasting Room and is on tap in a number of bars/restaurants. Popcorn Pilsner, crafted with 300 pounds of locally grown heirloom popcorn, is coming out in July to quench your thirst on a hot summer day and A Few Hops More, the sequel / Imperial IPA version of the aforementioned Fistful of Hops is bubbling away in the fermenter!

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, May 28th 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Big Car Service Center (38th & Lafayette Rd.)
Sun King, New Day Meadery, Fat Sammies & the DEBUT of Chris Eley's Smoking Goose all courtesy of YELP!
To attend you MUST REGISTER & RSVP on Yelp at www.yelp.com/events/indianapolis-the-yelp-500

Popcorn Pilsner Tapping
Thursday, June 2nd 6:35 p.m.
Victory Field - Captain's Cove
Tickets for Captain's Cove available here.

Bloomington Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, June 4th

A Few Hops More Tapping
Thursday, June 9th 6:00-9:00 p.m.
IN the Tasting Room
Food from Mabel on the Move & Music from Woody Pines

Indieana Hadicraft Exchange
Saturday, June 11th 12:00-8:00 p.m.
Harrison Center for the Arts - 1505 N. Delaware St.
Local Artists, Local Music & Fresh•Local•Beer

From Cari at Upland Brewery in Bloomington/Indianapolis:
I'm tasting some of our beers at the Trader's Point Creamery Green Market this Friday, May 27, 4-8 pm. Get some locally produced products, grab some dinner, and sample some of our tasty beers Friday night!

I'm also doing a tasting on Monday, May 30, 1-4 at Fresh Market Broad Ripple. We'll be sampling many of our everyday beers and our latest seasonal, Nut Hugger Brown Ale.

At the Bars and Restaurants

From Patrick at the Patrick’s Kitchen in Zionsville:
Latest news is we picked up a 1/2bbl of sun King's "fist full of Hops" and everyone is really enjoying it.
From Don at Puccini's Smiling Teeth, various locations:
Puccini's, locally owned and operated, has been in business for more than 20 years. Recently, we've been changing things up - we joined that newfangled twitter thing, added a gluten free menu, and now we're focusing on our beer list, featuring local and craft brews to pair with our pizza. We also added a gluten free option for our friends with special dietary needs.

We thought you might be interested in another local place to pair good food with tasty beers. Here's more info on our beer menu. Hope you come and check us out sometime soon!
Carry Out
From John at Crown Liquors in Fishers:
This week at Crown Liquors #20 in Fishers, we are going to have a beer tasting celebrating the track and memorial day weekend. Im going to have five different options in cans. We will have Brooklyn Summer Ale, Brooklyn Lager, Southern Star Blonde Bombshell, Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale and Twisted Tea.
From Patrick at Crown Liquors in Downtown Indianapolis:
We have lots of tastings happening on Friday May 27th:

At our US 31 S. Location:

We will be sampling:
Wild Turkey American Honey Whiskey from 4-6PM
Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Mix from 5-7PM

The Craft Beer Tasting will be at the normal time, from 5-8PM and will be featuring:

BOULEVARD - Two Jokers Double Wit (Imperial Belgian-Style Wit Beer) (New!)
DARKHORSE - Boffo Brown Ale
MAGNER'S - Hard Cider
and a few other out-of-state specialities/surprises...

New Brewkis this week include:

BRASSERIE DES FRANCHES-MONTAGNES (BFM) - Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2010, Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru 2010 (Oak Aged Sour/Wild Ales!)

At our Downtown Location (at the corner of Delaware and Ohio)
"Beer Geek Race Day Can Tasting" featuring:

SOUTHERN STAR - Pine Belt Pale Ale Can
SOUTHERN STAR - Bombshell Blonde Can
BROOKLYN - Lager Can
BROOKLYN - Summer Can
SUN KING - Sunlight Cream Ale Can (Sun King Rep will be here to pour and talk about the beers too!)
SUN KING - Osiris Pale Ale Can
SUN KING - Wee Mac Scottish Ale Can
BELL'S - Oberon Mini-Kegs on Sale for $17.84, Normal Price 20.99

Also, tickets for the INDIANA MICROBREWERS FESTIVAL are now available at some CROWN LIQUORS locations! The festival is on Saturday, July 16th from 3-7PM. We are carrying the GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS, they are $40 and allow unlimited sampling for four hours!
(NOTE: We are NOT selling the VIP or DESIGNATED DRIVER tickets, Sorry! These can be purchased here.)

I hope to see you there!
From the Distributors
From Greg at Cavalier Distributing:

Birrificio Baladin Al-iksir, Isaac, Nora, Super Baladin & Wayan: Now available everyday!

BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2010 & Grand Cru (Aged in Rum Barrels): Extremely limited release, allocated.

Coney Island 12pk Variety Packs: Mix Pack 12oz btls of Albino Python, Coney Lager, Mermaid Pils & Sword Swallower; Seasonal Release, Limited.

De Glazen Toren Saison D'Erpe Mere & Jan de Lichte: Now available everyday!

Lakefront Cherry Lager: Seasonal Release, Limited.


5/27 - Cavalier Seasonal Craft Beer Tasting @ A-1 Liquors on 52nd St. ; 4 - 6pm

6/02 - People's Brewing Co. Tasting @ Fox & Hound Castleton; 4 - 6pm

6/07 - Monthly Cavalier Craft Beer Tasting @ Birdy's; 6 - 8pm; $10

6/16 - Father's Day Tasting @ Chalet

6/30 - Cavalier Craft Beer Tasting @ Chalet 3 in Elkhart; 4-6
Upcoming Events:
Are you ready to tap into the Indiana beer scene? Look no further than the Phoenix Theatre’s 16th annual Brew-Ha-Ha Saturday June 25, 2011. Brew-Ha-Ha is an annual Indianapolis event with more than 20 Indiana microbreweries, you’re sure to find one that tickles your taste buds just right. Go ahead – try to taste them all. Though we certainly do not encourage this, and no such prize exists for accomplishing the feat, you’re sure to have a great time chugging away. What goes good with a stellar brew? Why, food and live music of course! With unlimited tastes of over 50 beers on tap, an abundance of food and melodious tunes in the air, the Brew-Ha-Ha is sure to please. The event is held rain or shine! The fun begins at 3pm and goes until 7pm. Cost is $25 presale at www.phoenixtheatre.org or $30 the day of the event. For the courageous few who will attempt to sample all the delicious brews, $10 will cover your designated driver. Remember, cash only accepted the day of the event and you must be 21 or over to attend. Come toss a few back that were made right here in Indiana! And like we always say – FEAR NO BEER!

What to Drink and Who to Root For on Race Day

Note: This post originally ran in 2010, but much of the information is as relevant this year as it was last year.

Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us, and in Indianapolis that means it's time for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing: The Indianapolis 500.

It may be old news to most, but there are a few beer-related things to know if you're making your way to the speedway. According to the spectator regulations page at IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com:
Coolers are permitted but size is restricted to no larger than 14 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches; coolers may be hard- or soft-sided.

Food and beverages are permitted, but no glass containers of any kind are allowed.
What that means is that you're going to be in the market for beer in cans. Lucky for you, we've put a little guide together.

One option is the 5 Liter Mini-Keg - it allows for a large quantity of beer in one convenient package. Perhaps the most common example is the Bell's Oberon 5L Mini Keg - available at the following HBG friendly locations: Keg Liquors (Clarksville), 21st Amendment (Broad Ripple), Big Red Liquors (Bloomington), United Package Liquors (Countyline and Meridian).

Of course if you want a little more variety in your beer choices, we're lucky in that there are now (finally) plenty of available craft beer cans. Our first choice is always local, and Sun King cans (Sunlight Cream Ale and Osiris Pale Ale) are available at the downtown brewery, 21st Amendment, Kahn's, Parti Pak, Goose the Market, Crown Downtown, Mass Ave. Wine Shop, and Vine & Table.

If you'd like to expand your options more, there are out of state can options. Here are just a few:
New Belgiums Fat Tire
Stevens Point Cascade Pale, Nude Beach & Special Lager
Fullers London Pride
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
Wittekerke Wit Bier
Southern Star Buried Hatched Strong Stout and Pine Belt Pale Ale
Breckenridge Avalanche Ale
Now that you've got your beer sorted out, you'll need to pick a team to root for. Luckily we've sorted that out for you, too. Only one team at the Speedway is sponsored by an Indiana brewery - Conquest Racing, sponsored by Brugge Beer and Brasserie.

This is what a press release looks like:

Belgian Connection Sparks Brugge and Conquest Racing Partnership to Fuel Indianapolis School on Wheels Efforts to Break the Cycle of Homelessness through Education

Indianapolis, IN (May 20, 2010) – One local race team is pondering more than qualifying times and pole position stats this month. In an effort to help lessen Indy’s high rate of homeless children, Conquest Racing is helping Brugge Brasserie put the pedal to the metal to raise awareness and funds for School on Wheels.

While Conquest Racing is very focused on what is happening trackside these days, Team Owner, Eric Bachelart, also has a bigger picture in mind.

“Over the years, Ted Miller and I became good friends. He recently approached me and asked if Conquest might be interested in helping to promote the School on Wheels charity organization alongside Brugge. Because I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do what I do for a living, it feels good to get behind a cause like this and help the homeless kids of Indianapolis,” said Bachelart.

Beyond a love for racing and now a shared cause, Conquest and Brugge also have a Belgian connection in common. Abraham Benrubi, TV/Film Actor and Brugge Co-Owner, explains, “We’ve got Belgian food and beer…..Conquest has a Belgian driver and owner. Conversations happened, we all liked each other, and here we are. We are grateful to be partnering with Conquest and want to leverage the relationship to make a difference for Indy.”

With the vision of breaking the cycle of homelessness through education, School on Wheels has been tutoring homeless children in Indianapolis for the past ten years. In 2009, local volunteer tutors donated nearly 5,000 hours of time to working with area youth to support the organization’s mission to enhance and enrich educational opportunities for school-aged homeless children.

“Armed with the knowledge that the average age of a homeless person in Indianapolis is nine years old and that children make up 30% of the City’s homeless population supporting School on Wheels was an easy choice for all of us,” said Ted Miller, Brugge Co-Owner.

Donations to School on Wheels will be accepted at Brugge though the end of June. Special promotions and driver photos will also be available on-site at Brugge.

26 May 2011

Struise In Indiana

Two Indiana breweries were recently visited by De Struise Brouwers' Urbain Coutteau. HBG readers may know of Mr. Coutteau from our January 2008 interview, or perhaps by his reputation as part of the brewery that was named RateBeer.com's 2008 best brewery in the world.

Urbain's visit wasn't just a vacation (though he did attend the Kentucky Derby) - his brewery visits lead to collaboration. Both Three Floyds and New Albanian played host, and it's safe to assume that we can expect fantastic beers as a result.

We contacted New Albanian's Jared Williamson to get more details about the New Albanian/Struise efforts.

How'd Struise contact you? Did you have a prior relationship or did they just sort of ask out of the blue?

The B'Urban Trail 2011 was the brainchild of Lori Rae Beck and Tyler Trotter, owners of The Louisville Beer Store and Holy Grale. On recent trips to Europe, Lori and Tyler became friends with Urbain and hatched a plan to bring him to the Midwest for a week of collaborations, travel, and The Kentucky Derby. Being good friends with Lori and Tyler, they asked if myself and NABC would be interested in hosting Urbain for a brewday, which turned into 2 brewdays.

Who worked on the beer? Which of your breweries did you use?

The first beer, Naughty Girl, was brewed at Bank Street and recipe design was by Urbain, David Pierce (NABC Director of Brewing Operations) and myself. The exact recipe was still being tweaked during the brewday and morphed into a hybrid style, as it should in true collaboration spirit.

The second beer, B'Urban Trotter, was brewed at our R & D brewery located at our Pizzeria and Public House. Recipe design was by Urbain and myself, and again we were tweaking as we brewed.

What styles were you looking at? Who contributes what? Did you do anything new or different than your normal processes? New ingredients/that sort of thing?

Naughty Girl started as a Belgian Blonde in malt bill, then took an American turn with the type of hops and the hopping rate. We used 13lbs of whole leaf Cascade in the 15BBL mash, and then used Galena, US Goldings and Cascade in the kettle. I then dry hopped it with 15lbs of Cascade pellets in the fermenter once terminal gravity was reached, after only 28 hours of primary fermentation due to using Urbain's house Struise yeast. It was the first time mash hops and warm pellet dry hopping has been used at Bank Street (both techniques are regularly used at our R & D brewery) and of course the first time using Struise yeast. In the end, we have a Belgo India Blonde Ale, 6% ABV, and 69 IBU.

B'urban Trotter is a huge Double IPA featuring American base malt and European specialty malts. All American hops were used: Summit, Chinook, Northern Brewer (Domestic), Cascade and Simcoe. Mash hops were used, a splash of Kentucky honey, a tiny amount of vanilla, and it was dry hopped at a rate of 2 lbs per barrel. Some bourbon oak and a microscopic amount of mint will age briefly in the bright tank. 9.2% ABV, 208 IBU.

What happens to the beer when it's finished? Will this be bottled? When will it be finished?

We will bottle Naughty Girl but not B'Urban Trotter. Draft will be exclusive to The Louisville Beer Store, Holy Grale and both NABC locations.. and perhaps some appearances at certain summer festivals.

How familiar were you with Stuise? Do you have a favorite Struise beer?

We started to have draft from Struise years ago at the Public House and they were the first to use key kegs, so they were memorable before I tried the beer. But the distribution channels dropped the ball and its been quite awhile since we've had Struise draft or bottles. Favorite Struise beer: Black Albert.

(Dumb question, but...) Why do a collaboration?

Why not? One of my favorite parts of the brewing industry is the camaraderie and exchange of ideas and techniques. It was an honor, an educational adventure, and a party with Urbain in town for a few days. Memories I will cherish all my days. I am deeply grateful to Lori and Tyler for their friendship and for the opportunity they presented us.

Don't Worry About Nordstrom

Caught this on the news today:

Beer and Cheese Club - May Edition

We are entering our fifth month of the Beer and Cheese Club, which means if you joined up with us back in January, you need to renew your subscription!  May brings us one of the lesser known Trappist breweries - Orval, and a real cave-aged sheep's milk cheese from Wisconsin.  Ocooch Mountain (we're still struggling on how to properly pronounce that) is a washed-rind cheese that is aged in a cave for 3-4 months.  This mild yet flavorful cheese is something that we imagine almost anyone would enjoy.

Orval is one of the 7 Trappist breweries, of which the most famous is Chimay.  Orval stands out among the other Trappist breweries for their emphasis on hops.  While most Trappist beers have a strong malt presence, Orval employs a dry-hopping technique to create a unique flavor.  This is a beer that a lot of people have seen sitting on shelves, but have probably not tried.  Even if you have enjoyed Orval before, we think you'll like it even more with this pairing.

If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your May installment is likely ready for you to pick up right now. If you're not a member, the club is $99 for 4 months. This month's delivery will be 3 bottles of Orval and a bit under half a pound of Ocooch Mountain (not the whole wheel like in the photo). Either of these items would be great experiences on their own, but we feel they are even better when consumed together.

Hidden Springs Creamery's Ocooch Mountain Cheese is the kind of cheese that speaks to my palate; it's buttery, nutty, and mild. The Hidden Springs Creamery website calls Ocooch Mountain "a bit of a sheep's milk salute to aged Parmesan," and I would certainly say that this description is apt. Orval, of course, is the world-famous Trappist ale. Of all Trappist ales, Orval is the most hop-forward of the bunch, hitting the palate with a dry, peppery flavor.

Considering both of these flavor profiles, I was eager to see how they mixed. I tried the cheese and beer in two combinations: beer before cheese and beer after cheese. With the beer before cheese combo, the beer cut through the butteriness of the cheese, accentuating the cheese's nutty notes. With the beer after cheese combo, the cheese revealed an herbal sweetness in the beer's finish. In the end, I would say that this pairing is an exemplary "yin-yang" combination, with the almost diametrically opposite characteristics of the beer and the cheese producing a flavorful synergy.

I arrived late to the sampling (my own fault) and didn't get to spend as much time with the pairing as I normally would have liked.  I was excited to see Orval, because that beer is nothing short of fantastic.  The cheese ended up being pretty fantastic too, as it was subtle and nutty.
I would love to make a simple salad with the cheese and eat it while drinking the beer.  I think I have a project for when I pick up my allotment.

Ocooch mountain raw sheeps's milk cave
Funky toe jam nose, earthy rind, light and creamy

Orval - a Belgian beer that might be hoppy! Nose is.

Beer chasing brings out the earthy cheese party and makes me say ooh la la

Later/warmer sips and samples brought out a cherry pie sort of note, a New Glarus Belgian Red sort of funky.

So this is what my beer notes normally look like.

While I've enjoyed all the beer and cheese club offerings so far, this one has been my favorite. A creamy cheese that's not overpoweringly funky (but still a little funky), paired with a legendary beer that compliments the earthy flavors from the cheese, yet still stands up on its own.

Orval is a lively beer, which would help clear the palate of any lingering cheese flavors, but the Ocooch isn't the type of cheese that lingers. I'd guess that Orval would work with almost any cheese, really. I also think this cheese would work in almost any context.

Orval is probably one of my favorite Trappist beers because of its wonderful balance between sweet malt, spicy hops and funky Belgian yeast.  The hops come across as both peppery and grassy, while the beer itself has a dominate fruit sweetness that includes some combination of figs, cherries and grapes.  The use of Brettanomyces employed in this beer creates a Lambic-style funk without any of the associated sourness of a Lambic.  Really just a wonderful variety of flavors that are finished off with a dry bitterness that makes it very sessionable.

The Ocooch Mountain cheese is fairly mild and reminded me of the texture of swiss.  Overall this cheese was very buttery with notes of nuts, grass and yeasty bread.  The beer and cheese provided very interesting and different changes in each item.  The cheese became very sweet and helped cut the buttery texture.  The beer become much hoppier with a lot of the fruit sweetness dropping out.  A very dry, spiciness resulted and was very enjoyable.  I think my favorite part of this pairing was its subtlety.  I wouldn't have imagined these two items complementing each other, but they did so in a way that didn't detract from the main appeal of either product.

Creamy, buttery cheese with slight almond notes, the more you snack the creamier it gets.  Spicy, peppery herb notes in the beer to start with a pillowy, belgian yeast-induced head.  Blends into a floral exchange, comes across as a Belgian pale ale.

When the two are paired they meld well into complements and balance each other out.  The cheese has the perfect level of complexity and richness and the beer is a balanced Belgian with light hops when paired together.

To join the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market (in conjunction with Hoosier Beer Geek), check out this PDF and then either call Goose the Market at 317-924-4944 or stop in the shop at 2503 N. Delaware St.

25 May 2011

KOTBR #127 - Three Floyds' Barrel Aged Topless Smoke Pizza

Three Floyds Brewpub is a place that I wish was closer, but am also relieved that it's not. In the short time we were there, they changed 3 taps out for really awesome and interesting beers. Even with an incredible guest lineup, it's difficult to order something other than a Floyds beer.

But we ended up doing just that, but not before a glass of Topless Wytch, a Baltic Porter weighing in at a hefty 9%. For me, the beer was velvety smooth and went down very fast. I got a lot of chocolate notes and a little coffee and absolutely no bitterness. Quite spectacular, in my opinion. 3.5 Mugs

We were getting ready to head to the Illiana Mayfest for the afternoon, but we couldn't pass up an opportunity to share some of the great guest taps from Pizza Port and Victory. The three of us shared small pours of the three beers and quickly discovered that we were going to have to force ourselves to head out or we could easily get sucked into the atmosphere for the rest of the afternoon.

The first sample I tried was the Oat Smoke from Victory. I passed on trying this at Dark Lord Day and I probably shouldn't have. I'm not the hugest smoke beer fan, but I am not giving up on the style. I enjoy trying all of them and I get excited when I find one with elements that I like. Oat Smoke definitely had some of those qualities. This beer was certainly smoky, but it didn't contain the medicinal or band aid characters that my palate usually finds with this type of beer. 3 Mugs.

Our next sample was Pizza Port Night Rider Imperial Stout. If I didn't know this was an Imperial Stout, I never would have guessed it this was 10.5%. It drank like chocolate milk, both in flavor and body. 4.25 Mugs.

As we consumed and talked about the sample, the keg blew. We were really glad that we ordered it. But the remarkable thing about the Brew Pub is that just a few moments later, Dan, the Pub Manager wheeled in another barrel to replace the blown kegs immediately. I don't know if it is like that all of the time, but it is really awesome to not see a cup covering a tap handle and too see that they were replacing an awesome beer with another awesome beer. Kudos to them for that.

What they ended up replacing the Imperial Stout with was another Pizza Port selection. This time it was their Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine. This too was really, really nice. The sweetness from the Bourbon really made this beer shine. I don't know the abv on this one, and I assume it was pretty high. But I didn't get the stinging booziness that is generally associated with a bourbon barrel aged beer, or even a barleywine for that matter, and that was very interesting. Excellent beer. 4.45 Mugs.

Three Floyds Topless Wytch


Seriously, I went in before the Illiana Mayfest to have lunch before doing a lot of drinking.

And a warm up beer or two.

But I was thinking maybe Gumballhead or Pride and Joy.

But NOOOOOOOOOOO. Not only did they have their wonderful beers, but a kickass guest tap lineup. Seriously, big mistake going in here before a beer festival. Huge mistake.

Started with a Topless Wytch. This is Baltic porter is a dangerous, easy drinking beer. Nice percent alcohol by volume. I’m guessing a witch takes a drink of this and BOOM her top flies off. It has a lot of coffee notes. Chocolate appears as it warmed up. Served in a tulip glass. $5. 3.85 mugs.

We then left the sacred hunting grounds of the Three Floyds tap list to the guest list. Some of the guest beers were obviously left over from Dark Lord Day. Big win for us!

I’ve never been to southern California. And I’ve never had beers from Pizza Port Carlsbad. So I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try their Night Rider. This Imperial Stout is dangerously smooooooooooooooooth. Like Keith Stone. The bourbon characteristics from aging were light. It was big on chocolate. It was creamy. It was sweet. I think I should visit SoCal soon. 4.45 mugs.

I then moved to Victory Oak Smoke. I am always reluctant when I order a beer with “smoke” in its name. I’m not like the rest of the smoked beer riff-raff at HBG; I don’t care for smoked beers. So imagine my surprise when I found myself disappointed not by the amount of smoke, but the lack thereof. Light smoke, light oak, light mouthfeel. For a 7.5% beer, I was left underwehelmed. 2.75 mugs.

Just when I thought I was done… they put a Pizza Port Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine on tap. Fuck. Sure, I’ll drink another beer. Beautifully sweet with caramel notes. A lot of aromas. The barleywine is battling with the bourbon barrel for supremacy, all “Macho Man” Randy Savage-style (RIP brother). It is booooooooooozy. I’m lovin’ it. 4.75 mugs.

Pizza Port Night Rider Imperial Stout

We arrived at Three Floyds at 11AM on a Saturday. That's a problem; they don't open until noon. So we sat in the car in the parking lot, looking around, watching the brew pub staff hang around waiting for their day to start (smoking, sulking, looking intimidating, kicking rocks at my Miata and calling me "preppy", saying "dude" and "fuck" ("Fuck, dude!" "Dude.. fuck!") a lot), and noticing how small the parking lot looks when it's not filled with 6,000 people. Eventually we got scared and went and filled the car with gas.

I'm teasing.

When we came back, more customers soon joined us in the lot, and when a bus filled with guys holding PBR cans showed up and wandered around, we lined up at the door while the staff told them that they weren't allowed to do that.

People sort of geek out at Floyds, wandering all over the bar, just sort of freaking out about the place, I guess - and that probably makes sense. The space is filled with great things to look at, and you are at The World's Great Brewery, after all. That same staff takes it all in stride, encouraging folks to have a seat so they can make sure everyone is taken care of. They don't fuck around here - with the beer, food or service, but it's a welcoming place and one I'd love to have closer to home.

I can't be sure what the regular playlist is at Floyds, but on our visit it was the same sort of metal you'd hear at Dark Lord Day. Something about the music promotes drinking, and as a result (and thanks to the awesome lineup) we made our way through quite a few (shared) selections.

Topless Wytch - First off, the wytch on that tap handle clearly is wearing a top. And she had a head. So unless she's been cut in half (and maybe she has), the beer name is.. inaccurate.

The beer is Guinness black, with heavy lacing from a creamy head. Nose is light cocoa powder. It's a meaty sort of beer, not in flavor so much as in heft. Not a whole lot going on (maybe a lager yeast vs ale yeast thing) but it's a solid and satisfying beer. Doesn't go any strong direction. Nevertheless, tasty. 3.75 Mugs.

Pizza Port Carlsbad Night Rider Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - A black/creamy beast, with a big bourbon nose. The front is light on the tongue, leading to big but smooth vanilla flavors. 10.5% ABV, but it drinks like 6%. Reminds me of the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout ice cream I made. 4.8 Mugs.

Victory Oat Smoke

Victory Oat Smoke - Deep ruby red. Smoked malt nose, but a hint of sweetness also lies there. Watery. Maybe it's the prior beers but this one doesn't get anywhere with me. Finishes with a smoked malt flouish. Inoffensive. Would drink again, perhaps context is an issue. 3.0 Mugs.

Pizza Port Carlsbad Barrel Aged Barleywine - Hot beer. Bigger bourbon nose than our other Pizza Port offering, hot on the lips, chocolatey bourbon syrup, with a very strong chocolate covered cherries thing going there. Syrupy. Dangerous. Hot/spicy, but not boozy.

Blind, I'd never guess this beer was a barleywine. None of the hoppiness you might expect. 4.78 Mugs.

Pizza Port Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine

Three Floyds Topless Wytch
Gina: 3.5 Mugs | Jason: 3.85 Mugs | Mike: 3.75 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.7 Mugs

Pizza Port Carlsbad Barrel Aged Night Rider Imperial Stout
Gina: 4.25 Mugs | Jason: 4.45 Mugs | Mike: 4.8 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.5 Mugs

Victory Oat Smoke
Gina: 3.0 Mugs | Jason: 2.75 Mugs | Mike: 3.0 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 2.91 Mugs

Pizza Port Carlsbad Barrel Aged Barleywine
Gina: 4.45 Mugs | Jason: 4.75 Mugs | Mike: 4.78 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.66 Mugs

24 May 2011

Road Trip / Beer Diary: Scenes from the Illiana Mayfest

This year marked the second annual Illiana Mayfest, put on by Crown Brewing, and located at the Lake County fairgrounds. The festival was a fantastic closer to American Craft Beer Week and it was awesome to see many local faces as well as new faces and breweries from Northern Illinois for a crowd of over 1000 beer-loving folks.

Crown Brewing’s table serving up a variety of beers including their Alkoholica.

Awesome GNR shirt at the Upland table.

Shoreline Brewing serving up samples; Baby Strupeck was nowhere to be found.

Chris from People's showing off some new bottles!

Sun King showing off their house lineup to a future market.

Cask of 85 - nice!

Flossmoor Station brought some outstanding sour brews.

Limestone Brewery from Plainfield, IL served up an India Brown Ale and a Pale Ale.

Back Road – Front and Center

Mike Hess, relaxing behind the Barley Island taps.

Rock Bottom Orland Park – proving once again that the number one commodity at Rock Bottom locations are the brewers and their unique brews, not a standardized corporate menu.

Figure 8

Brickstone had a really nice Cherry Ale, looking forward to more from this brewery.

Harrison’s apricot beer was enjoyable

Flat 12 brought a big crew and a lot of beer.

The lager from Argus Brewery was clean yet malty.

No photos of Brugge or Brewpub as they didn't make it up despite seeing them on the lineup list. They would have been a great addition to the rest of the Indiana crew. Hopefully we'll see them and many other Indiana brewers up there next year.

Chris, from Crown Brewing, put on a great show this year and we thank him for inviting us up to Crown Point to enjoy the festival. We look forward to next year!

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