24 January 2012

Unsung Heroes of Indiana Craft Beer - Porters and Stouts

On January 28, the Brewers of Indiana Guild will stage the fourth annual Winterfest, which will of course feature offerings from Indiana's craft breweries. In honor of Winterfest, we've decided to focus most of our posts this month on Indiana beers.

As part of this focus, we thought it would be a good idea to shine the spotlight on Indiana beers that are overlooked or underrated--the unsung heroes of Indiana craft beer, if you will.

Admittedly, our methods in picking these beers were not scientific. Indeed, some of the beers that we'll talk about have won awards, so calling these beers "unsung heroes" might be a bit of a stretch. Moreover, our list is going to focus on only one beer from each Indiana brewery we discuss, and we may have omitted breweries who brew beers worthy of unsung hero status. So leave us a comment noting any beer that you think should have been included in the list.

In our fourth installment of this series, we reveal our picks from Indiana's porters and stouts.

Bee Creek Clay County Coffee Stout. The little brewery from Brazil is best known for its signature beer, Hoosier Honey Wheat. While Hoosier Honey Wheat is delicious, it's Bee Creek's Clay County Coffee Stout that really hits our palates in the right spot. Malty, chocolaty, and full of java boldness, Clay County Coffee Stout goes down especially well in the January cold (though we also enjoyed it quite a bit in the August heat).

Great Crescent Coconut Porter. Aurora's Great Crescent Brewery is currently one of two Indiana breweries offering its beers in cans. While Central Indiana beer drinkers might not be used to frequently seeing Great Crescent beers anywhere aside from the Brewers of Indiana Guild's festivals, that is changing. Kahn's is now carrying Great Crescent beers, and the brewery recently received recognition from CraftCans.com for its Bourbon's Barrel Stout. The brewery's Coconut Porter, however, is the beer we really crave. Brewed in the English porter style, Coconut Porter has the classic roasted malt and chocolate notes you'd expect from this sort of beer. And the coconut note is just hinted at rather than emphasized.

Ram Total Disorder Porter. As we've noted before, Ram's brewmaster Andrew Castner is one of the coolest people in the Indianapolis craft beer community. In our experience, his seasonal beers are definitely worth seeking out. When it comes to Ram's flagship beers, Total Disorder Porter is the one that we consistently reach for. The most sessionable offering in our list of unsung porters and stouts, Total Disorder Porter offers a moderate mouthfeel with smooth chocolate and coffee notes. Definitely a multiple pint beer.

Rock Bottom Downtown Hoosier Ma Stout (Oatmeal). Hoosier Ma Stout is my default beer at Rock Bottom's downtown location, even though the brewery rotates styles for this beer. Indeed, that's part of the allure for me. When Brewmaster Jerry Sutherlin puts Hoosier Ma on as an oatmeal stout, the beer rivals the best stouts in the state. The nose on this beer is wonderful, full of chocolate and toffee notes. The flavor is a deluge of malt and chocolate with a subtly sweet finish. I adore the mouthfeel of this beer; it's one of the creamiest stouts I've ever had.

Unsung Heroes of Indiana Craft Beer - Brown Ales
Unsung Heroes of Indiana Craft Beer - Pale Ales & IPAs
Unsung Heroes of Indiana Craft Beer - Lagers

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