20 February 2012

KOBTR #139 | 31 Flavors

When Kevin Matalucci's Twenty Tap opened last fall, we wasted no time in visiting for a roundtable. Back then, Twenty Tap had exactly what the name of the pub suggested: 20 taps devoted to craft beer. But recently, the pub added 11 new taps, expanding Twenty Tap's offerings to an impressive 31 craft beers. With the pub regularly posting its taplist on Facebook, we noted Twenty Tap's recent addition of beers from breweries new to Hoosiers, such as Sixpoint Craft Ales from New York and Triton Brewing Company from Indianapolis's east side. So we decided that a return trip to the pub for a roundtable was in order. What did we drink? Stuff from the new kids, of course: Sixpoint's Gemini, which is a double IPA, and Triton's Sweet Georgia Brown, a brown ale brewed with espresso beans from Indy's Bjava Coffee & Tea.

Triton Sweet Georgia Brown. This beer is for coffee lovers. My first thought when the bartender set this burgundy brown beauty in front of me was, "I can smell the java in this thing from a mile away." Yes, this beer had a powerful nose. As for the flavor, Sweet Georgia Brown was like a cup of the richest, darkest coffee with a good dose of turbinado sugar. 4.15 Mugs.

Sixpoint Gemini. I was excited to see Sixpoint's entry into the Indiana craft beer market. I'd never had a Sixpoint beer before trying Gemini, but I'd always heard great things about their beers. Gemini did not disappoint. The beer was unfiltered, pouring with a murky red-gold color. The predominant flavor was heavy citrus, with an aggressive grapefruit note hitting the palate hard. Nice work from the new boys. 4.00 Mugs.

Twenty Tap is absolutely one of the best pubs in the city.  They've only been open a short time and they have already expanded their tap list from twenty to thirty-one delicious offerings.  On my long list of things I love about the place, besides the great food (the Vegan Bahn Mi is outstanding), friendly staff, and never-ending list of beer options at some of the best prices in the city, is that they serve half pints.  This is a HUGE deal for me and one that I will never stop thanking them for.  This thoughtful option allows for more exploration of the beer list and that’s a big plus for any beer lover.

On this particular visit we sat down with one local, and one newly distributed brewery.  Our local option is the Sweet Georgia Brown, that comes from Triton Brewing in Lawrence.  Living on the southwest side and working on the northwest side means that trips to Triton are unfortunately few and far between, so it is nice to see them offered around town.  I really dug their Gingerbread Brown when it was out and I was hoping to like this one as much.  While I had no doubt that I would enjoy it, just how much went above and beyond my expectations.  As soon as the beer was set in front of me, I was smitten.  I could almost smell the coffee aroma before I even had the glass in front of me!  Juan Valdez wouldn't be able to get over how much coffee aroma was coming from this beer!  The rich aroma followed through into the flavor, blending coffee and malty sweetness together.  4.75 Mugs.

The next beer up was Gemini, a DIPA from Sixpoint Brewery out of Brooklyn.  This hazy, orange brew smelled fantastic.  Citrus and pineapple were on the forefront, just as I like it.  I’m guessing the keg was getting pretty low, because something in the texture of the beer reminded me of tomato juice.  No harm in that.  The flavors were excellent, of grapefruit and pineapple, maybe even a hint of pine in there.  At 7%, this leans towards the lower end of the ABV scale, as far as an DIPA is concerned but make no mistake, this packs some punch.  4.00 Mugs.

I could continue with telling you - like those before me - about how great 20 Tap is. But judging from the constantly busy status of the restaurant, you already know. There will always be a need for great food and great beer at a reasonable price in Indianapolis. There's no secret formula.

Triton has been in business for a few months now, making inroads into bars across the city, and continuing the trend of chasing the out of town one-off craft breweries from tap handles. This is a good thing, as any city that would like to be known for its beer culture has to start with a strong local brewery presence. Triton's Sweet Georgia Brown Java, with its cuppa joe nose, copper/amber color, and three dimensional (front, middle, and back) coffee flavor, may not be the best coffee beer you'll ever have, but it's not one you'd ever call weak. 3.75 Mugs.

After arriving in Indiana last month, Sixpoint immediately caught my attention with their solid lineup of offerings. Thanks to friends, I've now had most of those selections, and I can say that I was happy with them all. Gemini, their Double IPA, impressed me the least. The beer is cloudy to the point that it looks like applesauce in the glass, with a thick creamy head. This is a fruity DIPA, but unlike my fellow knights, I didn't pick up the overpowering citrus fruits you'd expect. Instead I found a hint of grape followed by a sliver of pineapple. There's definitely a bite of alcohol heat here, too - finishing a little hot. Don't let this scare you off Sixpoint, though - they're definitely worth checking out. 3.3 Mugs.

Triton Sweet Georgia Brown
Jim: 4.15 Mugs | Mike: 3.75 Mugs | Gina: 4.75 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.22 Mugs

Sixpoint Gemini
Jim: 4.00 Mugs | Mike: 3.30 Mugs | Gina: 4.00 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.77 Mugs

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