30 December 2013

The 2013 Hoosier Beer Geek Readers Choice Awards

Every year since 2008, we've asked our readers to tell us their favorites in Indiana beer. We've finally compiled the results of our readers survey for 2013, so let's start with the demographics:

Numbers: 499 people took the survey, which is the most we've ever had respond.

Location: Not surprisingly, 481 (96%) of survey respondents were from Indiana. Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia (hi Rod and Jess!) also contributed two or more respondents.

Education: In an optional question, we asked readers to tell us their education level. Most of our readers hold an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree, or a graduate degree/doctorate (70% of readers in all). Another 18% hold a trade school or high school diploma. And the rest of our survey respondents attended one of the following esteemed institutions:  Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Starfleet Academy, the Vulcan Science Academy, the Imperial Academy of the Galactic Empire, or the Time Lord Academy. Hey geeks!

Age: The average respondent age was 36, which is two years older than the average age from the previous four years. So it looks like our readership is aging right along with us.

Gender: 383 (77%) respondents were male, and 116 (23%) were female. The latter percentage is higher than it's ever been, and we hope to see even more women participating in next year's survey.

Now that we've covered the demographics, let's get to your choices for the best in Indiana beer. We'll list the top five in each category, along with the city where the brewery is located and the percentage of votes received.

Favorite Brewery

In this question, we asked readers to choose their favorite Indiana brewery, regardless of whether it was a production brewery or a brewpub. It will probably be no surprise to anyone that Three Floyds took the top spot, just as they have every year in our readers survey. A strong response from the Michiana area this year allowed Iechyd Da from Elkhart to secure the number two spot, moving up from number four last year. Rounding out the top five breweries were Indianapolis breweries Sun King, Flat12, and Bier, who all placed in the top five last year, with Sun King edging out Flat12 for the third spot by one vote. New to the top five this year is Indy's Triton Brewing Company, who tied with Bier for the number five spot.

1. Three Floyds Brewing - Munster (24%)
2. Iechyd Da Brewing Company - Elkhart (19%)
3. Sun King Brewing Company - Indianapolis (8%)
4. Flat12 Bierwerks - Indianapolis (8%)
5. (tie) Bier Brewery - Indianapolis (7%)
Triton Brewing Company - Indianapolis (7%)

Favorite Brewpub

In this question, we asked readers to choose their favorite brewpub, which we defined as a brewery that offers a full food menu. We further asked readers to base their choice on the entire brewpub experience (i.e., food, beer, and atmosphere). As mentioned above, Michiana readers came out in force in responding to this year's survey. So we have a new top brewpub in the state:  Iechyd Da, which unseats Three Floyds as the top brewpub. Completing the top five are two brewpubs that are longtime reader favorites, Brugge Brasserie and Broad Ripple Brewpub, which goes to show that Indiana's oldest brewpubs continue to do things right. Newcomer Black Acre slots in at number four, reflecting the Irvington brewpub's quick ascendance in the Indianapolis scene.

1. Iechyd Da Brewing Company - Elkart (26%)
2. Three Floyds Brewing - Munster (14%)
3. Brugge Brasserie - Indianapolis (10%)
4. Black Acre Brewing Company - Indianapolis (8%)
5. Broad Ripple Brewpub - Indianapolis (6%)

Favorite Craft Beer Retailer

We wanted to know where our readers buy beer for carryout. Once again, Indianapolis-based Kahn's Fine Wines & Spirits tops the list.  Michiana's Chalet Party Shoppe chain moves up one spot from last year to number two, pushing last year's number two-ranked retailer Crown Liquors to number three. Big Red Liquors and City Wide Liquors are new to this year's top five.

1. Kahn's Fine Wines & Spirits - Various locations (20%)
2. Chalet Party Shoppe - Various locations (18%)
3. Crown Liquors - Various locations (10%)
4. Big Red Liquors - Various locations (7%)
5. City Wide Liquors - Various locations (6%)

Favorite Craft Beer Bar

In this question, we asked readers to choose their favorite bar or restaurant that places a specific focus on its craft beer selection. Brewpubs with guest taps were not eligible in this category. Just like last year, Twenty Tap earned the top spot. South Bend's Fiddler's Hearth moves from last year's number four slot to second. Indianapolis's City Market gem, the Tomlinson Tap Room, enters the top five for the first time at number three. Newcomer Constant Spring earned the fourth place spot, and the Indy's northside favorite, the Ale Emporium, falls from second choice last year to fifth this year.

1. Twenty Tap - Indianapolis (19%)
2. Fiddler's Hearth - South Bend (13%)
3. Tomlinson Tap Room - Indianapolis (7%)
4. Constant Spring - Goshen (4%)
5. Ale Emporium - Indianapolis (3%)

Favorite Beer Event

Over the last five years, the number of Indiana-based craft beer events has grown substantially, so the choice for top event this year was more difficult. Three events staged by the Brewers of Indiana Guild made the top five (that couldn't be because of who coordinates the festival volunteers, could it?), with the Guild's largest event, the Indiana Microbrewers Festival, taking first place. Upland's Sour Wild Funk Festival made the top five again, and Sun King's inaugural CANvitational is new to the top five.

1. Brewers of Indiana Guild's Microbrewers Festival (22%)
2. Brewers of Indiana Guild's Winterfest (18%)
3. Sun King CANvitational (13%)
4. Upland Sour Wild Funk Festival (5%)
5. Brewers of Indiana Guild's Bloomington Craft Beer Festival (5%)

Most Anticipated New Brewery

In this question, we asked readers which new brewery they most looked forward to. We defined new breweries as those slated to open in late 2013 or in 2014. In answering this question, readers had a lot of choices. It looks like folks from Goshen are really eager to see a new brewery in their city because Goshen Brewing Company took the top spot. Indy's Twenty Below and Outliers, both of which are now open, took the next two spots. Rounding out the top five were Indy-area breweries Scarlet Lane and Bent Rail.

1. Goshen Brewing Company - Goshen (19%)
2. Twenty Below at Twenty Tap - Indianapolis (10%)
3. Outliers Brewing Company - Indianapolis (8%)
4. Scarlet Lane Brewing Company - McCordsville (6%)
5. Bent Rail Brewing Company - Indianapolis (5%)

Favorite Sister-State Brewery

In this question, we asked readers to choose their favorite brewery from a state adjacent to Indiana. The choices were also limited to sister-state breweries that distribute in Indiana. This year's top five is almost identical to last year's top five, with Michigan breweries dominating the list. Founders edged out Bell's for the number one ranking by one vote. Goose Island once again came in third. Dark Horse is new this year at number four. And Jolly Pumpkin is fifth again, but unlike last year, they share that spot with New Holland.

1. Founders - Michigan (29%)
2. Bell's - Michigan (28%)
3. Goose Island - Illinois (6%)
4. Dark Horse - Michigan (6%)
5. (tie) Jolly Pumpkin - Michigan (5%)
New Holland - Michigan (5%)

In closing, we thank our readers for participating in the survey this year! We hope you'll participate in the survey for 2014.

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