Paste Magazine appeared in my in-box one day. I payed no attention until a “10 favorite beers” popped up at the end of April, at which point I entered the world of Paste Magazine. No mention of an Indiana beer, but I was lured backwards and behold the February ‘favorites’ led off with this: “You may have heard about 18th Street [Brewery]
in the last few years. Situated in the rather unlikely craft beer burg of Gary, Indiana
, [it's actually in Hammond] they’ve been making waves and have slowly become one of those “IT” breweries that people make a point out of bringing to bottle shares and similar beer geek peacocking functions. We tried Jade
this month, and gave the beer a 7.8/10. It’s a classical American pale ale in construction, but with a twist: It specifically features Pacific Jade hops. On the palate, you’re greeted with lots of herbal flavors, and a bit of a musty maltiness, with mid-strength caramel and more toasted malt flavors as well. It’s a unique palette of flavors we recommend definitely trying out for yourself.”
I’m partial to Jade myself because it’s not afraid to layer on the colors of malt—nice for someone whose leaning is to balance or malt-centric. During Bloomington Craft Beer Festival
at Woolery Mill, brewer Drew Fox
shared “Seven: Black India Pale.
” IPA is not my go-to beer. Too often it’s a hide-behind-hops recipe. Well, Seven got on my go-to list when I need a partner with a smoky cheese or a deeper experience with a chocolate mousse, or by itself as a liqued dessert. The crisp zest and mouthful heft of the balance of roasted malts and bitter hops gives truth to the claim of Seven’s intention to “revolutionize lackluster notions of what an IPA can be.” No stinting on body; hops are there as partners, not taste-bud bullies. So, yes, my hand reaches out for an 18th Street beer when I see cans on shelves or notice the distinctive tap handle where fine beers are on draft.
Of course we’ve got many Indiana breweries in line with Drew’s concept of balance, and so I’m reminded that sometimes location puts a brewery into the national limelight. If only these ‘best’ and ‘favorite’ list makers would venture ‘down’ or ‘over’ or ‘up’ to experience us all, I muse. Then I recognize, perhaps it is the mother-instinct wanting everyone to have an equal shot at the hotspot. But then again, I remind myself, it’s my responsibility to overcome the Hoosier-syndrome ‘make no waves’ and reply to list makers with an invitation also to try a particular Indiana beer right along with their “favorite” and “best” beers from everywhere else.
Help from a Friend for Calendar Overload
It’s no longer possible to get to all the tappings even within the confines of greater Indianapolis, so I reached out to fellow beer-writer Greg Kitzmiller
to share his experiences at FLIX Brewhouse
. Greg emailed:
“Nine beers were released by Head Brewer Chris Knott and Assistant Brewer Josh Miller on April 28 to coincide with the showing of Jaws, the movie.
Five different versions of “Mario Gose” [the base-beer] had various types of fruit/herbals. The Gose variations will be great gateway beers for those who may not have been former serious craft drinkers while likely also pleasing the palate of knowledgeable beer geeks.”
Gose is an age-old German top-fermented beer attributed to Goslar and Leipzig. It is similar to Berliner Weise but is somewhat stronger in alcohol content. Made with 50-60% malted wheat, it’s cloudy yellow in color. As often happens, Gose fell out of style and only recently has made a comeback, due in large part to home brewers who recreated original recipes and pushed professional brewers to add Gose to their list.
Greg reminds that “Mario Gose with Blood Orange
took a bronze medal in the 2015 Indiana Brewers Cup
awards for good reason; it offers a crisp tartness and flavor of the orange with slight tang from the required addition of salt in the recipe. The Mario Gose is nicely translucent and has generous lace of beer foam along the glass. There is no hop note and no bitterness, just a very pleasant orange tartness against a medium bodied slightly complex brew.
“The other varieties tapped were Mario Gose with Key Lime (think tart key lime pie), with Strawberry (think a delightful strawberry summer drink), with Black Currant (think Kir Royale with champagne), Hibiscus (think herbal team), and with Prickly Pear (think watermellon and kiwi). As we mixed with other casual and serious beer drinkers at Flix we found no one version was most popular. Each imbiber found their own flavor to favor, saying a lot about the overall quality of these tasty brews.”
Aged in Barton bourbon barrels for at least five months, Greg wrote, “Deep brown Kill Shot Scotch Ale
is slightly sweet both from the malty caramel flavor of the Scotch Ale beer plus the vanilla and slight coconut toast flavor from the barrel; amber-hued Druish Princess Quad
offers complexity of malt with some dark fruit character layered with vanilla from the barrel with a dangerously (9%) smooth finish; Bovine Buzz Stout is dark and rich with added coffee and vanilla beans and only a hint of the barrel while the java and the vanilla shine through a nice dark milk stout.
The BRBP-Tim Palmer
2015 Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup Homebrew Best of Show collaboration release on April 28 kept me from attending the FLIX tappings. It’s got a story of its own.
Collaborations Are Proliferating
Fort Wayne-based Mad Anthony
and Lafayette-based Peoples
collaborated on Mad Peoples Scotch Ale
brewed with European malts and a small percentage of peat smoked malt from Sugar Creek Malting Company
. “During the brewing process we removed a portion of the first runnings and reduced it by 1/2 to intensely caramelize it, then added it back to the kettle giving the beer its rich malty character; lightly balanced with English Fuggle hops,” reads the news release from Mad Anthony.
May 5, Redemption Alewerks
launches their first beer in the Cheers for Charity Collaboration Series.
"Me Love You Triple Time
" is an Asian Inspired Belgian Triple with infusions of Thai Basil, Ginger, Lemongrass and Vietnamese Rock Sugar. Redemption Owner/brewer Cameron Fila
reports, “Bellaire, Michigan-based Short's Brewing Company
and Redemption Alewerks teamed up on this brew for a great local non-profit Project Hud;Son
. Proceeds from the evening, as well as future sales of this brew will go directly to helping them in their mission. Redemption Mug Club Members and anyone sporting Project Hud;Son apparel will get a sneak peak of the beer starting at 5:00 p.m., and we will tap for the general public at 6:00 p.m. Live music will follow at 7:00 p.m., and we will be holding raffles for various merchandise (including a lifetime Redeemer Club membership) and give aways throughout the evening. Indiana On Tap
will be on hand with a Tasting Society Membership.”
May 6, Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe
is releasing his second Flat 12 Bierwerks
collaboration beer, The Bricks
—a brick red IPA brewed in honor of the 100th Indy 500
. Tapping 6-8 p.m. Also available on tap and in cans is the original collaboration beer, Hinchtown Hammerdown
. The Bricks will only be available on draught and in cans at Flat 12’s Indianapolis taproom. A limited amount of tickets to race James are available to purchase, HERE
. To keep The Bricks release going all weekend long, the eBash racing simulators will be at the Flat12 taproom May 6-8. For the saga of creating a beer to feature Indy 500 racing trivia & truth, go to: http://flat12.me/blog/2016/4/4/behind-the-bricks
I asked Nick Servies
to flesh out the roster of Scarlet Lane’s
collaborations story that we ran last week. Nick emailed a response, that will follow this additional comment. As fate would have it, founder/brewer Elise Lane
joined NUVO’s filming booth at Indy’s Next Hop Model event on April 30. So we asked what prompted the collaboration impetus at Scarlet Lane soon after opening in 2014. Elise pointed out, as someone new to the Indiana brewing industry, “Collaborations are a way to get to know other brewers, learn from them and with them, share our beers with each other, and generally show the public how we work together.”
head brewer Jonathon Mullens
joined the filmed conversation and brought us to Scarlet Lane inviting a collaboration with the 2015 Indiana State Fair First Place Stout Homebrew winner. Elise pointed out that since Dorian Stout
is their flagship beer it seemed appropriate to honor the winning homebrew Stout.
Both Elise and Jonathon agreed it’s a bit gutsy to brew someone else’s recipe to stand alongside your own. “What happens if people like the home-brew recipe better than the one you’ve been brewing?” posited Jonathon.
You’ll get a chance to view the sprightly exchange at NUVO, and learn what Elise and Jonathon think about “maybe being upstaged on your own turf.”
And now for Nick’s input:
“Elise and Keely [Thomlinson]
from Thr3e Wisemen
did a collaboration called Golden Girl Golden Strong Ale
for the Girls Pint Out
Anniversary last year. It was a one-time release and no longer available.
We also do a yearly collaboration with Taxman
called Heaven and Hell
. Each year we rotate which brewery does Heaven and which one does Hell. There are some bottles available in the two-pack presentation at various package stores that include our Hell Imperial Stout
and Taxman’s Heaven Golden Strong
The significance of these collaborations is the industry getting together and working to bring awareness to the local craft industry and our ability to work with each other in a highly competitive market. Collaborations push the boundaries and offer chances for us to get creative, like the High Castle Black Gose
we did with TwoDEEP Brewing
. It shows the public the camaraderie of the industry and how we are willing to help each other out for the bigger goal of getting people interested in beer for the first time or keeping their interest in the market.
We are continuously reaching out to other breweries to research collaboration options. Ideally, we think it would be a good thing for the Indiana craft beer market to do a state-wide collaboration to celebrate our Indiana beer industry.”
That’s actually been happening with Brewers of Indiana Guild ReplicAle
and the upcoming “Bicentenni-ale
” crafted with ingredients grown in Indiana, including special malts, hops, fruit and herbs, and with the recently launched Indiana University-Bloomington project —locally-sourced yeast.