Beer at the Fair! 


On August, the 7 Indiana State Fair opens the Indiana Craft Beer & Wine Pavilion, noon-9 p.m. with five Hoosier Breweries from across the state presenting tastes and pints to be enjoyed while in the Pavilion (no carry outs). On day one you’ll get to meet brewers from Three Pints (Lebanon & Martinsville), Bloomington Brewing, MashCraft (Greenwood), Fountain Square and Three Floyds (Munster), which once again is the sole Indiana brewery on The Daily Meal list of America’s 50 Best Craft Breweries (they’re at no. 17).

You must have photo ID to prove you are 21 or older to enter the Beer & Wine Pavilion.

Here’s the brewers you can chat up and whose beer you can taste for the rest of the Fair:

(NOTE: If it’s not designated otherwise at first mention, it’s a brewery in Indianapolis)

Aug. 8: Three Pints, Books N Brews, Mash Craft, Carsons (Evansville], Three Floyds
Aug. 9: Three Pints, Books N Brews, Daredevil (Speedway]), Three Floyds
Aug. 10: Hoosier Brewing [Fairland], Noble Order (Richmond), Daredevil, Flat12
Aug. 11: Hoosier Brewing, Triton, Grand Junction (Westfield), Flat12
Aug. 12: Powerhouse (Columbus), Grand Junction, Daredevil, Taxman (Bargersville)
Aug. 13: Chapmans (Angola), Noble Order, Bier, Taxman
Aug. 14: Chapmans, Upland (Bloomington), Bier, Taxman, Carsons
Aug. 15: Thr3e Wisemen, Upland, People’s (Lafayette), TwoDEEP
Aug. 16: Thr3e Wisemen, Upland, Bloomington, TwoDEEP
Aug. 17: Chilly Water, Upland, Triton, TwoDEEP
Aug. 18: Tow Yard, Rock Bottom, People’s, Chilly Water
Aug. 19: Tow Yard, Rock Bottom, People’s, Chilly Water, Shoreline [Michigan City]
Aug. 20: Tow Yard, Broad Ripple Brewpub, 450 North (Columbus), Sun King
Aug. 21: Tin Man (Evansville), Brugge & Outliers, 450 North, Sun King
Aug. 22: Tin Man, Salt Creek (Bedford), 18th Street [Gary], Sun King
Aug. 23: New Albanian (New Albany), Salt Creek, 18th Street, Sun King

(Aug. 7 is also International Beer Day, an event that began in Santa Cruz in 2007 and since has spread across the U.S. to 207 cities with events to showcase brews representing a variety of cultures.)


I got a jumpstart at Brewers of Indiana Guild’s (BIG) Microfest with Daredevil’s newest can release, a nod to Indianapolis’ Sister City Cologne, Germany. Vacation Kolsch Style Ale, brewed with German malts, hops and yeasts, totally refreshes on a hot August day with a bubbly lightness that cools you down.

BRBP is having a mini-Rye-fest that brewer Jonathon Mullens avers was unintentional. He brewed Rock-a-rye Baby to coincide with arrival of the newest Mullens. An original award-winning homebrew recipe, he changed the 100% rye malt to 50% for the BRBP system. I was drinking it with fellow beer writer Rick Burkhardt, and we agreed with Jonathon that the flavor profile is Three Floyds Gumball Head on rye. As a session brew leaning towards a refreshing Shandy with hints of tropical fruit and pineapple, it’s the kind of delicate, low alcohol beer you can drink all day. The lace on the glass reminds me of a Kurt Vonnegut ‘squiggle-drawing.’

click to enlarge BRBP's Ryerish Red
  • BRBP's Ryerish Red

Ryerish Red made its official debut Aug. 29 as a BRBP collaboration with Great Fermentations. Mullens and GF brewer Wes Martin obtained a thick head that leaves artful lace tracings, looking like a Japanese print of a wave rising onto the horizon. The low alcohol, low hops bittering allows the tangy rye flavor to take center for a satisfying graham-cracker like mouthfeel. Ryerish Red lives on as a homebrew kit available at Great Fermentations.

A Japanese waterscape, maybe?
  • A Japanese waterscape, maybe?

IndianaOnTap’s Tasting Society event at Speak Easy on July 31 introduced a trio of breweries. Brewer Alex Peterson from newly opened Blind Owl walked me through a young batch of Baby Steps Pils sporting a sunny hue and upfront effervescence; Hoo-Hoo Honey Brown with coffee/toffee notes to balance the honey from Blind Owl’s own beehives; and a blood-orange hued Owl-B-Back California Common with a fine balance between Ale and Lager attributes. 450 North from Columbus led with a sweet, tart Gnarly Grove Hard Cider made with apples from Douds Orchard. Farmer’s-Daugher-in-law Farmhouse Ale has an appropriate grassy nose, a fluffy cloud head a a nice malt-hops balance for tangy mouthfeel and clean finish. Yet-to-open Deviate Brewing challenged us to “guess that fruit” in Sour Ale #1 and Sour Ale #2. Peaches led the way for #1 with a ride to rich layering of dates along with the tart spark. Blueberries were subtle for #2. They closed out a full evening with music, art exhibit, wine, food and meeting up with people from across greater Indy.

click to enlarge blind-owl.jpg

TwoDEEP celebrated their first anniversary on Aug. 1 with what brewer-owner Andy Meyer calls “the beginnings of our barrel-aging program.” Side-by-side I tasted Brickhouse Roasted Amber Ale and Bourbon Barrel–aged Brickhouse Roasted Amber Ale. For the B-A, every aspect of the original brew is heightened and deepened starting with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee, initial hints of caramel malty sweetness and slight bitterness at the close. B-A rounds out the brew in every aspect.

While I also was sampling three refreshing Summer brews: Great Gam Gam Session Wheat, Sloppy In Turn 3 and Czechshire Cat Czech Pilsner, Indy Quest Urban Adventure teams were closing out their day of trekking, riding and paddling, arriving in shifts at TwoDEEP as the final ‘host’ destination. Learn more about this annual event here.

TwoDEEP's Austin Elsbury
  • TwoDEEP's Austin Elsbury

(NOTE: CzechShire Cat brewed especially as HopCat’s July benefit for the Humane Society for Hamilton County gains an extra $1 donation from TwoDEEP for each pint sold “anywhere in the city,” according to my server. More here.)

Flat12 is celebrating National IPA Day on Aug. 6 with "five different IPAs on tap plus two different limited Woodwerks IPA variation bombers," according to spokesperson Valerie Green. “Hopped On Phonics IPA is brewed by our Jeffersonville staff. They're teachers so they created a ‘back to school’ beer. It's got the ABCs (Amarillo, Bravo, and Calypso hops,) and 123 IBUs.” Green points to a “really exciting new IPA called Seaward — Sailing the 7 C's: Centennial, Calypso, Cascade, Citra, Columbus, Challenger and Chinook hops.” Also on are Fiddle Wizard White IPA and Half Cycle. The Flat12 Woodwerks series is releasing two limited bombers: Fuffet Double IPA aged in Corsair Centennial hopped whiskey barrels and FUIBA Brown IPA aged in Heaven Hill whiskey barrels.”

MashCraft Brewing and Central State Brewing came together for the second straight year to create Sunday Funday, a great table Saison for your summer enjoyment,” emailed MashCraft brewer/owner Andrew Castner. There’s also a special limited version with tart cherries. For their Aug. 4 event at Mass Ave Pub MashCraft also brought Golden Fiddle Belgian Golden Strong and Skid Row Joe American Porter. Central State brought House Party Vol. 1 Rustic Blonde with Mosaic and House Noyau Rustic Blonde with apricots and peaches.

Half Moon’s Righteous Raspberry Wheat is a light and fruity American-style Wheat beer with lots of sweet red raspberry flavor.

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About The Author

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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