Beer Buzz: Bare Hands' Thai.p.a, plus tasting notes from the Microbrewers Festival 

 The best part of Saturday’s Microbrewers Festival was seeing Chris Gerard pouring Granger-based Bare Hands brews. Chris has made an amazing recovery from an injury that put him in the hospital for an extended stay followed by intensive therapy earlier this year. People statewide answered a call to help towards medical expenses and fellow brewers pitched in to keep the taps flowing.

We chatted and sipped Chris’ refreshing thai.p.a, an American IPA brewed with citrus Thai spices and lemon grass along with Columbus and Cascade hops and a measure of rice in the crystal malt bill. At 7.1% ABV and 51 IBU’s it’s a drink-along with food companion. Chris’ enjoyment of Thai cuisine’s fragrant flavors inspired him to experiment. Thai-p.a. is available in 22 oz bottles. More about the South Bend suburb brewery Chris and Kim Gerard opened Dec. 2010 is at:

Per my usual routine for Indiana craft beer festivals I zero in on the brews not otherwise easily accessible since it’s not possible to make it to 62 in-state and 20 out-of-state breweries represented. I chose Indiana Cask Ales, starting with Broad Ripple Brewpub in homage to our first ‘modern-day’ craft brewpub. Then it’s a nod to the first brewpub allowed to open with one door for restaurant and brewery, Lafayette Brewing Co. that opened two years later in 1992. BRBP’s Cinnamon Roll Porter begins as a classic English Porter that takes on an attitude of a sticky bun with cinnamon nose and full-mouth layered taste of total yum to finish clean with a tinge of blackberry surprise. LBC’s Shagbark Indiana Mild starts as a traditional English Ale that gets its dark ruby glow and rich nose from Indiana Hickory syrup. Perfectly balanced between malt, hops and syrup it’s smooth, clean and inviting.

Michigan City scored with 9-year-old Shoreline’s light ruby-colored Imperial Raspberry with a cognac-like nose and not overly sweet clean taste from aging in red wine barrels. Just recently opened Burn ‘Em Brewery offered Vanilla Black Ale made with vanilla beans soaked in Old Crown Bourbon Ale for 24-hours, with organic pomegranate and cherry juice added. From Evansville’s Tin Man came a dark Porter aged in Makers Mark barrels. It’s so inviting and smooth you can easily forget 12% ABV.

Black Acre’s Maple Wood Rum Porter wafts a rum nose to go with the ruby rum hue and flavor. It beckoned because the Black Acre brew crew, which always vies with Flat 12 for dress-up, came in fetching pirate attire. You had to be there for full impact.

Even though there many more cask ales it was time to cross from the Opti Park Field to the Arts Center Lawn and Riverfront stations where I found old and new Indiana breweries carving out their specialties. Look for comments over the next weeks.


July 23: 
Sun King Beer Pairing w/ City BBQ Tickets at eventbrite.

July 24: The RAM Downtown, 7:00PM for the next "Brew & View" tapping for Hansel light and hoppy American Wheat and showing Zoolander, starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

Kahn’s Fine Wines & Spirits (North Keystone) Locals Only Craft Tasting, 6-8 p.m.

July 25: Rocketship Comedy at Flat 12 with DJ Dangler 
8:30-10:30 p.m. July 26-27: Gnawbrew Beer, Arts, and Music Festival in Brown County. More at

July 29: Scott Hoke, celebrating his 10th anniversary as the host of Marsh Symphony on the Prairie, every Tuesday plays electric and double bass in The StoreyTellers Jazz Quintet at Patrick’s Kitchen in Zionsville. IN craft on tap: Bier DFG DIPA, Daredevil Vacation Kolsch, Sun King Grapefruit Jungle, Taxman Belgian Style Wit and Belgian Black Ale.

New releases

Bloomington Brewing award-winning 10-Speed Hoppy Wheat in bottles

Flat 12 Pin of cinnamon chipotle 12 Penny Scottish Ale (12 Penny description) cask conditioned with cinnamon sticks and chipotles on tap.
ABV: 3.4%, IBU: 17

Triton 500 Sour Monks spent more than two years in a 7-year old Heaven Hill Bourbon Barrel aging on lactobacillus acidophilus. And the return of French Toast Saison. Both on tap

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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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