This week's big event is the BIG [Brewers of Indiana Guild] annual Microbrewers Festival, July 14, 3-7 p.m. A year younger than the Phoenix Theatre Brew-Ha-Ha, it's far bigger than that precedent-setting festival, stretching across Opti-Park and Indianapolis Art Center grounds.
A special feature is the "ReplicAle," which showcases individuality, artistry, craft, science and derring-do. One brewer establishes a basic style recipe that everyone then brews, making their own tweaks to create taste variations. Appropriately, to mark the festival's 17th anniversary, this year's brewing challenge is English Mild Ale, a style traced to 17th-century Britain, around when Elizabeth I was succeeded by James, who united Scotland with England. Its predominantly malty palate and low alcohol content delights especially during summertime, yet is enjoyed year-round as a "session" beer - meaning more than one pint will not affect clear thinking.
Serendipitously, session beers appear as the main topic in the July 2012 issue of Indiana Beverages. Columnist Michael Kuderka asserts "session" might appeal to the mainstream customer who wants a tasty, zestful beverage "without being overwhelmed by too much bitterness, sweetness or alcohol."
ReplicAles are on tap under one tent, and festival-goers are encouraged to taste and talk about each brew's personal appeal. They're poured in groupings during set times. Tickets are GA $40; designated drivers $10; VIP sold out.
2012 Indiana State Fair Brewers' Cup Craft Beer Competition judging and awards took place July 7 at the Fairgrounds. Upland took Best of Show with their Flanders Red Ale. For the second year Bier Brewery was named Champion Brewery.
Homebrewer Shawn Kaus took Best of Show for Holla Jala Jalapeno Cream; Kaus will brew his recipe with brewmaster Kevin Matalucci at Broad Ripple Brewpub. Thomas Wallbank was named Homebrewer of the Year, and Foam Blowers of Indiana was rated Homebrew Club of the Year.
Sun King Tasting Room remains closed for renovations.
Tomlinson Taproom, City Market, Flat 12/New Albanian Night. Debut of new beers, including the first Flat 12/ New Albanian collaboration, "Die Saur Von Satan," a Black Berliner Weiss. More info at 635-2337.
Beer Bloggers Conference in Indianapolis. More at beerbloggersconference.org/.
Elbow Room, 605 North Pennsylvania St., Indy Fire Rescue House Auction and Flat 12 Beer Tasting, 8 p.m. Details at indyfrh.org or 635-3354.
Founders Pajama Party at Twenty Tap, 5406 North College Ave., 11 a.m.; 5-courses, $45. More at foundersbrewing.com or 602-8840.
Upland New Brewery Party, 4-8 p.m. at the new location, 4060 Profile Parkway in Bloomington. The free party restricts serving areas to those 21-plus; otherwise minors are welcome. Beer Buzz visited the new site while it was under construction and attests to the amazing makeover that holds promise for growing the neighborhood on various social, economic and cultural levels.
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