Beer Buzz: MashCraft turns one | Daredevil wins in Colorado 

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MashCraft’s First Anniversary features their first bottled beer


MashCraft Brewing’s Head Brewer/Managing Member Andrew Castner announced their first anniversary party on June 6 noon to 9 p.m. “is a time for music, food trucks, special beer releases, shenanigans, tomfoolery and hijinks. We are excited to reach this milestone and even more excited to reflect back on a great first year with you folks who have helped us build this beast.”

The week-long celebration features daily tappings June 2-5 and June 6 debut of MashCraft in bottles, at the brewery at 1140 N. State Road 135, Suite M, Greenwood:


Tuesday: Apricot Tart, a tart session ale brewed with apricots

Wednesday: Country Roads, a super chocolatey English Brown

Thursday: Miss Gwen, a big hop flavor new Imperial IPA

Friday: No name yet Belgian Golden Strong

Saturday: “The anniversary brew,” Crafted Mash Vol. 1, an Imperial Stout with cinnamon and vanilla making its debut on draft and in bottles .

Andrew Castner reflected on MashCraft’s first year:

NUVO: MashCraft is the ’new’ kid on the craft brew circuit in Greenwood. What have been the best parts of your first year? Where did the laughs come from?

Andrew Castner: The best part of the first year has been the people around MashCraft. From our staff to our neighbors in Greenwood to our restaurant partners around Central Indiana, we have spent this year with great people. The laughs come easily and often with our MashCraft team, including: Bill Jimerson - Distribution Guru; Ryan McGuinness - Assistant Brewer; Sarah Dall - Tap Room and Events Manager; Rachel Thompson- Tap Room and Marketing.

NUVO: What has been the most challenging aspect of this first year?

Castner: The most challenging aspect has been establishing our brand and garnering awareness in this very busy craft beer environment. We have to keep working to make sure that when people think of MashCraft, they think of great beer all the time.

NUVO: You started in Greenwood at Oaken Barrel — why return to this community? How did this shape your brewing choices?

Castner: This community has a lot of craft beer fans who have been developing since Oaken Barrel opened 20 years ago. My business partner, John Lee, and I both live near our brewery location. When we looked around the city, the neighborhoods on the west side of Greenwood really stuck out to us. Oaken Barrel and Planetary are in Greenwood, but they are 10+ minutes away. We knew if we chose a spot for MashCraft on State Rd 135 we could efficiently add to the options for Southside beer, not compete with it.

In addition, it has been awesome to be received so strongly in Greenwood by Kwang [Casey, founding owner] and my [other] brewing buddies at Oaken Barrel, and Andy [Groves] and Doug Goins] at Planetary.

NUVO: What from your past experiences is now serving you well as co-owner/brewer?

Castner: All of it from recipe formulation to equipment maintenance. My four years at Oaken Barrel and four years at The Ram make the daily grind much easier. By seeing many situations previously, I can fix a problem on the fly that could and have cost me 2-3 labor hours in research in the past. That efficient problem solving saves me hours that are highly valuable in a new business.

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NUVO: Greenwood is growing into a craft beer destination—how are you and the other breweries working together? Who else is part of the special Greenwood craft scene?

Castner: Our friends at Journey Johnson County ran a popular bus trip for Indianapolis media to the four breweries in Johnson County that resulted in some great exposure for the quality beer being made on the South Side. If we can all continue to make great product, then we could see some great tourism opportunities as well as fun chances for us to partner together for cool creations. (NOTE: The tour included Oaken Barrel, Planetary, MashCraft and Bargersville-based Taxman — and BREW-BY-U, a homebrew facility.)

The Indy Brew Bus and Indianapolis Brewery Tours make runs our way regularly, so that is a great opportunity to experience all of our breweries. In addition, there are some South Side bars and restaurants that are putting awesome craft beers on tap for the local audience. Check out our list at MashCraft.com to see some of those spots.

NUVO: What is your particular niche among the 100 other craft breweries in Indiana?

Castner: Our niche is making a wide variety of consistently great beer for our neighborhood. We want to provide an ever-changing list of top-notch beer and exemplary service for all of the guests who walk through our doors for one of our brews.

NUVO: How does MashCraft’s branding (the name, artwork and slogan) identify you as a special place with a special goal and passion in craft brewing?

Castner: Our logo and branding speak to the handcrafted and artisan approach that exemplifies what we do on a daily basis. We are happy to be another great place in Central Indiana where passionate people are making something valuable from scratch.

NUVO: You started ‘lean’ and now you are a staff of 5 including yourself—what does this tell us about your first year and the goals you intended to meet?

Castner: We are very lucky to have an awesome group of volunteers that have been an essential part of our first year. From that group we have hired up from two employees at the start, to five now in response to our very high level of weekend sales. We are looking forward to continued expansions of staff and offerings as our business develops.

NUVO: Is there a special first year story?

Castner: The best story from Year One is the male and female who decided to take a prolonged trip to the same restroom not thinking anyone would notice, but I'll let them tell you the full story when they are ready to talk about it.

NUVO: What are your goals for year two?

Castner: Our goals for year two are to continue to make great beer and develop our staff while looking at intriguing expansion possibilities. We are wary of the hurdles that will come with stepping outside of our current structure, but we are excited for the possibilities.

Many thanks to all of you MashCraft supporters who have made our first year such a huge success!

For the June 6 party, RSVP on Facebook.

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Another Grand Opening

Cedar Creek Brew Company, the newest half of the Elsner Family Cedar Creek Winery (opened in 2010), officially opened their taproom May 23/24 at 3820 Leonard Rd., Martinsville. On May 25 Cedar Creek announced their first keg sale to Red Lion Grog House. Amber, Blonde, IPA and Porter are the Cedar Creek house brews on tap and in bottles. Seasonals on tap now are Imperial IPA and Cream Ale. Learn more at http://www.cedarcreekwineandbrew.com/ or call 765-342-9000.

Upland gains 4th invitation to SAVOR

Upland Brewing Company once again is heading to SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience . June 5-6. Upland is one of 73 small and independent craft breweries at the 8th annual SAVOR presented by the Brewers Association at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Upland will pour two of its craft beers, accompanied by a reception-style sampling of sweet and savory small plates designed by Adam Dulye, the Brewers Association executive chef and co-author of CraftBeer.com’s Beer & Food Course.

During SAVOR Upland Brewing Co. will be serving VinoSynth Red, paired with grilled sea scallops drizzled with herbed lemon vinaigrette, and dantalion, paired with loin of venison topped with fried parnsips and pomegranate red eye gastrique.

Chef’s notes on this pairing: "Hints of chocolate in the beer bring the gastric to the venison on the palate and the parsnip adds texture to bring out the spice in the beer."

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Upland Brewing Co. alongside Yazoo Brewing Co., Nashville, Tenn., will present an educational Salon, “A Collaboration of Barrel-Aged Wild and Sour Ales.” Yazoo and Upland will each showcase one of their original sour/wild brews paired with a regional food dish. Yazoo Delicieux will be served with local Tennessee cheese.

Upland Pawpaw will be served with nutmeg bread from Feast Bakery in Bloomington.

Upland and Yazoo will present their new collaboration beer, a blend of two beers made at their separate facilities. Three Degrees South by Yazoo is a beer blend of 30% Red Wine barrel Sour Brown, 30% Bourbon barrel Sour Brown, 20% Dantalio and 20% Cherry.

Three Degrees North by Upland is a beer blend of 60% Blonde Sour Ale, 30% Kiwi and 10% Cherry.

The Brewers Association in its news release comments, “As craft brewers continue to innovate and expand, the industry has gained considerable attention. SAVOR celebrates the success of small and independent craft brewers and their flavor forward creations by showcasing the harmonization and synergy between craft beer and food.”

When you can’t can, crowel

Ingenuity reigned for Daredevil’s participation at the May 30 Burning Can Fest in Lyons, Colo. Daredevil reports because of the move from their original brewing site to the new brewery in Speedway their canning operation was down. What to do? Fill 80 32-oz Crowlers (tm). Crowlers? Daredevil co-owner Shane Pearson brings me up to speed (OK, pun unavoidable): “The Crowler name comes from it being a "Can-growler" so "Crowler."

About a year ago Oskar Blues Brewery in partnership with Ball Corporation patented a system to fill a one-use recyclable 32-oz can to replace glass growlers for specialty brews on tap at a brewery/brewpub. The Crowler operation, attached to a draft line, fills one container at a time for a customer. For a production brewery with a taproom, the Crowler system is in addition to a regular canning operation for 12 and 16 oz. servings that usually are sold in packs of four, six, 12 and 24.

“Daredevil is the first brewery in Indianapolis with a Crowler machine,” said Pearson. “We think it is great as it gives you a professionally seamed can that can go anywhere and will last longer unopened than a growler of beer. The machine will be sitting right here on the back bar by our taps for on-demand filling for customers.”

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Well, when I checked on latest news from Colorado Saturday eve, I learned Daredevil Lift Off was the winner of the Ball Corporation King of the Can trophy based on the ‘best of’ votes by people attending the festival.

Shane Pearson wrote in response to a note of congratulations,:

“Thank you Rita. It's a large trophy. Oskar Blues is going to add a plaque to it with our name and ship it out. Fun event; 63 breweries, 50 from Colorado, so quite an honor to win with Lift Off IPA in such a great group of breweries.”

Two other Indiana breweries joining Daredevil at the “King of the Can2015 Competition” were Sun King with Fistful of Hops and 18th Street Brewery with Cone Crusher.

Learn more at: http://burningcan.com/king-of-the-can/

Other breaking brew news

Quaff ON! Brewing Co. spokesperson Megan O’Byan emailed at noon on May 31:

“Quaff ON! Brewing Co. will release Conviviale, a new saison ale, Monday, June 1, exclusively at Quaff ON! Bloomington.

This beer is part of a brand new chef/brewer collaboration series in which Quaff ON!/Big Woods chefs and brewers work together to develop a flavor profile and complementary beer style.

In planning the release, Quaff ON! Bloomington's Chef Dan Nichols explained that he looked for "something light and flavorful with hints of spice, herb, citrus, and a hint of sour that would drink well out on a patio on a June summer day."

The resulting flavor profile combined lemon verbena for herbaceous and citrus notes, tamarind for sour, and saffron for spice — all of which color Quaff ON! Small Batch brewer Martin Gradolf's Conviviale.

Those flavors will also appear in "Moules Conviviale" — Nichols's Spanish saffron steamed mussels dish that will be paired with the new beer. The mussels will be steamed in Conviviale, along with more saffron, cream, garlic, red and green and yellow peppers, scallions and ciliantro.
Quaff ON! Bloomington will tap Conviviale Monday at 4 p.m. and will be offering the dinner special that day as well.”

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Brews Calling Out to You

NUVO’s Cultural Vision Awards program June 9 at Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Ave., begins with a 5 p.m. reception featuring a lineup from Bier Brewery.

In a recent exchange of emails, Indiana beer historian Bob Ostrander reminded, “Kudos also have to go to Darren Conner and The Bier Brewery. He's the first to put up a small shop supported by growler sales.”

The CVA awards ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Free admission. Must be 21+ for Bier brews.

Kwang Casey reports: “Greenwood Fire Department is celebrating 125 years of its service, and Oaken Barrel has created a special beer. We have brewed a red lager, and we are calling it the Firehouse Lager 125. It is a light summer beer with copperish tone and light hop finish. We will be tapping this beer on June 3rd, at 6 P.M. Fire Chief James Sipes will be tapping the beer personally. Oaken Barrel will donate a part of proceeds from the sale of the beer to Greenwood Fire Department, and we hear a rumor the department might have bagpipe players for the event.”

Indy Eleven’s match against Tampa weathered through a 2-hour storm delay May 30 for a draw, but the team’s Spring edition of Indiana Craft Beer Night tallied another win with a full crowd tasting seasonals, specials and house beers from 16 statewide breweries set up in tents on The Carroll Lawn. It was special to talk with an ever-growing base of young people embracing quality craft beer, and certainly special to say hello to Ted Miller, whose passions for soccer and craft beer have been steadfast on both counts for over 20 years.

Stopping in at Twenty Tap to check on what Kevin Matalucci is bringing on from Twenty Below is like a family reunion. Sipping another batch of his always fine American Pale Ale allows for time to chat with people who have been supporting Indiana craft onward from 25 years ago and meet some new to the culture.

FLIX Brewhouse will have a firkin tapping the last Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. One night only; when it’s gone it’s gone. May 28 featured 10 Day Scottish Ale with bourbon soaked vanilla beans.

For a complete list of upcoming beer events, check out NUVO.net's online Beer and Wine calendar in our Food listings.

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Bio:
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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