Beer Buzz: Winterfest's expanded digs 

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Brewers of Indiana's Winterfest rolls out Feb. 1 at Indiana State Fairgrounds with "roughly 80 brewers' booths, around 20 of those being out of state breweries and including several new breweries," according to Rob Caputo, 2014 Winterfest coordinator and director of Flat 12 Bierwerks brewery operations.

Caputo claims the new location will enhance visitors' experiences. The event's footprint has doubled in size this year, allowing for a large coat check area and adequate portable rest rooms."We are hoping to minimize the crowding of crisscrossing lines from the past couple of years," Caputo says.

Also new are two different ReplicAles. Caputo says one is a version of last year's Old Ale that nine breweries have aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. The other is an American Stout recipe created by Chip Lewis of Iechyd Da Brewing Company in Elkhart. Nine breweries applied their own touch to the basic recipe, so you're expected to taste and decide which best suits your palate. "There will be educational signage at both the cask and ReplicAle areas so that attendees can learn more about both of these programs," Caputo says.

Returning favorites include the cask area in the outside beer garden and the World Class Beverage Malt Shoppe offering a wide range of malt-forward beers.

Generally expect a lot of winter seasonals in the mix of some 200 choices. According to word of mouth, the new wave concept of craft seasonals started in 1988 when Boston-based Harpoon Brewery brought out "Winter Warmer." Their consumer success tempted other breweries to introduce versions of big, warming brews including holiday specialties with tastes of nutmeg, cinnamon and variety of fruits, followed soon thereafter bold, malty coffee/chocolate and hints-of-vanilla beers as standard winter fare.

Proceeds from Winterfest will go to Joy's House Adult Day Service. Stop by their booth to learn about their services and volunteer opportunities.

Big Red is the new title sponsor along with a roster of returning co-sponsors.

Buzz notes

Broad Ripple Brewpub's 4-course beer dinner at 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 includes Chef Josh Horrigan's specialty menu matched with Brewer John Treeter's Red Bird Ale, Yorkshire Pale Ale, Olde Ale and a dessert featuring BAB Honey Brown Ale. Reserve at BRBP, $35.

The Jazz Kitchen has created New Orleans night for every last Wednesday of the month beginning with Jan. 29 in their B-Side Event Space. $17.95 includes The Red Hot Whiskey Sippers performing live New Orleans style music and bayou-inspired food including Shrimp Boil. The beer special is Sun King at $4 pints.

Flat 12 is expanding into Kentucky with launches at BoomBozz Highlands and Westport locations. Newly released is Walkabout Pale Ale dry-hopped w/ Simcoe. See here for all February releases.

A hearty black Stout and an exuberantly refreshing sunrise-hued Pilsner are on tap at Twenty Tap. Brewing under the moniker Twenty Below, Kevin Matalucci brings his love of easy-drinking beer to these full-bodied, multi-layered brews. Take time to enjoy their immediate aromas and luxurious heads, and as they warm up and you drain down they leave lovely lace on the glass.


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