Beer buzz 

Sean Tucker's Problem Child IPA, the long-awaited 2006 Beer Geek Challenge winner, debuts this week at Bier Brewery and Taproom (5133 E. 65th St.) as a Pro Am with Darren Conner. It is BIG and flavorful. For the record, Bill Ballinger finished second in 2006 and if memory serves, that beer hasn't yet been brewed commercially. Beer Buzz still anticipates a second commercial brewing of Ron Smith's 2005 Beer Geek Challenge winning Castle Rock Red because Upland's Pro Am product with Caleb Staton and Smith still resonates.

Also starting Dec. 22 at 3 p.m.: Christmas Chocolate Mint Stout made with Ghiradelli chocolate and organic mint. A robust Winter Porter with a touch of Briess cherry wood smoked malt and additions of Star Anise, Juniper Berries, and Sweet Orange Peel. Rye Pale made spicier with the addition of Rye Malt to compliment the C hop additions. "These are four of the nine Biers we're featuring at Winterfest on Jan. 29," reports Connor. 317-253-2437, www.bierbrewery.com.

Oaken Barrel's seasonal Belgian Tripel Epiphany, a big beer, multi-taste layered smooth with sweet and spicy notes, is back on tap and in 6-packs at your favorite stores. Oaken Barrel also has sampler 8-packs of four different beers. www.oakenbarrel.com.

Indiana Vodka Infusions, the newest release from Heartland Distillers is available in seven unique flavors: Cherry Vanilla, Chai Tea, Orange Cream, Chocolate Espresso, Lemon Honey, Raspberry Citrus, and Double Vanilla. When NUVO stopped by for tastings distiller Stuart Hobson described Indiana Infusions beginning with "6-times distilled award winning Indiana Vodka. After our last distillation but before we blend to bottling strength, we infuse the vodka with care and precision to produce each vibrant flavor. Each Indiana Infusion is bottled at 80 proof. Six of our seven infusions are a pairing of two or more flavors. Doing research at the distillery, when we infused the cherry with a touch of vanilla something magical happened—great taste! So an idea was born to pair primary flavors with complementary flavors to produce a balanced infused vodka." For recipes to make mixed drinks at home, visit http://www.indianavodka.com/IV/Promo1.html.

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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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