Irvington event features 20-plus breweries, hosted by Black Acre 


Barrels On Bonna (BOB)

The basics, in a nutshell:

Oct. 10, 1-5 p.m.

5529 Bonna Ave, Indianapolis, (Black Acre's new production facility)

Tickets $50 at

The Facebook event page is HERE

20-plus Indiana breweries will be serving samples of their barrel-aged beer brewed for this event only.

12-1 p.m. round table discussion with brewers who have barrel programs at their facilities; they will discuss the process, educate and answer questions.

A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the local Irvington charity Friends of Irving Circle. For more information, see

The best way to enjoy the event:

“Rare beer, live music, food trucks and limited tickets make Barrels on Bonna an event no craft beer enthusiast will want to miss,” enthuses longtime Irvington resident Jason Larrison.

Black Acre co-founder Holly Miller adds to the enthusiasm for what is expected to become an annual October event in Irvington.

“I love the richness that the flavored wood adds to a beer. It adds a whole new level of complexity to it. I’m excited about this festival because there really isn’t one like it here in Indianapolis. Especially owning a brewery, I try a lot of beers (you know, market research!). At this festival, there will be so many beers that even I have not tried. Many of the beers that will be presented are considered very rare, with only one or two barrels made total. The barrels we provided the participating breweries are Louisville-based Angel's Envy, but people will be bringing beers aged in other barrels as well and they are from all sorts of different kinds of aged liquor—bourbon, rye whiskey, rum, tequila, wine, gin…”

Black Acre, with a history of barrel aging to celebrate their anniversaries and other special occasions, is now moving toward a regular program. “We have a lot aging in barrels right now,” said Miller. “ My current favorite is our Beard Tax Russian Imperial Stout aged in a New Day Breakfast Magpie Blackberry Coffee Mead barrel. Delicious!”

“Barrel aged beers are BIG beers. They are often very rich and tend to have higher alcohol content. Drinking a session or lighter beer between tasting barrel aged beers can almost act as a “palate cleanser.” It will help to neutralize some of those big flavors,” advises Miller.


During a conversation at last week’s BRBP Pub Creep event Larson mentioned it’s important for patrons to approach the Oct. 10 event with a mindset different from the usual beer festivals. “When you are drinking big beers you have to pace yourself over a four-hour span. Take ten-fifteen minutes to taste and talk about the qualities you discern, and cleanse your palate before tasting another barrel aged beer,” points out Larrison, whose experiences as a founding Hoosier Beer Geek gives him cachet to guide.

Miller agrees. “I approach tasting a barrel aged beer just like a fine wine, scotch, or, in my case, most beer. Start by looking at the beer, paying attention to the color, consistency, and head retention. Then swirl it around in your glass a little. Smell the beer. Appreciate the aroma before you taste it. Then taste the beer. Let in linger in your mouth for a moment before swallowing. Most importantly, enjoy it. Don’t take it too seriously. Beer is fun.”

Guiding us through all the terminology, Miller points out, “A firkin is actually a unit of measure/size of a special keg used for cask conditioning- ¼ barrel size. Cask conditioned beers (or real ales) are beers that have not been cold filtered, pasteurized, or carbonated using outside equipment. A firkin is poured using gravity and is naturally carbonated by secondary fermentation. Barrel aged beer is when you take beer and add it to a barrel to soak up the flavors of said barrel. It is up to the brewer how long it then stays in the barrel, but at least a month or two, maybe up to a year depending on how much of the wood/liquor flavor you want in it, style of beer, type of barrel, etc.
“It takes patience to barrel age,” says Miller.

Patience is equally required for tasting at a specialty festival, advises Larrison, who also invites attendees to come to Irvington during the morning to explore and enjoy the ambiance of what was Indianapolis’ first suburb (platted in 1870) and the original home of Butler University. Lunch options abound, including at the original Black Acre brewpub at 5632 E. Washington St.

Learn more here


Seven Indiana breweries bring home 10 medals from GABF 2015

Sun King again leads with three medals –Gold for Sunlight Cream Ale in Golden or Blonde Ale style; Silver for Batch 666:Sympathy for the Devil in Wood-and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer; Bronze for Cherry Busey in Belgian-style fruit beer.

Thr3e Wise Men earned two medals—Gold for Antonius 1742 Oktoberfest in German-Style Marzen; Bronze for Hot for Teacher Ms. Doppelbock in German-style Doppelbock or Eisbock.

Indiana swept Belgian-style Dubbel or Quadruple with Bier taking Gold for Sanitarium and Taxman taking Bronze for Qualified.

Mad Anthony took Gold for Auburn Lager in American-Style Amber Lager.

Newly opened The Tap Beer Co. earned Gold for Electric Stinger in Honey Beer style.

FLIX took Silver for Generation Alt in German-style Alt Bier.

New brews & brewery news

Locally sourcing ingredients is a significant part of People’s program. Chris Johnson reports, “we have “a number of locally sourced beers coming out.

“Sept. 28 we are tapping the first of our "Local Farm Series"... HopKnoxious IPA, an American IPA made with all HopKnoxious Farms Cascade and Chinook hops. Farmer Koh Knox and his family have a 3-acre hop farm just outside West Lafayette. This was their second harvest year. Last year we made Local Farmer Harvest Ale, a wet hop beer with their hops. This year we had them dry their hops and developed this beer.

“Gourdon Pumpkin Ale will be out in early October. We do this beer every year, made with sweet pumpkins from County Line Orchard in Hobart, IN. Ryan Richardson and his family run a large farm growing apples and pumpkins. They also, have corn mazes and other family fun at their farm.

click to enlarge peoples-brew_13lf8592sx4om17s9rm8q090v0.png

“In 3-4 weeks, we will release the second of the "Local Farm Series"... Toma-Hops IPA, an American IPA made with all Toma-Hops Farms Cascade and Chinook hops. This is a different recipe (as each will be). Rick Lear and his family have grown corn and soybeans, among other traditional crops, for many years and this is their first harvest year for hops. Their farm is located just outside of Wolcott, IN. We also had them dry their hops this year.

“We are still developing a beer for that will use this year’s harvest from The Pines Hop Farms. They are a second year hop farm, in West Point, Indiana, farmed by Jesse Andrews and his family. They also grew Cascade and Chinook hops that we will use in a month or so.

“We are working with Caleb Michalke, from Sugar Creek Malts, to bring some locally malted brews to life this winter. We have Munich malt in house now and we are going to do something with that soon. He's also teaming up with us and the Tippecanoe Homebrewers Circle to create a brew. We host a learn to brew with a friend day each fall and this year they are going to develop a beer using Caleb's malt and my staff and I will choose our favorite and brew it on our system this winter.

“Lots of fun local things going on up here,” concludes Johnson.

Indiana City flagship beers in six-packs of 12 oz. cans will be available at bars, restaurants and retail outlets by Oct. 8. Mobile canning company iCan Solutions canned the first batch of Indiana City’s Yacht Rock Wheat Ale, Tribute Pale Ale and Shadow Boxer Oatmeal Stout at the brewery on Sept. 24. Death by Pumpkin made its debut Sept. 25 at Goose the Market. Pure pumpkin added to a diverse kilned malt bill along with brown sugar and array of spices makes this pumpkin brew smooth and crisp.

Goose the Market reminds that October is American Craft Cheese Month. They’re pairing cheese with beer Oct. 7, 15, 20 and 28, 5:30-7:30.

Rock Bottom Rocktoberfest is now on tap Downtown and College Park. A crisp hops finish balances the rich, malted body with layers of flavor in the sipping.


Scarlet Lane and McClure’s Orchard are launching Katrina McClure Apple Pie Beer brand. “Katrina McClure will resemble a homemade apple pie with flavors of tart apple, cinnamon spice, brown sugar and a crisp finish,” according to the news release.

Daredevil announced, “We have the first lager out for our new lager series and it's a traditional Oktoberfest Marzen. It's only at the taproom right now but we will probably have it make its way to a few locations around Indy.”

Upland Harvest Ale will be released Oct. 1 in 4-packs and on draught at select craft beer bars and on tap at the Upland Bloomington Brewpub and Broad Ripple Tasting Room and Carmel Tap House on Oct 6. Description reads: “An American Pale Ale by design, but an even more vibrant rendition by loading up our hopback with freshly harvested Citra hops. Expect huge wafts of tropical fruit notes, balanced by a moderate bitterness and light tasted malt character.”

Lennie’s Bloomington Brewing now has Rye IPA, red-hued with spicy undertones and a delicious bite, Rye IPA is both hoppy and very easy to drink. Made with locally grown rye from Sugar Creek Malt of Lebanon, IN.

Triton 5 Alive IPA, bursting with citrus flavors, features Railsplitter IPA infused with orange, lemon, lime, tangerine and grapefruit notes balanced by a hoppy finish. 5 Alive made its debut at the Seventh Annual Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest (2015). So far, it has been exclusively a cask-conditioned ale.

Catch Triton’s Fourth anniversary party Oct. 3, 1-5 p.m. for family friendly activities and 6-10 for special tappings.

Brew Link Supply has new fall homebrew kit with fresh picked hops. More at or call 408-6970.


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About The Author

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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