May, the lusty month of beer 

May 3, Foam Blowers of Indiana members brewed together at the home of Ron Smith, the club’s president, to celebrate National Homebrew Day. Homebrewers worldwide brewed the same recipes supplied by the Brewers Association and shared a simultaneous toast at noon Central Time, especially paying tribute to renowned craft beer advocate Michael Jackson, who passed away Aug. 30, 2007.

The 2008 Big Brew recipes “hold significance to all brewers for different reasons,” the Brewers Association Web site reports. Chiswick Bitter is a commemorative recipe honoring Michael Jackson. “The second recipe was chosen in light of the current hop shortage and the approaching warmer months: a blonde ale recipe using any hops you can get your hands on,” the Web site continues.

Actually, both recipes are specific to Jackson, who became the very first worldwide advocate for craft beer. Chiswick Bitter, a specialty of Fullers Brewery, was Jackson’s favorite at his local pub, the Andover Arms in Hammersmith, England. He equally distinguished himself with a compelling aspect of pale (blonde) ales and by extension became a part of this writer’s art appreciation training. Jackson discerned the trademark Bass Brewery labels among the display of Champagne, wine and liqueur in Manet’s 1882 masterpiece, “The Bar at the Folies-Bergeres,” thus letting us know the French “Folies-Bergeres bar staff had a proper sense of perspective about drinks.”

For those who travel and want to feel knowledgeable in any locale, Jackson’s Pocket Guide to Beer and Little Book on Beer are ever at hand. What we acknowledge as “the modern theory of beer style” is directly attributable to Jackson. He coined the terms “top yeast” for ales and “bottom yeast” for lagers. He was a journalist and critic who went beyond analyzing the content of brews. He presented beer as a component of culture and treated beers in their cultural context.

Jackson was an exponent of craft brewers as civic stewards. Thus it is equally fitting that American Craft Beer Week, May 12-18, celebrates the community citizenship of craft brewers. In 2007, American craft brewers donated more than $2 million to charitable causes.

Simultaneously, SAVOR: an American Craft Beer and Food Experience takes place May 16-17 in Washington, D.C., to showcase craft beer and food pairings and highlights the industry and culture of craft beer. Log on to

May 10, Hot Shotz A Gastropub, 4705 E. 96th St., is celebrating its re-grand opening with day-long festivities. Brian Graham, founder of Hot Shotz, describes the gastropub concept as “bridging the gap between traditional pub grub and fine dining cuisine in a casual, laid-back atmosphere.

“Our ever-changing menu of specialty appetizers, sandwiches and entrees complements a robust craft beer selection. Because beer is actually more complex than wine, we have one or two suggested beers for each menu item. Of course, we also have a great wine selection, because you should be able to interchange beer and wine with a meal to really bring out flavor of any food.” Visit

May 23-24, Brass Monkey Brewing Company, Indiana’s newest and smallest brewery, will celebrate its grand opening in Kokomo’s historic downtown inside the Sycamore Marketplace at 115 E. Sycamore St. Kick-off festivities will include beer sampling, live music and food.

Owner and Brewmaster Andrew Lewis started as a home brewer in 2005. Lewis’ beers range from traditional American ales to “much more inventive styles like Green Tea Pale Ale, brewed with green tea and grapefruit.”

Also on tap exclusively at Brass Monkey will be Lewis’ Silver Back Stout, an award-winning full-bodied stout with hints of coffee and sweet caramel overtones, and “Tenacious Apple Tripel,” a classic Belgian tripel fermented on top of apples. Visit

May 29, Upland Brewing Company (Bloomington) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. May 31, Upland hosts the Multi-State Homebrew competition. Visit

Indiana medalists in 2008 World Cup Beer Competition

Three Floyds: Gold for “Behemoth” in Imperial or Double Red Ale category and bronze for “Dread Naught” in Imperial or Double India Pale Ale category
Upland: Silver for “Winter Warmer” in Old Ale category
Shoreline: Silver for “Beltaine” in Scottish Ale category
World Cup Beer 2008 winners were selected by an international panel of 129 beer judges from 21 countries from 2,864 entries from 644 breweries in 58 countries. Visit

Indiana’s and other winning beers are available at stores, pubs and restaurants. 

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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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