Of Prohibition and privilege 

Beer Buzz for March 2, 2016

click to enlarge Men and women drinking beer at a bar in Raceland, Louisiana, September 1938. Pre-Prohibition saloons were mostly male establishments; post-Prohibition bars catered to both males and females. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/RUSSELL LEE FOR FARM SECURITY ADMINISTRATION/WPA
  • Men and women drinking beer at a bar in Raceland, Louisiana, September 1938. Pre-Prohibition saloons were mostly male establishments; post-Prohibition bars catered to both males and females.
  • Wikimedia Commons/Russell Lee for Farm Security Administration/WPA

On March 2, 1933, Repeal of Indiana’s “bone dry” law went into effect when the Legislature struck down the 1925 edict. Gov. Paul McNutt promptly released 1,027 people imprisoned for infractions of this law, and a new era of alcoholic beverage laws went into effect to control production, distribution sales and use. “Bone dry” was a far stricter interpretation than the National Prohibition Law (1919-1933), which allowed for medicinal use of alcohol if prescribed by a physician. At that time, some alcoholic beverages were considered useful as medicinals, and the nourishment benefits of craft beers and wines was never negated.

And this is where there’s an interesting intersection with investigative journalism some 80 years ago and now, with the Oscars best picture win for Spotlight. Thomas Jefferson, an avid brewer and winemaker, was equally an avid exponent of The Press as the watchdog of democracy. In accepting the award on Feb. 28, one of the producers of “Spotlight” pointedly reminded us that responsible investigative reporting is an equal partner to all other issues that daily confront us.

As we get excited about the Bicentennial of Indiana Statehood, it seems opportune to reflect on the role of newspapers in the vibrancy of our commonality in the pursuit of a life of quality, justice and opportunity, that equally requires personal commitment to vigilance and responsible action. Indiana’s craft beer industry is predicated on responsible use in all aspects. The Indiana Historical Society posted a “Moment in History” on December 19, 2011, that reveals how investigative reporting brought to light the duplicity of elected officials and those who adamantly professed and espoused total abstinence from pulpits and public places.


click to enlarge An unknown photographer captured this destruction of liquor during the 1920s. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • An unknown photographer captured this destruction of liquor during the 1920s.
  • Wikimedia Commons

Enforcement of Indiana’s “bone dry” law had become a “privileged person” factor. As in all matters that hit home, when people in high places have to make a personal choice that means breaking a law, they’ll break the law to save themselves and their family members — in these particular cases, it was prescribing alcoholic beverages to counter life-threatening illnesses. They did not go to jail — 1,027 others did.

And that brings us to consider how Prohibition led us into the long-range effect of imprisonment as a general way to “solve” social and economic problems. It’s good to think beyond the glitz of the “Roaring Twenties” and consider the larger view. Lisa McGirr in her recently published “The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and theAmerican State” takes us through our penchant to prohibit and punish rather than to seek solutions to social and economic injustices — or better yet, to forestall those injustices through insightful planning because her careful analysis leads us to understand why we now are basically locked into a “penal state.”
March is celebrated as a month of Prohibition Repeal. With the celebration we need to understand beyond knee-jerk, easy-way-out and find a way to build a citizenry where individuals take personal stock of what they can contribute to the greater good and work together as a community through civil discourse and respect. Let’s talk at the bar — in all its meanings.

Learn more here.

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New brews — and news of brews

Indiana City announces a limited release of cans of Son of War Blonde Ale, “a fresh citrusy golden ale, crafted with Belgian ale yeast and heavily dry-hopped with American hops for smooth lightness on the palate coupled by a big tropical fruit hop aroma. 4.5% ABV, 12 IBU.

“New look, same great taste.” Mad Anthony’s new packaging hit the shelves March 1. “It’s “bold, graphic and the epitome of our new visual aesthetic,” declared Blaine Stuckey. First out is Good Karma IPA, medium bodied at 6.5% ABV and 55IBUs, its amber color originates from lightly toasted caramel malt. American-grown hops provide a fruity, citrus-like character for an overall perfect balance between malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. Jonesing for Java is a limited “out of the box” edition of an English-Style robust Porter infused with a proprietary coffee blend developed and roasted at Fort Wayne’s own Old Crown Coffee Roasters with the assistance of Mad Anthony’s brewers. “This madbrew features a deep chocolate quality and satisfying earthy notes with a delicious coffee kick,” says Stuckey. 5.5% ABV; 30 IBUs Half Moon in Kokomo is going seasonal with a watermelon infusion to their Moon Beam IPA, a “perfect pairing” for their Cajun Crawfish IPA. In the midst of “Devour Btown,” Bloomington Brewing/Lennie’s is offering lunch and dinner specials paired to BBC’s brews, and every day specials for patrons attending arts performance and sports events. Show your ticket. Rock Bottom reminds: “Grab a pint of our limited run Fire Chief IPA to salute our firefighting friends. For every Fire Chief Ale sold, 25¢ will benefit our local charity partners.” Their new menu matches Fire Chief’s boldness.

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National love

The Feb. 2016 issue of Paste magazine listed America’s top 50 craft beers. Indiana gets three mentions: Three Floyds Alpha King gained number eight. Paste writer Jim Vorel has this to say: “Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Three Floyds had the best malt-forward beer of the pale ale final. Weird but true — as was a theme of this tasting, our favorite discoveries were older beers that we hadn’t tasted for a while. And it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of hops in Alpha King (there are), but when you put it up against the modern breed of pale ale, it’s the great malt character that really pops. It’s a beer with a volume of flavor that matches and perhaps exceeds its higher ABV, which caused one taster to call it a “little DIPA.”

Multifaceted caramel flavors are a signature, as the darker shade in the glass would imply. Hops present with a classic blend of pine, pithy orange and more herbal/grassy notes, in nice balance with the malt. It’s very much in the style of what we’ve come to think of as a classic American pale ale — just a bit bigger and bolder. We know that Zombie Dust is the expected finalist, but Alpha King is the more indispensable pale ale.”

And the number 25 spot also goes to Three Floyds for Zombie Dust, with this caveat: “And this, folks, is why we conduct the tastings blind. If you’re a beer geek, then you know about Zombie Dust, the pale ale currently ranked first in the world for the style on both BeerAdvocate and Ratebeer. And you know what? It’s a very tasty beer, but it didn’t make the finals of our favorite pale ales in the context of a blind tasting. In fact, we ended up significantly more impressed with a different pale ale from Three Floyds. If anything, though, the thing that impresses about Zombie Dust specifically isn’t over-the-top hop flavors but subtle ones. Despite a reputation as a complete hop bomb, we actually found it appreciably nuanced, with dank, resinous, green hop flavors and tons of both citrus (grapefruit, tangerine) and tropical fruit (mango?) character atop minimal malt. Despite the high IBU and ABV, the bitterness is perceived only moderately, making for a “pale ale” (in name) that is also surprisingly sessionable and easy to enjoy. We know this ranking will probably inspire reams of criticism in the comments, to which we can only reply: It’s a great pale ale, but not the best.

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Conduct your own blind tasting, divorced from hype, and you might be surprised by the results.” Sun King Osiris gained number 32, with this accolade: “Another classic-style American pale ale, and a particularly refreshing and easy-drinking one that is quite popular in its native Indiana. Hop-forward and light gold in color, with a slightly thin body and light caramel malt backbone that emphasizes drinkability, it’s also not totally over the top on the hops, which is appreciated in a lighter pale. Hop flavors are a lovely blend of orange and lemon citrus with supporting pine and wildflower aromatics. Light, crisp, dry and quaffable, with no off-flavors—in other words, the perfect beer for a 16-oz. can. Which makes sense, because Sun King does love its cans.”

Osiris took the American Pale Ale Bronze Medal at AmeriCAN Beer Festival 2015. It’s a regular favorite at 5.6% ABV, 50 IBUs.

There’s more, this time from the new FoodandWine.com state-by-state best-of listing. Sun King gets the Indiana citation that reads: “Part of why lagers get a bad rap is that the name conjures up images of bright red cans labeled “Old Milwaukee.” But breweries like Sun King have set out to prove that colorful cans don’t have to be filled with boring yellow suds. Off and on since 2013, the Indianapolis-based brand has put their Afternoon Delight—a whiskey barrel–aged doppelbock with notes of molasses and vanilla—in re-sealable Alumi-Tek bottle-can hybrids, an aluminum-packaged lager that packs a wallop.”

Afternoon Delight is part of King’s Reserve barrel aged series taking the brown sugar and molasses aromas of the base brew Dominator Doppelbock into a new realm. Afternoon Delight was a Gold Medal Winner in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category at the 2013 Great America Beer Festival™, and a Gold Medal Winner in the Barrel Aged Classic Style category at the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer. Learn more at: sunkingbrewing.com and here.

Lafayette Brewing Co. founder Greg Emig got front page coverage in Great Lakes Brewing News with a feature story by Jim Herter. (Dec/Jan 2015/17) Taxman’s head brewer Colin McCloy earned a profile post on the Brewers Association Website on Feb. 15, 2016.

Long-time Indiana brewer Omar Castrellon sent this about his newest lager from his post as brewmaster at Lost 40 Brewing in Little Rock, Arkansas—Logger Rita, a Mexican-style Vienna Lager debuts as part of Lost 40’s Fresh Cut/Pilot Batch Release Series on Feb. 29 and is part of their March 3 Logger Invasion event. From what I can gather, the real-life Logger Rita is an iconic figure in early Arkansas history. Castrellon brews to bring into focus Lost 40’s motto: “Honor the craft, Love the Land, Drink to the future.” The connection with NUVO’s beer columnist is a random coincidence, despite a long ago wielding-of-axe to split firewood. For more on Omar’s brew go here.

Re-cap from Indiana City’s Feb. 20 ’Homebrew Battle’ includes all the participating homebrewers and their brew styles:

Josh Grissom • Imperial Coffee Porter
Brad Billman • Foreign Extra Stout
Nate Greuel • Imperial Porter
Andrew Wood • Russian Imperial Stout
Nick Boling • Imperial Stout with Molasses
Jake Ridner • American Stout
Brice McPherson • Imperial Robust Porter
Jeremy Railey • Imperial Milk Stout

... and Dave Pennington, of Indy's southside, who “walked away with the win with his Imperial Coconut Milk Stout. Dave won a chance to brew his beer on Indiana City's 7 bbl system, beer artwork by RONLEWHORN and find his beer on tap here and at local bars and restaurants.

click to enlarge That's a record. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • That's a record.
  • Wikimedia Commons

Indiana City founder Ray Kamstra added this note about their mission beyond recognizing home brewing as an essential growth factor for craft brews. “It's important to us that we support local artists, musicians and craftsmen. As the resident brewery at Joyful Noise Recordings, we contribute to a thriving local music scene, the heartbeat of Indy. Every Monday in the taproom is #BYOV. Bring your favorite album to spin on our new turntable."

Re-cap from the Second Annual Shelf Ice Brewfest in downtown Michigan City on Feb. 20 points out that maybe an outdoor winter event isn’t such a bad idea. Some reports centered around shedding wool sweaters in favor of shirt sleeves but most touted the “Big Winter Brews with fantastic taste in any kind of weather.” The growth of craft brewpubs and production breweries along the Lake Michigan corridor spurred the inaugural festival in 2015. Over two dozen breweries shared in this year’s event, reminding us that six years ago a mere handful of breweries from Indiana, Illinois and Michigan were around to support Sam Strupeck’s vision of growing a vibrant lakefront craft beer community. When Strupeck opened Shoreline Brewery in 2005 it was a Michigan City outpost between Three Floyds in Munster (1996) and Mad Anthony in Fort Wayne (1998), and a neighbor to Mishawaka Brewing Co. that opened in 1992 and closed in 2011. Since 2010 the diverse emergence has made Northern Indiana a craft brew cultural tourism destination. Plan ahead for third Saturday in February 2017.

New events

Veering a bit from beer education to general education, a new Girls Pint Out event on March 22 at 6 p.m. at Village Tap Room offers an overview of investing and its tax ramifications by financial adviser, Marc Klein while samplingTaxman Brewing Co. beers including: La Maison Farmhouse Ale, Deduction Dubbel, Standard Abbey Blonde, Rye't Off Belgian Amber Rye and In the Red Fruited Sour Strong Ale.
No tickets for this GPO event. The Facebook event can be found here.

Giving credit

Omitted from NUVO last week’s print and on-line editions was this citation for the mole sauce:
“Recipe from Chef Josh Brownell for an all-around sauce that’s colorful, flavorful and only slightly lustful for any day “I love you” from the Big Woods/QuaffON! kitchens. Chef Josh Brownell is our youngest, newest, and most daring chef,” says Big Woods/QuaffON! spokesperson Ian McCabe. “Chef Josh will helm the kitchen at Big Woods Speedway (which will potentially serve upwards of 900 people). Chef Josh has a strong background in both culinary artistry and larger commercial kitchen food production.” 

click to enlarge big_woods_quaff_speedway.jpg

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About The Author

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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