Philanthropy and craft beer are synonymous 

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Cancer awareness and funding support are on the agenda of craft breweries throughout October, with many events paired with sports teams.

Oct. 2, the Colts hosted “Pinking the Canal” as the kickoff event in downtown Indianapolis as part of the nationwide NFL initiative. On Oct. 7 at Victory field, the Indianapolis Indians “rallied around the color pink” with a pink-hued bat image on their website. Indy Eleven ‘Boys in Blue’ don pink socks. The “Month of Pink” pops up on websites with craft brew partnerships including: Little Red Door, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, Great Fermentations and Girls Pint Out.

Sales of Pink Power Sun King Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirts and SKB pink koozies garner donations. Thr3e Wise Men and all other Scotty’s locations are donating 100% of your purchase of a pink ribbon pint glass toward breast and prostate cancer research.

Triton created Pink Ribbon Saison brewed with pink and white peppercorns and coriander for a sweet, spicy Belgian-style flavor in March for March Women’s History month and has now reappeared on draft at Triton’s taproom as well as at bars and restaurants and other craft location around Indy, including Blind Owl. Proceeds go to breast cancer research.

Throughout September TwoDEEP connected with Super Bowl Champ Ryan Diem for the 2nd annual Cheers for Charity cancer research fundraising.

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Rock Bottom College Park is donating $10 toward local research efforts on behalf of everyone attending the Oct. 21 four-course Fall Brewers Dinner, 6-8 p.m. at 2801 Lake Circle Dr.

NUVO stopped by for a chat with Brewmaster Nathan Scruggs, who shared the menu he and Executive Chef Ty Ray developed for this special “pink ribbon” dinner. Of course the beer required sampling.

The brews, like the food, “are ours,” emphasized Scruggs, as he enticed me into the menu.

Equinox IPA will accompany an appetizer of crispy, chewy tender pork with fresh crisp veggies served on a bed of lettuce with a sriracha slaw, opening the palate with bursts and layers of flavor. Equinox IPA nods to the season but more so showcases Scruggs’ IPA brewed with the newest varietal from the Hop Breeding Company. Described as “loaded with flavors of lemon, lime, papaya, apple and green pepper,” Equinox hops imparts a fruity, tropical, slightly spicy punch and almost made me just want to stop further tasting and stay with enjoying a hops variety that indeed has become the darling of brewers nationwide, but the idea of two of my favorites—a hearty chicken harvest chowder paired with a light-hearted Dunkelweiss—pushed me forward. The entrée of Cedar plank salmon with roasted cauliflower and a fresh lemon and dill cream sauce will find its soul mate in Scruggs’ rich, smooth Amber Rocktoberfest replete an expected fruity effervesance.

When I complimented him on getting it just right, Scruggs said, “Most nerve wracking is waiting two-and-a-half months to know how — if — it will turn out.”

Closing with pumpkin cheesecake will be Scruggs’ special take on pumpkin beer. Last year he cleaned out the fresh pumpkin bin at Trader Joe. This year he’s taking a different path and I’ll just have to wait for the outcome.

So I scanned the beers on the board. Bazooka Joe Head stopped me. “American wheat,” offered Scruggs with a Cheshire Cat smile, “a play on Gumball Head.”

Lucas Oi is an American Brown Ale with a feel of toffee. Kitty Fantastico reminded me of Sun King’s Grapefruit Jungle as a refreshing citrusy melon IPA. Naughty Scot is a strong Scottish Ale.

And, yes, there is a trio of German brews on tap, with a sunny German Pils joining the light amber-hued Roctoberfest and darker amber Dunkelweiss.

Commenting on the recently published legacy of Indiana brewers, Scruggs said he understands about space restrictions. Nevertheless, for the record he knows I know his genealogy—“starting as a professional brewer with Skip and Dan at Fountain Square, moving to the RAM as assistant to Scott Ellis and then coming to Rock bottom when Liz Laughlin retired.”


Look Again: New Packaging and Branding

The bucket originally carried from brewery/tavern/public house to home has been replaced by a succession of vessels. Shape and art work have been identifying a brewery’s bottle and/or can for a couple of centuries, with advances in maintaining freshness, ease of opening [and resealing] and now it’s sustainable paper and cardboard time.

Sustainability [aka ‘being green’] is at the forefront. Sun King led Indiana with cans in various incarnations from flip-top to screwtop. The RAM introduced the plastic howler in downtown Indy. Daredevil seems to have been the first to utilize Oskar Blue’s “can crowler” to supplement/replace the glass growler. And now Mad Anthony features
“out of the box” packaging for their Hop Wang wet-hop Double IPA brewed with day-before harvested Chinook hop cones from Hophead Farms in Michigan. “The remarkably fresh hop flavor comes through on draft and from the box,” says MadBrew spokesperson Tiffany Pryor.

Don’t toss out your growler but expect to expect diverse alternatives for a party time option directly from the brewpub/brewery. Some two years ago there was talk of a kegless option for delivery to home or bar to avert the need for draft lines, but that concept hasn’t yet hit the market.

In the meantime, getting shelf space attention for individual servings is still the goal. Flat 12 just entered the fray with a new svelte design. The Oct. 18 release of Deflator Doppelbock in 16 oz. cans serves as a “preview of Flat 12 Bierwerk’s new look,” said Brewmaster Sean Manahan. “A stylish and refined design that better showcases the liquid inside.”
And now Three Floyds has new Robert the Bruce Scottish Style Ale packaging—carry case holding 6 bottles is an in-your-face standout on any store shelf with seriously serious explosive art.

The old way can always become new.


And then there’s eternal hope [for a “smallish bear”]

Oaken Barrel sent this invitation to NUVO: “Chicago Cubs are in the playoff! 107 years is long enough drought for the Cub’s fans! Cheer on the Chicago Cubs, and catch all the baseball playoff action on our HDTVs.”

So I asked owner Kwang Casey if anyone was brewing a celebrity beer and he stepped right up to the plate.
“We can make a beer like an Old Style, and call it “Cubs Brew.” If they make it to the World Series, we just might have to do that.”

By the time this hits you’ll know whether to head to Greenwood for a toast to a team and a fan base that never says ‘never’.

New Brews

Thr3e Wise Men: Blood Orange Pale Ale combines blood oranges with fresh resiny Chinook hops for a bright citrusy flavor, reads the description.

Triton 4th Anniversary Party featured 45 beers: their standard lineup of “Usual-Ales,” plus 40 more. Co-owner David Waldman invites, “Stop by the Brewery this week and choose from our “Hangover Menu.” We still have more than 22 of our own beers on tap, including the Batch #1 Bourbon Barrel Stout (2015).

Bloomington Brewing/Lennies Java Porter is a robust porter fermented with cold brew coffee extract from Brown County Coffee, a combination of malts [Pale, Munich, Caramel 60, Black, Chocolate and Aromatic] and East Kent Golding, and Mt. Hood hops.

Bier Brewery this week brings forward a new brew, UnibrowN, along with a return of favorites Weizengoot, Belgian Blonde, Pumpkin Ale and PDG Pale Ale.

Indiana City favorites Yacht Rock, Tribute and Shadow Boxer are now available in cans. New on tap are Haymaker Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout with rich oak flavor up front, a smooth bourbon finish and strong earthy bourbon notes in its aroma and Mimi’s Breakfast Stout crafted from dark roasted malts, flaked oats and resiny whole cone hops. Doses of pure maple syrup, Dutch cocoa and semisweet chocolate are added directly to the boil kettle and then the fermented beer is infused with locally roasted Guatemalan coffee beans for a complex flavor and smooth coffee aroma.



Oct. 14: 6-7 p.m. Morton’s The Steak House is pairing four appetizers with four Sun King beers. Reserve at 229-4700.

Oct. 15: Stop in at BRBP for the start of “Countdown to 25” events.

Oct. 16: Big Red BEERFEST 2015 presented by Best Beers at Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center (302 South College Avenue, Bloomington), 6-9pm. Admission $40. All proceeds after applicable expenses will go to The Boy’s & Girl’s Clubs of Bloomington. Tickets are $40 per person and available at

Oct. 16: District Tap 1-Year Anniversary Party (3720 E 82nd Street), 6-8pm. Join us to celebrate the 1stAnniversary of our friends at District Tap. Triton will be pouring The District Tao (TDT) Ale, Rail Splitter IPA and the Nutty Professor Peanut Butter Brown and handing out shwag!

Oct. 18: Flat 12 ultimate tailgate party 2-8 p.m. at the Flat 12 Biergarten and Tap Room, is part of the hoopla surrounding Colts vs Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Oct. 21: Bier Brewery is hosting the 2nd annual Beards and Brews Preliminary Contest in 4 categories: longest, thickest, most creatively groomed and best of show. More at:

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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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