Tom Tap turns five 

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Happy times at Tom Tap

Tomlinson Tap Room—Tom Tap—celebrated its fifth anniversary on Nov. 18 at its home on the Mezzanine Level at Indianapolis City Market at 222 E. Market St. As a partnership between Brewers of Indiana Guild and City Market to serve only draught beers brewed in Indiana, with a constantly changing lineup, Tom Tap is the only place in Indiana aside from a brewery where growlers can be filled.

Nineteen breweries each brought a celebratory libation. Of the 19, five were established before 2010. A sixth, New Day Craft, falls into an interesting interpretive category. In 2004 New Day Craft opened as a “by appointment” meadery/winery in Elwood, Ind. Their move to Fountain Square in 2010 brought them more fully into the mainstream of their customer base and they began to carbonate their brews. New Day Craft brought Breakfast Magpie Black Raspberry Coffee Mead as their sharing.

The other 13 breweries opened between 2011-2015 and represent a statewide geographic spread.

Here’s the fifth anniversary line-up, posted by Tom Tap:

Three Floyds-Chevalier Bertrand du Guesclin, wine barrel-age wild ale with blueberries
Mashcraft/Central State collaboration-Sunday Funday Saison with Cascara Berries
Black Acre-Coffee Chai Guy Stout
Bloomington Brewing Company-Barrel-Aged Ten Speed American Wheat
Burn ‘Em Brewing-Royal Wedding Breakfast Brown Ale
Brugge-Tres Mauvaise Chaton cognac barrel-aged sour ale
Triton-Barn Phantom Blackberry Sour Ale
St. Joseph Brewery-Pew Buster Imperial Pale Ale
Scarlet Lane-Barrel-Aged Dorian ilk Stout
Fountain Square-Oliver Twist Wine Barrel-aged old ale
Wooden Bear-Belgian Dubbel
Upland-2013 Oak-Aged TBK Russian Imperial Stout
Daredevil-Pils German Pilsner
18th Street-Hunter Coffee Double Milk Stout
The Sour Note Brewery- Berliner Weise
Sun King-Velvet Fog Belgian Quad
Chilly Water-Rust Never Sleeps Amber Ale
Central State-Secret Submarine Base Chipotle Imperial Brett Stout

2010 craft openings include Bier as a nano-brewery on Indianapolis’ Eastside, and Black Acre in Plainfield, Figure 8 in Valparaiso and New Boswell in Richmond as brewpubs.

Poised to Open

Round Town Brewery, which has been hunting a home base for the past year, has officially “begun construction at our future home on White River Parkway, just north of Kentucky Ave.,” announced co-owners Max Schenk and Keith Reilly. “Big thanks to our friends at Bidmead Younger Construction for a highly productive first few days. We are on pace to bring you Jerry Sutherlin's magnificent beer in early Spring of 2016.”

Sutherlin, who has been head brewer at Rock Bottom Downtown for almost ten years, is moving on just before RB’s 20th anniversary as Downtown Indy’s oldest brewery and restaurant. Alcatraz opened in 1995 as the first downtown Indy brewpub, closed in 2011. Round Town will open as a production brewery. More on Round Town coming soon.

Shale Creek Brewing has been in the planning stage in downtown Franklin since 2013. Owner Mike Baker has been posting construction progress and invites watching for notice of their grand opening in what was “The Jukebox” at 178 W. Washington St.

Then, after the June 29, 2014 post by Phil and Deirde Warrenburg, Franklin became an even more imperative craft beer scene. The post read: “The Old Post Brewpub is born with the purchase of the "Old City Hall" building [55 West Madison St.] in downtown Franklin on June 27, 2014. The building was constructed in 1936 in the Georgian Revival style, [originally as Franklin’s post office] and in maintaining the historical integrity, will soon be home to the Old Post Brewpub with brewed on site craft beer and a fresh, local menu.” Latest news is an anticipated opening is Spring 2016.

Switchyard Brewing, in process of opening in Bloomington, reported on Nov. 17: “Last week we flew past our initial goal of $30,000 and now, with over 240 backers strong, we are extremely close to our first stretch goal of $40,000.”

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Visitors Welcome

Robin Shepard, assistant professor of life sciences communication at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and beer columnist for Isthmus, Madison, Wisconsin’ alternative weekly [find him at:], has been sharing his search for “The Perfect Pint” across Wisconsin [2001], Illinois [2003] and Minnesota [2011]. NUVO staffer Casey Parmerlee caught up with Shepard at Chilly Water on Nov. 17 and connected us. Shepard consequently emailed his kind assessment, in the "perfect style" of his books, which you can find here, here and here.

I invited Shepard to share his Indy experience—here it is:
My friends and wife say I have good beer karma, always running into special beer people that add to the experience of searching for breweries and a perfect pint along the way. Casey was one of those people on this trip. She introduced me to Dan Krzywicki the brewer at Chilly Water. The conversation with them was so much fun and engaging I almost forgot about my other stops I'd planed to make on the way to the airport on Tuesday. Their tips about other places were much appreciated, and will come in handy for a return visit (yes, I'll be back to Indianapolis). Earlier in my weekend, on Saturday, same thing happened. Started with a flight of beer over the bar at Indiana City Brewing, which led me to Broad Ripple's 25th Anniversary party (arrived just in time to see the luminaries being launched)! I've been to Broad Ripple, and Brugge Brasserie on previous trips and wasn't really planning to venture up to their neighborhood. Didn't know it was Broad Ripple's 25th Birthday Party. However, after the brewer at Indiana City told me about it —- well, I figured it was fate (my karma) that I happened to be in Indianapolis on the very day of the Anniversary party, so off I went. Picked up a bottle of the 25th Anniversary Barley Wine that I packed away in my luggage and will open at just the right time (probably during the "low" point of Wisconsin winter when I'm looking for a big beer to warm me up). :)

You have a very friendly, inviting and collegial beer culture in Indy. All I had to do was mention I'm a beer "scavenger-hunter," caught up in the search of "can I find you?" That approach just opens the door for so much more to the experience than merely a pint. I know I'm in a great beer town when I find myself, not really drinking that much beer and rather focusing on drinking well/smart/artful beers; and, when that leads to being more involved in talking with local beer enthusiasts its memorable! It was a really a great time. Following the advice of locals from one stop to the next is what makes craft beer special for me, and the Circle City provided that.

My stops included: Chilly Water, Flat12, Sun King, Indiana City, Fountain Square, Tow Yard, St. Joseph, TwoDEEP, Broad Ripple, Upland, Brugge Brasserie, Daredevil and 20 Taps/Twenty Below.

I really enjoy Belgian beers, so the Brugge (Tripel) is another returning favorite-stop. The atmosphere at St. Joseph was fun so I took a group there for dinner on Sunday evening. Some of the best beers were at Chilly Water (amber lager), Indiana City (Tribute Pale Ale), 20 Taps' (Imperial Stout, a bit tame for RIS yet so very nice in rich chocolate malt), and Daredevil (solid Kolsch with a hoppy accent).

Looking forward to my next trip back. Casey gave me a few tips to help plan my next visit.

Cheers to you and Indy beer!


New Brews & News

Scarlet Lane for the second year materializes Marley’s Ghost as a “peppermint, and cocoa flavored Stout designed in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Indiana Repertory Theatre’s annual A Christmas Carol.” Marley’s Ghost launches Scarlet Lanes move into packaging, said SLB spokesperson Nick Servies. “Packaging Marley’s Ghost will allow us to distribute the beer throughout the state for the first time.” SLB is sharing samples at pre-show events at IRT on Dec. 4 and 11 and 22oz bombers will be available for purchase at the IRT gift shop and by the pint at the bar throughout the run of the show. Servies says to find details about a Dec. 11 post-show event on the Scarlet Lane Facebook Events Page for links to ticket purchasing.

Thr3e Wise Men just tapped ROBOT’S bath WATER, imparts rich aroma of cherries, plums and raisens and gifts sips with lingering fruit flavors on the palate to close with a clean, dry finish at easy 23IBUs bu watch for the 8.8 %ABV kick.

Blind Owl has their Sweetwater Pilsner on tap and Hoo-Hoo Honey Brown in bottles along with guest brews on tap: Sun King Java Mac and tin Man Damascene Apricot Sour.

Half Moon brewer John Templet calls his seasonal Red Ale a “perfect pairing” with their white chicken lasagna. I’m imagining an extension to a take-home growler to complement turkey leftovers. Stoplight City Red Ale “stuffed full of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans” is a smooth, creamy vanilla flavored Irish-style Red Ale.

Mad Anthony Hop Squatch II is brewed to place Mosaic hops front, center and at curtain call, so to speak. With a simple malt bill, Mosaic’s triple qualities of aroma, flavoring and bittering at first imparts aroma layers of berry, fruity, herbal, tropical, citrus and pine and then expands to the taste palate where a touch of mango also surfaces. This variety, developed from a new breeding of Simcoe hop, has been an IPA favorite since its 2012 appearance. Mad Anthony reports, “Much of the hop was used late in the boil preserving all the character of the hop without going over the top on bitterness.” It’s Mad Anthony’s second “Out of the Box” series release on shelves, and is also on tap.

Chapman’s new single hop IPA, Undaunted, made its tasting appearance at Kahn's on Nov. 20. The Angola-based brewery announces: “Chinook, the classic American hop, is the star of this perfectly balanced IPA. By focusing on one hop, our brewers bring forward the distinct spice and pine flavor that made it famous. With four additions and a dry hopped finish, Undaunted showcases how amazing a single-hop IPA can be. Chinook features grapefruit and pine aroma, space and grapefruit on the palate and a mild bitter finish.” In 16-oz cans and on tap.

Forthcoming big brews that make winter worthwhile

Bloomington Brewing head brewer Nicholas Banks reports, “This year our Krampus will be 9.1%abv. We dry hopped the beer 3 different times. There is a total of 9 different varieties of hops. We used 48 pounds of hops for a 380 gallon batch. 17 pounds of hops were used to dry hop and 31 pounds of hops were used in the brew. We used Cascade, centennial, Equinox, Amarillo, Simcoe, Nugget, Mt Hood, Falconers flight and mosaic hops were used to make this beer. We will release the beer the first week of December.”

Mad Anthony laments, “The beauty and curse of wet hop beers is that they only come around once a year. Based upon our current madbrew counts, the 2015 Hop Wang is about ready to make its curtain call. Hop Wang is our version of a double IPA brewed with fresh Chinook hop cones, grown at Hophead Farms in Michigan. The hop cones were picked the day before we brewed, giving this beer a remarkable fresh hop flavor.

(NOTE: This is the perfect segue into Indiana’s emerging hop growing scene — read the full story coming next week in NUVO’s Beer Buzz.)


Have a safe, happy Thanksgiving—and if time allows catch these brewery events:

Nov. 27: Flat 12 is celebrating Black Friday “with some of our rarest dark, barrel-aged Stouts including a special release of our epic Pinko! Russian Imperial Stout.

Heads up for festivals that always sell out:

Nov. 27: Tickets for Crown Beer Fest go on sale; features 50+ breweries /200+ beers, May 14, 2016 at Lake County Fairgrounds. Tickets: $35 GA 2-6 p.m., $75 VIP 1-6 p.m., at:

Now: Tickets for Jan. 30, 2016 Brewers of Indiana Guild 8th Annual Winterfest at Indiana State Fairgrounds; more info here.

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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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