Craft beer aficionados have a new reason to attend the Indiana State Fair. In celebration of this year's animal of honor - the dairy cow - chefs and caterers have put together a menu of fair foods that put dairy products to innovative use.
Of concern in this column is Barto's Micro Beer Cheese Sauce, to be served on specialty fresh cut fries and hefty burgers and/or on the side for dipping during the course of the fair. Barto's, the Fair's official year-round caterer, regularly crafts menu items with locally brewed beer, as well as local produce, meats and dairy products.
Executive chef Chip Huckaby credits owner John Barto with "coming up with the idea." Barto, in turn, lauds Chef Chip for creating a multi-flavored cheese sauce featuring locally cold-packed cheddar infused with Triton's Sin Bin Pale Ale and Barto's own southwest spiced sauce "to complement the beer."
"It has a very good and unique flavor. It's not super cheesy. It has a little bit of spice, but not overly spicy, so it will be appealing to the masses," said WFMS host Kevin Freeman during the judging that determined menu of five fair foods that best celebrate the Year of the Dairy Cow.
You'll also find Triton utilized by 10-01 Food & Drink, where pork belly is braised in Triton Magnificent Amber and Sun King Cream Ale enhances short ribs. (Check out this page on craftbeer.com for more ideas for cooking with beer.)
The Ram downtown tapping the next generation of RAMAGEDDON 2012, Doomsday Scenario Imperial Red. All five RAMAGEDDON beers will be brought back out Dec. 21.
National IPA Day, inaugurated in 2011, returns to celebrate India Pale Ales in "an opportunity for the entire craft beer culture to combine forces and advocate craft beer through increased education and global awareness."
Bier announced Crooked Teeth IPA and Triton has Railsplitter IPA on at their respective taprooms. Thr3e Wisemen is featuring their sessionable Golden Zoe IPA and their bolder Centennial Martyr Double IPA that features clover honey from Hunter's Honey farm in Martinsville. Check out IPAs at your other favorite Indiana breweries, brewpubs, bars and restaurants, including the iconic Broad Ripple Brewpub amber-hued "highly hopped, bold, bitter beer whose full flavor dances on the palate," as described by brewer Kevin Matalucci and owner John Hill.
Why spotlight IPA? According to craftbeer.com, "This style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations. At the 2012 World Beer Cup®, the most-entered category was the American-Style India Pale Ale with 150 entries. The second most entered was its close cousin, the Imperial India Pale Ale (93 entries)."
Brew Haven 2012, Northeast Indiana's craft beer festival, 2-6 p.m. at Trion Tavern, 503 Broadway Street, New Haven, 46774; 30+ breweries [including Flat 12] and area homebrew clubs pour their specialties. $35, $45 day of includes: unlimited samples, souvenir tasting glass, meal, water.
Partial Mash (Beginner) Homebrewing Class at Tuxedo Park Brewers, 1139 Shelby St in Indianapolis. 1-4 p.m. Free
Craft Beer Tasting at Birdy's, 2131 E 71st St. 6-8 p.m. $10
New tastes & twists
Sun King "Hazy Daze Summer Wheat" is all around town.
Charles Stanley is inviting creative writers to submit short stories featuring beer for a Six Pack of Stories, each to be paired with a beer to savor while reading. Details.