Beer Buzz: The Story of Sierra Nevada


Sales of beer and wine at the Indiana State Fair are under consideration at the Statehouse. Will craft beer and local wineries be welcomed or will the fair favor one-taste-fits-all brands? We're watching.

Kahn's at Keystone on Feb. 20 hosted eight tables of 45 brews awarded ratings of 90-plus points by RateBeer, with some specials brought by brewery reps. It was a fine opportunity to gain insights about regional tastes across the U.S. and learn from fellow attendees what perks up their individual palates.

For daily food and beer pairing, I prefer flavorful recipes sans 'hot' spices and full-bodied, multi-layered beers with lower alcohol and hop bitterness profiles. Listening to others, it's clearly food preferences that mate us with brews. Flat 12 was the Indy-based brewery along with Schlafly, Stone, Bell's, North Coast, Founders, New Belgium and Sierra Nevada.

I was particularly happy to have the latter at hand because I had just finished reading Ken Grossman's Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing (Wiley, 2013, cloth, $24.95). Grossman's passion for craft brewing and his engaging personality leap off this no-holds-barred memoir. It's a must-read for anyone even remotely thinking about opening a brewery and assuredly an eye-opener for lovers of craft brews.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale remains the standard with its richly balanced, nuanced pour. Grossman has never wavered from "consistent quality" and "good is not good enough" since the 1980 opening in Chico, Calif., extending the mantra to all aspects of operation, including embracing sustainability. He discusses his decision to open a second brewing operation in North Carolina and describes Sierra Nevada's collaboration with the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, Calif.


Feb. 28

Triton: Beer sampling at Indiana Ice, Pan American Plaza, downtown Indianapolis during the Ice versus Team USA, 6-9 p.m.

Cutters: Taking over the taps at Tomlinson Taproom with new beers.

Mardi Gras Pub Crawl on Main Street, Speedway.

Flat 12: Spring seasonal Nunmoere Black release "and much more."

March 1

Simeri's Italian Restaurant, Fishers, Daredevil tap takeover

March 2

Cartel Brewing online fundraiser hosted by brewer Ruari Crabbe and co-owner Adam Burke.

March 4

Flat 12: Flat Tuesday; 4 p.m., crawfish races, King Cake and tapping 4 limited edition beer concoctions.

Traders Point Creamery, Zionsville: Four-course beer dinner of Old World-style beers made by New World craftsmen, paired with heartland farmstead cuisine hosted by Chef Brandon and Bob Mack from World Class Beer, 6:30 p.m., reserve at 317-733-1700.

Broad Ripple Brewpub: Fat Tuesday Fete, New Orleans-style five-course dinner paired a beer, including three new options on tap, with thoughts from brewer John Treeter, $40, call 253-2739.