Lifting a toast at the Girls Pint Out’s final December gathering for 2015 — marking GPO’s 5th anniversary year— is the perfect way to salute this year’s high points for Indiana’s craft beer. An informal get-together at Red Lion Grog House in Fountain Square featured seven of the now more than 20 ladies directly involved as owners and brewers in Indiana’s craft beer industry. Add to that the sales, marketing and programming force connected with each of our breweries, and the ladies will be on par with the gentlemen. Representing a diversity of locations and sharing special beers were: Holly Miller of Black Acre in Irvington (Chai Guy Milk Stout), Leah Huelsebush of Taxman in Bargersville (Inflation Double Wit with Pineapple), Elizabeth Eaken of Twisted Crew in Seymour (Crew Passionfruit Blonde), Keely Thomlinson of Thr3e Wise Men in Broad Ripple (Weizenbock), Elise Lane Servies of Scarlet Lane in McCordsville (McClure Tart Apple Cinnamon Brown), Eileen Martin of Fountain Square (Oak-aged Soul Ride IPA) and Megan Pelsor of Sun King in Indianapolis (Rita Wee Heavy).

GPO president Amanda Wishin offered this summary: “One thing is for certain as the year of great GPO events draws to a close: gone are the days of 'girls don’t like beer.' The huge crowds of ladies and talented brewers supporting Girls Pint Out in Indianapolis and around the country are a testament to that. Women are owners of great breweries; women brew our local beers; women enjoy good beers. That’s something I believe we can all raise a glass to.”

Across the board throughout 2015, in addition to women gaining more presence in the brewing industry, we’ve experienced growth in quality and representation on a number of levels: a record number of openings in small communities around the state and in neighborhoods that are welcoming a gathering place; expansions by established breweries; a steady increase of restaurant, bar and tavern taps and store shelf space for Indiana-brewed beers; Indiana craft beers used as ingredients in artisan foods created by small start-ups and established restaurants; new businesses supporting and leading the craft industry; increased collaborations between breweries in and out of state; new social media paradigms; and a significant number of area farmers growing ingredients specifically for brewing.

Look for stories on all these fronts throughout 2016 as the emphasis on Indiana’s Bicentennial unfolds historic brewing references with current events.

For example:

The excitement begins with The BrewsLine “Cheers to Indiana’s Bicentennial” schedule of weekly Sunday afternoon tours to five Hamilton County breweries from January 10-May 22, 2016. Featured at each stop will be newly minted brews with historic connections at Deer Creek in Noblesville, Deviate at 96th & Michigan Road, Grand Junction in Westfield, Heady Hollow in Fishers and Sun King Tap Room and Small Batch Brewery in Fishers.

Each BrewsLine bus accommodates twelve people for each 12:30-4:30 p.m. tour. Meet up locations vary with best place for people on the tour.

More information can be found here.

On your own, visit the other Hamilton County craft breweries not on the tour or special programs:

In Carmel: Danny Boy Beer Works, FLIX Brewhouse, Union Brewing and Upland Tap House

In Fishers: The RAM Restaurant & Brewery

In Noblesville: Barley Island

To extend the Hamilton County Bicentennial Brews experience for those of us who can’t commit to a Sunday BrewsLine tour, Indiana on Tap is offering special “Pours & Pints” events at each of the featured breweries:

January 14, Deviate Brewing, Carmel

February 20, Sun King Fishers Tap Room and Small Batch Brewery, Fishers

March 10, Deer Creek Brewery, Noblesville

April 9, Grand Junction Brewing Company, Westfield

May 21, Heady Hollow Brewing Company, Fishers

More info can be found here.

2015 also saw an increased interest in craft brewing by cultural organizations: A significant exhibit and series of programs by the Indiana State Museum; Conner Prairie brewing and serving programs circa 1830s; Indiana State Fair expanding their second annual Indiana Craft Exhibit with programming by brewers and owners along with serving pints and tastes for 17 days in August.

And we continue to get national notice not only for award-winning beers made here and in competitions elsewhere, but about our award-winning brewers who have moved and are brewing elsewhere. The latest news arrived on December 28, featuring a story about former Thr3e Wise Men and Alcatraz head brewer Omar Castrellon, who left Indiana to help grow craft beer in Arkansas. He gained kudos in Rock City, Ark. food & drink magazines.

Here’s a clip from Greg Anderson’s column:

2015 will be remembered as the year brewing in Little Rock experienced its long awaited boom. Lost Forty was the biggest of these…Omar Castrellon, who runs the brewery, refuses to use the term brewmaster, so we will just start referring to him as General Hops until he comes up with a better title. Regardless of what you call him, his influence on the beer scene has forever changed craft brewing in Little Rock.

Omar’s influence, of course, remains here in Indianapolis and Indiana.

And the Denver Post recently wrote: “Factotum Brewhouse in Denver and Tow Yard Brewing Co. of Indianapolis have come together to brew a beer called "Oatmaha." According to the person passing along the story,

The beer is set to be released in March during a beer festival at, fittingly, Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

As the name suggests, the pale ale is made using oats. That's because the two franchises Manning has suited up for — the Colts and Broncos — are both horses that eat, you guessed it, oats. The other part of the name is derived from Manning's signature "Omaha" call at the line of scrimmage. It's a clever way to tie in one of the NFL's best quarterbacks ever. This was an idea long in the making for Factotum co-owners Laura and Christopher Bruns, who have ties to both Colorado and Indiana.


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