Beer Buzz: Pumpkin brews, beer talks, tappings and Halloween parties galore


Craft beer mavens Doug and Tammy Epply and I met up at Union Jack Pub’s 2nd Annual Pumpkin Beer Fest in Broad Ripple.  The Epply’s impressive accounting warrants sharing. Here is the Epply’s brief summary and a picture of their completed scorecard: 

Union Jack’s 2nd Annual Pumpkin Beer Fest lived up to the hype.  With 40 different pumpkin beers on tap there was sure to be a beer for everyone.  Styles included ales, porters, stouts, imperials and barrel aged beers.  We sampled nearly every beer and kept a “report card”.  Receiving A’s in order were: Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumking and Warlock, Flat 12 Chocolate Peanut Butter Flat Jack, Epic Pumpkin Porter and Tin Man Herald’s Imperial Pumpkin.  There was a great crowd yet plenty of space to enjoy the beautiful weather and the best Pumpkin Beer anywhere.  Thanks Union Jack and see you next October.”

I’ll weigh in soon with my take on the amazing range of a U.S. Fall specialty.

It takes two generations to redefine taste/palate and style/way of life according to sociologists who track tides of change. Nationwide we see this playing out with people Trading Up [see the book by Michael J. Silverstein and Neil Fiske] and embracing events such as the annual Food Day [go to:].

Panelists at the Oct. 21 Indy Beer Talks program at Tomlinson Tap Room pointed to Indiana residents catching up with a desire for best quality, local and fresh. Craft beer in context with life style and life values was the subtext in comments by panelists Nick Servies of Scarlet Lane Brewing Company, 
Matt Clapesattle of World Class Beer, 
Andrew Skirvin of HopCat 
and Andrew Johnson of Indiana Beer Barons, and of audience members. Bill Jimmerson moderated.

The government regulated 3-tier system intent is to protect the consumer with access to quality beer said Clapesattle. Beer at brewpubs wasn’t a topic; it was the journey from brewery to me at pubs, restaurants, sports events and home cookouts, passes through distributor and point of sale. For beer [as in comedy] timing is of the essence. Beer is best fresh. If enough of us become supporters of a brand the turnover is quick. If a brand does not gain public acceptance, that brewery eventually folds. The patron decides who thrives. Location comes into play [as in real estate]. Clapesattle pointed out while, “Every beer has to be awesome, not all of our beers is for everyplace.” Knowing how to connect patron palate with brand awesomeness takes as much skill and passion as does the brewing process itself. Technology is scrambling to keep up with which brand needs to be where. Enter a new member of the equation—see for their just announced partnership with Big Red Liquors. Let’s keep talking about timely, targeted access to consistent quality craft beer in Indiana.

Oct. 23, at Tow Yard in conjunction with Indiana State Museum’s “American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” exhibit [go to:], Lee Smith moderated a panel with Anita Johnson [Great Fermentations] and beer authors Bob Ostrander, Doug Wissing and Rita Kohn. Pressing audience questions included ‘What does it take to make Indiana a craft beer destination state’ [every brewery needs to make consistently outstanding beer] and ‘Will Indiana’s top breweries sell out to the megabrewers?’ [not likely].

New Seasonal Brews Roundup: Recalling taste from last year, one always wonders what new twists might spark a change. Here’s what back and new:

Indiana City’s Mimi's Breakfast Stout returns on tap. Its complex flavor and smooth coffee aroma come from adding pure maple syrup, Dutch cocoa and semisweet chocolate to the dark malts and cone hops in the boil kettle. “As a finishing touch we infuse the fermented beer with locally roasted Guatemalan coffee beans,” says brewer Ray Kamstra.

Half Moon’s Honey-Rye has a soft honey aroma, light sweet taste and velvety smooth, creamy texture and slightly spicy and dry finish with a delightful bite.

Flat 12 brings back Moustache Ride Red for Movember, Pinko Russian Imperial Stout for Black Friday and 12 different beers commencing with Glazed Ham Porter to kickoff 12 Beers of Christmas in bottles.

On the way:

Oct. 29: Triton, 4-10 p.m. tapping Nutty Professor Peanut Butter Brown

Oct. 29: MashCraft tapping, 4 p.m. Mr. Wicked Imperial IPA

Oct. 30: Bloomington Brewing releases their annual Persimmon Ale with fruit from Orleans, Ind.-based Twin Tykes as their 3rd bottled brew at Big Red in Bloomington store 418 N. College, followed by bottles on shelves throughout Central Indiana. Look for bottles elsewhere; it’s on draft at BBC.

Oct. 30: Rock Bottom downtown, 6-7 p.m. brewmaster Jerry Sutherlin taps Imperial Red Ale; event includes a costume contest, games and a raffle to benefit RB’s annual Miracle on Washington Street for downtowners in need to have a Thanksgiving dinner. Catch Brewer’s specialty also at RB College Park.

Oct 30: Sun King, noon, releases Batch 666 Sympathy for the Devil, a unique and complex beer that earned Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Strong Ale category. It’s part of the specialty King’s reserve brand. SK recently brewed batch #1814. Watch for special events when it’s released.

Oct. 30: MashCraft Halloween Family Night, 4-8 p.m.

Every Thursday is MashCraft Family Night

Oct. 31: Oaken Barrel releases their award-winning PumKwan Ale. A new batch of AppleBuzz is on the way.

Oct. 31: Flat 12 Around the Gourd Halloween Night 3-9 p.m.

Oct. 31: Indiana City Arcade Game Themed Costume Party with 25+ retro arcade games + a Mortal Kombat Tournament

Nov. 1: Noblesville Main Street, Inc. 839 Conner St., Beards & Brews Competition, 1 p.m.

Nov. 1: MashCraft Mr. Wicked's Hop Bonanza, 1 p.m. More at:

Nov. 3: Flat 12 at Tom Tap 12 chef’s Pairing Party, 6-7:30 p.m.


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