"12th Annual Indiana Microbrewer’s Festival

Camaraderie was the calling for the 12th Annual Indiana Microbrewer’s Festival, July 21, in Broad Ripple. The unofficial attendance tally is expected to top 3,500, up 1,300 from the 2006 festival, and to raise well over last year’s $21,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Optimist International, according to John Hill, founder of Broad Ripple Brewpub and acknowledged festival “godfather.”

An unofficial survey at the gate, as people fanned onto the grounds immediately after the 3 p.m. opening, revealed that there was a substantial “first-time” crowd.

Mike Waggmer is proud of his “growing palate, acquired by hanging out with people who know beer.” He was savoring the special from Brugge, whose Friday night event unveiled the labels, boxes and brews for their new bottling operation located at the former Terre Haute Brewing works.

Ted Miller is credited with solidifying the statewide interest in Belgian-style brews. The claim has merit in Jeff Sparrow’s report in the current issue of Great Lakes Brewing News. Mussels steamed in beer sauce was as much a hit at Chicago’s July 8 “Inspired by Belgium” event as it has been since Brugge opened two years ago as a companion to the British-inspired Broad Ripple Brewpub.

This reviewer followed the trend by sampling eight Belgian-style beers, half from Brugge, where a new brew sings superlatives for complexity and over all good taste.

Rock Bottom’s Tripel is just enough different from Brugge’s to warrant visits to both. Sapient Trip is a Dark Horse delight, and Matilda from Goose Island is fun.

Omar Castrellon from Alcatraz reminded this reviewer to taste-test all of the special ales made for the festival. “This year it’s a Pre-Prohibition Ale. Dave Holt from Ram Brewery found the recipe, and a couple of us made our own versions.”

Weigh in on your opinions at the Indiana ReplicAle Tasting, at Spencer’s Stadium Tavern, 802 S. West St., July 26 at 7 p.m. Cost is $2 half pints. (Call 317-916-8888.)

Twenty Indiana brewers from across the state were listed in the program, along with 17 outside Indiana, including the Great Lakes region, Louisville, St. Louis, Portland, Ore., Woodinville, Wash., and Berkeley, San Francisco and San Diego, Calif.

“We come from afar to share the art of fermentation,” stated Sammy Smith of New Holland (Mich.) Brewing. “We like to share our craft with everyone in Indiana. Nothing’s too far to go to a good beer festival.”

New Holland Brewing, like a handful of other national craft breweries, “started being distributed in Indiana. We came to the festival last year and feel this is a good market for discerning craft beer drinkers,” Smith added.



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