13 Apr 2014’s Bloomington Craft Beer Festival — A look back and a taste forward
On Saturday, thousands of craft beer lovers descended onto the grounds of the picturesque Woolery Mill in Bloomington for the 4th annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival. Over 50 craft breweries (along with beautiful spring weather) joined the crowds to create a perfect festival atmosphere. The Jefferson Street Parade Band, local food vendors, a live DJ, and a host of volunteers from the Brewers of Indiana Guild helped to make it a memorable afternoon.
The usual brewery suspects were all in attendance. Upland Brewing, one of the hometown favorites, used the event as an opportunity to further showcase their new branding and artwork (as well as their delicious beer).
Three Floyds Brewing from Munster offered their always elusive Gumball Head and Zombie Dust, creating an impressive line of festival-goers hoping to get a 3oz pour before the kegs ran dry.
Sun King out of Indianapolis poured their new Fistful of Hops recipe; an IPA with a rotating combination of hops that changes every 4 months, (despite the fact that the name of the beer will always remain the same). Look for the new Fistful of Hops featuring galaxy hops on shelves this week.
While sampling both well-known and hard-to-get Indiana beer is all good and fun, these festivals give smaller and newer breweries a great opportunity to showcase their creations. Black Acre Brewing Co. from Indianapolis was pouring their Peanut Butter Porter, an American porter brewed with crushed peanuts. The peanut flavor was subtle and well balanced, a must try for any dark beer lover. Black Acre’s Space Car IPA infused with blood orange was also a standout. The tart blood orange flavor was a great complement to the palatable bitterness (only 56 IBUs).
Another brewery that impressed was ZwanzigZ Brewing out of Columbus. For the adventurous craft beer-lovers, their Scorpion Pepper Imperial Stout was widely enjoyed. Other than being a beautifully blended stout, the pepper additions created an interesting, yet pleasant, tingling and spicy mouth feel that lasted long after finishing your sip. ZwangzigZ’s appropriately named Chocolate Beer had the golden appearance of a pale ale, but carried a surprisingly rich and well balanced chocolate flavor.
As always, Great Crescent Brewery from Aurora represented well. They offered their refreshing Blonde Ale and their flavorful Coconut Porter. Their taproom in beautiful Southeastern Indiana is well worth the visit.
While only a few breweries and beers were highlighted here, the overall quality of the Indiana craft beer at the festival was impressive. Of the 50+ breweries that were in attendance, only 4 were out-of-state breweries. Not that many years ago, the thought of hosting a craft beer festival of this magnitude that primarily showcased Indiana breweries would have been inconceivable. Saturday’s event demonstrated the strength of the craft beer movement in Indiana and was a testimony to the increasing desire for high quality and local craft beer in the Hoosier state.