As Festivals Go, Death & Taxes Definitely Gets It Right

As Festivals Go, Death & Taxes Definitely Gets It Right


By Charlie Sasse for Indiana On Tap

After writing my annual check to the IRS, I really needed a beer, and a big beer at that! An 11.5% Belgian Stout with vanilla and aged in bourbon barrels should do it. Welcome to Death & Taxes bottle release festival at Taxman Brewery in Bargersville, IN. After getting my tasting glass, I was able to move around the festival with ease. Even though the festival has grown in the past year, the intimacy was still there from last year. The owners/brewers onsite made themselves available and were happy to engage the festival goers. Overall, even with the increase of brewers and tickets Death & Taxes Day kept that small fest feel I remembered from last year. Everyone should raise a glass to Taxman Brewing for doing such a great job!

One of the things I like most about Death & Taxes is the diversity of the crowd. I ran into my favorite Hendricks County bartender, a friend of my dad’s, others I have seen at many festivals, and overheard a group from the Bargersville area that bought tickets just to “see what the hubbub” was all about. I later saw several members of that group crowded around the Burn ‘Em table taking pictures with Danny Moser (men in tank tops are often used as bait for a specific breed of large cat, right?).

Danny is a great guy and always has time for anyone stopping by for a pour, no matter how drunk we are. This is something I find lacking more and more at festivals. I know there are many more festivals now, there are often multiple festivals on the same day, and the owners/brewers are busy trying to keep beer in our mouths and businesses afloat. I have seen both sides and I understand completely why the people pouring are the people pouring. This is why it is fun to see Danny (Burn ‘Em), Jake (CSB), Elise (Scarlet Lane), Ray (Indiana City), etc pouring beer and spending time with the patrons. I am certain I forgot many, many, others but I think my point is clear.


My first beer of the day was a 10% Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout by Bare Hands Brewery in Granger, IN. I was excited for this beer because I couldn’t make it to Granger back in December, which meant I couldn’t participate in the special lottery for this beer. What fat guy doesn’t like peanut butter? Black Acre’s Barrel Aged Ol’ Fritz Berliner Weisse won my vote for weirdest beer of the day. The way the barrel played with the brett and blackberries created some unique flavors. I love weird when it comes to beer, and this one hit weird on my scale. I hadn’t had much from 450 North out of Columbus, but that Bourbon Barrel Belgian Triple…  Not being a huge fan of Belgian beers so it was hard for me to call this one my favorite of the day, but damn was it good! I look forward to trying more beers from down south.

The line to get your Death by Taxman (Formerly Death & Taxes) bottles moved extremely well, and I was happy to see bottles of other beers for sale alongside the big Belgian stout. The Death by Taxman sample line moved well but was MUCH longer than the line to buy bottles and swag. I received the heads up early that there was plenty of the barrel aged stout available, so I waited till the line died down a bit to get my sample. The beer was big, dark, and beautiful in my sample glass! The look matched the flavors on my tongue.  Speaking of the sample glass, let me say Taxman does it right: a beautiful glass snifter printed with the Taxman logo and commemoration for the event. This is a glass I will use again at home, unlike most small plastic tasting glasses I have received from other events. 

Unless you are lucky enough to score a ride down on Ale Force One, the new Indiana On Tap bus, you might consider bringing a DD along to events like this. There are nearly always designated driver tickets available at beer festivals. We all have that macro light beer drinking buddy, spouse, spouse’s friend, or know someone that doesn’t drink. I suggest buying them a ticket to go and hang out with you for the day. It may cost you lunch also, but lunch and a $10-$20 DD ticket is much cheaper (most of the time) than a cab/ride share, and definitely less expensive than a “Police Escort” to the county jail.

​​Plus there are some other benefits to having Sober Steve as your wingman. Most beer release festivals have a bottle limit associate with each person/ticket. Even though he can’t drink, Sober Steve usually can buy his allotment of bottles to take home. Since he doesn’t drink, or doesn’t drink good beer, you can probably give him some cash and you take the beer home yourself. You did buy his ticket and lunch after all. Next time you are rushing to get another pour of the crazy high ABV Super-Duper Imperial Kolsch with tigers’ teeth and cobra venom, have two because Sober Steve has your back.

(There were no tigers or cobras injured while making that sentence.)  

Keep drinking great beer and talking about it, I know I will!

No Comments

Post A Comment