It Was a Big Saturday in Indiana Beer, from Homebrew to Charity Events to GABF

It Was a Big Saturday in Indiana Beer, from Homebrew to Charity Events to GABF

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

October 8th was quite the day for craft beer fans in Indiana. You had the choice of several events to attend, each with a different focus, and then there were the Great American Beer Fest (GABF) awards handed out that evening. Once again, Indiana did well in the competition, and we were well represented at the tasting sessions.

Personally, I attended two events on Saturday afternoon and then kept up with the GABF awards ceremony in the evening. I first drove down to Garfield Park in Indy to do some tasting and talk to all the brewers at HomeBrew Palooza, a festival dedicated solely to homebrewed beers, ciders, and meads from Indiana brewers and clubs.

Organized by Circle City Zymurgy, an Indianapolis homebrew club, HomeBrew Palooza had fantastic beers to try all afternoon from a dozen local clubs and brewers. You know that I love homebrew for several reasons; 1) they brew for the love of brewing, 2) they do ultra small batches, so ingredient costs are ameliorated and they can add just about anything to a beer, and 3) they don’t have to worry about making beers that sell, so neglected styles and innovative products can be featured.

image credit: Homebrew Palooza

Home brewers like Brew All Day, fresh from their win at the Whitestown Homebrew Competition, were there serving up their best. Daniel and Jessica had two of their ciders, which are always popular, but don’t worry, they are still a brewery in planning, not a cidery in planning. Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI) had their great “to style” beers, but they also had a couple of different offerings for them, like a hazy IPA and a pineapple/jalapeno blonde ale.

Indiana Brewers Union (IBU) had several beers on tap from several individual brewers, including a nice jalapeno blonde and a hoppy wheat from Carlos Garcia, and I tried a great Kriek from Steve Kent at the CCZ booth. Jeremy Klausing was there sampling his Klausing Meads, (keep the cat logo, please), which you will be able to get commercially soon, since he recently purchased a property in the Bates Hendricks District that will be his tasting room. There were other clubs there serving great beers as well, but the one that stood out to me was a 202o English Barleywine from Chris Hunter and the Artesian Homebrewers. BTW, thanks to Spike Brewing, Blichmann Engineering, and Sugar Creek Malt Co. for providing raffle prizes for participating brewers.

After a couple of rounds of the booths at HomeBrew Palooza, I headed to Broad Ripple to take in the last half of the Pumpkin, Cider & Fall Beer Festival at Opti-Park in Broad Ripple. After a couple of years off for the Covid pandemic, this festival was back with a vengeance and a huge crowd. This festival is one of the more popular in the state, and is dedicated to fall beers and drinks, including all things pumpkin. Local, regional, and national brands were on hand for sampling, and there were people there in costume, as is the tradition at this fest.

image credit: Union Jack

Put on by Union Jack – Broad Ripple, the Pumpkin Cider & Fall Beer Fest had over 120 different beers, ciders, and other drinks for unlimited sampling, including a good number of non-alcoholic offerings. Non-alcoholic beers have picked up steam in the last couple of years, and they offer a nice perk for DDs attendees and people looking for something a little different. Another different offering at this fest was Long Drink, and Finnish-born alcoholic product from a company based in Indianapolis. Indiana On Tap is looking to foster a relationship with this company and hopefully we’ll have them at more festivals in 2023.

But the two festivals I attended weren’t the only things going on in Indiana beer on Saturday. The Michiana Festival of Beers took place at Four Winds Field in South Bend at the same time as Pumpkin Beer Fest and HomeBrew Palooza were going on – so I couldn’t get there to see it for myself. The point I want to make is that Michiana Festival of Beers is a charity event, as was the HomeBrew Palooza. It’s great when these fun festivals also work to support the community. Proceeds from the Michiana Festival of Beers go to support Resale to the Rescue to benefit local animal welfare organizations, while the HomeBrew Palooza profits were given to the Friends of Garfield Park organization.

image credit: GABF

Finally, GABF in Denver, CO had all their events on Thursday-Saturday, with the awards ceremony for the Commercial Brewers Competition also given out on Saturday evening. The tasting sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday feature more than 500 breweries and 2000+ beers to sample, and some of those breweries were from Indiana. Triton Brewing, Sun King Brewing, Crooked Ewe Brewery, Chapman’s Brewing, Mad Anthony Brewing, Taxman Brewing, and Three Floyds Brewing were joined by the 2021 big winners Metazoa Brewing and Moontown Brewing.

As far as medals won, Indiana brought home seven medals from seven different breweries, a nice tribute to the fact that there is award winning beer all over the state. Guggman Haus Brewing won a gold for their milk stout called Winner’s Milk Jug. Silver medals were won by Black Dog Brewing for their Saison in the Brett Beer category and Sun King Brewery for their Soul Shakedown in the Experimental Wood Aged Beer division.

Bronzes were won by Flix Brewing – Carmel for their Inside the Moon in the Stout group, by Hop River Brewing in the English Mild/Bitter category for their Every Hops is Sacred, by Taxman Brewing for La Maison in the Americo-Belgo Style Ale, and by Danny Boy Beer Works in the Doppelbock/Eisbock group for their Danny Brau.

Indiana fared well again as compared to the other Ohio Valley/Midwest states, with Illinois and Ohio leading the way with 10 medals each, and Michigan and Wisconsin with 2 medals each. Congratulations to all the winners and to all the breweries that submitted beers to be judged.

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