29 Apr No Amount Of Rain Could Stop A Good Indy Brew Festival
We were due.
We had a good run of great spring weather, but we were due.
What happened this past Saturday, when temperatures dropped and the skies opened up, bringing about a deluge set to ruin what was going to be a great day of craft beer festivals throughout the state, was coming to us,
Beer fans are a determined lot, however, and the few thousand who showed up to Victory Field were determined to make the inaugural Indy Brew Festival one to remember.
Festival management made the decision early on to move the vendor booths from along the outfield walls, exposed to Mother Nature’s worst, to along the infield walls and under cover of the stands. We were crowded, yes, but we were also dry, and what’s a little shoulder rubbing between two craft beer enthusiasts? The breweries in attendance, as always, were great representatives of what Indiana has to offer to the craft beer scene, and the setting, albeit soggy, was a great place for a festival with its linear layout and view of downtown Indianapolis.
Next up were my friends Matt Kreich and Nic Stauch at Wabash Brewing Company, who convinced me to try their new rye ale. As big a fan as I am of their Portage Porter, this rye may be my new favorite from the young brewery, who also let slip word of a revamped taproom at their West 79th Street location. A revisit is in order.
Following Wabash was a new brewery for me: Planetary Brewing Co., out of Greenwood, IN. Our own Donovan Wheeler wrote about Planetary recently as one of his Winter Beer Run stops, but until Saturday my astronomical (always one with the jokes) thirst had remained unquenched. I opted for the pale ale on tap, which left me with dreams of Greenwood in my mind. Soon, friends. Soon.
Planetary wasn’t the only first for me Saturday. Both Hoosier Brewing Company (Fairland, IN) and Switchyard Brewing Company (Bloomington, IN) were also in attendance, serving up an abundance of beers to the cold and wet masses. Neither brewery has a physical location yet, but both beers I sampled from them were delicious; a complex Oatmeal IPA from Switchyard, and an even more complex Imperial Honey Amber from Hoosier Brewing, which stood out as perhaps the most interesting beer I tasted at Indy Brew Festival that day. Here’s to hoping the talented and hardworking crews both find permanent homes soon.
I had the distinct pleasure of introducing my friend to her first tasting of Taxman, where she opted for the staple La Maison. Having had my fair share of the delectable farmhouse ale, I went with the Rye’t Off, the brewery’s take on the Biere de Garde style, and another amazing beer from the Bargersville joint. Following that was Indiana City’s Shadow Boxer Oatmeal Stout, probably a more appropriate offering for the day’s weather, and as delicious as ever, then Evansville’s Tin Man for the Overlord Imperial IPA, one of my favorites in the style.
We wrapped up the day with Broad Ripple Brewpub’s Das Lugar, the British pub’s take on the German Pilsner. Eat your heart out, Bitburger – this beer had a great graham cracker-like breadiness with a nice peppery finish. And what better way to end a day of drinking than with a big boozy double pale ale? Horse Power by Tow Yard Brewing Co. is one of my favorite beers in the city, and at 7.8% was a perfect nightcap (at 5:00 PM).
The crowd seemed to join me in not letting the weather prevent us from enjoying plenty of what Indiana’s craft breweries have to offer (including the two gentlemen who found their way on to the baseball field later in the day, to the cheers of the raucous crowd). With an accompanying lineup of awesome nationwide breweries like Stone and Goose Island, and some of Indianapolis’ best food trucks, Indy Brew Festival, despite every effort by Mother Nature to get in the way, was an excellent festival.