Partying Like It’s 1836 – A Recap of History on Tap’s Craft Beer Festival at Conner Prairie

Partying Like It’s 1836 – A Recap of History on Tap’s Craft Beer Festival at Conner Prairie

By Andy Tolle of Indiana on Tap
What do you think of when you hear Conner Prairie?  Civil War… school field trips… balloon rides… maybe even Symphony on the Prairie?  For me personally, I think about my wedding reception and a friendly donkey that found his way into the background of our wedding photos.  What I didn’t realize until recently however, is that Conner Prairie hosts one the most entertaining & scenic beer festivals in the state.

For the third annual History on Tap event, presented by the Conner Prairie Horizon Council, approximately 1,000 visitors descended upon Conner Prairie to sample from twenty-two of the state’s local breweries (full list at the end of the article).  In addition to the local beer sampling, visitors had the opportunity to enjoy some 1836 Prairietown fun – which included ginger beer tasting at the Golden Eagle Inn, exploring the Conner Homestead, taking an 1859 balloon voyage, or simply taking in the social atmosphere in and around the Featherston Barn.  Live music was provided by The Reid and Tim Band & The Bleeding Keys.

For those visitors lucky enough to score VIP tickets, they were treated to appetizers from Matt the Miller’s Tavern and beer pairings from Sun King Brewery and Union Brewing Co.  As the night progressed, I gallantly attempted to try at least one beer from each brewery – but sadly, I failed and hit about three-quarters of them.  On the bright side, I was able to mark a few new one’s off my list – such as Three Pints Brewpub Pole Barn Stout, Scarlet Lane’s Dorian Stout (with persimmons rather than coconut), Outliers County Brown, Twenty Below’s Plum Stout, and one of the biggest surprises coming from New Day Meadery, and their refreshing South Cider.  Books & Brews also provided a highlight with their aptly named Charlie and the Chocolate Stout.

One of my favorite parts of the evening was when a local Carmel couple approached my wife and I inquiring about my t-shirt (I shamelessly wore my Indiana On Tap shirt).  As huge beer enthusiasts, they told us that the number of Indiana breweries they’ve visited is approaching 60, and that they’ve been to almost all of them from “last year’s list.”  Cheers for saying hello, and good luck on your continued Indiana brewery adventures. 

When next year’s History on Tap event rolls around, treat yourself & your significant other – and go party like it’s 1836.

Breweries in attendance: Barley Island Brewing Co. – Noblesville, IN; Bier Brewery – Indianapolis, IN; Bloomington Brewing Co. – Bloomington, IN; Books & Brews – Indianapolis, IN; Brew Link Brewing (formerly Cartel Brewing Co.) – Plainfield, IN; Broad Ripple Brewpub – Indianapolis, IN; Brugge Brasserie – Indianapolis, IN; Cutters Brewing Co. – Avon, IN; Daredevil Brewing Co. – Shelbyville, IN; Flat 12 Bierwerks – Indianapolis, IN; Fountain Square Brewing Co. – Indianapolis, IN; Indiana City Brewing Co. – Indianapolis, IN; New Day Meadery – Indianapolis, IN; Outliers Brewing Co. – Indianapolis, IN; Scarlet Lane Brewing Co. – McCordsville, IN; Sun King Brewery – Indianapolis, IN; Three Pints Brewpub – Plainfield, IN; Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. – Indianapolis, IN; Triton Brewing Co. – Indianapolis, IN; Twenty Below (at Twenty Tap) – Indianapolis, IN; Union Brewing Co. – Carmel, IN; Upland Brewing Co. – Bloomington, IN

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