Perfect Weather, Fun People, and Ales from the Crypt at Indiana City Brewing

Perfect Weather, Fun People, and Ales from the Crypt at Indiana City Brewing

Mathew Muncy

By Mathew Muncy

Perfect weather — 65 degrees in February, in Indiana? Thanks, global warming! — amazing barrel aged beer and good people made Indiana City Brewing’s Ales from the Crypt a wonderful way to end such a beautiful Saturday.

Ales from the Crypt was essentially a private event. Only 140 tickets were offered, at $50 a piece. From what I could gather, the majority of those in attendance were hardcore Indiana City fans; the same people you would find at the brewery on a normal Saturday evening.

At most bottles releases, you wind up standing in line for hours, just for a chance to purchase a bottle or two. What Indiana City did was take away the arduous line, and guaranteed everyone in attendance the ability to purchase one of each bottle. This allowed everyone to relax and enjoy their evening, instead of worrying about getting the specific bottle they wanted.

Check-in began at 5 p.m., followed by the doors closing to the public at 6 p.m. At the check-in, you received a six-bottle tote bag, stickers, a beer information sheet, sampling glass, and your badge.

Ales from the Crypt BadgeThe selling of bottles did not commence until 6:30 p.m., so you had plenty of time — depending on when you arrived — to sample each beer. This allowed you a chance to decide on which bottle(s) to purchase. You received a sample of each beer with your ticket and then had the option to purchase additional 5oz. and 10oz. pours.

I was most excited to try Barrel Cannons — the Imperial Coconut Milk Stout — but decided to start my evening with the tried-and-true Crushin’ Roulette.

Crushin’ Roulette is a yearly release for Indiana City, so you know what to expect from the 10% ABV, bourbon barrel-aged, Russian Imperial Stout: deliciousness. Aged for a year in Four Rose bourbon barrels, Crushin’ had the usual sweet, malty flavor with a smooth bourbon finish. Every year I hear good things about this beer, and I finally got to try it fresh myself definitely lived up to the hype.

After starting my night on the right foot, I went for Barrel Cannons. Unfortunately, this beer ended up being the only one that disappointed me. As a big fan of coconut beers, I went in expecting to taste a lot of coconut, only to taste some sweetness similar to the Crushin’ Roulette. The coconut had vanished behind the bourbon, at least until the bottom of the glass. Doing my due diligence, I asked those around me what they thought, and everyone had come to the same conclusion.

By sheer happenstance, I met the homebrewers, Dave Pennington and Tommy McDowell, who came up with the original coconut stout recipe. Their original stout won Indiana City’s Home Brew Battle last year. It was then brewed by Indiana City and barreled for nine months, creating Barrel Cannons. When I asked them about the lack of coconut flavor, they explained coconut does not age well, so you lose some of the sweetness. Although disappointed, I still thought the beer was good overall.

After Barrel Cannons, my guard went up on the last two beer samples: a BBA double milk stout and a BBA American IPA.

Ales from the Crypt BeersI opted to try Udder Annihilation first, with not much hope for the BBA IPA. This was the first time Indiana City had released Udder Annihilation, their BBA version of Double Uddercut. Milk stouts have not been a staple of my beer diet, so I was unsure what to expect. Surprisingly, Udder Annihilation was fantastic. So much so, that I opted to buy a bottle of it later that night. (Side note: Waxing the bottom of the bottle? Love it!) Udder Annihilation clocked in a 10% ABV, but with its sweet, lactose taste and, like the other beers, a nice bourbon finish, it went down easy. A little too easy.

The final beer I sampled was Barrel 7. The idea of a bourbon barrel aged IPA just sounded too crazy to work, but the mad scientists at Indiana City somehow did it. I’m not sure what black magic went into Barrel 7, but it was one of the best IPAs I’ve tasted.

Barrel 7 — Dock 7 IPA aged in Heaven Hills barrel for six months, and then dry hopped with Idaho 7 hops — carried over the citrus notes from Dock 7, while the bourbon helped mellow the hoppiness and bitterness into a perfect balance. No one around me knew what to expect from this beer, but everyone came to the same conclusion: “Damn, this is really good.”

When it came to selling the bottles, Indiana City had the perfect game plan. Instead of everyone lining up and clogging up the taproom, they went 20 at a time. Each badge had a number on it — I assume it was based on when your ticket was purchased — and I was No. 123…out of 140. However, No. 1 through 122 went by quickly, mostly because I didn’t have to worry about not getting the beer I wanted. And once everyone had gone through, they opened the line back up, starting back at No. 1 through 20.

Indiana City also offered tours of their brewery and cellar room, but to be completely honest I forgot to sign-up for the tour because I was too busy drinking the amazing beer. Maybe next time…

Overall, I felt it was a successful event, and one I hope they make into an annual event. Was it worth $50? For fans of Indiana City, the value was definitely there; I doubt individuals were buying $50 tickets without having tried the majority of what Indiana City offers. In the end, you were paying for convenience, and being able to completely relax at a bottle release is not something many people get to do.

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