22 Oct Region Beers Shine At Munster Ale Fest
There was a chill in the air, and definitely a chill in the great beer I was lucky enough to enjoy at the second annual Munster Ale Fest, held last Saturday in northwest Indiana. And we (myself and my brother-in-law, who was my partner in crime at this festival) were definitely not alone on this crisp, but sunny Fall afternoon, as this year’s attendance was at 1,375, up from 1,250 in 2014.
Attendees were treated to beer and cider choices from thirty-six, primarily Midwest, beer and cider vendors, with Indiana breweries making up about half that total. And if that was not enough variety, the beers provided offered selections for just about any beer style and preference, including IPAs/APAs, Oktoberfests, Porters, Pumpkins, Stouts and Saisons among the many. Foodie choices were plentiful, ranging from pizza and pierogies (it is the Region, my friends) to rib tips and barbeque. In short, if you left thirsty and hungry, it was nobody’s fault but your own.
Knowing that satisfying my love for IPAs might distort my taste buds for everything else, I opted to save most of those choices for the second half of the four-hour event. In my first runs through the festival, I hit the very strong selection of stouts the brewers had to offer. From old Midwest favorites (Founder’s Breakfast Stout, Saugatuck’s Neapolitan Stout and New Holland’s Dragon Milk), and a few new (especially, Atlas’ Freight Handler) stout lovers could not go wrong. However, three from Indiana topped my list: Saint John Malt Brothers’ O’cocorazz, an oatmeal stout with coco and raspberry; Teddy Bear Kisses Imperial Stout, from Upland; and one of my top two beers for the whole festival, 18th Street’s Hunter Vanilla double milk stout. Huge, big time flavor with that one!
Jumping around with a few other styles, post-stouts, I was really impressed by a few Northwest Indiana offerings: hometown brewery Three Floyds’ Munsterfest; an Oktoberfest from Wildrose Brewing; andPokro Brewing’s wet-hopped brown ale, POKtober Harvest Ale.
As for my brother-in-law, who has similar IPA tastes as mine but is not much for stouts, his favorites included Upland’s Coastbuster, Pokro’s The Chief (both of which I have tried before and really enjoy), as well as Route 2’s Munkey Junk and, in a surprise, 18th Street’s Hunter Vanilla.
As an added bonus, the festival has a nice phone app, which lists the participating breweries and their brews, by name, style and brewery. Overall, Munster Ale Fest was a great time, with high quality beer offerings, and I would recommend beer lovers take the time to come and visit us in Northwest Indiana next fall at this time. Cheers!