St. John’s Christkindl Village December 15-17 to Include New Ram Brewer’s First Kellerbier

St. John’s Christkindl Village December 15-17 to Include New Ram Brewer’s First Kellerbier

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

The Ram Restaurant and Brewery in downtown Indianapolis (140 S. Illinois St.) is contributing a lager beer to the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Christkindl Village Festival on Dec. 15-17 on the grounds of the church and the Pan Am skating rink.

This is the 6th annual Christkindl Village festival held at the gorgeous St. John Church. The weather is often stunning for this festival and has contributed to its growth in the past couple of years. Now the festival is a staple of the downtown run up to Christmas and offers many activities for children and adults.

St. John the Evangelist is a beautiful church. image credit: architecture indiana

Spanning the west block of Georgia Street (same area used for Sun King’s Canvitational each September), as well as the St. John’s Parking lot, Church and the Pan Am Ice Rink, the village will include both indoor and outdoor activities. A two story alpine toboggan slide will dominate the vista as will the canopy of Christmas lights over the entire festival, but there will be much more to see and do.

Ornament making activities and holiday dress up for kids in Santa’s workshop (with St. Nick present of course) will mimic the crafts marketplace for adults. There will be a live nativity throughout the weekend, and many opportunities to hear live caroling and join in with the singing. Inside St. John the Evangelist Church there will be sacred music festivals, one for kids and a more formal recital to highlight the festival on Saturday at 5:00 pm. Refer to the Christkindl Village event poster (here) for more events and times.

If you have never taken the time to tour St. John Church, this will be your opportunity. Started in 1867 and finished in 1871, this gorgeous French Gothic and American Romanesque design church features Corinthian columns, four separate chapels, and can seat 1000 people. Just look at the photo to the right. This is reason enough to check out the Christkindl Village, but there is even more – German food and beer for sale all weekend long.

This year’s festival will be the first to feature a luncheon on Friday, a perfect time for downtown businesses to celebrate the holiday with their employees. This will occur before the full Village opens to the public and will be the first opportunity to try Ram head Brewer Travis Wilkinson’s beer specially made for the festival.

The Ram Brewery downtown is donating a special beer to the Christkindl Village. photo credit: Ram

Travis Wilkinson took over the head brewer duties at The Ram Restaurant and Brewery on Illinois Street just eight weeks ago or so. He has become accustomed to his new brew house and is no getting ready to release his first true lager at the Ram. What better place to release this beer than at the Christkindl Village?

The Ram has donated beer to the Village beer garden in each of the last three years, a donation started by then head brewer Shawn Byrnes (now head brewer at Bent Rail) along with Travis as his assitant brewer. But this year’s offering will be a first, as it will be a true german keller-style lager. Using a little caramalt along with heaps of Vienna malt from Sugar Creek Malt Company, Travis’ kellerbier might be considered an amber keller, made with true German pilsner yeast (thanks Alex at Blind Owl) and lagered for more than forty days before first pour.

Six kegs of the amber kellerbier will be donated to the festival, and you will also be able to try it at the downtown and Fishers Ram locations as well, but wait a while before you ask for it by name. The St. John Church congregation is having a contest to come up with a name for the festival beer, and the winner hasn’t be revealed yet.

The Christkindl Village event is free to the public and will include all activities, and crafts, food, and beer available for sale all weekend. The festival start Friday night (the 15th) from 5-9 pm, continues on Saturday from 11-9 pm, and wraps on Sunday the 17th from 11-3 pm, so come experience authentic Christmas traditions at St. John’s Christkindl Village.

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