20 Jan The Beer Scout’s Top Breweries of 2014 Showcase Old School Roots, New School Flavors
Wow, a crazy year end and an even crazier start to the New Year has kept me away from my little viewpoint on the craft beer scene I like to call Beer Scout Basics. But I am happy to say, I am back and ready to go for 2015. So welcome back to the basics. During my break I took the time to review my “untapped” app. I was turned onto this app back in April of 2014. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had visited over thirty different microbreweries and tasted over two hundred different beers in 2014. Please remember I do a lot of flights, so those two hundred plus were not all pints. I read a lot of the stories as the year came to end and most were focused around the top beers for 2014 that the writers tasted. So I thought, why not talk more about the places I visited. Please remember, although thirty plus are a lot of breweries, it by no way is close to the number of breweries now open in Indiana. And those thirty were not all in Indiana. So please take this as only a piece of the pie. There is still a lot to eat and drink in my case.
So my Top 5 Indiana microbreweries I visited in 2014 were…
1. Tow Yard Brewing, Indianapolis – This is a very diverse brewery with a great atmosphere and food to go along with a great variety of beers. The staff is very knowledgeable about their beers. And its downtown location makes it a great place to meet before or after the many sporting events taking place in Indy.
2. 18th Street Brewing Company, Gary - I was not sure what to think going into 18th Street the first time I visited. Man was I pleasantly surprised. These guys make some incredible beers in a variety of flavors and styles. These guys are really making a splash on the Indiana beer scene. Check out Sour Note Brewing as well, for their specialized sour brews.
3. Lafayette Brewing Company, Lafayette - I love the look and feel of this microbrewery in downtown Lafayette. It’s dark with tons of hardwood. It’s kind of like stepping back in time. The beer is diverse and the bartenders are outstanding. Don’t miss this one on your next trip to Purdue.
4. Triton Brewing Company, Indianapolis – A great variety of standard, small batch and seasonals welcome you at Ft. Benjamin Harrison on the East side of Indianapolis. The staff is great and the beers are even better. My only knock is the lack of a kitchen. If you aren’t there while one of the local food trucks are around you are relegated to a bag of seasoned pretzels. If they offered food at all times, this would be close to the top of my list.
5. Grand Junction Brewing, Westfield – Well this is the little engine that should continue to do well. The brewery is in a late 1800’s building with lots of hardwood and pictures of the history of this small town on the walls. Five standard brews along with a few guest taps and at least one small batch are always on hand. The food is good pub food and compliments the beer. Here is a note; Grand Junction uses a higher mix of nitrogen with CO2 for their taps then other breweries. This gives the beer a smoother, creamier feel on the pallet. Some people have told me it tastes flat. But that is the just the mix.
For more information on the other beers I try or where I may be next, follow me on Twitter at @BeerScoutBasics.