22 Jul Through Hell And high Temperatures, 20th Microbrewers Fest Another Rousing Success
The hottest ticket in town on Saturday, July 18th was for the 20th Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Literally, Hell on Earth is an understatement.
The temperature exceeded 100 degrees but that didn’t stop over 8,000 craft beer fans from grazing through beautiful Military Park in downtown Indianapolis to sample the best from the craft beer world. (Seriously, when the 3:00 crowd gained entrance it looked like a scene from World War Z as thirsty craft beer fans raced fervently toward their favorite breweries.)
But, before I dive into just a few of the standout beers, one must give credit to the Brewers Guild of Indiana for doing what they have continued to do time and time again, and that’s put on a phenomenal festival. So heat index aside (I’m pretty sure they can’t control that), kudos on a job well done!
Triton Brewing’s 5-Alive IPA started my day and I couldn’t have picked a better beginning. That particular beer was refreshing, with a strong lime bitterness that lingered just long enough to remind you it was an IPA. Lafayette Brewing Company’s New Dog, Old Tricks double IPA was great also. It’s dankness on the nose gave way to an explosion of Citra and Mosaic hops. It was certainly a beer I’d pilgrimage to Lafayette to have again.
I’m an IPA guy and if I’m not careful I can fall into the habit of going to each brewery and solely sampling their interpretation of the style. However, on a day as hot as this, I was determined to sample some of the other great styles put forth, but not before sampling Iechyd Da’s IPA with lime and fresh habanero. At Winterfest I tried their pineapple and habanero version and it was delicious. This one was even better. It drank with a subtle sweetness upfront from the lime that then gave way to a blast of heat that settled onto my lips and even saw Adam say, “And my lips are numb.” Carolyn sampled Tata Rosa, a Raspberry Weisse, that she said was a great beer for a hot day.
The standout of the day, and all three of us agreed, was the Blood Orange Gose from Flix Brewhouse in Carmel. It recently won 3rd place at the Brewers Cup in the fruit beer category. It was so good that all I wanted to do was perch a beach chair at the Flix booth and sip on it for the rest of the day. Back Road Brewery brought a blueberry ale that would have made my dad’s day. Fruity, subtle, and invigorating, the emphasis on the blueberry flavor really shined and made this a fantastic beer to cut the days heat.
The guys at Wooden Bear had an outstanding sour with a name to match! Wu Wu Kenny Wu, a
5.2% American Blonde Ale soured with lacto and aged on blackberries. Kudos to the D2 reference; takes me back to my youth.
Noble Order Brewing Company out of Richmond really impressed me. Carolyn and Adam both tried the Freya Viking Ale and both agreed it was one of the best on the day. Brewmaster Richard Shoyer explained that Freya is his take on an age old Viking recipe that uses no hops but packs plenty of flavor. I tried the Ygdrassil mead aged on oak – a bubbly, effervescent, and delicious concoction. If you aren’t familiar with Noble Order and their meads, I would urge you to make it a point to try them. Truly remarkable stuff that would have easily been served at the Valhalla Christmas shindig.
Another beer that stood face to face with the hot weather was Turoni’s Honey Blonde. Light, easy drinking with a stimulating hint of honey made this a standout, hot weather beer. If you ever find yourself in Evansville, swing in and grab a pint with one of their awesome pizza’s!
Speaking of Evansville, Carson’s Brewery is continuing to put forth solid beers. I did pretty well with not just sampling IPA’s but at Carson’s I reverted, and tried their Demonik Double IPA. To put it frankly, it was delicious. Scarlet Lane’s Dorian Coconut Stout is one of my favorite beers in this great state. On Saturday they brought a barrel aged Coconut Dorian that completely blew me away. A bourbon subtlety blended perfectly with that toasted coconut flavor I’ve fallen in love with. Scarlett Lane continues to impress the hell out of me and like I tweeted a few weeks back, Oscar Wilde would be proud.
I had a pretty good chuckle when I saw Flat12’s tongue-in-cheek beer names. Anything Barrel Aged, Something Sour, Whatever’s Hoppy, etc. To be honest, it really wouldn’t have mattered what they named their beers Saturday because Flat12 does it right and makes great beer. Their barrel program is out of this world!
Obviously there were many, MANY more great beers present Saturday. I would have absolutely loved to have tried them all. Unfortunately it might have killed me, if the heat didn’t get me first. Hopefully you found some new beers that impressed you, or perhaps you discovered a brewery you’d never tried? Regardless, the beer and breweries that came out Saturday brought their best for the people that love and support them.
Overall, the 20th Indiana Microbrewers Fest was a success. This was the first year it was held downtown at Military Park. Can we nitpick? Sure we can. But why would we? Yes Military Park became a mud pit. Yes it was hotter than hell Saturday. But Hoosier craft beer fans proved that they would literally walk through that hell to support the Indiana beer scene and the breweries they love.