Winter Solstice Celebration of Dark Beer at The Pint Room is Perfect Match with Christkindlmarkt

Winter Solstice Celebration of Dark Beer at The Pint Room is Perfect Match with Christkindlmarkt

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

The holiday season is upon us, a period when people spend more time with immediate and extended family, family traditions take on more meaning and importance, and though people may be cold, they’re happy and warm on the inside. Craft beer is a part of that for many people, whether it is trying out holiday beers, or meeting people at a local watering hole to celebrate the season.

Dark beers are the order of the day in winter, at least more than in the warm months. Malty and often barrel-aged characteristics make these beers for perfect for December and for an evening of drinking after being out shopping or enjoying the Christmas festivities. It’s nice how community and a good dark beer can keep you as warm and toasty as one of those puffy coats.

The Pint Room in Carmel has joined in on the Yule fun by celebrating the Christkindlmarkt with the rest of Carmel and by holding their celebration of dark beers – Winter Solstice – this month. Everyone is enjoying the outdoor market, including the folks at The Pint Room, and then they’re heading over to The Pint Room for dinner and a beer.

The Gluwhein Pyramid at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt. image credit: Indianapolis Business Journal

The Carmel Christkindlmarkt runs from November 16 through Christmas Eve (closed on Mon. & Tues.). There are shops and food, activities such as ice skating, and the Steinbach traditional German Gluhwein pyramid. On different days there are varied crafts for the kids (and adults) and other demos. The special events include everything from a fun run to a ballet show and traditional German dancing.

And all of the time there will be characters milling about, from Santa Claus to Christkind to Snow White. All this while you’re shopping at the two-dozen shops and the two-dozen food vendors that surround the ice skating rink. The Pint Room loves the atmosphere and community of the Christknidlmarkt, so much so that they are approaching Hallmark to be a set for the possible TV movie that would center around the market (see here).

The shuttle for Christkindlmarkt stops very near The Pint Room, and GM Katherine and beer buyer Patrick get a big kick out of seeing the people have a meal and a drink before they go to the market and then see them with all their loot and good memories afterward. The restaurant and bar are alight with good conversations and community whenever the market is going on.

It works out so well that the Pint Room can help people enjoy the season, since they are so committed to being a part of the community and tying all parts of downtown Carmel together. Katherine told me, “This is my favorite time of the year! Carmel does such an amazing job including everyone in the community from decorations to the Christkindlmarkt! I love seeing the trolley that just so happens to go right past our Pint Room! I feel like it even helps bring in more people. I love being able to talk to everyone who has gone and had fun ice skating and shopping and then be able to serve them a hot meal and cold brew. Carmel means community and that’s exactly what having the Carmel Christkindlmarkt brings!”

An array of clean and barrel aged stouts will definitely be part of Winter Solstice at The Pint Room. image credit: Bell’s Brewery

Part of that connection to community is planning events that will entice and please the neighbors and neighborhood – and that’s what Winter Solstice is all about. What better way to celebrate the day with the longest dark period that to serve a mess of dark beers to a jovial but cold crowd? The Winter Solstice event will be on Dec. 21st (duh) from open to close at the restaurant and bar (110 W. Main Street).

The beer list is rounding into fantastic shape, with 25-30 barrel aged stouts from a great number of producers. There will be some rare and hard to find beers, and a couple of surprises. So far, the list includes (but is not limited to) breweries like Goose Island, Revolution, Great Lakes, Firestone Walker, Rhinegeist and more. The beers will include (but limited to) Death’s Tar and Cafe Deth, Xocoveza, KBS Espresso, Bo and Luke, Hollidale, and Blackout Stout from 2017.

But if you know anything about The Pint Room, they don’t stop at beers; they like their spirits too. For Winter Solstice they will also be having select bourbons to pour (including, but…….you get it by now)  Woodford Master’s Collection Chocolate Malted Rye, Pappy Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 year, and Yellowstone Limited Edition 9 Year Whiskey!

Patrick will tap the beers in stages over the course of the afternoon with all beers on by 6pm, just in time for dinner and an impromptu Christmas gathering, but the bourbons will be ready for your day drinking right at 11 am. However, I don’t think I’d wait until 6pm and expect to be able to get all the beers. One, some might be gone by then, and two, you’ve got to spread out work like this over a long afternoon and evening. But that’s no problem; it gives you more time with friends.

Brewery representatives will be on hand to talk about the beers and hand out some swag and knowledge, and the beer and food will keep them there most of the evening. After all, they like to eat and drink too. The Pint Room recently unveiled a new menu and it will be in full swing by the time Winter Solstice gets here.

Patrick has switched up the tap handles at The Pint Room. He has them arranged with all the handles from one brewery together. I like it. image credit: Walter

All your favorites are still there, but there are some new dishes to tempt you during the cold months. Try the Blackberry and Brie on for size – a grilled chicken sandwich with brie, prosciutto, blackberry jam, and arugula on brioche. I like that, but I may lean toward the shrimp and pear tacos, with pear cilantro salsa and lime crema. Walter will undoubtedly like the bacon and peanut butter parts of the PBBJ Burger – monterey Jack, candied bacon, sea salt peanut butter, strawberry preserves, and fresh strawberry slices.

The Winter Solstice is a great way to send yourself into the holiday weeks, but the ways that The Pint Room connect with the community don’t end there. On December 29th they will be hosting a Tap Feature with Switchyard Brewing from Bloomington. This will mark a return of sorts for brewer Mitchell Roelecke to the Indianapolis area, having been a lead brewer for Scarlet Lane Brewing in McCordsville for a good stretch.

Now we’ll get to drink his Switchyard beers, from his takes on their core beers like Lavender Blonde and the Hopscotch coffee stout, to some new recipes that are all his own, like the Brut Session IPA and the Winter Wheat. Mitch will likely be on hand to talk about the beers, and Switchyard Brewing owner Kurtis Cummings will be there too. The tap feature will be held from 4-6pm in the 29th, but you’ll be able to get the beers on tap after that as well.

Other news from The Pint Room includes that they will be open for their regular hours on New Years Eve, and they have some interesting plans for hitting 2020 with a bang. These would include bringing back their popular beer dinners that let a local brewery and the Pint Room kitchen shine and investigate some interesting pairings.

Craft beer and community go hand in hand, and The Pint Room in Carmel lives this connection everyday. Enjoy the market this Christmas and stop in to taste the new beers and food at Carmel neighborhood craft beer bar. The Winter Solstice will be a great day of beer, but The Pint Room works to bring you these kinds of events all the time – and who knows, you could end up in a cheesy TV movie.

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