30 April 2012

Dark Lord Day 2012 Recap

Heading up to Munster for our fifth Dark Lord day, there weren't the list of questions that normally float around the event. Or maybe those questions did still exist, but we've learned to just go with it.

The previous large Three Floyds event - their 15th anniversary party - wasn't without its problems; on the inside things went smoothly, but there were some folks who didn't make their way through the gates until much later than they had expected. But despite what some folks might believe, the 3F staff does pay attention, and they do work hard at making their events as good as possible.

With that in mind I expected a nearly flawless event, and Three Floyds delivered.


The HBG crew arrived later than normal this year - with the addition of per-ordained time slots, there's really not much reason to get there too early (though one gentleman set up shop at 3am). Although we were deep in the line, we knew what to expect, and things moved pretty quickly once the doors were opened. I was also well on my way at that point, thanks to our cooler bag and the help of the folks near us in line.


Sometimes you pose in a scarf.

In previous years we did our best to cover all aspects of the event. This year we enjoyed ourselves, setting up camp on a northeast corner picnic table with a group of folks who closely associate with STLHops - good folks to spend a day drinking with. My phone died very early into the event, so photographic coverage ceased. In any case, it won't be long until you can find multiple "line videos" on youtube, as we were passed by folks videoing the event nearly every 10 minutes.

Towards the end of our day our table was crowded by the Group C line, with folks trying to buy our beer, or trade line tickets for bottles, and things got a bit uncomfortable - our cue to go watch High on Fire. We took in a few songs, and headed back to our parking lot and a park bench to talk over the day. A good day, as expected.


Line beer two, I think. Line highlights included Firestone Walker's Sucaba.

Overall I thought the event was great. Lines were ridiculous as always, but I thought moving the picnic tables out of the middle and cycling the guest taps more frequently by offering less at a time were big improvements. It was also nice that they had 12+ 3 Floyds beers on at the other stations, instead of just the 4 standards.


""That's got 12.5% alcohol? That's a hell of a pizza!"
Cleanup efforts began much earlier this year, as roving groups of folks picked up empty bottles while many were still in line.

I was expecting the worst on Saturday and was surprised by how well it went. Lines are lines, so be it, but they were a helluvalot better organized than last year. No chairs and no big coolers meant more room for everybody. I liked how they handled guest taps too. At the end, they put Firestone Walker Sucaba on tap. Damn good shit. If they had put a lot more on tap at once, then all the good stuff would have been gone early. The amount of 3F beer was great too. They could use portalets in the carryout purchase line and around the industrial park for pre-entry waiting. But otherwise, I have nothing bad to say other than I didn't win. But that's just $50 I didn't have to spend.


It was very cold standing in line, but as the day went on things got more reasonable. These folks lowered the tent to get out of the wind.


As a dld virgin, I loved it. I don't have anything to compare it to, obviously, but things seemed to run pretty smoothly. My only suggestions would be more trash cans lining the entry route - makes people more likely to actually throw their trash away; adding some water stations around the place; some portalets outside on the entry route; and adding a little more seating. But that said, not having those things didn't cause any real problems. The beer selection was great, though between what I brought and what people were sharing, I actually only bought 3 beers.

28 April 2012

Reminder | Tailgate for Nothing 6 is on May 5th, 2012

Some of you who are currently waiting in line to purchase your allotment of Dark Lord know that Dark Lord Day morphed over time from a few hundred craft beer lovers hanging out in the brewery to the world's largest craft beer tailgate party. But as you now know, Three Floyds' new system of running the event has largely put an end to the free-for-all tailgating. Based on the massive mess the old system made of the industrial park where Three Floyds is based, this was the right decision.

That being said, we at Hoosier Beer Geek have fond memories of Dark Lord Day's tailgating aspect. So two-and-a-half years ago, we began a semi-annual Hoosier Beer Geek tradition in the vein of Dark Lord Day tailgating: our Tailgate for Nothing event.

Next Saturday marks our sixth Tailgate for Nothing. We'll be setting up in the back parking lot of Sun King Brewing Company at 11 a.m. The aims of the event are these: to share good beer, to share good food, and to make new friends.

So we invite you to come out. But before you do, make sure that you read all the details and ground rules for TFN6, which you can find here.

We hope to see you next Saturday!

27 April 2012

Beer and Cheese Club - April 2012


It would be an understatement to say the Gulden Draak is fairly well known among craft beer drinkers.  The original Gulden Draak ("golden dragon") is one of the world's few dark Belgian Tripels.  Gulden Draak turns the amp to 11 and pushes forward into Quadruple territory.  While the white Gulden Draak bottle houses a dark triple, the black Gulden Draak 9000 bottles contains a copper colored Quad.  This beer is brand new to Indiana, and was only released in Belgium last Fall.

Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise is a Vermont cheese, modeled after a style of Alpine cheese.  The rennet used for coagulating the cheese is actually made on the same farm, which is a rare practice among producers.  As if to add one more element of exclusivity, imported French copper vats are used in the creation of the cheese.  There really is nothing else like the Tarentaise that Thistle Hill Farm has created.


If you're a member of the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market, your Aprilinstallment is ready for you to pick up right now. If you're not a member, the club is $99 for 4 months. This month's delivery includes 3 bottles of Gulden Draak 9000 and about half a pound of Tarentaise. Either of these items would be great experiences on their own, but we feel they are even better when consumed together.


Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise - vermont, copper vat, 5 months, stone cellar, rennet used for coagulating the cheese is made on the farm and helps give complexity (rare process)

Sweet cheese, reminds me of a white chocolate/macadamia cookie - not nearly as sweet but the same sort of flavors. Hardest cheese ever, bring your machete.

Rind is super grassy

Gulden Draak 9000 Quad - woo woo. Silky smooth quad. Lively mouthfeel, big banana sweetness

Combined: similar and matching flavors, no magic, but a happy middle.




I really had no idea what to expect with Gulden Draak 9000.  The name itself was epic, and fitting for the gold-plated dragon on the bottle.  Most American Quadruples are super boozy, hardly masking their large alcohol content.  Gulden Draak pulled off nearly 11% ABV as only the Belgians can.  The aroma of the beer is exactly what you would expect - sweet, candi sugar and caramel spiced with cardamom, clove and anise. At first taste, everything the aroma promises is fulfilled.  Candi sugar, almost like cotton candy, cinnamon, banana, anise and a pleasant warming alcohol background.  It is important to note that the alcohol here is warming, and not burning.  If session beers were redefined as beers that were incredible easy and enjoyable to drink, this would be a prime example.  As you continue your way through the bottle, the 11% ABV clearly starts to take its toll on your sobriety, but the beer only becomes friendlier, each drink welcoming you more than the last.  This is a well crafted beer.

The cheese is very firm, but the texture gives way quickly when consumed.  Nutty flavors (macadamia nuts, walnuts) are immediately noticeable.  The background of the cheese resembles a mild cheddar with a hint of grassiness.  Rich cream is present throughout and brings all the flavors together.  When combined with the beer, the flavors all exist in harmony.  The sugary sweetness of the beer calms down a bit and the nut flavors are welcome compliments to the warm alcohol.  This isn't a complex pairing, just one that is easy to enjoy.  And enjoy you will.


To join the Beer and Cheese Club at Goose the Market (in conjunction with Hoosier Beer Geek), check out this PDF and then either call Goose the Market at 317-924-4944 or stop in the shop at 2503 N. Delaware St.




26 April 2012

Random Beer Roundup - The Day Early Edition




Save the Date:  TFN6 on May 5!


Hoosier Beer Calendar
Events are subject to change


From the Brewers
From Darren at Bier Brewery in Indianapolis:

This week we have...


Kooterlite
Bier Genuine Kooter
Special K Kolsch
Persephone
Belgian Blonde
Witbier
Belgian Dubbel
Porter
Chinookalicious IPA

Friday Release 3pm: 1 keg of Billy Baroo & Wee Fatty
Saturday Release 1pm: 1 keg of Wee Fatty
From Crown Brewing in Crown Point:
Illiana Mayfest is Coming!!


From Bob at Flat12 Bierwerks in Indianapolis:
Friday, April 27th: Taproom Release, Liquid Fiction/Batch 112, a session IPA dry hopped with American and New Zealand hops
Saturday, April 28th: TAP Festival in Lafayette
Saturday, April 28th: Special Tapping following at Black Sparrow with Josh Hambright: Cuttlefish Cuvee, Big Black Dog Rye Stout and one surprise. 
(From Michael at Maggiano's) Maggiano's will be partnering with Flat 12 Brewery on May 2nd, 2012 at 6:30pm for a Four-Course Beer Dinner Event.  Location is at Maggiano's Little Italy, 3550 E 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240.  We will be featuring (4) of Flat 12's Craft Beers including: Upside Down Blonde Ale, Walkabout Pale Ale, Lacto-Matic Milk Stout, and Tangerine Porter paired up with flavors created by Executive Chef Garza and his culinary team.  Pricing is $60.00 per person.  Must be 21 and older to attend, reservations required (317) 814-0727. 
Thursday, May 3rd: Taproom release - Karousel Kolsch 
Thursday, May 3rd: Beer Dinner at Oceanaire 
Saturday, May 5th: Cinco de Mayo Taproom Release: Dante's IPA, Chipotle Amber, Barrel aged Blanco el Diablo and Plana Doce Cerveza (a Mexican lager) 

From Andrew at Ram Restaurant and Brewery in Indianapolis/Fishers:

Big Things Coming SoonThere are a lot of very cool beers coming out of the RAM Brewery in the near future. We have Heaven-sent and Hell-bound ready for the big party on May 12th. We are close to removing Bombshell Brown from its whiskey barrel for possible availability on Kentucky Derby Saturday. And, we have Bayside Dreams (California Common), Ghost King IPA, and Apocalypto Barleywine in fermenters preparing for release, as well. Let's Party! 
Hop Anonymous CollaborationHop Anonymous was brewed in conjunction with Great Fermentations. Look for the recipe to be available in homebrew kits coming up in May. 
Heaven and Hell Party ReminderWhat: Heaven and Hell Party and costume contest with prizesWhere: Indianapolis RAM Restaurant and BreweryWhen: May 12th, 7 p.m.Why: Because the beer is awesome, and we want to share it with you. 
On Tap NowBig Horn MaibockHop AnonymousBatch 1100: Monk Juice (Almost gone)

RAM Every Day IPA Challenge

The RAM Small Ale Competition is taking on a bit of a new twist in 2012. We are going to focus your creative energy around a hop-tastic challenge to brew the best Every Day IPA that you can. Get your recipes together and tell your friends, because our competition will be limited to the first 50 brewers who register. Check out https://sites.google.com/site/ramipachallenge/home for the details.
From Clay at Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis:

Indiana Landmarks  Rescue Party
Saturday, April 28th at 6-11pm
at the Indiana Landmarks Center-1201 Central Ave.
Support Historic Preservation while you enjoy 
food, music and Fresh•Local•Beer
featuring Sun King's Landmark Wit 

The Athenaeum's St. Benno Festival 
Saturday, April 28th at 7 PM
401 E. Michigan St.
Fresh•Local•Beer and Good Times

Two Wheels One City
Saturday, May 5th 
City Market @ 222 East Market St.
Fresh•Local•Beer and Bicycle Advocacy

Hoosier Beer Geek TFN6
Saturday, May 5th
Sun King South Parking Lot

From Ryan at Thr3e Wise Men in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis:
Thr3e Wise Men is celebrating the month of May the right way with the tapping of its newest seasonal, Double Pagoda Pit Road Red. Tapping party will be at 6pm next Tuesday May 1st. Stop by for the toast with Omar and some free snacks.
From David at Triton Brewery in Lawrence:


Triton Brewing Company is very excited to welcome Mike Hess to our production staff!  Hess has been with Barley Island for more than 8 years. Triton Brewer and co-Founder Jon Lang worked with Mike at Barley Island for five years before Jon left to help found Triton Brewing Company. Mike took over the Head Brewer responsibilities for Barley Island when Lang departed more than two years ago. Triton Master Brewer Jon Lang remarked about Hess coming on-board, "We are very excited to have Mike join the Triton Team.  He has an impressive work ethic, he is a great brewer and a heck of a nice guy."  Hess will start with Triton Brewing Company on April 30.


Beer Dinner at Mud Creek Golf Club April 28:
Saturday, April 28, 6pm- Smoked European Cheeseboard, Baby Florintine, Key Lime Sorbet, Herb Crusted Roast Pork Chop, & Flourless Chocolate Torte. Cost is $35/person. RSVP’s required at 317-894-3343.


Bottle Sampling at Claude & Annie’s Airport May 9


At 7:30 pm, come and explore our line of bottled craft beer at 1229 S Girls School Road, Indianapolis IN wwwclaudeandanniesairport.com


American Craft Beer Week May 14-20


Some great events are being planned we’ll keep you posted!


Trivia Night at Sahm’s Place May 22
At Bars and Restaurants
From Jordan at The Beer Sellar in Castleton:

New drafts as of 4/26/12
Schlafly Kolsch
Flat 12 Cuttlefish Cuvee
Boulevard Single Wide
Peoples Wheat
New Albanian Elsa Von Horizon
Founders Double Trouble
Sixpoint Spice of Life Nugget
Sixpoint Resin
Victory Headwaters
Three Floyds Dreadnaught

On Deck:
Pretty Things Jack D' Or
Mikkler Invasion
New Day Johnny Chapman
North Coast Scrimshaw
Victory Mad Kings
New Belgium Cocoa Mole
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Events:

May 14th
Craft Beer Week: Look for special tappings from
Great Divide
Stone
Founders
Goose Island
Dark Horse
Three Floyds
Brooklyn
Rogue
More to come!

June 2nd
Beer Sellar Goes Local 2

June 15th 7pm
Hatter Day 2012
Mad Hatter
Imperial Hatter
Black Hatter
Rye Hatter
Farmhouse Hatter
Oaked Aged Hatter
All on draft.

From Eddie at Sahm's Place in Indianapolis:
We are planning a few big events for the month of May and hope some of you beer geeks can join us! We will be celebrating Cinco De Mayo with some great craft beer specials including $13.00 pitchers, $4 Oberon and Two Hearted, and $4 Sun King Cans. Cinco de Mayo is always a good time over here so we might as well drink well while fiestaing. We will also start our first official week of Tuesday Night Trivia. The 10 week season will begin May 8th with Bells sponsoring the event. If you are not sure about how our trivia night works, come in on May 1st for a preseason round that still has great prizes and is being sponsored by our friends over at Flat12. Mark always brings in great brew, so make sure and at least check out the taps!
Beer in Stock:
Bier Brewery Belgian Wit
Bier Brewery Cascadian Light
Bier Brewery Special K
Flat12 Tangerine Porter
Blooming Brew Co. Ruby Bloom
Fountain Square Cosmic Wheat
Bells Oberon
Bells Lager
Bells Two Hearted
Founders Porter
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
Triton Railsplitter
Upland Maibock
Moylan's Hopsickle
Sun King Landmark Wit
Rogue Hazlenut Brown Nectar

From Ryan at Scotty's Brewhouse in various locations:
 Scotty’s Brewhouse Downtown is celebrating the Indians season with the official beer, Sun King Indians Lager. You can come by every Wednesday evening and get a 48oz pitcher for only $9! 
Scotty’s Lakehouse is currently pouring Flat 12 Lacto-matic Milk Stout! Come on by and enjoy a 24 Mug of this great Stout every Thursday for only $4!
Scotty’s Burger Joint in Columbus has just released a new beer menu! Come on by and check out our new selection. With the new menu you enjoy tasty beers like Triton Rail Splitter IPA or Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale!

Upcoming Events
From Jason at Tuxedo Park Brewers Supply in Fountain Square, Indianapolis:
AHA BIG BREW!
May 5, 2012 | 11:00 am
Come to the shop with your brewing rigs to brew one of the AHA BIG Brew recipes (this year it's American and Northern English Brown), and raise a world-wide toast with thousands of other home brewers at 1:00 pm!
Tuxedo Park Brewers is located in historic Fountain Square, just south of downtown Indianapolis. If you're curious but don't want to lug all your gear out, stop by and hang for a bit. Please RSVP on Facebook, because there is limited room! We're offering discounts on Big Brew ingredients if you brew at the shop.

Dark Lord Day 2012

Tomorrow is Dark Lord Day Eve, and if you were lucky enough to snag a ticket in that 4 minute window in March, you're starting to get as excited as a kid on your way to Disney World.  The pre-event exposure this year has been a lot lower, but we'll try to put together all the information we know in one convenient spot for you.

Weather
  • High of 45
  • 70% chance of precipitation

Band Lineup
  • Argonauts
  • Powermad (featuring Todd Haug, Surly's head brewer)
  • Eyehategod
  • High on Fire (were listed as Ghan Jovi)

Dark Lord Wax Color
  • RED
Guest Taps Provided By
  • Firestone Walker
  • Upland
  • New Albanian Oaktimus and Rye Barrel Aged Yakima
  • Haymarket
  • Sun King
  • Hitachino
  • Schlenkerla
  • Schneider
  • Birra Del Borgo
  • New Belgium
  • Stone
  • People's
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Left Hand
  • Brugge
  • Schlafly
  • Brew Dog
  • Cigar City
  • Pizza Port
  • Revolution
  • Pipeworks
  • Goose Island
  • Fat Heads
  • Founders

Rules of the Day
  • A ticket is required to attend Dark Lord Day.
  • Dark Lord Day is always CASH ONLY.  ATMs are on site and routinely run out of money during the day.
  • Last year the bottle limit was 4 per person, at $15 each.  This is always revealed on Dark Lord Day, but it's handy to use the previous year as a budget guideline.
  • Parking will be at a premium - carpool if possible.  No RVs.  
  • Either have a DD come pick you up or have a plan to get sober before you leave.
  • Bring water or Gatorade, hydration is key.
  • No pets or kids.
  • This isn't a tailgating event anymore, so keep your tents, coolers, grills, etc. at home.  If you want to bring in beer to sample and share, I'd recommend an over-the-shoulder style cooler.  If you're looking for a tailgating event, check out TFN6 next weekend.
  • Please don't trash the area, we've seen the aftermath the day after and it's not pretty.  Help everyone out and throw away your trash.
  • Carry your Dark Lord by the bottom of the package it is in.  Broken Dark Lord bottles are depressing.  Drunk people drinking Dark Lord off the street are even more depressing.
  • It's going to be cold and rainy, dress appropriately.
If you see any of us around on Saturday, stop and say "hi."  And more importantly, let us know what awesome beers we need to try!

20 April 2012

Random Beer Roundup - The Dude, What Edition



Save the Date:  TFN6 on May 5!


Hoosier Beer Calendar
Events are subject to change


From the Brewers
From Darren at Bier Brewery in Indianapolis:

This week we have...

Kooterlite
Sessie
Special K
Persephone
Dunkelweiss
Witbier
Mild Brown
Belgian Dubbel
PDG Pale
From Crown Brewing in Crown Point:
Illiana Mayfest is Coming!!


From Bob at Flat12 Bierwerks in Indianapolis:
Hope all is well. As you might have seen, our labels have been approved by TTB and we're moving along on putting liquid in bottles pending print production and other loose ends. We'll update on release dates in the coming weeks. 
On tap in the taproom this week: 
Other calendar items include: 

Thursday, April 19th: Taproom Release, Hop b' Bomb, a Wheat Ale with Citra hops
Friday, April 27th: Taproom Release, Liquid Fiction/Batch 112, a session IPA dry hopped with American and New Zealand hops
Saturday, April 28th: TAP Festival in Lafayette
Saturday, April 28th: Special Tapping following at Black Sparrow with Josh Hambright: Cuttlefish Cuvee, Big Black Dog Rye Stout and one surprise. 
(From Michael at Maggiano's) Maggiano's will be partnering with Flat 12 Brewery on May 2nd, 2012 at 6:30pm for a Four-Course Beer Dinner Event.  Location is at Maggiano's Little Italy, 3550 E 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240.  We will be featuring (4) of Flat 12's Craft Beers including: Upside Down Blonde Ale, Walkabout Pale Ale, Lacto-Matic Milk Stout, and Tangerine Porter paired up with flavors created by Executive Chef Garza and his culinary team.  Pricing is $60.00 per person.  Must be 21 and older to attend, reservations required (317) 814-0727. 
Thursday, May 3rd: Taproom release - Karousel Kolsch 
Thursday, May 3rd: Beer Dinner at Oceanaire 
Saturday, May 5th: Cinco de Mayo Taproom Release: Dante's IPA, Chipotle Amber, Barrel aged Blanco el Diablo and Plana Doce Cerveza (a Mexican lager) 
From Skip at Fountain Square Brewing Co. in Fountain Square, Indianapolis:
We now have our Cran-Wheat on tap.  It is an American Wheat infused with 100% organic cranberry with a tart almost champagne like character.

Also on tap…….Workingman’s Pilsner, Backyard Porter, Hop for Teacher Pale, Preacher’s Daughter Amber, Saison DuVall and Oatmeal Stout.

From John at Half Moon Brewery in Kokomo:
Half Moon has Summer Wheat on tap.  It reached the final 4 at the 4/14
Brew Bracket event.

A refreshing American Wheat beer brewed with sweet orange peel and coriander.  It has a fresh orange-citrus flavor that balances with the soft spiciness of the coriander.
ABV = 5.1%  IBU=14

From Andrew at Ram Restaurant and Brewery in Indianapolis/Fishers:

Heaven and Hell Party

Residents of both Heaven and Hell will be co-mingling at the RAM Restaurant and Brewery in Indianapolis on May 12th. "What mysterious power would be able to bring Angels and Demons together in peace and harmony?," you ask. "Our 1000th brew, an Imperial Pilsner aged in Chambourcin wine barrels," I say. This aged beauty is going to be served two ways, side-by-side. The barrel-aged version with a touch of grape blending perfectly with the imperial pilsner base will be known as "Heaven-sent", while another version "Hell-bound" will take on a more devilish hue and slight tartness as a result of the addition of Black Currants. With all this tasty brew, we will be hosting a Heaven and Hell themed costume contest with prizes!

What: Heaven and Hell Party and costume contest
Where: Indianapolis RAM Restaurant and Brewery
When: May 12th, 7 p.m.
Why: Because the beer is awesome, and we want to share it with you.

RAM Every Day IPA Challenge

The RAM Small Ale Competition is taking on a bit of a new twist in 2012. We are going to focus your creative energy around a hop-tastic challenge to brew the best Every Day IPA that you can. Get your recipes together and tell your friends, because our competition will be limited to the first 50 brewers who register. Check out https://sites.google.com/site/ramipachallenge/home for the details.
From Clay at Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis:

We've got a lot of great beers coming up... Indiana Landmarks Wit has just been tapped, Naptown Brown Indiana Brown Ale comes out next week and Chaka, our CANlaboration with Oskar Blues, will be hitting the shelves of central Indiana liquor stores the week of May 7th.

Upcoming Events:

Derby Does Downtown
Friday, April 20th at Banker's Life Fieldhouse
5:30 pm doors - 6:30 pm Bout
Naptown Roller Girls vs. the Tampa Bay Tantrums
Enjoy Fresh•Local•Beer and Roller Derby Downtown!

Naptown Brown IBA Tapping
Thursday, April 26th in the Tasting Room
Food from Taco Lassi 
Music J P Harris and the Bad Choices

Indiana Landmarks  Rescue Party
Saturday, April 28th at 6-11pm
at the Indiana Landmarks Center-1201 Central Ave.
Support Historic Preservation while you enjoy 
food, music and Fresh•Local•Beer
featuring Sun King's Landmark Wit 

The Athenaeum's St. Benno Festival 
Saturday, April 28th at 7 PM
401 E. Michigan St.
Fresh•Local•Beer and Good Times

Two Wheels One City
Saturday, May 5th 
City Market @ 222 East Market St.
Fresh•Local•Beer and Bicycle Advocacy

Hoosier Beer Geek TFN6
Saturday, May 5th
Sun King South Parking Lot
From David at Triton Brewery in Lawrence:

On draught at the Tasting Room: Fieldhouse Wheat, Four Barrel Brown, Magnificent Amber, Deadeye Stout, Railsplitter IPA, B-Java Brown and Sin Bin Belgian Pale Ale. 
Bottle Sampling at Claude & Annie’s Airport on April 25 at 7:30 pm has been postponed until May 9th.  On May 9, come and explore our line of bottled craft beer!Claude & Annie’s Airport, 1229 S Girls School Road, Indianapolis IN, (317) 247-8124  www.claudeandanniesairport.com. 
Beer Dinner at Mud Creek Golf Club April 28, 2012 sponsored by Mud Creek Men’s Club at Ironwood Golf Course, 10955 Fall Road, Fishers, IN, 46038. Call for reservations: 317.842.0551
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mud-Creek-Mens-Club-at-Ironwood-Golf-Course/198309370198070  
From Lindsay at Upland Brewery in Bloomington/Indianapolis:


At Bars and Restaurants
From Jordan at The Beer Sellar in Castleton:
New Beers on tap as of 4/16/12
Brooklyn Blast
Stone Sublimely Self Righteous
Sun King Grapefruit
Victory Headwaters
Three Floyds Dreadnaught
Coming Soon
Stone Russian Imperial Stout
Great Divide 18th Anniversary Ale
Brooklyn Sorrachi Ace
Dark Horse Scotty Karate
Founders Double Trouble
Founders Breakfast Stout
Goose Pere Jacques
New Albanian Elsa
Upcoming Events
Friday 4/20/12
Special Kegs Tapping at 4:20 pm
Sixpoint Resin 9.1% 
Sixpoint Spice of Life Nugget 6.5%
June 2nd
Beer Sellar Goes Local 2
June 2nd.
More details coming soon.

From Eddie at Sahm's Place in Indianapolis:
Tuesday Night Trivia will be starting again this upcoming Tuesday. April 24th at 8:30pm will be our first of two preseason weeks to get people back in the groove of trivia and ready for another 10 week season of awesome beer, weekly prizes, and big time cash for the top 5!
We will be lining up beer sponsors in the next week, so hopefully we can get a schedule out to you shortly. Expect Bier, Upland, Bells, Sun King, Flat12, Fountain Square, Bloomington Brew Co., and hopefully a few new ones along the way. 
Beer in Stock: 
Upland Maibock
Lexington Brew Co. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale
Bier Brewery Special K
Bier Brewery Rye IPA
Bier Brewery Cascadian Light
Bier Brewery Belgian Wit
Rogue Hazlenut Brown Nectar
Bloomington Brew Co. Ruby Bloom Amber
Bells Two Hearted
Bells Oberon
Fountain Square Batch 13 IPA
Flat12 Walkabout
Flat12 Porter
Sun King Osiris
Founders Porter
Moylan's Hopsickle DIPA
From the Distributors
From Jen at Cavalier Distribution:
NEW TO THE CAVALIER WAREHOUSE
Boulder Kinda Blue - Blueberry Wheat Ale; limited seasonal release; 6 packs and draft
Shipyard Pugsley Series Smashed Blueberry - Hybrid Porter/Scotch Ale with Blueberries; limited seasonal release; 22oz bottle only
Stevens Point Drop Dead Blonde - Blonde Ale with only 110 Calories!; new everyday offering; 12oz bottles and cans
Bison Organic Honey Basil Ale - Sweetened with Honey and Spiced with a Hint of Basil; limited seasonal release; 4 packs only 
Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Imperial Russian Stout; limited seasonal release; 22oz bottles and draft
Finch's Altus Gravitus - Barleywine; limited release; 22oz bottles only
Heavy Seas Plank Series II Dopplebock - Dopplebock Style Lager aged on Eucalytus treated Poplar Planks; limited release; 22oz bottles only
UPCOMING EVENTS
  
4/21 - Thunder Over the Ohio; Behind Buckead on the River; Jeffersonville; all day event 
4/26 - Kahn's "Bring the Noise, Drink the Funk" Sour Beer Tasting; North Willow location; 6pm-8pm
4/28 - Sahara Mart Spring Tasting; Sahara Mart East Lot; Bloomington; 12pm-4pm
4/30 - Beer vs Wine Dinner at JK O'Donnell's; Ft. Wayne
5/1 - Birdy's Monthly Tasting; 6pm-8pm; $10
5/9 - Sixpoint Tapping Party at The Sinking Ship; 7pm
5/26 - Illiana Mayfest; Lake County Fairgrounds, Crown Point; 2pm-6pm; $30 general and $45 VIP (entrance at 1pm)
6/2 - Keg Liquors Fest of Ales; St. Anthony's of Padu Lot; Clarksville; 3pm-7pm; $25 general admission
6/23 - Brew HaHa; Downtown Indy; 3pm-7pm; $35 general admission
8/4 - Brew Haven Craft Beer Festival; Downtown New Haven; 2pm-6pm; $35 general admission
10/13 - Porter Beerfest 12pm-4pm
Upcoming Events
From Sam at Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville, KY:
Wondering what to do for Thunder Over Louisville 2012?! Not willing to chance the rain or cold?! Look no further!! We are excited to announce our AtG Thunder Package 2012! We will be closing our doors on Saturday, April 21, 2012 for a private and relaxing experience to all who purchase the AtG Thunder Package 2012!. The package includes:
A ticket into Louisville Slugger Field seating area section 101-106 (Facing the 2nd St. Bridge...perfect view of the show!) for both the baseball game & a perfect seat to watch the largest fireworks display in the country!
Access to the concert down on the Field (Journey UnAuthorized)
Exclusive all day access to 1 seat in Against The Grain (including access to the clean, neat, & maintained restrooms, large televisions showing the Air Show, and full-fun-friendly service!)
Vouchers for your choice of, both, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, as well as, 5 (well liquor or house made beer) drinks!
These tickets will include return access to and from your seat in the ball field & Against The Grain all day! 
This package is available for the $200 (*plus tax) per adult & $175 (*plus tax) per child (children tickets will not include alcoholic drinks, duh). We encourage all interested to act promptly, as we have limited  seating and will not extend sales beyond our indoor seating capacity. TICKETS ON SALE.

18 April 2012

Commentary/Conversation: Goose Island BCS and the Growth of Mid-Major Breweries

Some of the best Hoosier Beer Geek content never makes it to the site, as we regularly have very lengthy email conversations about any number of topics going on in the world of beer. Here is one such example.

So Goose Island is saying that they'll be making bourbon county stout year-round.

That got me to thinking about Matt's theory that the big guys will ultimately be the winners of the craft beer explosion. What happens when the big guys figure out how to make better beer than everyone else at a cheaper price?

Is it possible that the increased production of BCS is a bad thing?

I think the increased production of BCS is a great thing, an amazing thing. There are a lot of economics behind why smaller brewers create such limited batches of things like Dark Lord, Kate the Great and KBS, but they favor the brewery and not the consumer. I'd love to have a barrel-aged imperial stout (and one of the best ones, at that) available year-round. Complaining about Goose Island doing that is like complaining that Russian River releases barrel-aged beer year-round. It's not going to drop the market out for 3 Floyds or Founders or anyone else. 3 years ago you could pretty much buy BCS year-round anyway. Beer snobs are going to decide that BCS has "changed" and is of lower quality and move on to praising the harder to obtain things like they always do. Everyone wins.

Although to be fair, Goose Island has been producing BCS year round for the past few years. Coffee, Vanilla, Rare and other one-offs make their way into the market throughout the year. Goose Island is always brewing/aging the stuff, it just gets released in batches. I realize that by doubling their production they can afford to stop releasing in batches, but again, I think that's a good thing.

I'm with Rod here. There will be lots of carping about this, particularly given AB/InBev's stake in the whole thing. But I look forward to having more frequent access to BCS, particularly because GI has the barrel-aged imperial stout style down so well.

As to Matt's contention that the big guys will ultimately be the winners of the craft beer revolution -- I don't know about this. I think it all depends on how you define "big." While I don't have any facts to back this up, it seems to me that it's extremely difficult to do a truly artisanal product on a national scale, albeit perhaps not so difficult on a regional scale. Of course, this doesn't prohibit an InBev or a MillerCoors from purchasing several regional brewers to ensure that the company has a national reach, but with different "craft" brands, so maybe that's what we'll see more of. I wouldn't be surprised to see the big beer conglomerates increase their efforts to buy smaller, good quality brewers.

All in all, it'll be interesting to see how the craft beer industry will develop over the next decade. The whole thing reminds me of how indie rock fans react when their favorite band gets "too big." They all sit around talking about how the band was great back in the day but has now sold out, even when some of the bands they criticize continue to make good music.

I just finished the entire article and it's an excellent read. I think the most shocking thing to me is that the AB buyout allowed them to double their capacity. To 230,000 barrels. 3 independent craft breweries have announced expansions this year that are twice the size of Goose Island's entire operation, post-expansion. Stone, Dogfish Head and Bell's are all way bigger. I guess it's just an intriguing contradiction - AB is the largest in the world, but Goose Island isn't even in the same ballpark as the largest craft breweries.

My favorite part of the article is Laffler's attitude, and it's what I believe is the correct attitude to have. If AB screws up Goose Island and ruins the beer, there's no reason to be loyal to them and pretend like everything's ok. But it hasn't happened yet, so keep drinking the beer.

I think there's already a form of "big guys undercutting little guys" happening in the market but it doesn't seem to hurt the little guys much unless they suck. I mean, who's selling quality six packs under $10? Just big craft guys like New Belgium, Goose Island, Sierra Nevada, etc. Are we worried that AB/InBev is going to start selling a quality product for $7 per sixpack and no one will buy Sun King anymore? Seems unlikely to me.

As for BCS, I'll be ecstatic if they make that available year round. I haven't had it -- other than an aged bottle here or there -- in two years because of scroungers/hoarders.

I still strongly feel that the craft beer revolution will benefit the largest brewers in the long run. Economies of scale and consumer demand long term is always the same. People want what they want, when they want it, at least cost. Craft beer is at a golden opportunity right now where demand outpaces supply. This won't always be the case. Companies will either be major regional players or major national players. I harp on cost often (sorry everyone) but it matters when perceived products have the same intrinsic value but different cost points. I think you already see it with places that can't keep cans of Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, or Sixpoint on the shelves - high quality product at a lower price point. Local bottling breweries are up against stiff competition. Liquour stores put it next to Bells and people see a $3 dollar per sixer price difference and won't support it.

The Goose Island buyout really shows you that beer geeks will still strongly support a place as long as quality doesn't suffer even if owned by the evil empire.

Over the next decade I think a brewery is going to have to be something special to truly survive and support their bloated payrolls.

Just my two cents.

I'm was waiting for Matt to weigh in (and he did right before I hit the send button), but did you see that the guy from Cigar City is worried about availability of raw supplies? (See the last question in the link)

I think that's going to be another 'big vs little' issue. We can already see that certain varieties of hops are hard to come by, but what happens when it's barley? Or bourbon barrels? Obviously it makes more sense to sell all your barley or barrels to one big guy instead of twenty little guys. Just because you're not big compared to Budweiser doesn't mean you're not big compared to Black Acre (for example).

If anything, I think mega-craft breweries will actually prevent a shortage of raw supplies. Now if you just have a bunch of small breweries requesting ingredients, it takes a clever business person to put the numbers together and realize and overall growth in the market - which is realized eventually, but more slowly. When Sierra Nevada steps in and needs enough barley to brew 500k more barrels of beer, the industry takes notice and reacts immediately. Farmers will grow enough barley and hops to support the market. If there's money to be made, people will make it. If guacamole becomes popular, there isn't an avocado shortage - they just grow more avocados.

What Cigar City's brewer should really be worried about is the price of raw ingredients going up - that is a very real concern and will happen soon. The only hops that are in limited supply are the ones that are being grown in limited quantities and small brewers are buying up. Once they catch on, there will be plenty of them. CTZs are the prime example. When it comes to Bourbon barrels, we're a long way away from a shortage on those. Alcohol is a pretty huge industry, and barrels can only be used once. Jim Beam alone goes through hundreds of thousands of barrels every year.

I think Matt is spot on with his assessment that the larger brewers will profit more from the craft beer growth. The more beer you make, the more you can sell, and the lower price you can sell it at, which sells your product faster. I think the craft beer market is going to split into small and large craft. Essentially $7-9 six packs and $10-14 six packs. Small will be assumed to be of higher quality and artisan workmanship and large will be the mass market alternative to macro. Lower cost will sell more, but both will see growth. Liquor stores need to be smarter with their marketing and put all the Indiana beer together instead of pitching local stuff against Bell's if they really want to sell it. All Indiana brewers are selling at a pretty similar price point.

That certainly doesn't mean that you're going to see $12 4-packs of BCS. Barrel-aged beer takes a lot more labor, space and time to create, so it will continue to carry a higher price tag.

We also need to keep in mind the distinction between production breweries and brewpubs. While the big guys will probably benefit from the craft beer boom, I think that brewpub-brewed beers will continue to be in high demand locally, particularly when the beers brewed by local brewpubs and the general atmosphere and experience provided by local brewpubs are unique to their particular locality (did I say "local" enough there?). Brugge is a great example of this. No one else in Central Indiana--hell, no one else in Indiana period--is brewing many of the beers that Brugge is brewing, and people will continue to visit the brasserie just to get those beers.

It may come as a surprise to most of you, but I don't drink beer that frequently. Honestly, I may drink one or two days a week. I don't generally drink beer at home unless I have guests. And then I'm opening up bombers or a bottle from a mixed six pack. I don't have a regular, everyday beer. I keep Miller High Life around for boiling bratwurst, but absent that, I do not have a go-to beer at home. So the discussions of six pack pricing doesn't really concern me. I'm interested in trying a variety of beers and satisfying my beer-drinking desires which change direction with the wind.

So having GI BCS available anytime I'm in the mood for a barrel-aged stout is a win for me. Will it ruin other breweries? Doubtful. How many geeks keep barrel-aged stout in the house as their "go-to" beers.

Otherwise, I rarely buy the same beer twice for home, so the $8 vs. $12 six pack argument does not really impact me. But I am be the exception.