Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sanitarium 2014

So, I've reviewed this beer at least once here. I personally think it's an outstanding beer and gets overlooked by the beer geeks in Indy. Not that awards guarantee a beer you're going to like, but this brew has once a couple medals for Belgian beers. The one thing we can all agree on, is if a beer is winning medals it's probably well crafted.

When I talk with people about the beer, the main issue most people bring up is how boozy this brew is. It's hard to argue that fact because this beer comes in around 13% and the big Belgian malt flavors do an ok job hiding it but the only thing that can cure the alcoholic heat is a little bit of age. Many Belgian Brewers will actually leave their 10% and above beers in the bottle for a year before passing them on to distribution so you and I can enjoy it. I think time is critical. 

I drank this beer fresh and then had the year old version the next night. I wanted to do them side by side but I wasn't sure my review would be clear at that point, but I do what I can for you the reader. As a whole the beer is big and sweet with a lot of Belgian phenolic flavors typical of the traditional yeast strains. There are tons of dark fruits: plums, raisins and figs. It's accented nicely by a bit of bready malt and just a hint of something toasty.

When drinking these beers side by side ish. The big change is the level of alcohol on the back end and the amount of sweetness. The fresh beer almost has a liquor like burn on the back end that does a pretty good job of balancing out the sweet front end. The aged version has less sweetness and the booze like flavors have mellowed nicely. It's hard to find a. Beer above 12% that you can honestly call smooth, but a little age puts this brew right there. After a year, very little oxidation has set in. I think a little bit of be sherry character that comes from a few years of aging would be a great compliment to the dark fruits. I have a couple still from the first release, and I can't wait to see what 3 or 4 years does to mellow this beer out.

I'm thrilled that Bier sold out of this beer quickly because it shows that people are looking forward to its release. I believe in buying local, but only if it's good beers this is both local and good. It's the only packaged release Bier does. Compared to some of the other breweries special releases I think this one delivers ten ones over. You should give Sanitarium a try if you haven't, but bring a friend it's a great beer to share 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Daredevil Anniversary

The first of a few tap takeover / anniversary parties for Daredevil took place last week at 20 tap. Since the brewery is still being built they are doing what they did last year and hosting multiple parties celebrating 2 years here in Indiana. Hosting multiple parties allows their fans from all over Indiana to celebrate with them and try some great brews. This month of parting comes to a close with a beer dinner at Black Market. If you didn't go last year, you need to check it out. The food was just as awesome as the beers were.

Last year Daredevil released a few limited release beers that they called Rare Devil beers. These were their standard brews aged on different fruits and other tasty flavors. This year they've taken a little more classic approach and aged 2 of my favorite beers, JWP stout and Muse Belgian, in Rye whiskey barrels.

I talked with Shane from the Daredevil team at the release and he said that they chose rye barrels because they didn't want as much sweetness as the bourbon barrels are known for. It's also a great mix because the standard JWP stout has rye in the malt bill already. The spicy whiskey flavor blended great with both beers.

Here is a quick rundown of both beers:

Barrel Aged JWP was aged for 13 months. Normally JWP is a pretty hopped up American stout. The hops compliment the roastiness of the malts and the spicy rye flavor well. The barrel aged version has been aged long enough that a lot of the hop character had fallen off. I was worried this would make the beer unbalanced. It's hard to know what a barrel will do before you put the beer on, so it can be a bit of crapshoot. This gamble paid off. Although the hops were significantly lighter the barrel characteristics made up for it and balanced everything out nicely.  The roast of the malt was still right there but the barrel added a little bit of sweet vanilla and oak flavor that was balanced out with a bit of spicy rye whiskey. The rye accentuated the rye in the malt bill and made it significantly more forward. This beer packs a ton of flavor for a beer under 10% ABV. The balance is absolutely fantastic.

Barrel Aged Muse might have been the most impressive part of the evening. Muse is a great Belgian beer. It is a big golden beer with some delicious fruit flavors. Thick white head released all sorts of delicious fruity aromas. The head followed all the way to the bottom of the glass with stick lacing hugging the sides. It has great traditional flavor with a rich golden color. The barrel did a good job of balancing out the sweetness of the beer. It added a bit of vanilla and oak that came off like a coconut. The yeast flavors turned into an almost pineapple tropical fruit flavor that added a great direction to the standard Muse.

These two beers will be at all of the Daredevil parties except the Pizzology events. If you like the standard versions you need to make your way out to one of these tap takeovers. The BA versions won't disappoint.

If I haven't sold you on the Black Market event yet, there will be a couple Rare Devil beers that will only be at the dinner and maybe Winterfest if I don't drink them all.

Congratulations again to Daredevil on your anniversary. The beers were awesome, and I can't wait to see what you bring to town when the brewery is up for real. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

18th Street Celebrates First Anniversary

Three days of festivities include bands, beer and fresh food

One year after opening its doors, 18th Street Brewery will host a three-day celebration featuring an eclectic mix of bands, house-made fresh food and award-winning beers from around the globe.

In just 12 months, the Gary-based brewer has made a major expansion and earned awards and acclaim that include “Indiana’s Best New Brewer” honors from RateBeer. The festivities at 5725 Miller Ave. are free to attend and open to the public from noon to midnight Friday and Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.

“We wanted to do something special to say ‘thank you’ to the community,” said owner Drew Fox. “The support we have received has been overwhelming and this is a way to celebrate our success with the people who have made it all possible.”

All ages are welcome to attend in the brewery’s front-room space, while those 21 and over are welcome in the taproom. Due to anticipated crowds, all food and beer sales will be cash-only.

18th Street will offer its own unique and rare beer offerings throughout the weekend, while friends at well-known breweries are also planning to provide special select beers, in support of the 1-year anniversary. In addition, Chef Virgie will be manning the kitchen, with fresh-made food – including vegetarian meals – on the menu.

The weekend’s musical performances will range from rock to pop and blues to hip hop.
Music begins at 8 p.m. Friday, when the Corey Dennison Blues Band, featuring Gerry Hundt, take the stage. Dennison delivers dynamic blues and compelling soul, while Hundt is a multi-instrumentalist known for his work with the guitar, harmonica and mandolin.
From 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Northwest Indiana’s own Nomad Planets will rock the stage. Their rock music has been heard on WXRT, the Taste of Chicago festival and countless clubs in Chicago and Indiana.

Saturday night, Sweet Cobra hits the stage at 7 p.m. The Chicago-based band is known as a post-hardcore band that is known for both ripping guitars and rhythmic rock. 

From 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Sunday, groove-heavy pop and dance tunes will come from The Diggity. Expect original and eclectic music that covers a 1980s-style techno-pop and experimental funk from the Northwest Indiana ensemble.

Sunday night, Free Ajents bring their hip-hop sounds, while CoJack & Co. will deliver thought-provoking raps, all from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free Ajents feature a live drummer, bass and guitar players and two emcees, whose sounds are joined with hip-hop, rock and electronic samples that bring a raw and hypnotizing sound. CoJack & Co. relies on free-style performances that are simple yet inquisitive, tying together topics ranging from work to family and partying.

That diverse blend of music is representative of the diverse base of support 18th Street Brewery has seen since opening its doors. Starting with self-distribution only in the immediate area, their beer is now distributed in the Indianapolis area and is also available in Denmark, where Fox has collaborated with renowned Mikkeller Brewery.
18th Street Brewery has also increased its production capacity – creating even more jobs in Gary - and is now capable of churning out 1,000 barrels a year, up from just 500 barrels. They have also invested in new, larger fermenters and a canning line, which means faster production to meet the incredible demand and possible further expansion. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

HopCat Offers Free Meal for Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:katedulaney:Desktop:Barfly:BarFly Logo Cropped.pngDescription: Macintosh HD:Users:katedulaney:Desktop:HopCats:B. Rip:03_Hopcat_Logo_White BG_Large_Broad Ripple.png

HopCat – Broad Ripple to offer free meal to veterans and active duty military personnel on Veteran’s Day—November 11, 2014
Indianapolis, Ind. November 7, 2014 -- BarFly Ventures today announced it will offer a free meal on Veteran’s Day for all military veterans and active duty military personnel at HopCat Broad Ripple, 6280 N. College Ave. The offer includes a choice of an entrĂ©e, salad, or sandwich and a soft drink. 
“A free meal is just a simple way we can say ‘Thank You’ and show our appreciation to veterans and active military personnel,” said Mark Sellers, founder and owner of BarFly Ventures.
BarFly Ventures is proud to employ veterans at many of its restaurants. The transferable skills attained during their time in the service as well as their ability to rapidly address challenges and learn new skills are an asset to BarFly Ventures.
Proof of service is required. Limit one meal per veteran or active duty military personnel. Alcoholic beverages and gratuity not included. Unaccompanied minors are allowed at BarFly Ventures establishments on November 11, 2014 only if they are veterans or active military personnel.
About BarFly Ventures
Founded in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2008, BarFly Ventures is the parent company of HopCat, a craft beer bar named “No. 3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth” by Beer Advocate Magazine, “No. 2 Beer Bar in America” by and “No. 1 Brewpub in the United States” by HopCat has locations in Grand Rapids, East Lansing, and Indianapolis with new locations under construction in Detroit, and Ann Arbor. BarFly Ventures also owns and operates Stella’s Lounge, a whiskey and retro-arcade bar in Grand Rapids with Giant Stuffed Burgers named “Best in America” by GQ Magazine. BarFly also owns the award-winning Grand Rapids Brewing Company, Michigan’s only certified organic brewery, and McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon, host of Irish on Ionia, Michigan’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Street Party.
Chris Knape
Marketing & Communications Director
BarFly Ventures
1 Ionia SW, Ste 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Scarlet Lane Announces New Head Brewer

Some very exciting news from our friends over at Scarlet Lane! Take a look at their press release below for all the details.

McCordsville, Indiana - Scarlet Lane Brewing Company is excited to announce Simon Sothras as the new Head Brewer and business partner to Scarlet Lane. Sothras comes to Scarlet Lane from Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon where he was one of the original brewers that helped launch Ninkasi into being one of the most popular breweries on the West Coast. Before starting at Ninkasi, Simon was a winemaker for Eugene Wine Cellars.

A long-time friend to Scarlet Lane, Sothras will relocate to Indiana mid-November. Eilise Lane, CEO/Brewer and Sothras have previously brewed together while Lane was in brewing school at the American Brewers Guild. Sothras brings a wealth of talent and experience to the Indiana brewing community and will immediately become a partner in the Scarlet Lane Brewing Company LLC. Sothras will be joining Eilise Lane, Doug Sheets, Nick Servies and a primarily female investment team in the management and operation of the business.

Ninkasi Brewing and Scarlet Lane continue to have a close working relationship. “We are stoked for Simon on his new role with Scarlet Lane, and look forward to opportunities to collaborate down the road!” Nikos Ridge, CEO Ninkasi Brewing Company

Simon officially began his role as Head Brewer on October 31, 2014.  Sothras has a passion for Northwest style ales and is specifically interested in barrel aging, IPA development, barley wines and imperial stouts.

Scarlet Lane distributes its kegs through Zink Distributing, Boone Beverage and a self-distribution territory to service the Central Indiana region.

About Scarlet Lane Brewing Company:
Scarlet Lane Brewing Company was launched in May 2014 in McCordsville, Indiana. Owners/Founders Eilise Lane, Doug Sheets and Nick Servies are Indiana natives. Head Brewer and Partner Simon Sothras is a Chicago native with experience in wine making and brewing. The Company operates as a female owned business with majority female interest and investment in the Company. Scarlet Lane produces three flagship beers, Dorian Stout, Vivian Red IPA and Lenore Pale Ale, as well as, a rotation of Seasonal and Specialty Beers. You can find Scarlet Lane beers throughout the Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

About Ninkasi Brewing Company:
Founded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company continues to grow from its first batch of Total Domination IPA, to two brewhouses, a 55-barrel and a 90-barrel brewhouse, located in Eugene, Oregon. Ninkasi’s Flagship beers—Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Believer Double Red, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout—are sold throughout Oregon; Alaska; California; Idaho; Montana; Washington; Nevada; and Vancouver, British Columbia. The brewery remains privately-owned and is committed to community support and giving. Ninkasi’s Beer Is Love program offers in-kind donations and support for organizations throughout its footprint.