Summer time is especially “beer time” with festivals, events, and more.
The Indiana State Fair Brewers’ Cup Competition, one of the premier beer events, held on July 11 this year yielded interesting results. A relative newcomer to professional brewing, Byway Brewing of Hammond, took honors as Brewery of the Year and Grand Champion Brewery with three gold medals and their OakStreet Porter took “Best of Show.” This brewery, opened just five months (almost to the day of the Brewers’ Cup judging).
Looking another way at total medal count, total medals won by any Indiana Brewery, Bier Brewery of Indianapolis captured a total of TEN medals! Three gold, five silver, and two bronze! Clearly Bier Brewery continues to knock out beers the judges love and the public appreciates. Bier is one of ONLY two breweries in the world to have garnered TWO Gold Medals at the prestigious 2016 World Beer Cup (held every other year). Bier was 2011 Indiana Brewers’ Cup Brewery of the Year just eight months after Bier had opened. We caught up with Bier Founder Jerry Conner after the World Bier Cup win and before the Brewers’ Cup. Another Conner, Darren (Jerry’s son) is co-founder and head brewer. Jerry told us their plan has always been organic growth, letting the patrons determine what they like and brewing to please those people. Bier has managed to brew a large number of beers over the five years they’ve operated and won a host of medals along the way.
By medal count at the Brewers’ Cup, after Bier Brewery, Daredevil Brewery, Speedway, won 6 total, Flix Brewhouse of Carmel and Upland won 4 each, and in a four-way tie for three medals each was Byway of Hammond, Chilly Water of Indianapolis, Flat 12 of Indianapolis, and Rock Bottom College Park of Indianapolis. Looking at Indiana’s largest breweries, Three Floyds had one medal, Sun King had two medals, compared to Upland’s four.
Your personal take-away may still be to know your favorites and go to those places you love while considering a medal winning brewery you’ve never been to or never heard of. . Medals can be a great way to consider a brewery. Judges work long and hard to take training, acquire knowledge, and judge beer. Still, the beers you or I prefer may or may not be the medal winners. Keep in mind, beers are judged ‘blind,’ that is without knowing who made the beer (that is a good thing), and in small quantities, also a good thing so judges are not over-drinking and losing perspective. Interestingly judges may disagree, usually slightly, so my favorite beer may have almost received a medal but judges decided that at that moment they liked another one better. If your reaction is that you’ve not been to Bier Brewery for a while, or to Rock Bottom College Park or another, this is a great time to try their beer (again). Or if you never heard of Byway but are near Hammond – get over there and drink beer! But don’t give up on your favorite brewery if they did not win a medal this year! There is a lot of really good beer out there and it is fun trying alternatives! Cheers! — Greg Kitz
GnawBrew is a great beer event Saturday, July 23 with General Admission Gates ($60) opening at 2 pm. Rain or shine this fest is in the woods by a creek just minutes from I-65 and West of Columbus. We included this fest in our write up of the Columbus to Franklin Corridor. READ OUR STORY HERE GnawBrew includes beer samples from Hoosier breweries, camping, a full music festival experience, souvenir tasting cup, live artists, comedian, independent films and art show all for $60 at the gate. (See https://gnawbrew.ticketleap.com/gnawbrew16/ for more info – advance tickets are no longer available)
Girls Pint Out,on Monday, July 25, has A Fair to Remember at Shoefly Public House! This 21+ event for women AND men takes over the parking lot and features beer by Urban Chestnut of St. Louis, including beer slushies, and beer shake ups along with carnival games, and a special fair food menu (hot dogs, corn dogs, vegetarian taco cones, popcorn and fried oreos.) The event runs 6-8:30 pm and food items are only $3.
The Grand Daddy, Whopper, Mega-Fest of Beer Fests in Indiana, The Indiana Microbrewers Festival on July 30, brings over 85 breweries to one location in downtown Indianapolis. The event now held at Military Park is 3-7 PM, with 2PM VIP slot for $40 general admission, $60 VIP Early Bird and is the biggest event in Indiana for Hoosier Breweries. There are also about a dozen guest out-of-state breweries plus local and out of state cider and meaderies adding to nearly 100 firms represented and hundreds of beers to sample!. TIX click HERE
TwoDEEP Brewing has a TwoYEAR Party, featuring new, aged and cask-conditioned TwoDEEP beers, food trucks, outdoor games and live music on Saturday, August 6, from 3:00-9:00PM.
The event will be held inside and outside the TwoDEEP TapRoom located at 714 N Capitol Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. This event is free and open to the public. Attendees must be 21 years or older to enter. Similar to TwoDEEP’s Grand Opening and One Year Anniversary, attendees will be able to purchase a beer ticket for $5.00 or they may choose to purchase five beer tickets for $20.00.
The Columbus (IN) Craft Beer Fest promises to be a major regional event with over FIFTY breweries on August 27. Breweries from northern, central, and southern Indiana along with a few from out-of-state will be featured in a beautiful setting of Mill Race Park, Columbus, from 3-6pm for only $35 (early bird at 2pm for $50). There will also be food stands and music! We are really excited about this event and thank the organizers for letting us be a part of this! http://www.columbusbeerfest.in/
Award winning Daredevil Brewing of Speedway hosts Hops and Flip-Flops Festival Saturday, August 27th, 1 to 5 pm, $40 for admission ($50 for 1 pm admission) with 25 breweries from around the U.S. (eight from Indiana). This is another great event for a wide sampling! Hops and Flip Flops Fest Tickets here
AND….. on August 27, for those more north, Beers Across the Wabash in Lafayette features at least twenty seven breweries on the John T Myers Pedestrian Bridge from 2-6pm for $40, ($50 for 1 pm entry).