Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Indiana Microbrewers Festival 2013: General Admission

Being one of the Plebes, I was only able to obtain a General Admission ticket, and I definitely felt it... at first.

Our tickets were scanned, our IDs checked, and staff reminded us to be responsible.  We were oddly shuffled through the lines into one pressing mob, which seemed apropos to my plebeian metaphor.

The sweaty rabble had a wonderful buzz of humanity.  The press got the blood going and built up the excitement which peaked when the staff released us into the breach, bottled sunlight awaiting us.

It was then that the romantic shades stopped and the joyous grind of beer after beer began.

This is why I said I felt cheapened by my general admission ticket.  There was a palpable electricity waiting to come in and it was quickly diffused when we walked swiftly into the baseball field to see the tents already full.  It felt like I had missed out, which only spurned us on more.

It was a din of delight and friends.  A low roar of conversations filled the park and only added to the madness of slogging back beer after beer.  Line after line.  Critiques and smiles abounded.

In addition to slinging back beers, I was able to do a keg toss, check out food trucks for something other than poison to put in my belly, enjoy bluegrass bands through out the day and reconnect with old friends.  It was everything a beer fest should be. 

I was really impressed with the way the organizers were able to get so many breweries from around the country and how so many of those breweries brought their A-game.  Here is a list of my impressions of this years fest:

Biggest Standout: Sun King.  Hate all you want, but they slayed. Two of their beers are in my Top 5 and I watched them tap Pink Taco and have it completely consumed in 5 minutes.  AN ENTIRE KEG OF BEER GONE IN 5 MINUTES.

Biggest Suprise: The event itself.  Lines were fast and efficient. People were nice and friendly.  Usually when alcohol is involved, some people tend to show themselves, but not a shitty asshole was in attendance that day.  But as far as breweries go, Iechyd Da was the biggest surprise.  I came for the Breakfast Cookies, and stayed for... well... everything else.
Best New Find: People's Brewing Nitro IPA.  Their IPA is good.  On nitro it's magical.  Never had a Nitro IPA and the mouthfeel and full flavor really turn a solid IPA into a true treat.  Even if I was fuzzed out at this point.
Darkhorse: Lakeside Brewery.  I knew nothing about them before coming in, and then I kept tasting their brews and they kept impressing me.  Their cherry chocolate malty heaven Volume I was in my top 3.

Best Selection: Against the Grain.  One of the few booths where I wanted them all.  Bonus points for an extra pour at 5:00pm.  Flat 12 gets runner up for having ten to six hundred and thirty two pony kegs of different beers.  

Sexiest Server: Eric Fox, Flat 12 Brewery.  Also have to mention New Day Meadery for always being the warmest, most welcoming people. Mrs. Doubtfire couldn't sell brews better.  

Weirdest Brews:  Weirdest doesn't mean bad, and ZwanzigZ was amazing.  Beer that tasted like chocolate.  Beer that tasted like blueberries. Mix em together and what do you get?  A hokey pokey of happiness.  Also their Ghost Chili Stout cracked my top ten, and my tastebuds

Top Five: 
1. Sun King- Pappy Fog (Barrel Aged Belgian Quad.  This is not beer, it's unicorn blood.)
2. Lakeside Brewery- 25th Anniversary Volume I (Imperial Stout.  I wish I could have this cellared to enjoy on a cold day and biblically weep tears of joy)
3. Planetary Brewing Company- Apeshit (AIPA Sweet, great malts, just hoppy enough, and right amount of booze.  Insanely balanced beer.  I want sixty more.)
4. Sun King- Pink Taco (Sour Ale.  I hate putting two beers by the same brewery on my list but it's such an impressive sour.)
5. Iechyd Da- Cantankerous Irish Red (Irish Red Ale.  Pretty sure it's the best I've ever had.  Full flavor, but is so smooth its like it's made out of amber silk sheets.)

Honerable Mentions:
Tin Man Brewery- Circuit Bohemian Pilsner
Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery- The KokoMonster
Three Pints Brew Pub- Yoshi's Nectar

52 beers.  One and a half gallons consumed.  17% of the beers offered.  4 hours.

Summer now has a new holiday.

*Thanks to Amanda Green for the photographic documentation and Eric Fox for letting me post a picture of him in a bowling pin costume while I drunkenly giggled in the background.

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