We here at the Beer Barons have been very good this year. We haven't been thrown out of many bars. We have always finished our beers. We've kept spills to a minimum, and we have always invited our friends to share in the splendor that is the Indiana craft beer scene. We're extremely appreciative of that scene, but like all kids (or kids at heart) we want more stuff! So we've put together a short list for Santa of the things that we'd all like to see happen in the Indy beer scene... we don't expect this to all happen by next Christmas, but maybe some will if we're extra good this coming year!
1. Realistically I would love to see Ballast Point (San Diego, CA) distribute here. Not so realistically- Alpine Brewing Co (just outside San Diego)
2. For the west side of town (Avon, Plainfield, etc.) to get an actual real-life craft beer bar or high-quality production brewery. Cutter's is here and there's some hope with Cartel Brewing coming early 2014, but a beer bar? Nothing close. I live out here and it sucks having to drive 30 minutes plus to get a decent craft beer on tap. There's a lot of people out here and a lot of new retail popping-up… one could wish for one of those spots to be a decent bar and not another pizza joint (there's a lot of them out here for some reason).
3. For a "destination" brewery to establish itself in Indy in 2014. Don't get me wrong, there's some amazing breweries here in town, but I would like to see someone become a destination that beer geeks flock to. Think Stone, Russian River, Three Floyd's, Founder's, Cigar City, Hill Farmstead, etc. These types of breweries exist in towns large and small, so why not Indy? I think there are some existing breweries that are on the verge and who knows what one of the 30-plus slated breweries will bring to the table.
The Big Guy:
1. I want world peace and good will towards men.. who am I kidding? Realistically, I would like to see either Jester King or Prairie start selling more of their limited one off beers here (I know I'm cheating a little bit but I'd love to see these guys bring all the amazing beers we have to trade for here with their regular line up). I'd also be giddy with some childlike excitement if Cigar City started distributing to Indy in any capacity. I LOVE Jai Alai.
2. I'd love to see some of the current breweries, like Bier and UBC start bottling, and guys like Flat 12, Fountain Square and Triton do more outside the box seasonal brews in four packs or bombers. There is some great beer being made in the breweries and brew pubs, I just wish it could get into a bottle so I could enjoy it at home.
3. I want Indy to get more notoriety! I want Santa to bring our great state the recognition it deserves as a great place to get craft beer.
1. My X-mas dreams came true this year when Oskar Blues and Green Flash, my two favorite national breweries starting distributing here, so what else could I hope for? As much as I would love to see beer flow in from the West even more with breweries like Russian River, Cascade, or Ballast Point, and my new favorite, Cigar City, what I want is more Midwestern beers distributing to the Midwest like Revolution or New Glarus. Yeah, New Glarus. Strawberry Rhubarb Lambic: WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF.
2. I want 2014 to be the year of the six pack for Indy breweries. I realize that Indiana's liquor laws make growlers such a success, but I want to share and brag and not be forced to drink all that beer, or as I normally do, cook with it. If Fountain Square Brewing could do a limited bottling of their 1221 stout, I would rip of my shirt and set my beard on fire; a conflagration of joy.
3. I want a real brew pub. Upland is trying. Broad Ripple Brew Pub will always remain mediocre. Brugge is a restaurant with an inconsistent list of beers. My dream would be to see a Gastro-pub approach for a brewery's brew pub. We're looking at you Sun King and Fountain Square. Both have solid line ups. Both are bottling. Both have claustrophobic tasting rooms. Sun King stands alone in its brand recognition, but the problem with Indy is that it doesn't really have a food or beer culture that is broad enough for a Gastro Brewpub to really take off, but I can dream about pairing pork belly and hops.
1. I want Toppling Goliath and Surly to distribute in Indiana. Ever since I heard that a month old pseudoSue blew a three day old Zombie Dust out of the water I have been interested in trying anything from this small self proclaimed stealth brewery. Let's be Frank, and not Pete, on the second choice... having regular access to Coffee Bender and Abrasive would make me a happy kid any day of the year!
2. I know Joe and Josh will hate me for saying this (I empathize) but I would love to have Pinko and/or Big Black Dog 68 more often. Make a big batch when you brew and store kegs away for release gradually through the year, bottle it, ANYTHING! I would just love to enjoy it more often than I do currently.
3. Third and final wish for the year... Competition. I am tired of hearing about this brewery or that brewery "coming soon" to the Indy Craft Beer Scene. Grow some balls and open for business already. Competition breeds creativity. When brewers and Breweries are creative it makes being a craft beer junkie a fun ride to be on in Indy!
The Little Lady:
1. I've been lucky enough to sample some really great beers over the past year at different events and with the trades the Big Guy has been getting. We've also had a chance to visit some of those breweries in person. The top two on my list- Revolution and TallGrass.
2. In 2014, I want to get more involved in the Big Guy's home-brewing. You'll notice that isn't on his list anywhere ;-). Now that my BJCP exam is complete, I really want to get a better idea for the process and the science involved. I'd like to experiment more with flavor combinations and what goes in to making the beer I like to drink. I totally admit that opening our own brewery is kind of a pipe dream- but this is a good first step.
3. I want to keep discovering new breweries next year. Maybe that will be some of the new breweries opening up in Indiana next year. Maybe that will be taking some more quick weekend trips to see new things. We're already going to Kentucky later this winter and you know that we'll be sampling some local favorites- beer and bourbon. Other trips we've talked about are Michigan and Chicago, and I'm sure we'll make it out to Ohio at least once. Maybe Pennsylvania? Yeah, those last two are really just excuses to go visit family. There's a lot of great beer out there, and I want to see more of it come to me, but until that happens I'll go where the beer is.