The best part about writing about beer is that most people in the industry are exceptionally charismatic, or contain that "I'll do what I want" cowboy attitude that usually comes off as genuine, not asinine. Figure 8 and Lahti are a wonderful example of when those two attitudes of passion and fuck all come together and express them perfectly in the brews they make, and the culture they create.
|"Everyone squat low so that Lahti looks tall!"|
This naturally led into a discussion of where he felt F8 fit into the brewery belt buckle that wraps around Lake Michigan and that Northern Indiana is lucky to be apart of. He elaborated on about how awesome it is to be in that path and how with new and exciting breweries popping up in Michigan as well and NW Indiana, a "Beer Trail" similar to the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky has formed. "Just from Chicago to Grand Rapids, you can hit twelve solid breweries." Lahti explained. Despite this regional coagulation of craft breweries, Lahti is looking elsewhere for future collaborations. Lahti explained it well, "I'm looking to collaborate with breweries out of state. Bring new, awesome beer here and bring our name into another state."
Given the Midwest's German brewing heritage, to follow, or not to follow style is always the question. "I make beer that I want to drink. I haven't won any awards, or medals, but my sales numbers and production numbers are telling me that I am making good beer." Lahti told me with his index finger emphasizing the well made point his excited eyes were making. "I'll look at the style guides and I'll follow them... and then I deviate." This fiery, Grateful Dead lovin' brewer won me over with his "no fucks given" attitude. It exuded from him as more of a confidence in his craft and a pride in his artistry and business, which was totally backed up by the beers I was drinking between Lahti's smiled filled answers.
|The crew at F8 are a warm and welcoming bunch|
The future is bright for F8. New production ideas, and creating out of state connections to make more awareness of other low flying breweries are all adding up to what looks like a great few years for F8. Lahti, who confesses that Belgians are his favorite to drink and brew, bolsters his passion and genuine pride by spending a majority of the conversation praising other brewers and breweries in the state and abroad. When asked who his personal favorite brewer in Indiana is: "Liz (Laughlin) at (Rock Bottom) College Park. Hands down best brewer in Indiana."
The crew at F8 are a warm and welcoming bunch. Bolstered by their great beers, the conversation was easy and jovial. I don't know how many times, in the midst of laughing, the phrase, "That's off the record." was uttered. Figure 8 has definitely left an impression. Those from the North I'm sure already know this, but I cannot wait until F8 beers like Ro Shampo or Raven Tor start to penetrate the already saturated and competitive Indianapolis market... and succeed.