Thursday, September 11, 2014

18th Street Brewery is Now Your Street

You may have started seeing 18th Street beers around the Indianapolis area, or more than likely you may have just missed it. 18th Street hit Indianapolis and it has been met with some serious excitement from the craft beer community. Their bottles were flying off the shelves in hours, not days, most of the time.

In the last months we've seen their Sinister DIPA, Coffee Hunter Stout and Undercrown IPA in liquor stores and even more hoppy treats on draft at bars and restaurants. I was lucky enough to score Jade Pale Ale at the Pint Room in Carmel earlier this week and it's a hell of a beer.

Since this summer's Bloomington Craft Beer Festival, I've been dying to go check out 18th Street Brewery in Gary, IN. There hasn't been a lot of reason for me to go to Gary, but I was near Three Floyds and figured what the hell. The brewery is a cool little shop in downtown, right by the train tracks. Inside is divided into two rooms. One is bright and clean with a very modern vibe. The other has street art on the walls and a cool urban vibe. The bar is big enough to serve a lot of people without taking over the space.

Their head brewer, Drew Fox, is relatively new to the craft beer world, deciding that he wanted to get into it in 2008. He has worked with brewers in Chicago like Pipeworks and Spiteful Brewing. Drew started a kickstarter in 2012 and launched the brewery from there. I normally don't love breweries going the kickstarter route, but I'm really upset I missed this one. I would have backed it in a heartbeat.

I was able to get Sinister and Undercrown in bottles here in Indy. Sinister is an awesome DIPA. Not that you can tell by my picture, but it pours out a beautiful orange-gold color with a thick white head. (Sorry for the picture it was the only 18th Street Brewery glass that I have.)

The aroma was like a punch of tropical fruit flavor with just a bit of citrus and pine. On first tasting you get a ton of tropical fruits like mangoes, pineapples and a little bit of dank resin flavor. The malt backbone is sweet and thick with a huge bitter punch of pine on the back end. The bitterness is that intense bitter that stays with you until you take your next sip. It hides the big alcohol content nicely and really does a great job of rounding out the sweet tropical start.

When drinking hoppy beers we often get stuck with one or two notes of flavor, but these guys have made an incredibly complex DIPA. The sweet balances so well with the fruity and the hoppy. I'm excited to make their offerings part of my fridge all the time.

I give it a 4.5/5

The bottles go fast, so if you hear that they're in stores get after them as fast as you can.

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