Wednesday, July 24, 2019

114. Metazoa Brewing Co. (Indianapolis, IN) - Black Mamba

“Hop-forward and bursting with citrus and tropical fruit. Smooth and balanced with touches of Munich carapils, caramel, and honey malts.”

A little more hoppy than fruity, and more tropical than citrus. Maybe a little bit of stone fruit, too. Collaboration with the Indianapolis Zoo for the new exhibit featuring black mamba snakes. Hope it sticks around, because this is the best thing I’ve tried from Metazoa.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

113. Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR) - Fresh Haze

“A hazy twist on your main squeeze, this juice bomb explodes with orange citrus and a soft malt body.”

Exactly as advertised. That soft malt body rounds out the citrus flavor, which is often sharp in aggressively-hopped IPAs. It masks the alcohol (6.5%) a little bit, too—especially while it’s still cold.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Deschutes Brewing Comes to Indiana

You’ll be shocked to learn that I don’t think much of Facebook, but from time to time I find that it proves itself to be not entirely useless. The liquor store that I frequent in Irvington, Stoney’s Liquors, has a Facebook page of sorts, and I checked it last week to see if they would be open on the 4th; and while that information was not present at the time I checked, I did find myself scrolling down the page, because it seems as though they post from time to time about new beers that arrive in the store.

And one of those posts stopped me in my tracks. It mentioned that Deschutes Brewing, from Bend, Oregon, would soon be landing in Indiana for the first time—but not at Stoney’s until the 11th.

I immediately flashed back to our trip west last year. We flew to Seattle and then drove across large swaths of rural Washington and Montana until we arrived at Glacier National Park, where we spent a week and a half hiking in bear country.

Beer wasn’t top of my mind when we started this trip, but the hotel where we spent our first night, in Seattle, had beer in its little lobby store, and I got a couple of Washington brews. The next day, which was Father’s Day, we spent most of the day walking around Seattle, and stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at B’s Po Boys (since closed, I am sorry to report), which started out as a restaurant in Fountain Square here in Indianapolis, before decamping for Alki Beach in West Seattle. I never imagined that I would get to have their food again when they left Indianapolis, but there we were, eating po boys and sweet potato fries with remoulade, just like we had done so many times here. I also had another fine local beer, the Roasted Rye IPA from Reuben’s Brews.

At that point, I began to realize that Pacific Northwest craft beer had a lot to offer, and I began to look out for it. We passed through the narrow top part of Idaho on our way to Glacier, and I tried a session ale from Grand Teton Brewing. Our first night in Montana, we ate at a place called the Back Room, in Columbia Falls, Montana, on the recommendation of the lady at the front desk of the Western Inn and Campground (since renamed the Glacier Base Camp Lodge).

And that was where I had a Fresh Squeezed IPA from Deschutes Brewing, out of Bend, Oregon. I tried a lot of different beers, from a lot of different places, while we were in Montana, and that Fresh Squeezed was one of my favorites. I was beside myself when I learned that I would soon be able to get Deschutes beer right here in Indiana. (When I checked online after I got home, I found that none of the great beers I had in any of those three states—Washington, Idaho, or Montana—were available here [apart from a couple of offerings at Mackenzie River Pizza Company, which is a terrible restaurant]).

But I stopped at Stoney’s on my way home from the old juke joint tonight and picked up a six-pack of 12-ounce cans of Fresh Squeezed IPA. (Not only was the beer good out west, but it was also cheap. Even here the Fresh Squeezed was only $11.99.)

They weren’t cold, so I put a couple in the freezer as soon as I got home, and pulled one out an hour later and poured it into one of my frosted mugs.

I’ve had a lot of juicy IPAs in the year and change since we went to Montana, and Fresh Squeezed isn’t quite as good as I remember it being that night at the Back Room in Columbia Falls—but it’s still pretty good. Incredibly well-balanced between fruity hops and caramelly malt, with a lovely moderate alcohol (6.4%).

I think about Glacier National Park every day. It’s the best trip I’ve ever been on, and the best national park I’ve ever seen. The excellent beer was just the icing on the cake. After the picture of the beer are a couple of the pictures from Glacier. Walk…don’t run.

Lake Sherburne, near the Many Glacier entrance

Red Rocks Falls, on the Swiftcurrent Pass trail in Many Glacier

Saturday, July 06, 2019

112. Black Circle (Indianapolis, IN) - Carney Rye’d

Another one of my favorites at Black Circle, this rye IPA hasn’t made an appearance in some time, and this was Phillip’s first batch since taking over as head brewer. I was going to ask what he hopped it with, but he left before I had the chance. It tastes like Centennial to me, but I’m no expert. Bright and fruity up front, and nice and bitter on the back end. More bitter than I remember from the last time, but it’s been awhile. Not bitter in a bad way, though.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

111. 18th Street Brewery (Hammond, IN) - Rubicon

“Brewed with Centennial and Amarillo hops, this West Coast Style IPA comes in at 7.2% and is deliciously bitter and dank!”

There’s that word dank again, and this time with an exclamation mark! But it works. The bitterness and the fruit both linger in pleasant ways. Not as straight-up “hoppy” as you might expect from a West Coast IPA. More interesting than Daredevil’s Lift Off or Sun King’s Osiris—though I sort of wish I had one of each to compare this one to.

One of the things I’m learning about beer as I try all these different styles is that the ones I really like let me know that they’re the ones I really like—by which I mean that I want to have another one right away. That is definitely the case with here, but it’s so romantic that I want to save at least one (and probably two) for when my wife finally gets back from fucking Myanmar. (“You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me.”)

Still…that leaves the fourth from the four-pack. You can see me running downstairs to put in the freezer now, can’t you? They’re that good. And they weren’t that pricey, either. $10.99 for a four pack of tallboys at the liquor store. (So I’m probably getting more next weekend.)

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

110. Black Acre Brewing Company (Indianapolis, IN) - Killer Robots

“American wheat ale with blackberry & ginger. Refreshingly brewed with sweet, ripe fruit and subtle spices.”

I find the ginger to be quite strong, and the blackberry to be subtle—but either way, this is a lovely brew. The flavors pair very nicely, and it’s surprisingly refreshing. Becomes decidely less refreshing and far more bitter as it warms up, so quaff this one while the mug is still frosty, yo.

109. Indiana City Brewing Co. (Indianapolis, IN) - Monster Family Tree

“Our 14th Craft Brew Doodle Crew Series, a hazy double dry-hopped IPA with lactose and whirlpool additions of Centennial hops and featuring expert dry-hopping with Amarillo hops.”

Whew. You know, because I was afraid there might be some amateur hopping shit going on. Very quick hits of fruit and sugar up front, but the bitter back end comes on fast. Not in a bad way, though. It’s oddly compelling, I think because that stiff bitter finish is so different from the usual lingering sweetness of a hazy/milkshake/New England IPA. What lingers in place of that sweetness is grapefruit and tangerine. Very satisfying, and further evidence of my belief that Indiana City is doing the best beer in Indianapolis right now.