I’m continuing my insiders view of Indianapolis from a craft beer drinker’s point of view. Indiana was generally overlooked as being a craft beer destination state in favor of perennial favorites like California, Colorado, and North Carolina until this year’s Great American Beer Festival when Indiana won the highest percentage of medals per state. The GABF awards validated what Hoosier craft beer drinkers have known all along. Our brewers make awesome beer!
There are more breweries opening every day and in no way is this a comprehensive list or even a fair representation. It’s a guide to Super Bowl visitors who want to get a taste of what Indianapolis offers in local beer. When you go to New York City, you have to try the pizza right? Well here, you better grab yourself a tenderloin and a pint. Here are my picks to drink like a local with some of our most beloved beers.
Upland Brewing Company
Upland hails from Bloomington, Indiana, a short drive south from Indianapolis into a basketball loving gorgeous region of the state. Upland Wheat is probably most Hoosiers’ first taste of craft beer and it is very easy to see why. Smooth with a touch of sweetness, Upland Wheat is the defining memory of many sunny afternoons spent enjoying friendships new and old. Upland opened a tasting room in Indianapolis for IU alumni (and those of us pretenders) to get growler fills and share in a community space. Upland is available all over downtown Indianapolis and you’d be remiss to pass up the opportunity to try it. It’s even featured on Parks and Recreations. Treat Yo’ Self! Follow @uplandbrewco and their Indianapolis girl on the street Cari @uplandindy for where they’ll be and specials during the Super Bowl.
Oaken Barrel in Greenwood, Indiana is a Southside favorite. Their Indiana Amber features one of Indiana’s most revered icons, Lady Victory. When you visit Indianapolis and see the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, she’s the sculpture on the top. Oaken Barrel’s Indiana Amber is very balanced and a nice fit for this time of year. Not too hoppy, not too sweet, it’s a winner. Indiana Amber is a nice change of pace from seriously hoppy beers and aggressive flavors usually favored by craft beer geeks. It has a great mouth feel with a solid malt backbone and refreshing finish. Indiana Amber is a perfect entry level craft beer that is very approachable for visitors looking to try a locally brewed beer.
Tripel De Ripple
Brugge Brasserie doesn’t mess around with their Tripel De Ripple. A Belgian Tripel named for their location in Broad Ripple, 6 miles north of Downtown Indianapolis, it packs a punch with 10% ABV and huge notes of fruit, spice and a bitter finish. Served in a 10 ounce goblet, Tripel de Ripple is one of their most popular beers and they allow only 2 per person. This Belgian ale is what sets Brugge apart from other awesome brewpubs in the area. Brugge’s Harvey gets a nod as an awesome sour brewed with blackberries – I highly recommend trying these anywhere you see them. You won’t be disappointed.
Pogue’s Run Porter
Flat 12 Bierwerks
Open just over a year, Flat 12 Bierwerks is located in the hidden gem of Holy Cross neighborhood just east of downtown Indianapolis. Super Bowl visitors can take a short cab ride to the brewery where they’ll find not just samples, but beers by the pint, an outdoor fire pit and pizza by the slice or pie. Flat 12′s brewmaster Rob Caputo’s background as a homebrewer and his love for porters have given Flat 12 their signature beer in Pogue’s Run Porter. Pogue’s Run Porter is so smooth and balanced it embodies everything you would want from a porter. Rob uses Pogue’s Run as a base for all kinds of variations, my favorite being the Van Pogue, a Pogue’s Run Porter brewed with vanilla. Visitors will be able to find Flat 12 on draft all over downtown Indianapolis.
Osiris Pale Ale
Sun King Brewing
Sun King Brewing won 8 medals at GABF in 2011, more than any other brewery. Located in downtown Indianapolis, Sun King will be hosting a tent party the week of the Super Bowl. Check out their promotions director’s twitter feed @sunkingbeth for all the latest news and happenings at the brewery. While visiting Indianapolis, visitors will find Sun King at bars and restaurants all around downtown. Osiris Pale Ale is Sun King’s flagship IPA. Crisp and hoppy, brewed as a west coast style IPA, Osiris is available in cans as well as draft. (A personal note, you can pack canned beer into your checked bag if you’re flying in and out of Indy, just ziplock bag the cans and wrap them in t-shirts.)
These locally brewed selections give a snapshot of what Indianapolis has to offer in craft beer with something for everyone. You’ll go home from your Super Bowl trip raving about how awesome Indianapolis was to visit and all the delicious Indiana beer you had to drink!
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