“You’ve been drinking a lot of beer lately.”
In college, that observation most likely followed a night of chugging UD’s beer of choice, the Beast (aka Milwaukee’s Best… aka cheap piss water). I’m happy to say over the years I’ve expanded my palate and graduated into the wonderful world of craft beer. So when my mom made this remark recently, there was no shame in my response of “Yup. And?”
Last week was American Craft Beer Week, celebrating the community and culture surrounding craft beer. My love for craft beer is rooted in the quality of the product and my strong beliefs in “going local.” Because they produce smaller quantities, craft breweries are better able to focus on the quality of their beer. They can experiment with flavors and the brewing process in a way that the Budweiser’s and MillerCoors of the world just can’t. And if you know me at all, you know I love supporting local, independent ventures, whether it’s food, art or beer. Sustaining the local economy and promoting an environment of innovation and creativity is necessary to keep Indianapolis moving forward.
Indiana actually has a significant number of craft breweries around the state. Two of my personal favorites are Sun King and Upland. If you want to dip your toes in the world of craft beer but don’t know where to start, check out Twenty Tap or Tomlinson Tap Room. I’m pretty much addicted to Twenty Tap, which started with 20 taps of local and regional beers. They’ve since expanded to 38 taps and offer some of the best food you’ll find in town. Tomlinson Tap Room has a similar set up with local beers on tap but also offers a really unique view looking down on the City Market.
Side note: if you have a craving for imported beers, head over to Chatham Tap. It’s my favorite spot in the city and the only place I’ve found that carries Leffe Blonde.
Two other groups that have helped me expand my beer horizons are Kahn’s Fine Wines & Spirits and Girls’ Pint Out. The name might throw you off but Kahn’s is one of the few stores that stock local beers and they regularly host tasting events. The next one, Beerocracy II: The Wrath of Kahn’s, is June 7. Girls’ Pint Out was founded as a way to engage women in the craft beer community. They recently hosted an event at Goose the Market focused on pairing meats and beers. It was my first time attending one of their events and I absolutely loved it. I walked away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the beers and meats we tried.
I can’t say that I’ll never have another Miller Lite or Dos Equis in my life, though I can pretty much guarantee I won’t touch the Beast outside of my upcoming five-year reunion weekend. But as much as possible, I’ll always try to go local when choosing my beers and I hope you’ll consider doing the same.
For my fellow beer lovers, what is your favorite craft brewery? What do you love about craft beer? Any good events or organizations you recommend for people jumping into the world of craft beer?