By Will Carroll
Spring has sprung, at least on the calendar. There might be snow and cold in the forecast, but no one could have known that months ago as they were trying to plan an event. “Solstice?” they must have said. “That would be a perfect time to open a new brewery!”
And open they did. Outliers‘ retail room opened, Tow Yard began pouring (with its restaurant, the Larder, to open this week) and the unique, Kickstarter-backed Books & Brews had a Friday opens as well.
Outliers, located at 534 E.North St., has been much anticipated and noted here at EDI, with Ted Miller’s latest project expected to be as exciting as his past successes. Outliers will have an associated restaurant opening later this year, but the beer has been well received already on tap. I’ve tried a couple of their beers recently and think it’s one that will see great success in the market.
Tow Yard also has a good pedigree and an intriguing location at 501 S. Madison Ave. The owners are clearly thinking ahead, hoping that big crowds headed to Lucas Oil Stadium will come by their south of downtown location on their way to a Colts game or event. The beer is a bit of an unknown at this stage, but the brewers have a nice pedigree. Just a block south of the iconic Slippery Noodle, Tow Yard will be very accessible. Let’s hope the beer is the same.
I first learned about Books & Brews on Kickstarter. Yes, I’m addicted to the site where anyone can invest in new products and services. I’m still not sure of the idea of combining a book store with a microbrewery — or nanobrewery, as they’ve been referring to it — but I like both and will surely give it a try. It’s located at 9402 Uptown Drive, Suite 1400. Since you can actually trade books for credit that you can use on beer, I know where the stack of review copy books I get from my day job will end up!
Another nanobrewery is expanding soon. Planetary Brewing in Greenwood will be opening a tasting room later this spring. Planetary has been ramping up their production and the tasting room will allow for expansion of their current setup. They have some really tasty beers, including their signature Apes**t beer that really does have a taste of bananas. I like their Helios, which has an excellent blend of hoppy taste while staying on the refreshing light side.
If you’re headed up to the region, Valpo’s latest is Four Fathers. Their official opening is not until April 19th, but they’ve been teasing a lot of hoppy refreshment. My sources tell me that they’ve been heavy on the citra and centennial hops, looking to make an IPA and perhaps a Double IPA as their signature beers.
Around Indianapolis, people have been raving about Three Floyds Zombie Dust. Three Floyds may have missed out on the James Beard Foundation short list, but they’re on many short lists of best breweries. While their limited-run Dark Lord is nearly impossible to even taste, Zombie Dust is catching up with Gumball Head as their signature beer. Increased production is helping, as is the continual touting of 1070 The Fan’s “JMV”, who luxuriates over the words as he recalls the beer. It’s certainly worth a try.
There’s also rumors of a new menu on tap at Oaken Barrel soon. OB has always been an unusual microbrewery in that they also have an excellent menu. Too many places have good beer but middling food or mediocre beer and a good menu. (I’m looking at you, corporate brewery chains.) Even Indianapolis Monthly has touted OB’s menu, recently putting their pork chop on the weekly Swoon List. OB has been a bit more adventurous with their beers lately as well, keeping their excellent standard lineup while venturing out on rotation beers like the current kolsch, that will be a perfect spring time beer. If it ever gets here.
As you can see, there’s plenty going on around Indianapolis. With the NCAA Tournament going on and coming to town this weekend, there will be plenty of chances to raise a pint. As always, raise a local one.