Winterfest 2012 Indianapolis
Ian Thu, 02/02/2012 - 19:03
This past weekend we (Me, the wife, my Brother and Father) had a great time attending the Brewers guild of Indiana Winterfest, or Winterfest for short. Winterfest is a beer festival, similar to a wine festival like Wine in the woods or the Indianapolis Wine Festival.
The 2012 Winterfest had around 54 different brewers (plus or minus a few). You were given a glass at the start of it, and you simply visited the various brewers’ tables and sampled their beer. Pours were around 3-4 oz’s, and there was no limit (I.e. you did not have to have tickets to get a taste of the beer). Many of the brewer’s were from Indiana or nearby Kentucky or Pennsylvania, but there were some of the bigger, more well know National Brewer’s like Sam Adams, Stone and Sierra Nevada.
In addition to the 50 or so brewer’s that were housed inside, there were 2 outdoor areas, which in my opinion had some of the best beer at the event. The first of area outside was pouring beer from Firkins. Ok, little history lesson here…. A firkin is actually a unit of measure for volume. In old English and with reference to beer, it is equivalent to nine imperial gallons, or seventy two pints, or roughly 41 liters. Today, firkins typically refer to beer that is also known as cask ale, cask conditioned beer or Real ale. Firkins usually are an unfiltered, unpasteurized beer, which is served from a cask without using a pressurized gas like nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Winterfest had 8 – 10 firkins that were being poured, and they went quickly. Halfway through the event they were all gone. My favorite beer from the Firkin tent was one called Decrepit, but I have no idea who brews it.
The other tent outside was the “Malt Shoppe” and it tended to have beers that were a little more “malty” in character. These were pretty good as well, but the firkin tent was the place to be in my opinion.
Back inside there was plenty of good beer to be had. A few of the standouts in my opinion were the following:
- Barley Island Brewing Company: Barrel-Aged Whose Ear Imperial red.
- This was a 10% ABV Barrel aged Imperial red ale. The brewer’s notes on the beer state “The flavor is balanced between the caramel and Munich malt and the hop profile that is bitter until the finish”. It’s aged in buffalo trace bourbon barrels, and was really a great beer in my opinion.
- Bluegrass Brewing Company: Numinous
- This was another Bourbon Barrel aged beer. It was a rich oatmeal stout that was aged in Four Roses Bourbon barrels. You could really taste the impact of the barrel aging with hints of wood and vanilla coming through.
- Upland Brewing Company: Bourbon Barrel Warmer (Barleywine)
- This was a stronger beer/Barleywine, again aged in Bourbon Barrels. The bourbon really stood out in this one for me. It’s a 9% ABV, and would make a great “Winter beer” as it warms you all the way down.
I have to say that the Winterfest was a great time, and we will likely be back for the next. Beer lovers are far more fun than wine drinkers, and the environment was great, and it seemed like everyone was having a great time.