So Carla and I are in Indianapolis for the 2012 Beer Bloggers conference. Long-time readers may remember that we did the first one in Boulder two years ago. Last year it was in Portland and while it was an attractive location, to say the least, it wasn’t in the cards for us to make it. Coming this year was a no-brainer.
Last night we tried out the Indy Brew Bus. Business co-owner Andy Bulla was our driver and took us to three local breweries: Bier Brewery, Flat12 Bierwerks and Fountain Square Brewing Company. We’d been to Flat12 before, but the other two were new to us. Bier Brewery is clearly a place to keep an eye on. It’s not as centrally located as Sun King, Flat12 and Fountain Square, but it’s worth the drive. The sample I had that sticks with me is the Persephone, a wheat brewed with chamomile and other spices that give it a refreshing pear-like quality. I’m normally a bit wary of brown ales because they can be bland and uninteresting, but their Barley Buddy Brown was neither. My inner hophead was thoroughly pleased with the Chinookalicious IPA.
I didn’t get a range of beers at Flat12 because they had their Walkabout IPA on tap, and I love that stuff. They run though it about as fast as they can make it, so I wasn’t going to miss out on having it. Their patio has really turned into something special, too. It’s a great space. Other folks on the bus who sampled more than we did really liked the Kiwi Kiwi Hefeweizen and the Half Cycle IPA.
Finally, I was really impressed with the Workingman’s Pilsner at Fountain Square. I love a good pils because there’s just nowhere to hide imperfections. This one is dead on. I want to come back in the fall or winter to try the porter again — I just wasn’t feeling it last night, but I don’t think it was the beer. I did get a kick out the name of their APA: Hop for Teacher. I’m a sucker for a good name (and Van Halen reference).
To me, though, I was most impressed with the Brew Bus itself. It’s a concept that’s catching on all over the country, but Andy and his wife Megan are executing the idea very, very well. I hope the powers-that-be in Indy appreciate what they’re doing, because Andy is a great ambassador for the city of Indianapolis.
The sad thing was that we were the only beer bloggers on the bus last night. Everyone else was either a local or visiting for other reasons. For some reason, the organizers of the conference had a pre-conference trip up to Chicago. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Chicago. I love the place. But really? You come to Indianapolis for the conference and then ignore — if not outright diss — the Indiana craft brewers? I fear the mentality is “oh, it’s all the Midwest. That’s what counts, right?” Yeah. It’s all just flyover country. I can hardly wait for a future conference in Asheville where the pre-conference trip will be to, oh, I don’t know, Baltimore. Remember last year when the pre-conference event was held in Seattle? Yeah, neither do I.
That aside, I’m looking forward to the conference and getting a chance to talk to folks who share the same passion we do. Garrett Oliver and Randy Mosher are both giving keynotes and the sessions look interesting. We’ll be posting stuff here all weekend and undoubtedly putting stuff on our Twitter feed with the conference hashtag #beerbloggers. We haven’t met up with him yet, but Tom Aguero is here from Queen City Drinks, so Cincinnati has it covered.