Editor's Note, September 2014: Beer!
As I write this, I am sipping from a frosty weizen glass of Grapefruit Jungle IPA, Sun King’s much-sought-after, citrus-tinged summer offering. The tall, curvy weizens, I’ve learned, best hold wheat beer, technically—something about trapping yeast. They were mainly just cool-looking wedding presents until I discovered that their height makes them perfect for holding the entire contents of a 16-ounce Sun King can, if you pour really slowly so that the head doesn’t overflow.
These are important findings when your house sits within a half-mile of the downtown brewery. In fact, I live within a 10-minute walk of three such craft establishments, including one that made our Best New Breweries list. This is an embarrassment of riches, especially after living in states that, at the time, boasted little beer beyond Bud. Back then, I admit, I knew nothing of weizens or IPAs. I was more apt to order a pinot noir.
Then I moved here, a state with more than 90 breweries—many of them actually good. Now, when I go out to eat, I can’t resist trying another local choice on tap, most lately Tow Yard’s potent Emerald Circle, instead of a cocktail. It turns out this proliferation of pints is foaming over nationwide, as Adam Wren’s excellent essay in this issue documents. Still, every time a national ranking of beer towns comes out and Indy is left off the list, I’m more convinced than ever we’re the Rodney Dangerfield of brewing—we don’t get no respect!
Maybe it’s because we’re not a sexy choice. We’ll likely never catch up to the “Beervana” of Portland, Oregon. We don’t have the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, which NPR called the “Napa Valley of beer” with its 18 breweries (begrudgingly, a great number considering its size). A Travel & Leisure list from last year made no mention of Indy in its top 20 but managed to honor Baltimore.
I wonder if Carmel’s Mayor Brainard would let us borrow his New York public-relations firm to spread the word about our growing beer scene. After all, new breweries are almost as prevalent in the suburbs—Carmel has Union Brewing; Avon has Cutters Brewing. In the meantime, we’re happy to sing Indy’s praises, sipping suds to determine which new brews are worthwhile. So, a toast: May all your work be as pleasurable as ours was in researching this issue. And if you’d like to join in the fun, hop over to our 99 Battles of Beer bracket challenge, to weigh in on the best pint in the region. Cheers!
Amanda Heckert is the editor-in-chief of Indianapolis Monthly.