indy - omg, lacking
i'm visiting indianapolis from FL and i am expecting beer nirvana.
so far, i'm disappointed.
all the liquor stores i've visited have local indy beers at $10 a six. and they're limited and awkward selections of local beers.
i've visited several retail stores in the NW indy area.
plus, not one bar in the NW indy area nor the downtown area that i visited (ex dicks - see blw) features local beer on tap.
i found one place downtown (dicks bbq) that showcased local beer.
i peruse the local grocery stores (kroger,marsh, trader joes) and not one of them features a nice selection of local beer.
i'm so disappointed - reminds me of FL.
update -- a couple of positive highlights - we made a side trip into noblesville and visited barley island brewing company, and we loved it. their cask bourbon oatmeal stout was REALLY nice (my favorite of the whole trip), and i also enjoyed the "sheet metal". we couldn't try them all as we were driving, but i would have loved to.
i also liked their bottled 'dirty helen' and that's actually what i drank during the F1 race (smuggled 5 in using an empty cardboard Trader Joe's iced tea carton)
overall, barley island was such a neat little place and their food was good - had my first tenderloin there and quite liked it, i'll have to post pics like the tenderloin porn guy ;0))
we also liked the couple of beers we had one evening at RAM (their brown and their hefe - i like the brown better) and i really liked the warbird red we had on tap at dick's bbq. i wasn't so impressed with the goose island 312 (tap dicks bbq), but i liked the GI brown in the bottle. oberon wasn't as good as i remember it to be -- maybe because my tastes are changing?
alcatraz was NOT GOOD. we had the sampler and tried them all, the only ones that came close to being something i'd order regularly were the brown and the pale ale.
brugges only had two beers, the black and the saison. we tried them both and they were good but just a bit tart for me. the frites were awesome - only i had to feed half to the ducks. (too full)
it's just so disappointing to go to a city where you know great beers are within easy access (particularly lots of LOCAL ones) and not be able to find them easily. probably if i had been able to get to some of the bigger retail stores (like those mentioned on beeradvocate and ratebeer) i'd have had better luck. (for retail i visited a crown, a victory, and a united something or other liquor stores, kroger - marsh and TJs for groceries.)
some of the retail stores had a few of the local offerings, but no one seemed to have most of any of the local brews. the place with the best selection that i visited (victory) was $10 per six -- i noted barley island sells theirs at $8 at the brewery. we were leaving-flying-the next day so i couldn't buy any)
three floyds robert the bruce was awesome (bottled) alas, i never tried the alpha king even though that was readily available in several of the stores, and the fact that i couldn't find ANY of this brewery's beers on tap was one of my biggest disappointments -- i was really looking forward to trying their saison as rec'd by someone here and the gumball head on tap.
(we didn't have it in our itinerary to make a trip to their brewery, unfortunately)
i did visit oaken barrel the last time we were in indy and enjoyed it very much, but this trip i didn't have any side time for myself other than for quick shopping trips around our hotel.
i'm not sure why some cities don't try harder to feature their local beers - i remember not being able to find dunedin brewery's beers in 2-3 stores *in dunedin* a few years ago (large grocery and small liquor store)
we had fun at the race (TOO HOT even for a floridian!) and if the F1 folks don't want to keep it at indy, i hope they move it here to FL cause i hate to fly!!!!!
another big disappointment was not being able to visit chumleys or macnivens or rathskellar's beer garden because they're only 21+ and we have a child. ( it's not like we go get hammered and drive around, we try a beer, maybe two - and eat ) the bartender at barley island explained that it's more of a smoking thing (places that allow smoking all over have to be 21+)
i say just be like FL and ban smoking wherever food is served - the smokers can walk their lazy arses outside. (including mrhitachino)
I'm with you on a number of points. Local breweries really need to work to promote themselves. It's almost like they just sort of hope the local stores and bars will carry their stuff. I have afriend who is a brewmaster and I understand that there are lots of laws in place that make distribution difficult, but there are ways to make it happen!
And as to smoking, I live part time in CA and part time in VA. Talk about a polar opposites! You can't smoke anywhere indoors in CA, even places that don;t serve food. In VA, bars must serve food in order to be able to serve alcohol, and most of them allow smoking. Smoke outside, dammit! I did when I was a smoker.
*"I'm with you on a number of points. Local breweries really need to work to promote themselves. It's almost like they just sort of hope the local stores and bars will carry their stuff. I have afriend who is a brewmaster and I understand that there are lots of laws in place that make distribution difficult, but there are ways to make it happen!"*
yes, i suppose marketing is a bit of the problem - but it seems to me that the distribution dilemma is probably more the problem.
self marketing vs. competing with existing distr. contracts (those things that are part of the beer distr. problem) some people who post here definitely seem to have some insight into how beer distribution works.
i don't have that gift, or curse as the case may be. ;0)
why IS beer distr. different from wine distr.??!!
all i know is that people who really enjoy different beers in the same way that some folks enjoy different wines or spirits are losing out.
i'm not sure why.
marketing, politics.....or sheer....what?!?
Distributors are definitely more likely to market the bigger, better known brands. So, unfortunately, it is up to the little guy to market himself. If a small microbrewer (or his representative) makes a point to visit various retailers and bars, giving the management samples and touting the "local helps local" ideal, the managers are much more likely to ask the distributors for the product. The distributors will then oblige.
you can have the F1 in Florida as far as I'm concerned..... I say "Formula One don't let the door hit you on the way out!" the rudest bunch of people I've ever had to deal with - the F1 corporate folks that is - and I've dealt with them since they hit American soil.
They think our beer is "bilgewater" (their words not mine).
So, good luck getting the F1 in Florida but I have a feeling it will either stay here or you'll have to fly to Vegas.
maybe when they say bilgewater they're referring to the macrobrews?
yes, i've heard that bernie et al are rather obnoxious -- even most F1 fans can't stand the guy and his egomaniacal grip on the sport. i saw him in an interview in indy when being asked about whether they'd be back and he said that tony and the city don't show enough support, ie there are indy 500 banners/decorations all over town instead of F1 stuff.
i have to admit he's right -- just comparing indy to montreal, there is a huge difference.
in montreal they set up street tents and have vendors all over the place and parties galore for F1 week, all week long.
in indy, they have the ferrari gathering on one night - no special F1 vendors or parties anyplace that i could find.
in my experience the fans of F1 and AMLS are pretty cool - and they love to party and spend money to support their favorite cars/drivers!
i like this guy's take on the issue of the future of F1 in the US (all about the money, honey)
If it makes you feel any better, TJ's doesn't really feature a decent selection of good, local craft beer in MA, either. The only worthwhile thing we carry in 6-packs is Smuttynose (and Magic Hat, which is debatable). We have a couple interesting regional choices for Belgian-style beers—two Ommegang selections and Allagash White—but these are off the radar for most of our customers. The situation's not helped by the fact that our buyers are far more focused on finding a good deal on some cheap, terrifyingly bad, unknown wine than bringing in beer that might appeal to savvy consumers. Oh, and based on what I've read in our weekly product updates (and their decision to name our spring seasonal, a "German-style pilsner," Hopfest), they know fuck all about beer. ;-)