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Crown Brewing, Crown Pointe, IN

Crown Brewing.

One of the many nice things about so many new breweries popping up, is if you decide to head out of town to check one out, you can usually find one or two more not too far away to make your trip that much more advantageous.  Since I tend to plan my out of town adventures just that way, on my recent trip to visit Three Floyds, I decided to check out Crown Brewing on the way back. 

 I was familiar with them through their one beer, Crown Brown, which had been on tap locally for a short time and was pretty well done. I wanted to check out more!

 The first impression of the bar at Crown was it was very cozy.  There is a nice display of their swag as soon as you walk in the door and a large chalkboard, which tells you which of the standards and specialty beers they currently have on tap. The bar isn’t overly large but very comfortable. A light made out of dozens of beer bottles carries most of the illumination duties, and casts a nice warm glow adding to the intimate ambiance.  In addition to the small bar, there is a very large family room that appears to be a local favorite hangout. There is also a good-sized outdoor patio that was beautiful when I was there this fall, and quite busy.

 The bartender immediately greeted us with a friendly hello, which is always the first step in winning me over. Despite serving the bar and the patio, she was very attentive and helpful in choosing beers. Staff is so key, I simply cannot stress that enough. I was extremely pleased with the service. 

 I decided to start off with a flight. I always find it interesting how different bars/breweries present their flights. Some are very creative, some resourceful, some with very little attention or presentation. Crown uses a simple tray with a laminate wipe off sheet to write the different beers. I really liked this! It made it easier for me to keep track and I liked that there wasn’t added waste of paper that gets thrown away.  Their flight was 6, 3 oz. pours.  I went with the IPA, Imperial Red, Saison, De Railer, Java Porter and Cream Ale.  I went with both styles I have a high bar for (Saison, Java Porter) and styles I’m more ambivalent about.  (Imperial Red, Cream Ale).

 I’ll start with the Saison. I’ve had some really top notch Saisons and they are one of my favorite styles.  My favorite is Saison Dupont, the flagship beer for Dupont Brewery in Tourpes, Belgium.  Saisons were originally brewed as a summer ale, with a much lower ABV than current styles (more likely in the low 3% range). Typically referred to as Farm House ales, these were often brewed in the fall and winter by farm hands as a way to keep them employed through the slower winter months, and in the summer months the beer was used in the field to keep the farm hands hydrated. A safer alternative, due to lack of potable water.

 The Americanized version tends to have a higher ABV (typically 7-10%) and are brewed with a more fruit and spice influence.  One of the best out there is Tank 7 by Boulevard Brewing.

Crowns version of the Saison was not bad. It wasn’t terrific either. Drinkable but without any kind of wow factor.

As I went through the rest of the beers, I kind of had the same feeling. They were all pretty good, none of them made me say “oh wow, now that is amazing”.  The Java Porter was probably my favorite and to me, the beer that was the most true to style and well crafted.

 That being said, one of the most interesting things to me is the sheer variety of beers Crown is brewing. If you follow them on FB they are really good about posting when a new beer is being released and a lot of them sound really intriguing.  Currently (based on their FB feed), they have a Pecan Pie Java Porter, a Milk Chocolate stout (which I’m assuming is different than a Milk Stout) and a Marshmallow Cream Java Porter.  I have to give some props to breweries that are willing to extensively experiment and offer beers that you simply aren’t going to find in a package store.  The counter to that is weather or not they are giving themselves the time to refine their beers. This is a line of thinking that gets talked about a lot. Brewing quantity of beers over a handful of beers really, really, really well. Some breweries do it well (Thinking of Drangonsmead in Detroit that brews close to 50 beers on site and they are all pretty amazing) and some are still refining the process. 

 Either way, I would definitely go to Crown again. I’d really like to go NOW after reading the new beers they have on tap.

 To me, one of the most important things to keep in mind, is that supporting your local brewer is important. Some are going to have outstanding beers. Some are going to have good beers.  Some are going to occasionally put out something less than perfect. But they are ALL better than a majority of what the macro producers are producing.  And you are supporting local business. So get out there, and explore what is available!

 

Crown Brewing

211 South East Street

Crown Point, IN  46307

http://www.crownbrewing.com

 

 

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Nitro!

One of the things I love about craft beer, is it is always changing and evolving. I’m always constantly learning! I knew a little about Nitro and how it affect beer. But I had a hard time when pressed, to explain it well. I love CraftBeer.com, they do such great work. Here is a link to one of their articles that I found very informative! Enjoy!!

 

Good Beer Gas: Nitro Beers Explained

Acme Bar

The Acme Bar is one of those charming Fort Wayne landmarks that still embody the charm of the local watering hole, while being a friendly family restaurant. After it’s brief closing in 2009, it underwent some updating. Without losing any of its charm, it quickly reclaimed it’s ‘local favorites’ status.  

 

I was thrilled to see them introduce craft beer to their establishment. I don’t get over that way as often as I’d like, but I knew they carried a pretty extensive bottle list. Recently I headed over to see how it rated, for a beer snob like myself.

 

The bottle menu contained roughly 85 craft bottled beers to chose from and a handful of macro imports and ciders. That’s a pretty impressive selection!  After a selecting a few they were out of, I decided to start with the Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat. Wheat’s are a good beer to start off with as they aren’t over-powering and won’t kill my taste buds like an IPA might. After the first sip I knew something was very wrong. I’ve had this beer before and it’s excellent. The bottle was dated and past its serve by date. I love brewers who date their bottles, and for this very reason. My drinking companion pointed this out to the bartender and she very apologetically took away the beer.  Mistakes happen and don’t particularly bother me when it’s handled well.

 

The next beer I tried was the Four Barrel Brown by Triton Brewing Co. When I see Barrel I automatically think Bourbon Barrel so my first sip was a bit of confusion . . .. my brain is thinking “man, if there is supposed to be a Bourbon taste it is REALLY subtle!” Well it’s a Four Barrel, not a Bourbon Barrel so I had to get my brain on another track. Once I readjusted I was able to take in the subtlety of the beer. It’s a nice well-balanced brown. Hints of malt, caramel. Not very dense, and a little on the watery side for my taste but I tend to gravitate towards really densely flavored beers. This is a 2013 gold medal winner of the Indiana Beer Cup, I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you like browns. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow my doors off. The server brought me a small 8 oz. glass to pour it in, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. Not necessarily the worst way to serve a beer but I do prefer a proper pint glass.

 

Next up was the Sin-Bin Belgian Pale Ale, also by Triton. This beer is the official craft beer of the Indiana Ice, with Sin-Bin being a nod to the penalty box. I had no idea about any of that, but found their website very helpful.  I really want to LOVE Belgian Pale Ales. Belgian style beers are my favorite, but pale ales are my least favorite. Combine the two and my heart and taste buds are confused. The smell is all pale ale, and I LOVE the smell of pale ales and can at least appreciate one well done. This one seemed well balanced and not too over the top as some hoppy beers taste to me.  I did request a room temperature pint glass for this beer, and the bartender was accommodating and friendly which I appreciated.

 

The last beer of the night was my standby, ‘I-know-its-going-to –be-so delicious –so-how-can-I-pass-it-up’ beer. The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. We specifically requested the snifter glasses and split the bottle between two of us since this beer carries a higher ABV of 8.1. The first time I had this beer, I was in Kentucky for work and my client recommended it. There isn’t anything this beer is lacking. The nose is all soft bourbon with vanilla and oak. The taste is smooth and silky with a hint of bourbon flavor and a caramel back.  This beer is better as it warms and I strongly recommend letting it sit for 5-10 minutes if its pulled from a very cold cooler, as this one was. It was the perfect beer to end our evening.

 

Overall, the Acme is a great place to go for people who want to try different craft beers. The selection is indeed impressive. As someone who is really obnoxious about beer . . I would like to see all beers served in the proper glass all of the time. I’d like them to never be out of a beer I would like to try and I would like to never have a bad beer sit in a beer cooler. But we don’t live in a perfect world and the friendly staff more than makes up for any shortcomings.  I would not hesitate to recommend the Acme to someone looking to expand his or her beer knowledge. Though I might go with them to make sure they are putting the beer in the proper glass. Man, that really bugs me.

 

 

Belgian Style Beers – Info.

Last night I had a customer ask me a question I could not answer. He wanted to know if all Belgian styles used Coriander.  My gut response was that Coriander is used pretty heavily in American Style Belgian Beers. But that authentic Belgian styles are less heavy handed with the spice. I think my gut check was right, and wrong. Attached is an article that I found to be extremely helpful in breaking down some facts and myths of Belgian Styles Beers. Since this IS my favorite style, I found it very helpful and enlightening. Enjoy!

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Menuism/belgian-beer_b_1166350.html  

Andrew.

Andrew gets to be my first reader. Because Andrew was the second person to know about this blog.

Andrew likes IPA’s and has keys to lots of houses. Andrew travels for a living driving a very yellow van. Which is actually the color of a lot of IPA’s so it kind of fits. Rogue Brewing has a beer called Yellow Snow, which is an IPA. So look. there you go. a tie in.

Andrew also ate yellow cheese at the bar but I licked every single chip before he dipped,  so its like we know each other better than if I had only poured him beers and brought him fried beans.

Andrew is still at the bar but I am home posting my first post and he may or may not read this. But at least I have my first post. So there you go.

I’m drinking a vintage KBS from Founders and it is amazing and better than any double IPA Andrew drank tonight. How do I know this? Because I’m an asshole about beer, thats how.

Hey Andrew. Nice meeting you. I hope you enjoyed your night at Trion and made it home safely. And I hope you found this.

Most very sincerely,

Heather. Beer Asshole.