I’m heading into uncharted territory this weekend with a new-to-me beer festival in Indianapolis! The 12th Annual Winterfest presented by the Brewers Guild of Indiana will be taking place this weekend at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

The festivities kick off on Friday night with the VIP and Rareties Session. Forty-five breweries will be pouring exclusive rare and specialty beers. The event runs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and should be a great time to rub elbows with craft beer enthusiasts and brewers alike.

Saturday is the main event from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. For some, it will be the first beers after Dry January and for everyone, it will be a great time to indulge. Out of the around 160 breweries in the guild, more than 90 from the Hoosier state will be on tap.

At the time of writing this post, 39 breweries had tap lists for Saturday posted on the Drink Indiana Beer website.  The following beers are in alphabetical order by brewery name with the area of the festival they are located in parentheses.

Chai Guy – Black Acre Brewing (B)

When I was reading over the beer lists, I noticed a few had descriptions and a few did not. Black Acre Brewing described Chai Guy as a “chai tea milk stout”. Not my first go to when looking for a beer to try. After I gave it more thought, it actually sounded perfect and I think it will probably taste just like a chai tea latte if it is creamy yet spicy. If you’re adventurous, this one should be near the top of your list.

Tawny Hero – Broad Ripple Brewpub (B)

The Tawny Hero is Broad Ripple’s Dark Hero, a dark java milk stout, that has been aged in a tawny port barrel. Sounds like it’s going to be complex as hell. Using port barrels to barrel-age beer needs to be more of a regular thing. As Indiana’s OG brewery, I’m appreciative of the innovative approach Broad Ripple Brewpub has towards its beers.

Rare Eagle White Stout – Byway Brewing Co. (B)

I feel like white stouts are going to become a trendy style over the next few years. While they may look like light beers with their golden almost see-through appearance, white stouts can pack a hefty punch. Byway Brewing Co‘s offering, Rare Eagle White Stout, was one of two on the current list. If you haven’t given white stouts, a try check out what Byway is brewing!

R.I.O.S. – Chapman’s Brewing Company (A)

Winterfest beers no matter the location should be rich, strong, and boozy. The Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Chapman’s Brewing Company fits the bill and promises to keep us warm as we try to taste them all this weekend, especially with the 9.5% ABV.

Circle City American Lager – Ellison Brewing Co (B)

Hats off to new-to-Indianapolis brewery, Ellison Brewing Co. for creating a tribute beer to their new home. “Circle City” is one of Indianapolis’s nicknames for the circular nature of the main streets meeting up in the city. Ellison has solid beers, so Circle City American Lager is going be a good “break beer” in between all of the potent stouts at the winter festival.

Sour Bourbon Barrel Dorian with Strawberry Stout – Scarlet Lane Brewing Company

This beer’s name has everything but the kitchen sink. The Dorian Oatmeal Stout is Scarlet Lane Brewing Company‘s flagship beer. Scarlet Lane likes to make a change this beer up quite frequently and this one looks promising with its sour, bourbon barrel-aged, and strawberry infused into the strong robust stout.

Foggy Loggy Lager – Shoreline Brewery (C)

If you like historical beers, you need to check out the Foggy Loggy Lager from Shoreline Brewery out of Michigan City. This malty lager is based on the beer brewed for Prince Ludwig’s wedding ceremony to Therese in 1810. This marriage ended up being the first-ever Oktoberfest! Get an early start on the 210th anniversary of the fall celebration!

Teddy Bear Kisses – Upland Brewing Co. (D)

Ever since visiting Indy last fall and spending time at one of the Upland Brewing Co. taprooms, I have been on the lookout for their beers in Michigan. One of the beers at the top of my list to check out is Teddy Bear Kisses, a thick Russian Imperial Stout that’s sure to keep us warm.

Asuh Dude – Windmill Brewing (C)

I see you, Windmill Brewing! Bringing back my favorite Vine in beer form! This DDH IPA promises dank, tropical flavors that I hope will have everyone doing their best impressions of Nick Colleti and the boys!

Bacon Beer – ZwanzigZ Brewing (C)

Bacon + Beer. Will it be an amazing combination?! We’ll have to see this weekend with ZwanzigZ Brewing‘s Bacon Beer. According to ZwanzigZ, the brewers used over ONE POUND of bacon making it meaty and flavorful. It’s similar to a rauchbier but not as smoky. Can’t wait to give it a try!

I cannot wait to explore Winterfest from the Brewers of Indiana Guild and see if Indiana is just as passionate about craft beer as Michigan. Tickets are still available for purchase, so grab them while you can and I’ll see you down in Indy!


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By Ed Norton

Edwin "Ed" Norton was first introduced to craft beer when his designated fraternity Big Brother Vince asked him if he knew anything about the topic. Ed admitted his ignorance and the rest is history as Ed and Vince would split six-packs of craft beers each week during Ed's probationary status. Ed is now a craft beer enthusiast who is always on the lookout for a beer he has not tried when bottle shopping or drinking at breweries and bars. In addition to drinking beer, this livelong Michigan resident enjoys a bunch of hobbies that he doubts you really care about, other than drinking beer and sounding off about it.

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