I am back from Indiana! Through my travels, I found Indiana to be an excellent state with an excellent Winter Beer Festival. The weather cooperated for the drive there and back and, also, for the day of the festival.

Michiganders are spoiled when it comes to beer festivals because our beer is bountiful, good quality, and on the cutting edge of beer trends.

“Not so fast, my friend” Lee Corso, former Indiana University football coach and College Gameday analyst, would say. Indiana has a lot of good going for it at beer festivals, such as Lyft promo codes, heated indoor facilities for the winter festival, and UNLIMITED SAMPLES.

Winterfest was sponsored by the Indiana Guild of Brewers and kicked off on Friday, January 31 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm with the VIP and Rareties Session. Saturday’s main event took place from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Indiana State Fairgrounds north of Indianapolis. There were around 5,000 festival attendees on Saturday. The indoor facility on the fairgrounds was just the right size for the number of breweries and sponsors.

One in the group is already astray!

Beer festivals are always fun for people watching purposes, especially as the day/night goes on. A trend that caught my eye from the beginning when I was standing in line was the number of people with helium balloons tied to them. Groups of specific color stars, a pool of sharks, and emoji balloons high in the sky were used to notify group members of each other’s whereabouts. Only in Indiana…

A benefit to the unlimited samples was that I attempted to try all of the beers I recommended on The List – 10 Beers You Want to Try at the Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest (2020). Most of the beers were readily available at the brewery’s booths. Two breweries had the beers I suggested as their “second-wave-beers”, so I encouraged as many people as possible to drink up Black Acre Brewing Company‘s and Upland Brewing Co‘s beers, so I could try the Chai Guy and Teddy Bear Kisses, respectively. The only one I was unable to try was ZwanzigZ‘s Bacon Beer, which was out in less than an hour!

Check out the beers that made my winners list! The following beers are in order from brewery name.

Edison IPA – 2Toms Brewing Co. – Fort Wayne

Everyone kept saying that “everything at 2Toms is good” and to go try them out. I did so and grabbed a few of their beers and was pleased. The Edison IPA was my favorite from the bunch because of its tropical flavor. The New England IPA was hazy and juicy, and I was able to pick out notes of melon and mango.

SLUSHY XL Bottle Poppin’ – 450 North Brewing Company – Columbus

I’ve been on the lookout for 450 North beer for a while now but was apprehensive to get into the line because of the ABV drama at the end of 2019. With faith in the brewery’s recent word and transparency, I was willing to give them a try. I quickly learned that 450 North Brewing Company is making tasty beers. SLUSHY XL Bottle Poppin’ was a mouthful of bursting fruity flavor with a touch of tartness.

Vanilla Bean Milk Stout – Cedar Creek Brewing Company – Martinsville

This milk stout was tremendous. I learned that it is a variant of the Milk Stout from Cedar Creek Brewing Company, but with vanilla bean puree. The puree made the vanilla bean become a potent partner in the beer’s make up. I went back for another sample of the Vanilla Bean Milk Stout as I wanted to enjoy every single drop.

Big Black Stout – Ellison Brewing Co. – Indianapolis

I was unable to attend Friday night’s session to be able to sample Ellison Brewery + Spirits’ Four Horsemen, but another one of their beers caught my attention on Saturday, Big Black Stout.

It. Was. Delicious.

Big, bold chocolate flavor throughout the sip, along with a roasty aftertaste that, I can only imagine, would pair well with barrels for aging. This beer was robust and strong.

Farmer’s Daughter Wheat Ale – People’s Brewing Company – Lafayette

Farmer’s Daughter Wheat Ale was a crisp wheat ale with a touch of hops that gave it a unique spin on an American Pale Wheat beer. I liked it though and went back for more from People’s Brewing Company. It was an easy-drinking beer that gave me somewhat of a break in between barrel-aged beers, strong stouts, and a combination of the two.

Overall, the 12th Annual Winterfest was a blast! I’m looking forward to returning to Indiana soon to check out more of their beer and breweries and attend more festivals!


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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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