Well, I'm back from the Blue Chip Brew Fest and I figured I'd give a little recap of the event. We had a great time at the tasting which was well organized and well attended. The organizers assembled a nice array of local, national and international breweries who brought beers running the full spectrum of styles. The Belgian breweries were in full force and the local Indiana brew scene was also well represented. The four hour tasting was only $35, far more reasonable than the tastings I've seen in the city.
I made it a point to give the Belgian styles a try. As a hop-head, I haven't given them a fair chance in the past, though I have been branching out to include them more recently. The stronger, darker styles, like the Tripels and even Quadrupels, have been my entry point into the world of Belgian beers, though I was surprised to find myself enjoying the lighter farmhouse and white styles just as much. Perhaps my previous assumptions were wrong, or maybe I wasn't drinking good representatives of the style.
My favorites on the day were the Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale — a very understated and drinkable sour, the Duvel Tripel Hop — truly a hop lover's Tripel, and the Gulden Draak Belgian Strong Dark Ale — which from now on will be my reference point when judging the style. I'm a little surprised at myself that my three "winners" on the night were European. I guess tastes change.
But that's not to discount the Americans. Two local Indiana breweries had the strongest showing overall, in my opinion. They both brought a large selection of their beers and each of them that I tried were well-crafted, easy drinking beers on par with any larger scale craft brewer in the country. I commend Flat 12 Bierwerks from Indianapolis, IN and Iechyd Da Brewing Company from Elkhart, IN for their solid showing.
Overall, the tasting was a great evening and I didn't even end up hung over. My next project is to try each of the beers that caught my attention while sober and see if they hold up!