Indy Eleven Hosting Craft Brew Night at Aug. 23 Match; Get Your Tickets Now!

Indy Eleven will host “Craft Brew Night” (presented by Kroger) on Saturday, Aug. 23 at Carroll Stadium 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. prior to the match vs. Ottawa Fury FC.

The event, dubbed “The World’s Game, Indiana’s Beer,” will feature offerings from many of the state’s top craft brewers. On hand will be:

  • Barley Island (Noblesville)
  • Carson’s Brewery (Evansville)
  • Chapmans (Angola)
  • Cutters (Avon)
  • Daredevil (Shelbyville)
  • Flat 12 (Indianapolis)
  • Fountain Square (Indianapolis)
  • Oaken Barrel (Greenwood)
  • People’s Brewing (Lafayette)
  • Quaff On (Nashville)
  • Scarlet Lane (McCordsville)
  • Sun King (Indianapolis)
  • Taxman (Bargersville)
  • Tow Yard (Indianapolis)
  • Tin Man (Evansville)
  • Triton (Indianapolis)
  • Upland (Bloomington)

A highlight of the evening’s festivities will include Flat 12 Bierwerks’ unveiling of the name and logo for their new English Pale Ale, created in honor of Indy Eleven and the team’s independent supporters group, the Brickyard Battalion. Fans are encouraged to visit Flat 12 Bierwerks’ blog to see the five name and logo pairings for this delicious new addition to the Indy Eleven corporate partner’s stable of beers.

A limited number of tickets will be available for this Craft Brew Night event, so fans interested in securing their spots can go online to purchase their $25 game/tasting ticket combo pack or $11 Craft Brew tasting event passes or call (317) 685-1100 during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Fans should also be on the lookout for contest offerings surrounding Craft Brew Night on Indy Eleven’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels and Reddit throughout this week, including free ticket packages and Indy Eleven merchandise.

Beer Market: Hoosier Beer Climate Continues Upswing

Business Insider recently posted a list of what’s been designated as the 20 best beers in the world. Check it out and see which one’s you’ve had — and need to try.

We’re also happy to say that Munster-based Three Floyds Brewing has two on the list. In fact, the top two beers in the world are mentioned in an anecdote from Indiana: One Pint at a Time author Douglas Wissing in an article I wrote for BizVoice last year about Indiana brewing, “Taste of Success: Local Craft Brewers Building an Industry.”

For more on the state of the industry in Indiana, see this Inside INdiana Business interview and accompanying article with Sun King Brewing founder Clay Robinson and Barnaby Struve of Three Floyds Brewing.

Holiday Cheers: Conner Prairie Introduces Dec. 12 Event for Adults

Get into the holiday spirit at Conner Prairie’s brand-new, adults-only event, “Holiday Cheers,” presented by the Conner Prairie Horizon Council, the organization’s young professionals group.

Holiday Cheers offers an elegant evening of hors d’oeuvres, wine and craft beer. After enjoying food and drinks, guests will be invited to take an evening candlelit stroll through 1836 Prairietown to experience how various holidays were celebrated in the past.

Savor food from Bistro 226, wines from Douglas Hills, craft beer from Sun King and outside, a sampling of sausage from Smoking Goose, all while networking and enjoying the company of other guests.

Holiday Cheers runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12. The outdoor candlelit experience is open from 6:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Visitors can sample beer from Union Brewing Company, participate in sausage-making demonstrations from 1836, live it up during the party at the Campbell home, and discover the different cultures and traditions of holiday cheer in the 19th century.

Back inside, guests can explore Conner Prairie’s Create.Connect exhibit that features hands-on, interactive fun for all ages centered on electricity, motion and energy. Guests will also enjoy strolling through Gingerbread Village as they marvel at the gingerbread creations from professionals and novices alike.

To memorialize the experience, a free photo booth – complete with props and festive costumes – will bring friends, old and new, together in laughter.

Canned Food Drive
Bring a canned good or non-perishable food item to be entered into a raffle contest to win a two tickets to Conner Prairie’s Hearthside Suppers. Hearthside Suppers offers guests the unique opportunity to help make and enjoy a multiple-course 19th-century meal. The prize is worth more than $120. All proceeds from the canned food drive will benefit Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank, Inc.

How to Participate
Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased online. Tickets will also be available at the door but space is limited, so purchase your tickets in advance. For more information, call (317) 776-6006, email [email protected], visit connerprairie.org, like Conner Prairie and the Horizon Council on Facebook or follow on Twitter @ConnerPrairie with hashtag #HolidayCheersCP.

Beer Lovers: Conner Prairie’s History on Tap Back for Another Year

Conner Prairie’s Horizon Council (the interactive history park's young professionals group, of which I am a proud member) will host its second annual History on Tap craft beer event on Friday, May 31. Comments from attendees last year were extremely positive, and we're able to grow the event this year, as well. However, tickets will be capped at 500, so you'll want to buy early — and take advantage of the early bird pricing.

History on Tap 2013 will include:

  • Beer samples from 11 Hoosier breweries
  • A panel discussion: "Brewer Innovation: A Taste of the Past, Present & Future"
  • Craft brewing demonstration by Tuxedo Park Brewers, featuring a "Replicale"
  • An evening adventure through 1836 Prairietown
  • Food available at an additional cost for general admission tickets, included for VIP tickets
  • Discounted rate for the 1859 Balloon Voyage (weather permitting)

“We are proud to partner with Conner Prairie and award-winning, local breweries to present this signature event,” explains Robby Slaughter, Horizon Council president. “History on Tap is designed to provide an interactive experience that celebrates the rich heritage of craft beer making in Indiana and to engage a new demographic of visitors by giving them a taste of what Conner Prairie has to offer.”

Order your tickets now!

INDYCOG, Sun King Partner Up for Safety

Who here likes cycling? Great. Now, who likes local beer? Neat! I’m seeing a lot of the same hands. Then you should be enthused about this partnership between INDYCOG (Indianapolis’ bicycle advocacy group) and Sun King Brewing:

INDYCOG is partnering with Sun King Brewing Company to deliver a message of mutual respect on our roadways. The Coaster Safety messaging, which is part of an overall campaign known as Riders in the Know, consists of six messages: three focused on motorists and three on cyclists. These messages are designed to educate and mitigate conflict on our roadways. Sun King will be printing these messages on 20,000 drink coasters that they will distribute to bars and restaurants in the Indianapolis area who carry their product. The first two messages began circulating in early September, while the other four messages will be released with other local breweries over the fall and winter months.

“Sun King is focused on making our community a better place to live and work. We love working with INDYCOG to spread the word about bicycle advocacy and this coaster project is a great way to get the word about bicycle safety out all over Indy,’ said Clay Robinson, brewer/co-owner of Sun King Brewing Company.

“While crashes between bicycles and automobiles are not common (17% of all bicycle crashes), we would like to reduce that number to zero. We feel by concentrating our messaging on 6 of the most common causes for collisions between these two groups, we can contribute to working towards that goal,” said Kevin Whited, executive director, INDYCOG.

For more information on the Riders in the Know project or other information on bicycle safety, please visit INDYCOG online at www.theindycog.com.

Brewers Guild President Pushes for Lower Taxes for Small Breweries

If you’re like me, you love beer. And you love beer made in Indiana the most. When I spoke with folks like Sun King founder Clay Robinson for this BizVoice article earlier this year, it became clear that local breweries were challenged with meeting the skyrocketing local demand for their product. Great news for the brewing industry, but it means obstacles must be removed. Brewers of Indiana Guild President Ted Miller is now in Washington, D.C., working to remove one of those barriers:

The president of the Brewers of Indiana Guild is in Washington, D.C. lobbying for a bill that would reduce excise taxes for Indiana’s growing small brewing industry. Ted Miller says the proposal, which would cut per-barrel taxes in half up to 60,000 barrels, would give beer makers more capital to upgrade facilities and create jobs. The bill is currently in committee, but Miller says he’s hopeful it will pass after the November election.

The proposal would also cut excise taxes from $18 to $16 per barrel between 60,000 and 2 million barrels.

Miller says larger breweries are fighting the bill, saying it would create an uneven playing field.

He says many small brewers in Indiana "can’t make enough beer," and the tax cuts would allow them to install new equipment and hire new employees. In addition, Miller says there would be indirect job creation as breweries hire electricians and plumbers to install the equipment.

Conner Prairie History on Tap: Think While You Drink

The craft beer explosion in Indiana over the last few years has been downright euphoric for those of us who enjoy beer brewed with care. Conner Prairie’s Horizon Council (a group for young professionals — to which I belong, actually) will be putting a new spin on the movement on June 15 when it hosts "History on Tap" at Conner Prairie. 

The event will feature beers from Sun King Brewing, Bier Brewery, Upland Brewing Co. and Fountain Square Brew, among others. Additionally, Douglas Wissing, author of Indiana: One Pint at a Time, will be on hand to speak about the history of brewing in Indiana. Wissing was featured in the 2011 article in BizVoice about Indiana’s microbrew industry, "Taste of Success: Local Craft Brewers Building an Industry."

You can register for the event here.

Hoosier Park’s Indy Restaurant Allows You to Eat and Bet Like a ‘Winner’

Many downtown Indianapolis workers have likely noticed Hoosier Park’s off-track betting site moved from its Washington Street location last year. In late 2011, a new and improved version opened up at 20 N. Pennsylvania Street — and is now called Hoosier Park’s Winner’s Circle. Having heard positive reports, I took my girlfriend to the restaurant on Saturday. My prime rib was quite enjoyable and I was able to catch the end of the Ohio State/Syracuse game at the bar — which has to be one of the better sports bars in Indy (and a blocked off smoking room allows non-smoking patrons to enjoy a smoke-free experience throughout the facility).

We also placed a bet on a harness race. My only complaint on the evening was the tank job my chosen horse displayed, running out of gas with a couple lengths left and causing me to lose out on $20. That money could have ultimately sponsored my consumption of several delightful Indiana craft beers on tap, including Triton Brewing’s Deadeye Stout and Sun King’s Sunlight Cream Ale (both tremendous choices). Here’s an article from Indiana Economic Digest about Winner’s Circle’s initial opening: 

“This is truly a redefinition of an off-track betting facility,” (said Hoosier Park COO Jim Brown). “We are so proud of what we have developed in this entire facility.”

The focal point of the $3 million project, Brown said, is the pub and grille. But the raceway lounge is a “real state of the art off-track wagering area.”

“Downtown Indianapolis hosts over 18 million visitors a year,” he said. “This facility offers us a great opportunity to showcase Hoosier Park in a downtown venue.”

Brown said the facility is an upgrade from the previous Indianapolis OTB site, about two blocks from the new location, and he said amenities will include a one-of-a-kind LED bar top and video wall. The wagering lounge has been described as Las Vegas-style, and the grille is racing-themed but still accessible to non-race fans, he said. There will be 50 televisions and 50 carrels, or personal betting areas.

“There will be a touch of Hoosier Park there,” Brown said. “But there are also new and different elements. We tried to take the best of Hoosier Park and transplant it into downtown Indianapolis. It is designed for singles, couples and groups whether they are racing fans or not. Literally, there is something for everyone.”

He wants the venue to be known as the place to get everything from the best hamburger in town to the best steak. The bar, he said, will feature cocktails made from freshly squeezed juices and outstanding martinis as well as more than a dozen beers on tap.

“This is not your mom and dad’s OTB,” Brown said. “This will be a great dining, entertainment and racing venue. There is something there for everyone. We are excited and can’t wait to get the facility opened.”

Local Brews Pouring Over Minds of Hoosier Drinkers

Tom Schuman of the Indiana Chamber and BizVoice magazine interviews Ted Miller of Brugge Brasserie and the Brewers of Indiana Guild about the state of craft brewing in Indiana. Furthermore, see my story in BizVoice, based on conversations with Miller, folks from Sun King Brewing and the Lafayette Brewing Co., and others.

The Sun King & I

I had the pleasure of scribing an article on Indiana’s microbrewing industry for our upcoming January/February edition of BizVoice. One of my subjects was Sun King, an Indiana Chamber member whose recent success has been remarkable. Considering owner Clay Robinson earned his degree in Rhetoric from Wabash College (a school that actually produced quite a few of the key players in the Indiana brewing industry), it should come as no surprise that I received more valuable info than I could fit into the article. So I’d like to share his thoughts on Sun King’s beginnings here. He reflects:

Dave Colt and I started working together in 2005. We had been friends for about a decade, and saw eye to eye on beers and brewing styles. We started a discussion surrounding, “What would you do if you could open your own brewery?” I was working at a restaurant/brewery; it was a corporation and I left because of some corporate culture clashes after four years. It wasn’t the same company I’d been involved in. I was feeling like I worked for a small company that happened to be a corporation that was family run, and it turned into a different thing. It’s frustrating when someone 2,800 miles away tells you how to do your job when they come visit one day out of the year.

Dave and I talked about what we liked, loved and hated about different jobs. I was raised by an entrepreneur, so that’s in my blood. Then in 2007, we started working to put something together – actually a brewpub. It initially started with Dave, myself and a chef and restaurant manager. We were looking at a location, cost per square foot, lunch/dinner traffic – we kept hitting walls in trying to find real estate. We were planning a pub because that’s all we’d ever known. We actually met every Sunday for a year to come up with plans and after a year of not getting anywhere, I expressed my frustration. We then realized we didn’t really care about food, so we started looking at just doing beer…

I decided that to get it from the idea stage to actual fruition something extreme had to happen, because I was working 50 to 60 hours a week at a brewery and was exhausted at the end of the day. So I quit my job on a leap of faith in July 2008 and it was my goal to get Sun King off the ground, come hell or high water. I then cashed in my 401(k) as a primary investment into Sun King.

After spending two months with his girlfriend and her family in their native Alaska to clear his head, Robinson came back to Indiana and locked himself in a house for six weeks to pound out a business plan.

The key for us was determining our shortcomings. That’s a philosophy laid out in Napoleon Hill’s book, "Think and Grow Rich"; there’s a principle called the Mastermind Theory, saying if you truly want to accomplish something, you have to find people who will complement your skill set and understand your own shortcomings.

Robinson also convinced his father, Omar, to come out of retirement to help, as well as other friends with legal and financial expertise. Now, Sun King has taken American craft brewing by storm with a record-setting performance at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival and saw 850% growth in 2010, followed by over 120% growth in 2011. What’s more, Indy beer drinkers now pack the brewery’s tasting room on many afternoons, filling growlers and quenching their thirsts with samples of the latest fare.

Devoted Sun King customer Michael Pittman, a 33-year-old mechanical engineer at Rolls Royce, relays why he quenches his cravings with the local brew.

"I remember Clay telling me when it was his last week (as a brewer at his previous job) and he was opening another gig," he says. "I continued to watch the Sun King web site for an opening date."

Pittman now patronizes Sun King for a couple of reasons.

"It’s a mix between taste and supporting local (business)," he asserts. "Luckily in this case, good tasting beer and shopping local go hand-in-hand. I always try and support local businesses whenever I can … shopping local just makes sense."

He says he can be found filling up growlers at least twice a month and has recruited his peers to join him.

"Who can beat $5 growlers?," Pittman asks. "I have talked some co-workers into going with me the past couple times. They have since bought growlers, so it will probably turn into more of a social event."

Be sure to check out the current edition of BizVoice, and you can join over 15,000 readers and subscribe to the print version for free here.