Don’t dodge this draft

I realize it seems I’m writing about nothing but beer lately, but hey, that’s what’s going on here in Indianapolis at the moment! Our fair city seems to be in the midst of a microbrewery boom, so I figure it’s only prudent for me as a freelance food writer to keep on top of the trends, n’est pas?

Last night, hubby and I checked out the brand spanking new Triton Brewing Company on the grounds of Fort Benjamin Harrison, a former military post on the northeast side of town. Named for the Greek god of water and housed in a renovated circa-1920s mule barn, Triton’s got it going on when it comes to curb appeal.

Triton Brewing Company from the approach

Although technically it makes its home in an old barn, the inside is uber modern, sophisticated and sparkling clean with high beamed ceilings, dark wood and shiny brewing apparatus visible through the windows into the room where all the magic happens. This is perhaps the nicest tasting room I’ve seen in town, and easily passes as a full-fledged bar. One small complaint, though — with a few televisions mounted around the room, a decent crowd of people and fairly loud music playing, it’s a little on the noisy side in here.

Inside the Triton tasting room

Triton doesn’t do the traditional beer tastings I’ve seen elsewhere where you stand in line at pouring counters to get a little swig in a plastic cup. Here, you get actual table service. If you want a taste of something, they’ll bring it to you in a small honest-to-God glass tumbler. This process takes a little longer, of course, but that’s ok.

This snazzy microbrewery has only been open for a couple of weeks, so there were only three Triton beers available for tasting last night. Inventory will increase as time goes on, of course. In the meantime, the menu also offers a handful of guest taps to round out the mix, as well as samples from New Day Meadery in Fountain Square.

You can get pints of anything on the menu for $5 – $6 a pop, but we decided to do a beer flight – six 5-oz. pours of the various brews for $9. The flights are served in those same glass tumblers on slotted wooden cutting boards. Top marks for presentation.

Beer flight at Triton

Of the Triton beers we sampled, I enjoyed the mellow, toasty, caramel-y Four Barrel Brown the best, with the Fieldhouse Wheat coming in a close second. Through trial and error over the past year or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not really an amber fan, nor do I care much for IPAs. Browns, wheats and the occasional stouts are much more my speed.

In addition to the three Triton offerings, we filled out our flight with pours of Rivertown Helles Lager from Cincinnati and Oktoberfest from Sun King — both light, refreshing and highly drinkable. The Triton root beer was the only sample of the six that we didn’t really care for. The flavor was a little bland and it wasn’t fizzy at all. More carbonation definitely would have helped.

Although Triton isn’t personally cooking up the vittles, there are a couple food options available including Taste of Philly soft pretzels (if this isn’t a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is). Hoosier Fat Daddy food truck was parked right outside the front door and open for business during our visit; visitors can order up and bring their food indoors to enjoy along with their beverage of choice.

All in all, we were impressed with Triton. Very nice facility in an unusual historic setting, good local beers, interesting food options. What’s not to like? Triton even offers tours of the brewery for a behind-the-scenes look at the whole process. Sweet.

For more information:

http://tritonbrewing.com/

Don't dodge this draft

I realize it seems I’m writing about nothing but beer lately, but hey, that’s what’s going on here in Indianapolis at the moment! Our fair city seems to be in the midst of a microbrewery boom, so I figure it’s only prudent for me as a freelance food writer to keep on top of the trends, n’est pas?

Last night, hubby and I checked out the brand spanking new Triton Brewing Company on the grounds of Fort Benjamin Harrison, a former military post on the northeast side of town. Named for the Greek god of water and housed in a renovated circa-1920s mule barn, Triton’s got it going on when it comes to curb appeal.

Triton Brewing Company from the approach

Although technically it makes its home in an old barn, the inside is uber modern, sophisticated and sparkling clean with high beamed ceilings, dark wood and shiny brewing apparatus visible through the windows into the room where all the magic happens. This is perhaps the nicest tasting room I’ve seen in town, and easily passes as a full-fledged bar. One small complaint, though — with a few televisions mounted around the room, a decent crowd of people and fairly loud music playing, it’s a little on the noisy side in here.

Inside the Triton tasting room

Triton doesn’t do the traditional beer tastings I’ve seen elsewhere where you stand in line at pouring counters to get a little swig in a plastic cup. Here, you get actual table service. If you want a taste of something, they’ll bring it to you in a small honest-to-God glass tumbler. This process takes a little longer, of course, but that’s ok.

This snazzy microbrewery has only been open for a couple of weeks, so there were only three Triton beers available for tasting last night. Inventory will increase as time goes on, of course. In the meantime, the menu also offers a handful of guest taps to round out the mix, as well as samples from New Day Meadery in Fountain Square.

You can get pints of anything on the menu for $5 – $6 a pop, but we decided to do a beer flight – six 5-oz. pours of the various brews for $9. The flights are served in those same glass tumblers on slotted wooden cutting boards. Top marks for presentation.

Beer flight at Triton

Of the Triton beers we sampled, I enjoyed the mellow, toasty, caramel-y Four Barrel Brown the best, with the Fieldhouse Wheat coming in a close second. Through trial and error over the past year or so, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not really an amber fan, nor do I care much for IPAs. Browns, wheats and the occasional stouts are much more my speed.

In addition to the three Triton offerings, we filled out our flight with pours of Rivertown Helles Lager from Cincinnati and Oktoberfest from Sun King — both light, refreshing and highly drinkable. The Triton root beer was the only sample of the six that we didn’t really care for. The flavor was a little bland and it wasn’t fizzy at all. More carbonation definitely would have helped.

Although Triton isn’t personally cooking up the vittles, there are a couple food options available including Taste of Philly soft pretzels (if this isn’t a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is). Hoosier Fat Daddy food truck was parked right outside the front door and open for business during our visit; visitors can order up and bring their food indoors to enjoy along with their beverage of choice.

All in all, we were impressed with Triton. Very nice facility in an unusual historic setting, good local beers, interesting food options. What’s not to like? Triton even offers tours of the brewery for a behind-the-scenes look at the whole process. Sweet.

For more information:

http://tritonbrewing.com/

Come on, get hoppy

Last night, hubby and I headed downtown to sample the wares at one of the more recent additions to the thriving Indianapolis microbrewing scene — Flat 12 Bierwerks.

We’re well familiar with Sun King and Thr3e Wise Men has become one of our regular Broad Ripple hangouts, but I must admit, I didn’t know a great deal about Flat 12 going in. Hubby’s enjoyed the beers on several occasions at pubs around town, but this marked my first taste of the product.

Flat 12 is located just east of downtown on Dorman Street, and you really have to know where you’re going to find it. It’s across the street from the new Goose the Market Meatery enterprise, but otherwise, there’s not much going on in this industrial neighborhood ‘cept for a couple of really cool-looking modern condo buildings. We saw a glut of cars angling for street spots before we’d actually glimpsed the Flat 12 building, and figured we must be in the right neck of the woods.

Flat 12 Bierwerks exterior

First impressions – the facility itself is really attractive, exposed brick walls, high beamed ceilings and good merchandising. Nicely done, y’all. You flash your ID when you walk through the door and get your hand stamped, then you’re given five free drink tickets for tastes of your choice.

the Flat 12 tasting room

On to the important stuff. They really had a decently big selection available to taste during our visit, including eight or nine year-round classics and nearly half a dozen seasonal/specialty offerings.

Flat 12 beers for the tasting

My favorite beer of the night was probably the Grain Wave American Wit, a straightforward wheat beer with a hint of citrus. A good all-around entry-level microbrew for a go-to domestic beer drinker like myself. I liked the Upside Down Blonde too, but found the wit a little more flavorful.

I managed to ask one of the busy servers what he’d consider the “signature” Flat 12 beer/s. He said the porter and the IPA. I usually find IPAs a little too hoppy for my taste, so I passed on the Half Cycle IPA and ordered a swig of the Pogue’s Run Porter, a dark but still mellow beer that I really liked. I was curious to try the Tangerine Porter as well to contrast and compare flavor notes, but alas, it had run out. Instead, I followed up with the Lacto-Matic Milk Stout. Wow, does this baby pack a punch. Imagine a beer-flavored shot of espresso and you’ve kinda got the right idea. It even looks like espresso in the cup. A little too much for me. I couldn’t finish it.

Flat 12's Lacto-Matic Milk Stout

My tasting concluded with a sip of Walkabout Pale Ale, made with Galaxy hops from Australia. Didn’t like this one, the flavor was just a little too funky for me.

Flat 12's Walkabout Pale Ale

The Flat 12 roster on the web site details several intriguing seasonal beers that I want to keep my eyes peeled for. Namely a German-style Karousel Kolsch (I learned to LOVE kolsch during our visits to Cologne within the past few years), the Bloody Blonde made with blood oranges and ruby red grapefruit (I enjoy fruity beers), and a Glazed Ham Porter (!) redolent with holiday spices.

One small complaint about the tasting room service… the guys who were pouring seemed a little on the gruff side. This being our first time at Flat 12, I’d kinda hoped to ask a few questions about the beers and the business. The answers I got were short and borderline curt. I guess maybe “serious” might be a better word to describe the personalities here. I’m sure they’re probably perfectly lovable guys when you catch them outside a tasting rush. In any event, one gets the feeling they don’t mess around when it comes to their beer.

Overall, we really enjoyed our Flat 12 visit. Good selling points— if you find a beer you really like while tasting, you can purchase a pint to enjoy on site (or a growler or half-growler to take home). And you can even grab some grub and make a meal of your visit thanks to the Byrne’s Grilled Pizza food truck parked outside in the side lot. We saw some of said pizzas flying around to the scattering of tables both indoors and out, and they looked and smelled damn tempting.

Glad to finally make your acquaintance, Flat 12. I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again.

For more information:

http://flat12.me/