We don’t have one…but we need one. We need a beer week. I mean, we need an actual, statewide-supported, week-long celebration of Indiana beer culminating in the Indiana Microbrewers Festival in July, which I’ll call, um, Indiana Craft Beer Week. Let the child in you ask, “Everyone else has one, why can’t we?”
Sort of a Bruce Springsteen “We’re all in this together” concert of beerdom.
Several weeks ago I humbly presented a suggestion to Indiana’s breweries about creating a Bicentennial beer collaboration for our 200th birthday in 2016. I was pleased to find out that plans were already on the way with the Brewers of Indiana Guild and the Bicentennial commission. Now, allow me to make one more suggestion.
Why We Need A Beer Week
You might have a couple of questions like: What do you mean by Beer Week? And, why should we have one? Answering the second one first, we need one because this is a perfect way to showcase great Indiana beer by presenting it for the whole state and beyond to see. It also brings the beer community together even closer and, not to mention, it would be great fun. An Indiana Craft Beer Week next summer would be the perfect stage to unveil those (nudge, nudge) beer collaborations
What Exactly Is It?
Every day of the week leading up to the microbrewers fest, breweries, bars, restaurants, distributors, retailers and beer fans join in the fun with tours, special tappings, tap takeovers, drink specials, glassware and merchandise specials, tastings, food pairings, educational discussions, etc. Monday through Friday (or the weekend before), every participating establishment has something special to offer lovers of craft beer. Sort of a Bruce Springsteen “We’re all in this together” concert of beerdom.
If you aren’t aware, many cities and most every good beer state has some sort of beer week. I encourage you to check one out. Hell, my much smaller old hometown of Dayton, Ohio even has a parade! to kick off their week but from Angola to Vincennes, Indiana might have a city or two and maybe a couple of bars (cheers, MacNiven’s) that are singularly involved. But why only that?! I think there have been some attempts in Indianapolis but it never stuck. That needs to change. Now.
Let me point out something else. (I am now standing on a stool in Notre Dame’s football locker room.) I know that Ohio and Michigan lead Indiana in the number of breweries, and they also have more highly recognized breweries. But at the recent Great American Beer Festival, Indiana walked away with ten medals. Ten! Ok then, so how did Ohio do? Ten. What about Michigan? Six. Oh, and Illinois? Four. You get the idea. And in fact, the Brewers Association recently reported that the ten medals Indiana received at GABF was 4.9% above what was predicted, second only to California. In other words, Indiana was expected to fall flat.
In fact, I think Eleanor Roosevelt was talking about Indiana beer when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
So why isn’t Indiana mentioned in the same beer-breath as our more popular neighbors? Maybe it’s a matter of publicity. Or perhaps it’s a matter of self-esteem? Why do we still feel like we have to sit at the little kids table? An Indiana Craft Beer Week can help change that into a bat-tossing-after-home-run mentality.
In fact, I think Eleanor Roosevelt was talking about Indiana beer when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Maybe it’s time for Indiana to step out from behind the shadows of our larger neighbors and let everyone else know what we Hoosiers are already aware of. And that is, Indiana makes some freaking awesome beer.
We all can help our state be a little less reserved because nobody puts Indiana in the corner. Without a beer week setting up the Saturday beer festival, we’re like an old pair of cowboy boots without jangling spurs-feels ok, but it just is missing something. This beer celebration will give us that special “birthday-week” type of feel, all while promoting great Indiana beer.
So how ‘bout it, are you ready for an Indiana Craft Beer Week? I am! You with me?
You can follow Rick Burkhardt on twitter @indybeersleuth or chat with him at Indybeersleuth@gmail.com. He drank only Indiana beer while writing this.