The Brewer’s Craft

The craft brewing phenomenon in Indiana and across the U.S. shows no signs of slowing down. The Hoosier State is home to around 160 craft brew houses, and counting! There is as much interest as ever in trying new beer tastes and styles. In addition to demand from consumers, it is the increase in home brewing that has driven growth in the number of small craft breweries and tap rooms everywhere. It makes sense that home brewing enthusiasts, with the encouragement of family and friends who love their beer, would be inclined to share their product and passion with a wider clientele.

In the new podcast episode The Brewer’s Craft, I talk with John Blichmann, a home brewer in Lafayette, IN. He has grown his passion for home brewing into a business, Blichmann Engineering, where he designs and manufacturers professional grade equipment for home brewers and small craft brewers. (B.E. also offers a line of wine making gear.)

As always, you can listen “live” using the player on this blog post. But it’s oh so handy to subscribe to the podcast wherever you like to listen to podcasts, be that iTunes/Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever. On those sites/apps you can download the episodes for later listening, and browse through the entire archive of Indiana Home Cooks episodes. They are all there for listening whenever you like. In your favorite podcast app, just type “Indiana Home Cooks” into the search bar and you are on your way.

If you are interested in getting started in home brewing, look for a home brewing guild or circle in your area. Here in Tippecanoe County, it’s the Tippecanoe County Home Brewers Circle. Also, the Brewers of Indiana Guild has information for craft brewers and for those who enjoy visiting craft breweries around the state and sampling the wide assortment of beers they produce.

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John’s whimsical beer tap handles.
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Enjoying a refreshing New England IPA.

People’s Brewing Company

People’s Brewing Company Taproom

“How’s your beer?” It’s a question that takes a little thought before answering. In the last twenty or so years there has been a proliferation in the number of beers to consider, both in the US, and in the state of Indiana. According to theĀ Brewers of Indiana Guild, over 150 craft breweries are in operation in the state. That averages out to a bit more than 1.5 breweries per county. They are not dispersed evenly across the counties of course, but small, local craft breweries, brewpubs, and tap rooms are pretty well distributed from north to south. (Hear the People’s Brewing Company story on the IHC podcast here.)

And more are coming online each year. In the “Greater Lafayette” area, where I live, 2017 ended with three craft breweries going full steam, and one more just beginning operations. A fifth is in the works, projected to start brewing later this year, and it seems there is no end in sight. That’s great news for Hoosiers who enjoy beer and trying new brews! And it seems to be the trend nationwide. According to the Brewers Association for Small & Independent Craft Brewers, overall beer sales in the U.S. stayed level from 2015 to 2016. But for the small and independent brews, sales increased by 6.2 percent. Small and independent craft breweries make up almost 22 percent of the overall beer market in the US, as of the end of 2016, the latest year for which numbers are available.

Downtown Lafayette is home to the second-oldest operating brewery in the state, the Lafayette Brewing Company, established in 1993. LBC is a brewpub, featuring a full menu with family friendly dining in addition to the bar with many LBC beers in tap. People’s Brewing Company, also a Lafayette fixture, is newer on the scene, opening in 2009, as a production brewery. It’s beers are available all around the state in package stores and other retailers, at pubs, bars, and restaurants, as well as the People’s taproom at the brewery, 2006 North 9th Street, Lafayette. People’s opened the Revel Room a couple years ago in Lebanon, Indiana, as a taproom featuring People’s beers and family-friendly dining. A brewery will be added to the People’s Revel Room soon.

You can track the Indiana craft beer scene at the Brewers of Indiana Guild. The group’s 10th Annual Winterfest takes place Saturday, February 3, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds West Pavilion. Over 100 Hoosier breweries and food vendors will be on hand to help you taste the newest brews and old favorites. I’ll be there. Hope to see you there too!

So, “how’s your beer?” How about…Hoosier beer?

…or Boiler Beer!