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Beer Buzz: 20 taps, 3 wise men and a trader



Brewing is just one part of the craft beer equation. Selling, buying, enjoying and talking about a local, fresh and consistently well-made artisan product are the others.

Trader Joe's at 2902 W. 86th St. has a continually growing selection of Indiana craft brews. A conversation with beverage manager Adam Hall is punctuated by his enthusiasm for connecting customers with Indiana craft, even though the chain has its own beer brand and there's a wide choice of others. Six-packs of Cutters, Flat 12, Fountain Square, New Albanian, Three Floyds, Triton and Upland were being carried home the day I stopped in. Adam and his associates, Steve (newly arrived from California, so welcome him to Indy) and Brett, are eager to answer any questions about what style to enjoy with the rest of the foods in your basket.

Twenty Tap, as you've surmised, is more like 40-plus taps, and now owner/ brewer Kevin Matalucci is about to fire up a 3.5 bbl nano-brewing system to establish his own brand. Watch for the tapping event. I stopped by Matalucci's home base Sept. 5 for the 25th anniversary celebration of Chicago-based Goose Island. Starting at the top of their ten-beer extravaganza, brewer Mark Weinert's Imperial Stout Bourbon County Cherry Rye is a deceptively easy-drinking "massive beer." Three other Imperial Stouts, five Belgian's and an Oktoberfest were on tap. Goose Island particularly invited homebrewers to chat with their brewers. Many took up the suggestion.

Thr3e Wise Men just tapped their newest seasonal beer, Antonius 1742 Oktoberfest, named for Scott Wise's great-great-great-grandfather, Antonius Weiss, who died in 1742 in Altenreit, Germany. This 2013 Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup Gold medal winner, brewed by Keely Thomlinson and Omar Castrellon, has a sparkling amber color, an off-white head and a malty, caramel taste with a pleasing effervescence.

Great Crescent Brewery's new color-coded canning line is appearing on shelves. You'll find 2013 Indiana Brewers Cup Silver winner Dark Lager (red), 2013 Brewers Cup Bronze medal Aurora Lager (yellow), Coconut Porter (tan), India Pale Ale (green) and Blonde Ale (blue).


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