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Beer Buzz: Outliers opens, Flat 12 turns three



Ted and Shannon Miller rolled out their newest venture, Outliers Brewing Co, debuting four year-round beers at Twenty Tap on Dec. 26 and at Tomlinson Taproom on Jan. 3. You'll also find those four beers — Buffalo Jacket IPA, Blau Machen Pilsner, County Brown and Whitcomb Rye — at Sahms Place, Flatwater Broad Ripple and Brugge, which the Millers and partners opened in 2005.

Miller and assistant brewer Brad Wallace revved up Outliers on Dec. 2, 2013, at 534 E. North Street. Sales manager Jason Hepley describes Outliers niche as 'sessionable.' "Outliers' fully flavored beers invite us to slow down, enjoy a beer or two with a meal," says Hepley.

Brewing close to traditional style with layers of taste that expand as the brew warms, Miller says, "We knew IPA, Pilsner and Brown will sell. The rye was the risk, and from what we are hearing, that's the beer people are talking about." Indeed, Whitcomb Rye, with its nod to Indiana's poet universally known for Orphant Annie, imparts an inviting light, dry spicy taste that got us talking at Twenty Tap.

Originally the grain of choice for brewing (after a series of bad rye harvests in 15th century Bavaria), barley eventually became the main malt ingredient, sometimes paired with wheat. Rye beer made its comeback in 1988 and now is gaining patrons around the state. Bloomington Brewing Co. just released their seasonal brewed with organic Indiana-grown Feelgood Farm Rye from Herr Station Malt in Lebanon, Indiana's first malting operation.

Flat 12 third anniversary

Flat 12 Bierwerks' third anniversary event on Jan. 4 was termed "a one-brewery beer festival" by one reveler. Beer Buzz teamed up with a friend to share samples of eight brews each, thus tasting 16 out of some 50 choices. Over 15 years of homebrewing, Flat 12 head brewer Rob Caputo developed a knack for trying a variety of "what if" change-ups for a basic recipe, akin to what jazz players serve up as riffs on a tune. That spirit of adventure has built a loyal following eager to converse about the merits of aging Farmageddon, a black rye French Farmhouse Ale, in a variety of barrels including brandy, bourbon, rye, blackberry and Corsair whiskey.

As each variant was examined, sniffed, tasted and dissected for qualities of taste, Beer Buzz found out a lot about the breadth and depth of her palate. Hours and a Colts win-by-a-nose later, my 'go-to and take-away' brew was Pinko 23, a richly luscious Imperial Stout aged in 23-year Pappy Van Winkle barrels. The John H. Boner Community Center was Flat 12's philanthropic anniversary sharing.


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