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New and popular winter beers from Flat12, Chilly Water and more

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Flat12 Bierwerks
Valerie Green brought by a six-pack of right-off-the-canning-line cans of Downtown Tinker Brown, a new collaboration between Flat12 Tinker Coffee Co. Of course it had to sampled with lunch of hearty soup and bread [yes, I cook and accept gifts of 12-grain bread]. This coffee brown ale is excellent on all levels — just right coffee kick  — smooth lactose not cloying — balance of malt, honey and spice with chocolate malt cozying up to the Columbian beans; a good partnership of people and ingredients. Green promises, “This beer is our new spring seasonal so it will be in the regular rotation."

Green made the point that coffee beers are predicted to trend in 2017 by sources like Bon Appetit magazine and Thrillist, and both [Indianapolis-based] craft businesses are excited for the release of this collaboration on draft and, for the first time, in 12-ounce six pack cans.

The can design by Jeff Brown equally earns review. A marquee sign above what designer Jeff Brown refers to as “a classic “downtown” building” is balanced by the Tinker Coffee Co. logo.

Co-founded by Jeff Johnson and Stephen Hall, with Dylan Morse as their assistant jack-of-all-trades, Tinker Coffee is in the Herron-Morton Place Historic District at 212 E. 16th St. Flat 12 is in historic Holy Cross Neighborhood at 414 Dorman St. The can release event on Jan. 6 First Friday was at at the newly opened Square Cat Vinyl at 1054 Virginia Ave. in the Fountain Square Cultural District. Bringing the launch to newly created Square Cat Vinyl was a way to connect three vibrant neighborhoods, said Green.

Green explained, “The name Downtown Tinker Brown references Flat12's partner, the beer style, and the fact that both businesses proudly reside in downtown Indianapolis. Flat12 and Tinker Coffee Company find common ground in their expertise and commitment to quality in their respective craft industries and are excited to explore artisanal crossovers.”

While Downtown Tinker Brown is the first major collaborative package release by Flat12 and Tinker Coffee Company, Green reminds us they have worked together in the past.

“In 2016, Tinker Coffee Company provided roasted coffee beans for a variation of Flat12's premium high gravity brew, Pinko Russian Imperial Stout. Flat12 aged their 2015 Pinko in rum barrels then infused it with Tinker Coffee Company's single-origin Nicaraguan coffee. The beer debuted in limited 22-ounce bombers and quickly sold out at Flat12's 2nd Annual Christmas in July Beer Festival.

"We met the guys at Tinker Coffee through mutual friends around their opening November 2014. We really liked their coffee so we paid them a visit and proposed trading for beer. That led to talks about creating some beers together. It's cool to be able to work with friends in different local industries and we're really looking forward to our first can release," said Sean Lewis, head brewer of Flat12.

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Chilly Water Brewing Co.

Skip DuVall reports in 2016 Chilly Water “made upwards of 50 different styles of beers and that won't change in 2017. Starting off the year look for our oh-so-popular Coconut Porter along with Dark Side of the Munich Dunkel and a Java Stout. In 2017 you will see more barrel-aged beers as Dan is aging a few different beers, including a sour or two, to be released throughout the year. At least one will be featured in our Turn It Up Series."

Oaken Barrel's 20th anniversary glasses.
  • Oaken Barrel's 20th anniversary glasses.
Oaken Barrel Brewing Co.
Kwang Casey reports Oaken Barrel’s long time manager Dave Hoffman, AKA “Snappy,” retired at end of 2016. Mike Budak, Hoffman’s colleague, continues in his post, now as senior manager.

“The new manager is Toby Martinez,” said Casey in an email. “He comes to us with many years in the restaurant business.”

Oaken Barrell’s new seasonal on tap is the double IPA, DIPA. “This strong beer with big hoppy taste is a hit among the beer connoisseurs and has a loyal following at Oaken Barrel,” said Casey, closing with his iconic “Try one for yourself!”

Oaken Barrel opened in 1994 and is the bridge between Indianapolis’ pre-and-post-Prohibition brewing history. With OB’s purchase of the Indianapolis Brewing Co. in 1997 came the now iconic branding memorabilia that lines the walls of the brewpub at 50 N. Airport Parkway in Greenwood.

The3e Wise Men
Thr3e Wise Men’s whopping huge Big Rock Candy Triple is described as a complex Belgian ale that’s a combination of fruity esters, spicy phenols and soft malt character. At 10.3% ABV sip and savor leisurely, with a companion plate of food and glass of water.

Not sure about esters and phenols? Basically, they are organic compounds that contribute to the aroma and flavor of many beer styles. Brewers Association explains, “The fruity aromas perceivable in beer are typically generated by yeast esters, unless there's actual fruit in the recipe. During fermentation, a reaction between organic acids present in the wort and the developing alcohol cause esters to form. Phenolic flavors come about through water and yeast selection and through the processes of mashing and sparring."

Definitely a good bar-stool topic of conversation, especially when someone claims ‘the taste is off.’ Maybe, maybe not — depends upon what the brewer intends. Cloves in your pint might just be what makes that brew distinctive.

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