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June 16, 2010

Mug Shots: It’s Christmas in July

Did you know that it will be Southern Indiana Night at Louisville Slugger Field on Friday, June 18?

Are you wondering whether Southern Indiana beer, food and hand-stitched baseballs will be available at the Louisville Bats game?

Me too, but before returning to these pressing questions, it appears we’re almost halfway through another Year in Beer, and as I await word on the success of my latest patent application for the Reverse Vortex Anti-Swill Deflector Mouth Guard Modulator, it’s time to preview a few craft beer landmarks on the horizon ahead. You may wish to write these down.

In addition to its customary status as the national holiday most likely to spur sales of skimpy swimming suits, jacked-up charcoal briquettes, flavorless hot dog buns and chintzy Chinese-made fireworks, July 4 takes on a far greater patriotic significance this year, primarily for Hoosiers who support the advances of Craft Beer Nation.

In 2010, July 4 is Growler Independence Day, the first ever Sunday for Indiana’s microbreweries to legally sell their beers for carry-out on the Sabbath, previously a privilege accorded to the state’s small wineries alone. From now on, if you need beer or wine to go on a Sunday in Indiana, it’s the local handcrafted way or the highway (out of state).

For those just tuning in, growlers are half-gallon glass jugs used for carry-out draft beer, and Growler Independence Day was made possible by the diligent lobbying efforts of the Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG), which conducted a sustained campaign of education and advocacy within the state legislature, and amazingly, found receptive ears.

BIG now turns to staging its own considerable annual celebration, the 15th annual Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG) Microbrewers Festival, on Saturday, July 17, at Opti Park (Broad Ripple Village) in Indianapolis. Fine beers from 35-plus Indiana microbrewers, still more top-notch beers from the state’s craft wholesalers, food, music, 5,000 revelers and a couple dozen portable toilets number among the fest’s enduringly entertaining attractions.

It’s best to let someone else do the driving, and Rick and Jeff Tours fills the transport gap with a chartered motor coach to Indianapolis for the BIG event. The $85 cost includes roundtrip transportation from Louisville (with restrooms), your BIG fest ticket package, a tailgate lunch and adult refreshments during the ride. Call 807-7531 or e-mail profgesser@insightbb.com for complete details and reservations.

The week preceding BIG’s Microbrewers Festival (July 10-17) constitutes Indiana Beer Week. A “beer week” is a length of time during which beer events are held throughout geographical areas both large and small. Each May, American Craft Beer Week encompasses the entire nation. Indiana’s is confined to one state, and the city of Philadelphia’s recently concluded beer week lasts 10 days and lies within a single metropolitan area.

It’s still a long way off, but the inaugural Louisville Craft Beer Week is scheduled for Sept. 24-Oct. 2, and while the planning committee has yet to ask for Mr. Mug Shots’ advice for a motto, I have a suggestion: “Louisville: We can do craft quite well on our own, thank you.”

There’ll be craft beer at themed events, dinners, tastings, teachings and parties, all of it planned locally, executed locally and consumed locally. I wonder if my Reverse Vortex Modulator might work in repelling carpet bags?

Finally, the Louisville Bats return to Louisville Slugger Field tomorrow after a lengthy road trip, and sources indicate that stadium concessionaire Centerplate has rotated local craft beers at its portable craft draft station at Section 115 on the main concourse (behind home plate), dropping NABC Beak’s Best and Kentucky Ale, and adding Cumberland Red and BBC American Pale Ale. A tap for Browning’s Brewery remains (exact beer unknown).

I’m not privy to Centerplate’s craft draft strategy, just thankful that there seems to be a rotating plan in place. The selection this year is better, and might be better still, but that’s what baby steps are all about.

If the notion of fresh local craft beer in the ballpark appeals to you, please thank Centerplate (212-2287 ext. 647) and the management of the Louisville Bats (ext. 619) for better beer this year, and feel free to make comments, offer suggestions and let them all know that your discretionary ballpark spending reflects the availability of expanded local choice in beer.

 

Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit potablecurmudgeon.blogspot.com for more beer.