Tip a Frosty Mug

Expo visitors can whet their whistles at several Indy craft breweries and explore walkable downtown restaurant destinations.
Tip a Frosty Mug
The bright green Indy Brew Bus is one way to visit several local microbreweries in one three-hour tour. Visit, taste and take in the ambience of what the city’s brewing world is like — with a group of like-minded, beer-loving friends.

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In a state that's home to more than 50 breweries, no frosty mug will go unfilled. Many of those breweries — more than a dozen — are housed in the greater Indianapolis area.

"Craft beer in Indianapolis has been a part of our city's culture for over 20 years," says Clayton Robinson, owner of Sun King Brewing Co. "Over the last four years, there has been an explosion of breweries and interest in craft beer. Indiana led the 2012 Great American Beer Festival with the greatest percentage of medals to entries, so there is plenty of world class beer to discover and enjoy."

Sun King is among the largest breweries in the state, making handcrafted seasonal and specialty beers. Its house beers include Sunlight Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish Ale and Osiris Pale Ale. Its brews were among those honored at the Great American Beer Festival, as well as the Indiana Brewers Cup and World Beer Cup competitions. While tours and tastings are only offered at the end of each week, the brewery is open for retail sales all week. 135 N. College Ave.; 317/602-3702; www.sunkingbrewing.com.

With so much malt and hops abounding, it makes sense that another city attraction aims to connect the thirsty masses with these beer venues. The bright green Indy Brew Bus, which can host 14 riders, offers a three-hour tour ($30 per person) of three to four local breweries. Samples of house, seasonal and specialty beers are provided at each stop. And a personal sampling scorecard lets you and your friends (ages 21 or older, of course) rate your favorites.

"My husband and I started the business because a number of craft breweries were starting up in Indianapolis and there was not an easy, safe way to visit them all. We allow people the opportunity to taste great local beer and something that is uniquely Indianapolis," said Megan Bulla, who owns the tour bus with her husband, Andy.

In addition to Sun King, three other breweries are part of the tour, with about 45-minute stops at each. While the Brew Bus has limited tours during the Pumper & Cleaner Expo (more info at www.indybrewbus.com), all but the Bier Brewery and Taproom are located either a long walk or a short cab ride from the Indiana Convention Center.

Flat 12 Bierworks is a craft production brewery in the historic Holy Cross neighborhood. Sample their beers with most interesting names: Mustache Ride Red, Lacto-Matic Milk Stout, Upside Down Blonde and Liquid Fiction. 414 N. Dorman St.; 317/635-2337; http://flat12.me.

Fountain Square Brewing Co. is located in the historic Fountain Square neighborhood. It started in 2011, born of the perfect storm of chemistry, microbiology, automation and a good old-fashioned love of the brew. Among their beers are Hop for Teacher, Backyard Porter, Preacher's Daughter Amber Ale and Workingman's Pilsner. 1301 Barth Ave.; 317/493-1410; www.fountainsquarebrewery.com.

Bier Brewery and Taproom won the Indiana State Fair Champion Brewery Award in 2011 and 2012. One of the brewery's slogans is "come taste our awesomeness." Brews change frequently, and, like most microbreweries, the names don't disappoint, including Dirty Farmgal, Oranjunkle, Sanitarium, Wee Fatty and Billy Baroo. 5133 E. 65th St.; 317/253-2437; www.bierbrewery.com.


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