Great Things Come In Small Packages: Indiana's Creatures of Habit Brewing
After playing Lock 27 Brewing in Dayton I headed west to the small town of Anderson, Indiana, which is about halfway between Indianapolis and Muncie. You probably know Muncie as the home of Ball State University. Indiana is a bit funny to travel through because really only Indianapolis (and I guess West Lafayette) seem to have direct access to major interstates, whereas in more remote parts of the state, like Bloomington down in the southwest and South Bend up in the northeast corner of the state they're surrounded by other smaller towns that have great breweries, but it seems the only way to get there is via very small country roads through rural farm areas. For example once you leave Indianapolis to head up towards South Bend you are literally on two lane farm roads (some of which aren't even painted) and if you don't watch how much gas you have you could find yourself in a bit of trouble… so you better plan ahead.
Anderson, like many of these neat Indiana towns, pops up suddenly out of the cornfield and now you're in a cute downtown area similar to what you would find in the TV of the 50s and 60s... or in Back to the Future. Today's brewery is Creatures of Habit Brewing, which is located in downtown Anderson in a historic building that they have nicely repurposed and remodeled. The taproom has a friendly, comfortable, rustic feel with the original brick walls exposed revealing nice rustic brick and plenty of woodwork throughout
Creatures of Habit Brewing - Anderson, IN (between Indy and Muncie)
Beers are located primarily at the taproom (on tap and to go).
Something neat about Anderson is that it hosts a weekend art series where people walk the downtown area and visit different galleries or shops or just businesses that feature artwork from local artists… and the brewery takes part in this by having live music. This was great for me because I had a crowd that was into the Arts and therefore probably just a little more into music than your average crowd. The crowd seemed really tuned in to what I was doing which is always nice and I’d also add that because of that I think I sold more tour t-shirts and CDs in this small brewery than I have in a single night anywhere else in quite a while. So I thank them for that!
Creatures of Habit was formed in 2017 and obviously were just really getting things rolling when covid hit last year, which put the squeeze on them (like everyone else), and like everyone else the brewery and their customers were excited to be seeing the light at the end of the covid tunnel this spring as restrictions began being lifted, allowing for indoor music and full capacity taprooms again.
For a rural small-scale brewery, they have a nice selection of beers both in terms of variety and quality, that is constantly changing.. I lost my notes for this night, so I'm not really quite sure about the sequence in which I sampled their beers, but I think I might have started with the Lemonade Sour (4.5% ABV) which is a fruited Gose, obviously heavy on the lemon. A rather bright yellow in hue and slightly hazy pour, it looks like lemonade it kind of smells like lemonade and it definitely had a healthy dose of tangy lemon in the flavor. Quite refreshing on a warm day, I'm sure this one would be popular all summer long.
R2C2 is their American IPA (6.6% ABV). A nice deep amber in color, it is an unusually well-balanced IPA that leans a little more heavily on the malt than you might expect balancing out the beer so that is not overly happy. Crisp and medium carbonation with a nice clean finish, this is a beer that is flavorful yet still crushable.
In a similar fashion the Blasted Oates New England (IPA 6.8% ABV)is a somewhat unusual pale ale in that they use a rather heavy dose of oats to again counterbalance the hoppiness, giving you a rich flavorful beer that again isn't obnoxiously hoppy but rich in flavor, well-balanced with perhaps more complexity than you’ve come to expect in an IPA.
A standout of the evening for me was the Peanut Butter Paramount (6.2% ABV). Paramount is their house Porter, with this obviously being a peanut butter variant on the original. Nutty or peanut butter stouts and porters always catch my eye, with my only fear being that they are going to be a little too sweet, but I'm happy to report that this porter had a nice nutty overtone without being too sweet, making it quite delicious… roasty and nutty with a great fragrance and a clean finish... this is a fantastic beer.
Like I said earlier, I normally take notes on the beers I sample and I just couldn't find the sheet with my notes for this particular night, so unfortunately I can't speak in much more detail about the other beers I had other than to say there wasn't a bad one in the batch and I enjoyed them all! I should also note that when I looked on the brewery’s website the list of beers they currently have on tap was a rather different selection from what I had just a week or so ago. That says something about the inventiveness of these folks and the fact that in just a couple of weeks they can still hold on to their flagship beers while almost completely reinventing the rest of their menu with fresh alternatives . That is what you all an incentive to return!
If you find yourself between Indy or Muncie, or just going through Indy or maybe driving up to Chicago, (or it's also not much further than the old Deer Creek amphitheater in Noblesville, if you're in the area for a Phish stand...) a great way to break up the monotony of the drive would be to head a little northeast of Indy and stop at Creatures of Habit. As I keep saying, often the best breweries are outside the cities and well off the beaten path. It’s worth it!
Dennis O'Hagan's Great Brewery Tour is completely grass-roots. Your support is appreciated, and can be shown by coming to the shows, frequenting the featured breweries, wearing our t-shirts, and via tips at: http://venmo.com/DennisOHagan