Using Beer To Thaw After the Polar Vortex
In the wake of a Polar Vortex, most people hide inside and wait for it to pass. Some venture out because they have to, but complain and whine as they wait for the Reeper's frigid hand to touch them during what they are sure will be their final frosty moments. Others, those forged from a stronger grade of steel, with a resolve that will not be shaken by mere meteorological phenomenon ... they go to their favorite brewery. We go to the breweries.
And so it was on February 1, 2019, when the strong and the brave emerged from the vast frozen landscape of icebound Indianapolis and consumed pints as the Great Brewery Tour rolled into Centerpoint Brewing Company.
Centerpoint Brewing Company - Indianapolis, IN
Beer is available on tap at the taproom, as well as in can six packs and growlers to go. The beer has limited distribution in the Indy region.
Played: 8/25/18, 2/1/19
Centerpoint is located in a refurbed warehouse/industrial complex on Indy's northern side. The complex is a destination point, with not only the brewery but also a distillery and other hip businesses to visit (and you can meander from one to the other). As you'll see in the photos below, the taproom is quite large, with the bar section up front, and a long and wide room running perpendicular (unfortunately my photo of that portion of the facility was badly blurred, sorry). The larger room is well stocked with tables, pinball machines, and tons of board games, and in the process of being expanded for more room. Beyond those walls are the brewery itself, which is also significant in its size. Dogs are welcomed.
The tour visited Centerpoint last summer, and I was excited to return and see what new stuff they'd come up with, and was not disappointed by either the quality or the variety! My first pour of the night was the hefty Center Perk (6.5%) Porter w/Cold Brew. This starts with what on its own is a superb dark ale, but brewed with bold coffee beans from a local coffee house. A wonderful roasted coffee aroma, then the sip brings waves of not only coffee but hints of chocolate and vanilla... a really great drink for such a blustery day. This was my pre-show beer, and between the caffeine in the brew and the Red Bull I had to keep me awake during the incredibly scenic drive (read: irony) across Indiana, I was actually pretty wired when it came time to start my set.
As I seem apt to do lately, I took a hard left turn after the porter and decided to try a refreshing Shandy (3.5%) during my first set. One of their newer selections, this one is a Berliner Weisse blended with a raspberry hibiscus kombucha made in partnership with local Circle City Kombucha. The pour was a hazy golden hue, with a nice fruity aroma. The body was medium/light, reasonably sour without over doing it. As I've noted before, I'm one of the few people on the planet who doesn't like raspberries, but they were actually very well balanced in the brew and did not come across too strongly or perfumy (which is what I usually don't like about raspberries in beer). A very refreshing beer, this accompanied my first set perfectly.
At set break I chose what seemed like a logical progression from the Shandy to the Gamma (7.0%) Brut IPA. Brut IPAs seem like almost a cross of a lighter bodied beer with a dry champagne, and have been growing in popularity lately. Sierra Nevada has one you might be seeing on the shelves lately, and it's a good representation of the genre. The Gamma was very light in color, a thin transparent yellow (see photo below), and was very crisp and lighter in body. My only complaint with it (and this might just be because I had just finished the Shandy) was that it was a little uncomfortably bitter on the back end. A logical sequence can be crucial when jumping from beer to beer... and after the Shandy the Gamma just seemed a bit thin and bitter. That said, it might be a totally different experience if you don't precede it with a raspberry hibiscus kombucha beer...
Heading back to the stage for my 2nd set, I decided to revisit my favorite Centerpoint brew from my first visit... their award-winning Centerpoint Blood Orange (5.2%). Leveraging Amarillo and Simcoe hops and actual blood oranges, this IPA delivers a fantastic balance of hoppy goodness with an exotic touch of sweet and sour citrus from the fruit itself, rather than just implied by the hops. It smells as great as you'd imagine, and with a medium body just hits you with that incredible flavor and satisfies afterwards without being too light nor too heavy. Unlike during my first visit, this time I remembered to grab a six pack of the Blood Orange in cans. I think I might go have one right now...
Centerpoint is a fun hang with very friendly people, and no shortage of excellent and interesting beer options. Well worth the visit while in Indy or just passing through.
Next stop, Findlay Brewing Company in Findlay, OH tomorrow....
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