Indiana vs. Louisiana – What About the Beer?

February 7th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Beer Travels, General Beer News

There is plenty of coverage for the big game, but I thought it would be interesting to do a little last minute primer on each state’s breweries.

I’ll admit it: I’m from an Indiana town, but I’m not an Indiana boy. I grew up in Munster, IN, which is located in the very northwest corner of the state. But, we were only about 30 minutes from Chicago, and we officially qualified as part of “The Chicagoland Area.” That would explain my brutal loyalty to the Chicago Bears, and my complete apathy for the Indianapolis Colts. I did go to Purdue, which happens to also be the alma mater of New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees. In fact, Brees and I graduated just one year apart and with the same major, Industrial Management (he ain’t no dumb cookie). So, my loyalty in this year’s Super Bowl leans heavily towards the Saints. I have some great memories of watching Brees from his days at Purdue, and I’d love to see him grab a Super Bowl ring. The Colts’ backup, Curtis Painter, is also a former Purdue Boilermaker, so I’m really hoping for Manning to go down early so that it’s an all Purdue QB showcase (which Brees would dominate). After all, Purdue is the “Cradle of Quarterbacks”. But, enough of that. I love sports, but this is a beer blog, after all.

Even though I’m from Indiana, I lived there before the craft beer craze had really taken hold. Not to mention, I was a poor college student when I was of legal age to drink. I have zero knowledge of Louisiana breweries, so I’m relying solely on the Google and other websites to see what they’ve got.  In other words, this will be far from a comprehensive post on Indiana/Louisiana beer, and most of this little post is going to be about Indiana beer, because that’s what I know. Someone else can feel free to post some thoughts on Louisiana brews, if they are so inclined.

Indiana Breweries

Three Floyd’s Brewing – My hometown brewery. Located in an obscure industrial park in Munster, Three Floyd’s has managed to impress beer drinkers across the country, and even the world. If you’ve been lucky enough to try some of their beers, you likely understand the hype. They like hops, and they aren’t afraid to use them in beers like their Alpha King and Dreadnaught. Their Dark Lord Imperial Stout is one of the most sought-after beers in the world, and hundreds of people line up each year at their annual “Dark Lord Day”; the only day this beer is available for sale, and only at their brewery. They were recently named the #1 brewery in the world by RateBeer.

Lafayette Brewing Company – Located just across the Wabash river from Purdue University, I spent quite a bit of time here during my college days. I haven’t been in a long, long time, but their Oatmeal Stout was always my favorite. Their Old Eighty-Five (with 85 IBUs) was probably my first introduction to a high alpha beer, and I was in love. Doug Ellenberger, who recently opened Everybody’s Brewing in White Salmon, WA, was a brewer here for over 3 years when I was at Purdue, and I guarantee I’ve enjoyed much of his handiwork in the past.

Upland Brewing Company – Located in Bloomington, IN, home of the arch rival Indiana Hoosiers, Upland has made quite a name for themselves with craft beer drinkers since I’ve left the state. I always remember drinking their Wheat Ale when we’d head down south, and I really enjoyed it. These days, they are especially known for their Lambic ales. They have made Lambics in Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry, Cherry, Blueberry, Peach, and Kiwi.

That’s the extent of my real knowledge of Indiana beer. RateBeer shows that Indiana has 30+ breweries, but I sadly can’t comment on the rest. Maybe it’s time for a Indiana beer tour? For more info, check out Hoosier Beer Geek.

Louisiana Breweries:

Sadly, my ignorance of Louisiana breweries probably isn’t uncommon; RateBeer lists them as having just eight breweries currently in business, and of those it seems there is only one that distributes much beer from what I can tell.

Abita Brewing Company – I’ve seen their beers around, and I know I’ve had their popular Turbodog brown ale in the past, and maybe their Purple Haze wheat beer with raspberries. You can find them in Seattle using this page on their website. They were founded in 1986, and I get the feeling if you’re a beer drinker in New Orleans you’re happy to have them around.

So,there it is. Pretty one-sided, huh? I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with either Indiana or Louisiana breweries, so feel free to leave a comment.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • blackhook

    Back in about ’92-’93, when I covered the Indy area for work I used to go to Broad Ripple Brewpub. It is a cool place in a great neighborhood. Back then they made pretty mild English-stlye ales. They were very drinkable but I’m sure they had no hop monsters.

    Checking out their website now, it looks like they’re brewing some more adventurous stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they’ve been influenced by Three Floyd’s.

    And congrats to the Saints! If any city could really use a champoinship, it is New Orleans…good for them!

  • Matt

    Oh come on Munster is not known as the “The Chicagoland Area” it is “The Region.” 🙂

    I was back in Indiana over Christmas and the Indiana beer scene is looking better. The Broad Ripple Brewpub has stepped it up and Brugge had some outstanding beers.

    In honor of Indiana I drank a 3 Floyds Behemoth Barlywine during the game and it was great.

  • BeerBlotter

    Oh someone needs to chime in for LA – might as well be us. Being Saints season ticket holders since 2005 (were NW transplants) we are accustomed to the LA world of beer.

    Surprisingly, craft beer is very much new to Louisiana. Since the early 1980s, Abita has been the only brewery in the state that attempted a craft-like approach. Even then, not until the past 5 years did they make a Pale, IPA, Belgian style or Stout. Mostly, they focused on German style and fruit based ales.

    But recently, upstarts NOLA Brewing and Parish Brewing have developed into ones to watch. Both starting in 2009, their initial offerings were impressive.

    NOLA Brewing is located in the lower garden district of New Orleans. Started by a New Orleans attorney and a former San Diego beerophile, the brewery’s IPA is very impressive.

    Parish Brewing started in Lafayette, LA (Cajun country) back in early 2009. They are stocked full of different hoppy ales, and I anticipate seeing some of their beers in New Orleans by the middle of 2010.

    Also, just to note – New Orleans finally has an excellent beer bar to visit. After years of hoping that local favories Bulldog and Cooter Browns would diversify their tap lists – we finally gave up. But when local distributors took a chance and reached out to bring in brewers Harpoon, Brooklyn and Stone, Avenue Pub, located on St. Charles took hold and began to build an impressive bottle list. This place is excellent – with incredible food. Check it out next time you are in NOLA.

    In any event, none of the above matches 3 Floyds (not even close), but there is some development to speak of.

    Go Saints!

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