Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

June 2, 2007

Beer Diary:

Munster, Baby, Munster

In which Eddie Glick embarks on a Midwest brewery odyssey to celebrate American Craft Beer Week. The first of three parts.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
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So I conned my parents into letting me borrow the Gremlin a couple weekends ago. Eddie Glick with a vehicle. Carmageddon. What’s a 48-year-old with his parents’ car do for fun? Pick up hot babes? Go hang at the Dog ‘n’ Suds? What?!? It’s American Craft Beer Week! So, other than beating the Hell out of the car as retaliation against my parents for not letting me borrow it for Dark Lord Day, it’s a no brainer: Road trip to three of the best breweries in the Midwest.

First stop: Three Floyd’s.

Three Floyd’s, as you should know, is in Munster, Indiana. The place is incredibly easy to find: it’s just off Calumet Avenue. And if you get lost, just head toward the water tower. It’s your beacon to the home of kick ass beer.

How to describe the Three Floyds pub? It’s like … a home away from home. You walk in and you immediately feel at ease. You’re just here to enjoy a few pints of world-class beer, and you know that everyone else in the place is there for the same. It’s a clean, invitingly dark and cool bar. The walls are decorated with a mix of vintage and current beer signs, funky paraphernalia (stuff along the lines of a Dukes of Hazzard tin lunchbox—you get the idea) and full-size paintings of their beer labels, most of which were done by Randy Mosher.

On this particular Friday afternoon, there were just a few people hanging out and chatting about beer. One of the best things about the Three Floyds pub is if there’s not an actual brewer working behind the bar, it is for damn sure someone who knows beer. On this day it was Yelena, who guided me through the tap list, which is an incredibly eclectic mix of Three Floyds stalwarts, guest taps that include both Belgian and American craft brews (they had Founders Imperial Stout on tap—know of any other industry segment in the world that would proudly sell one of their closest competitor’s brands?) and house brews you aren’t going to see in bottles anytime soon, if ever. Yelena confessed she was in love with German-style beers and highly recommended the Archangel Mai-Bock. I accepted a taste and was not disappointed: very sweet for a maibock, with tons of malt and body, and a low hop profile. (For those of you out there that assume Three Floyds is only about the hops, you must sample their entire line up before voicing such opinions. More on that in a later article.)

That being (paranthetically) said, I came to Munster for two things: the giant-ass landfill along Calumet Avenue and the hops. So I ordered up a pint of Admiral Lord Nelson Bitter. Fantastic: medium body mixed with a nice shock of assertive hops, rendering a near-perfect balance. Yum.

And a strange thing happened while I was drinking that beer. So there I am, eating lunch (this isn’t a foodie web site, but the eats at the Three Floyds brew pub are actually pretty awesome—far better than plain old pub fare) and enjoying my kick ass bitter. As I lift the pint to take a sip, I notice out of the corner of my eye someone sitting at the far end of the bar eating, reading the paper, and drinking a beer. At first, I didn’t think much of it. Double take: it’s Michael Floyd, the owner. I watch as he finishes up his beer, pulls his gloves back on, and heads back into the brewhouse, back to work.

This struck me as unbelievably cool. Can you imagine being able to walk 15 feet on your lunch break and having not just one of the best beers in world, but one that you brewed yourself? That’s what blew me away. Not some gushing adoration for the brewers of Three Floyds brews, but just the realization that if you are amazingly skilled at your craft, are willing to work your ass off (brewing is not easy work, folks), and happen upon at least a little luck, you can live your life on your own terms. Inspiring, even if you don’t still live in your parents’ basement.

So inspired was I that I decided to get another beer. I grabbed a sampler of Hyena! (yes, it comes with the exclamation point), a Belgian-style pale ale. It had that classic Belgian yeast aroma, with a nice little hop shot at the end. Very nice. But what intrigued me on the menu was the Decepticon, an IPA brewed by “magic transforming robots.” With this beer there was more than meets the IPA. (Sorry.) It started out with very little hop aroma, and had a pretty heavy body for the style. The bitterness was sharp and ashy, and I have to say I really didn’t care for it all that much. It was drinkable, but I wouldn’t recommend it. But, hey, three out of four ain’t bad.

I would have loved to stay all afternoon and night to go through the entire line up, but unfortunately I had to hop back into the Gremlin and head to Michigan. Kalamazoo was calling my name. On to Bell’s.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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