Saturday, September 20, 2014

Trip to Indiana, and the Beers That Went Along!

The best thing next to being a parent, is being an Aunt. I truly enjoy spoiling a baby, especially with the ability to give her back to her parents! That's exactly what I did, over a long combo birthday / meet the niece / see family weekend - to South Bend, IN. 
How a layover should be...

Midwest craft beer was at the forefront of my mind (behind my niece, and family of course). The beer was kicked off during my layover in Detroit's Airport. Tucked away nicely in Delta's terminal, is an Irish Pub. Of course I find it. I tried Rochester Mills Beer Co's Red Ale, an American Amber / Red Ale. I loved that it wasn't hoppy. I love me some hops, but was in a malty mood, and flying blind. I saw what they offered locally, and tried it! I was very pleased with the caramel notes. 

Bonus! Got to wear boots in September.

Fast forward to Sunday. The thoughtful logistics from my brother and sister in law, involved dropping off the baby to grandparents, then visit a local brewery. Then an apple orchard. Then we get home in time to watch Da Bears game. Best plan ever! They know how to make a birthday girl feel special! We get to Figure 8 Brewing in Valparaiso. I'm in love instantly. It's like a Main Street - with brick buildings, and cool weather in the 50s.
To sample what they've got, I order a flight. It included: 

- Ro ShamPo Imperial Red (Whisky notes, 4 hops and toffee tones!)
- Where Lizards Dare IPA
- Raven Tor Oatmeal Stout (Nitrogen pour!)
- #El Dorado Hashtag Pale Ale
- Camp 4 Nut Brown Ale (Won it's way to a pint!)
- Jumbo Love Barleywine

Favorites were the Camp 4, and Jumbo Love. The Camp 4 is a blend of 7 grains, with Liberty and Mt. Hood hops. The chocolate, caramel and toffee notes were apparent, and delicious! I'm a Barleywine lover. Their Jumbo Love was a little fruity, and if we weren't planning to walk through an apple orchard right after, I would've enjoyed sipping it from a full glass. Exploring local breweries is always important to me, any new place I venture.

Double bonus - amazing mac and cheese!
The goods from Michigan
Florida girl getting a fireplace pic

As we get back to South Bend, and prepare to watch Da Bears (Christen that 49ers stadium by the way), I tell my sister in law, who is like the sister I never had, and who I LOVE - let's go get some beer (duh). She replies with "Girl, it's Sunday. We can't buy beer in Indiana."  Say whaaatt??? What state does that to their constituents?? I was about to cry, then she said, "Don't worry, we can drive to Michigan!" Good thing the state line was only 5 minutes away! I Yelp a liquor store, call and ask if they have craft beer, and get told "Umm yeah" (another duh). We hop in the car and drive to a borderline, sketchy place. We contemplate in the car if we should even get out. We do, and as we peruse the beers, we talk through how the scenes in our episode of 'Law and Order' would go: 9:18PM - browsing the Founders section; 9:22PM clerk notes the ID of the victim was from Florida; 9:24PM last sighting of these chics in the parking lot, entering the truck, seeing taking photos of beer in the back seat, so they could check in on Instagram!

Photo cred to Dad and Stepmom
Dessert gets a shot at least...
Obviously we were safe, and the next night we had a great dinner with my dad and stepmom at Rocky River Tap and Table, in Granger, IN. I found it via Yelp, under what else: craft beer in South Bend (I'd filter in food). They are "farm to table", with alliances established with local farms and breweries. What do you know, to my delight of asking for the 3 Floyds rotating? Zombie Dust on tap! I would rave how amazing my chicken pot pie was, and how juicy my cherry and apple dessert was, but sorry - it's a beer blog. 3 Floyds gets the spotlight. Is it sad I even have my Dad looking for "better camera angles - let me take the picture of the beer from my spot", and my stepmom "How about in front of the logo?" They get it.

My birthday. I'll breakfast how I please

My breakfast on the way home, was at a great spot in South Bend's airport, called Bar Fly. Again, I went with the local recommendation from the bartender: Sun King Cream Ale (and a muffin - it was breakfast after all). It was refreshing, malty and grainy, with nice lemon undertones. 

I would write about the fabulousness of Sweetwater, from the Atlanta layover, however my flight was delayed due to communication between the planes and tower, in South Bend. Then, there were delays in Atlanta, due to the President's arrival. Long story short - I was running like OJ to make my connecting flight back home to Florida. It's a good thing I stocked up at Martin's, with some fabulous Midwest beer - to stash back in my suitcase!
Midwest stash. Edmund Fitzgerald is my jam.