Boy, do I love a good beer. Since I turned 21 years old, I have been trying to find the perfect brew. It’s not possible, as there are millions of options out there. Sure, I have a favorite style… but there is no way to pick a favorite beer. I like darker beers, the stouts and the porters. I also like the red, the cream ales, and the fruity stuff. I pretty much like all beers. Rarely do I drink the same beer twice. When I go to the liquor store, assuming I have the budget to buy something new and risqué, I will always try to try something different. Of course, there are times when all I want to get is a six-pack of Blue Moon or something common, but most of the time I am looking for something new and unique.
A few months ago, while at Crown Liquors for a tasting, I was walking up and down the beer aisle just browsing. I already knew what I wanted… until I saw a beer that was called Clay County Coffee Stout. Wait a second… I am from Clay County.
I took a closer look and sure enough, it was beer brewed in Brazil, Indiana, my hometown. I am actually from Harmony, Indiana, but Brazil is where I went to high school and is literally just a few miles down the road.
The price was a bit much, a six-pack for $10.99, but I was excited to see a beer made in my hometown. I ran home, called my mom, and asked her about it. She had never heard of it, and that was pretty much it… I didn’t think about it again.
My family rocks. Not only can I give alcohol as a gift, but I also enjoy getting alcohol as a gift. So on Christmas morning, while I was opening all my presents, I came across a heavier, weird shaped box from my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Jim. I dug into the package, and there it was… a six-pack of Bee Creek Brewery Honey Wheat. Apparently my mom had told my aunt about the beer, and she bought me a six-pack.
After getting the beer home, and learning more about the brewery itself, I figured I would reach out for a potential interview. I contacted the brewery, began chatting with them on Facebook and Twitter, and eventually scheduled a tour of their brewery.
It’s a two-hour drive from where I live, but I took Sheryl with me and we headed west.
They Have Chickens
When we pulled up, my biggest fear was getting my shoes dirty. They are out in the middle of nowhere. It just made sense. It always amazes me how I can drive a few miles and be so far removed from the city of Indianapolis.
The first thing I noticed, besides the Bee Creek logo on the side of their delivery truck, was an amass of chickens. Yep… free range chickens. They also have five dogs and some cows on property. Not a zoo, but close!
I was met by Mark Snelling, the head brewmaster. Julie Forster, also met with us, as she is the brains behind the Bee Creek Twitter account and the Bee Creek Facebook campaign. She is quick to respond, and without her dedication and planning, this trip would have never happened.
She did warn me early on… don’t expect much. They don’t normally do tours and they do not have a tasting room. We didn’t care; the beer was too good not to see where it was made.
Touring the Hay Barn
After taking a look around the outside of the brewery, we headed inside to see where the magic happens. The brewery is actually in an old hay barn, and being in the middle of Brazil, Indiana, it doesn’t surprise me at all.
I was told, via email, that the brewery was not anything to get excited about. They said it was just a barn with some equipment in it. Well, while they are right, it is a barn with some equipment in it, I was beyond impressed by the setup. The brewmaster told me later that day that he started making beer in his kitchen, just like me. He now makes beer in his barn, but is producing a great beer and is selling it all over the state of Indiana.
We toured the brewery and saw where all the different steps take place, and even where they are making improvements as the brewery continues to grow. They have two coolers on the far wall, and even chill their six-packs and kegs before shipping off to bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. It was neat seeing all this beer stacked to the ceiling. Just made me want to drink it!
Getting a Sample
And drink we did! After we took a short tour of the brewery, we sat down for an interview with the brewmaster. During the interview we were served one sample after another, and ended up trying not only all of the beers they have available, but also some brews in production.
New beer, the IPA #4 and the IPA #5 got me excited. I liked the #4 more, but it was fun to sit there and sip on beers that will soon be on the store shelves. I learned a ton about the brewery, the history of Bee Creek, and the process for the beer making during the interview. It was nice sitting and talking with Mark Snelling, and it makes me want to rush home and make another homebrew.
Bee Creek beer is being served all over the Hoosier state, and you can get it in most liquor stores. I even ordered a bottle the other night at Moon Dog Tavern here on Indy’s north side. The beer is not hard to find, it is competitively priced (considering the ABV) and is ready to drink. Most places even serve it cold, so you can purchase and enjoy almost immediately.
The brewery isn’t big… but they produce some big beers and the flavors run deep. They use Martinsville honey and Clay City coffee beans… keeping everything local. This is a great addition to the microbrews of the great state of Indiana, and I am proud to call this place (the city anyway) home. So grab a bottle of Bee Creek and toast your closest neighbor. Bottoms up people!