Friday evening, my wife and I were invited to taste beer along with a select group of people at one of the city's up and coming breweries, Fountain Square Brewing Company. We met at an old carburetor exchange building right off Shelby Street just southeast of downtown Indianapolis. The first thing I noticed as I walked in the old warehouse was its size. The building was about a 40,000 to 50,000 square foot facility with fermentors, brew kettles, and mashtuns lined up on the south end of the building. In the corner was a small group of people gathered around four small cornelius kegs
. My wife and I approached the group and were met by Skip, the brewer, and Bill Webster, the CEO, of Fountain Square Brewing Company.
On tap Friday were four different types of beers, pale, porter, IPA, and blonde. I had the opportunity to taste all of them, and I can say, without a doubt, if these gentlemen continue to brew beer at the same caliber as their test batches, they are going to give Sun King a run for its money. I began the night with the blonde ale. Bill described the beer as a sort of "transition" beer good for someone used to drinking American-style light lagers such as Bud or Miller. It was a deep golden color with both well balanced malt and hop profile. The beer was crisp and clean with a dryness that I especially love to see in blonde ales. As I drank my glass, I noticed a heavy lacing creeping down the glass like a rope ladder. This is something that is ideal in any beer, but is especially rare in blondes, which have notoriously poor head retention. Grade: Keeper
Next up was the porter. Unfortunately, many of you who read this blog will never see this beer. Although I would love to have this again, this beer, in its current form anyway, will never see the light of day. Skip wasn't happy with the balance of the beer, and is going to tweak it and hopefully add to the complexities of an already complex beer. Visually, the porter was as high on the SRM scale as one could get. It had a dark brown almost black color with a rich peanut butter colored head. The porter, upon first taste, blasted me with intense notes of coffee, caramel, and chocolate. Although this may turn off most people at first, it will win them back with the dry, clean and not overly malted flavor that manifests itself toward the end of the taste. Bill recommended using the first taste to get yourself acclimated to the intense flavors of the beer and then take a second taste to explore its deeper complexities. Grade: Wish I could have more, but can't wait to see the finished product.
Third in the line up was their pale ale. This beer was named a pale, but was closer to an IPA when looking at overall malt and hop profile. This beer was a pale golden color with good head retention and visible lacing. This pale was was the type beer that would turn even a light beer drinker into a pale ale lover. Although it was not heavily hopped, there was a significant hop profile. Notes of citrus came through well, but were balanced by a maltiness that added needed body to the beer.
Finally I tried the India Pale Ale. This beer had a much heavier hop profile then the pale. It gave floral notes on the front of the pallet, but as the taste progressed I noticed a very piney and grapefruit-like flavor. This, to some people, can be off-putting, but in this case it was handled with care. This description is typical of American style IPAs, but different brewers decide to show it to varying degrees. One man's pale ale is another man's IPA.
Overall I would say the experience was a real treat. My wife and I had a wonderful time tasting different beers from one of the city's freshest faces in the newly-reinvented Indianapolis beer industry. I can't wait to see what they have in store next, and I hope I get another invitation. Stay thirsty my friends!