Thursday, November 22, 2007

A sip of revived ale and pleasant recollections in Indianapolis.

On Tuesday, Diana and I took her English cousin Jennie to Indianapolis for a day of exploration prior to attending the evening’s basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers, which proved to be an inept and lopsided defeat by the youthful, rebuilding home squad.

Given the evening’s roundball motif and Jennie’s “real ale” nationality, it’s fully appropriate that our pit stop (yet another potential pun, except that I'm not a racing fan) earlier in the afternoon at Broad Ripple Brewing Company was graced by the surprising and enjoyable presence of cask-conditioned Circle V Pacer Pale. Indiana Beer’s Bob Ostrander explains:

Broad Ripple Brewpub has Circle V's Pacer Pale on the handpull. It's Kevin Matalucci's tribute to Mark Vojnovich who brewed this at his Circle V a few years back (from '96 to '01 to be exact). It has Centennial hops and 5.5% ABV. "V" is the assistant now at BRBP. The clarity invites you to think "crisp" just by looking at it.

More than six years after brewing ceased, and eight years since the restaurant closed, Circle V’s building off 82nd Street remains unoccupied. It’s painful to see such reminders.

While at Broad Ripple, Jennie and I quaffed two pints with Scotch eggs. Much later, after the game, we three drove north to Castleton and our old friend Joe Brower’s place for overnight quarters, and when I told him that Mark’s excellent Pale Ale had been recreated at Broad Ripple, a warm glow was elicited. Joe began telling stories about beers consumed far and wide, and I knew where he was headed:

“But to this very day, one of the best beers I ever had was …”

(All together now): “Circle V Batch 100!”

Back in the day, I recall thinking that Circle V’s Batch 100 was very similar to Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, and while a certain element of the memory probably has to do with the fact that few such ales were making it to us at the time, it was damned fine indeed, and like Joe, I have a soft spot in my heart for it.

The trouble is that Mark always jokingly claimed to have been a bit, shall we say, “under the weather” on that far off brewing day, and consequently is unable to remember the recipe. If it isn’t true, perhaps there’ll be a revival at Broad Ripple in the future.

Pacer Pale was followed by another unexpected treat. Back to Bob:

But the main reason a couple of dozen folks stopped in at the brewpub last Wednesday was to get the first taste of Bill Ballinger's Serenity Now IPA. Bill and Kevin brewed Serenity Now to Bill's recipe for the Indiana State Fair 2008 Best of Show. It's more brown than expected. With 20 pounds of Amarillo, Cascade, and Columbus hops in the 7-bbl batch, it could be compared to Ruination with more malt and much more body.

That’s a good description of a wonderful Imperial IPA, and Serenity Now proved to be an enjoyable dessert after the eggs.

As a closing note, while at BadaBoomz Ale House & Grill in downtown Indy for a couple of pre-game refreshments, I noticed that Mike DeWeese had NABC’s Hoptimus on tap – hand-delivered by the Publican in August.

Reasoning that the local aficionados should get first orders, I passed in favor of Mad Anthony IPA.

No comments: