Tonight : Clips Beer & Film Tour in Bryan Park

Step right up to the hottest ticket in town as New Belgium takes over Bryan Park! The Clips Beer & Film Tour is part beer tasting, carnival and film screening, The event starts at 8pm with free admission and a chance to sample 18 “esoteric” brews, buy a 3 oz. sample for $1.25 and 12 oz. beer for $5.00. Once the sun goes down a screening of short films, handmade by New Belgium fans, will be projected onto an inflatable screen. Bloomington is the smallest city on the Clips tour, so come on out, feel the love and drink some handmade beer. All the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Center for Sustainable Living.

New Belgium tasting with Adam at Big Red. Mikey likey the La Folie.

New Belgium tasting with Adam at Big Red. Mikey likey La Folie.

Last night we had a little brew preview at Big Red Liquors with Adam Gonzales, the Indiana New Belgium Beer Representative. Adam led us through a tasting and gave us the scoop on where to find unique New Belgium ales on draught right now, you can find them at The Tap and Crazy Horse. Our tasting began with the Plout Ale. A plout is a hybrid fruit of plum and apricot. This beer pours light golden and has a funky fruit character with just a hint of malt and spice. It’s strange and delicious! Next up was the La Folie, this beer is made of Oscar ale that has aged on french oak for one to three years. Once aged, the beer is combined into one batch at varying proportions and the result is a sour beer that is complex and delicious.

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To close National Bike month with an awesome New Belgium event just blocks from my house is cause for celebration. If the rain skips town, we may have a picnic with a few friends beforehand. Don’t forget to ride your bike to the event. Cheers!

Bloomington Brewing Company : Hop Harvest 2012

Last Saturday evening Michael invited me to the Bloomington Brewing Company Hop Harvest at Loesch Hill Farm. We arrived to friendly faces and a flatbed that was piled high with mounds of spindly Cascade hop vines awaiting their last hurrah of the season. After a tutorial on proper hop size and color from Floyd, legendary Brewer at BBC, we began picking. Michael and I were immediately reminded of the time I was accused of being a top picker at a militant blueberry farm in East Sparta, Ohio. In an effort rebuild my harvesting reputation I was careful and did not let one hop go unpicked. No one sets out to top pick blueberries, it’s just that I am attracted to the bigger berries that are naturally closer to the sun thus higher on the bush. Anyway…

Matt and Michael harvesting hops

The farm was a beautiful setting as we enjoyed glasses of BBC Quarryman Pale Ale filled to the brim. I was surprised to find the hop cones are rather delicate. The sun was just right that time of the day and the electric green color of the cones really came alive. Floyd told us he would dry the hops by laying them in a single layer and turning them once a day.

Cascade Hops

Stay tuned for a special batch of beer made with these delicious hops. I can say from past experience this beer is one my very favorites. I am not sure when it will be released and it tends to sell out quickly. I bet there will be updates on the Bloomington Brewing Company Facebook page. You can “like” it here.

It wouldn’t be a One World outing without food so after the last hop was picked we had cheeseburgers. Naturally this led us to a discussion about cheeseburgers and I learned that pretty much everyone on the Hop Harvest Crew likes Hinkle’s Hamburgers and In & Out Burger. Jeff was the chef and he said his burgers could give Hinkle’s a run for their money. I would have to agree.

Jeff and a cheeseburger

Taste of Bloomington 2012

It’s Taste Day! The Taste of Bloomington is one of my favorite events. I spent my first few years at the Taste pouring beer for Bloomington Brewing Company in my hand bedazzled “Don’t Worry, Be Hoppy”  pink tank top. Then I moved onto One World Catering & Events and the first year our booth was Hawaiian themed complete with Pineapple Coconut Coolers. We won best booth in 2009 and 2010! I  also served on the Taste Event Committee in 2010 and saw what it takes to pull off this large scale event. This year I will be supporting Oliver Winery and will serve locally made wines and Beanblossom Hard Ciders.

At $6 for a ticket, you can’t afford to miss the event! All proceeds go to Hoosier Hills Food Bank and the Community Kitchen. There are two music stages, one with a country focus. A few highlights from the music line up are the New Old Cavalry, my favorite Bloomington bluegrass band, the Vallures and the Clayton Anderson band.

Chocolate Moose will serve my favorite Grasshopper ice cream AND Herb Infused Cotton Candy! I am also looking forward to checking out Inga’s Popcorn, I hear it is highly addictive. The Big Cheeze, the new food truck in town, will make their debut at the Taste today. I want a crispy grilled cheese, maybe with tomato and basil?

My friend Gene is the artist for the Taste and he comes up with a variation of the American Gothic painting each year. This is Gene’s 30th year on the Event Committee! Congratulations Gene! For more information about the Taste of Bloomington, visit the website http://www.visitbloomington.com/taste/