As much as I love craft beer and the huge selection we have available in Michiana, I would not like to be in charge of a craft beer store.
It seems like nearly every month we are getting distribution from a new brewery and shelf space is becoming a premium. Most of the space is still controlled by the big guys (Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors) in most stores, but if you shop in the right places, you can get a nice variety of local and national craft beers.
This one sneaked in under my radar: Manhattan, Kansas-based Tallgrass Brewing Co. recently announced distribution plans, partnering with Cavalier Distributing (who also recently picked up Short’s Brewing) for Indiana. I was first introduced to Tallgrass beers by Chris Webster, a bartender at Goshen Brewing Co. He got me excited about barrel-aged Buffalo Sweat (oatmeal cream stout, 5.8 percent ABV, IBUs 10), and after some work I was able to score a couple of cans from a buddy in Ohio.
- RELATED: Short’s Brewing Co. announces updated Midwest distribution plans, including Indiana and Ohio, March 3
- RELATED: Ballast Point Brewing Co. beers will soon be available in Michiana liquor stores, Feb. 26
Bourbon Barrel Buffalo Sweat was the brewery’s second barrel-aged release and was released in 2015 as part of the Explorer Series. It may be awhile before this particular beer is released again, but other Tallgrass cans are now on shelves at my local Chalet Party Shoppe and throughout Michiana.
Brands in our area will include their core beers — Buffalo Sweat, 8-Bit Pale Ale, Top Rope IPA, Songbird Saison and Pub Ale — as well as seasonal beers, their Explorer Series and limited release beers. The Pint Room in Carmel will host a launch party Friday, March 18. Beginning at 6 p.m., eight different brews will be available, including 8-Bit Pale Ale, Songbird Saison, Top Rope IPA, The Grizz, Big RICC, Buffalo Sweat, Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat and Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat. Other launch events will be listed at Cavalier’s website.
Just as the shelves at bottle shops are getting crowded, restaurants and bars are having a difficult time picking and choosing what they will serve on tap.
Mike Miles at Miles Lab told me, “I used to think that 20 taps would be more than enough. Now, it is hard to get everyone’s beer on our list.” Miles Lab has already added 16 oz. cans of Songbird Saison to their menu and will continue to work with Cavalier to get Tallgrass draft into their rotation in the near future. Goshen’s Constant Spring will also be getting some Tallgrass soon to put on tap.
“Exploring new flavors and ideas, creating consistently remarkable beers and sharing them with beer drinkers is what makes us tick at Tallgrass,” said Jeff Gill, founder and CEO. “We’re excited to share our creations with craft beer enthusiasts all across the state and look forward to working with Cavalier to become part of the great craft beer scene in Indiana.”
- RELATED: Indiana Craft Beer Week has been announced by Indiana On Tap, Feb. 29
- RELATED: Mayfest.US., an outdoor craft beer festival in Mishawaka, will move to Kamm Island Park, March 2
Tallgrass Brewing Co. was founded in 2007 by Gill, and in 2010 they switched from bottles to 16-ounce cans. They moved into a new 60,000-square-foot facility in 2015, establishing them as a major regional brewery. I have already enjoyed several cans purchased locally, and I look forward to finding some of their beers at Miles Lab, Constant Spring and other taps around Michiana.