Last October, the city of Elkhart got their second brewery, however, New Paradigm Brewing, (located in the former Harrison Landing, Elkhart) is still waiting on some permitting before they will be able to tap their own beer. Until then, owners Brandon Stanley, Scott Gruver, Bob Newman and Josh Hibshman have put together some great guest tap lists comprised of world class beer.
The lack of their three way license in hand has not inhibited their brewing one bit. Often they have samples available at their pub, they have poured their beer at several charity events, and soon they will be joining the festival circuit to introduce their product to beer enthusiasts. One such event will be a craft beer tasting at the Jefferson St. (downtown) location of City Wide Liquors, next Thursday, February 6, starting at 5:00 PM.
I caught up with Brandon Stanley earlier this week to see what they would be pouring. He was very excited about all five of the beers that they will be offering, but by far his favorite is their Oatmeal Stout. In addition, they will have a lightly spiced winter warmer (7% ABV), Apollo IPA (single hopped with Apollo hops, 6% ABV), Big Hopbowski (7% IPA that according to Stanley is a very big, aggressively hopped beer), their flagship Three Dog Bite (Belgian tripel, 8.1% ABV), and possibly a black IPA. He told me that the black IPA just went into the fermenter, so it is possible that it will not be ready by the event.
Three Dog Bite is brewed with horehound made by Claeys Candy in South Bend, makers of old fashioned sugared hard candies. I have fond memories of my grandfather cutting pieces off of a large chunk of horehound when I was a young boy, and look forward to tasting this tasty treat. According to Stanley, Claeys Candy is the only place that they could find that continues to make horehound.
Dan Radkey of City Wide Liquors filled me in on the tasting activities. Beers from Dogfish Head, and Bare Hands Brewing will also be available for tasting, along with Irish Whiskey from Two Gingers Spirits. But there will be two exciting components added for the first time to this event.
In the past, they have offered cheese, crackers, pretzels, and similar munchies to help cleanse palates between tasting. But now, for the first time they will host Weiss' Gasthaus – German and American Cuisine. I do not know yet what they will be offering, but it will surely pair well with craft beer.
Also for the first time, City Wide will offer a blind tasting of hoppy beers. Radkey suggests that we (beer drinkers) have habitually returned to hoppy IPAs on the sole basis of their reputation. I can attest that there are some IPAs in my frig mostly because they have been my go to IPA. However, with the many many choices of hoppy beers on the market, ranging from single hopped citra pale ales, to very aggressively hopped IPAs, there is a very good chance that there are other excellent hoppy beers (maybe even better than my go to IPAs) that I have never given a chance. A blind tasting will allow us to put all of our associations, expectations, and favoritisms aside, and choose the best beer based on flavor alone.
Radkey explained that there will likely be some sort of ticketed ranking where each taster can rank the top three beers of their choice in order. Results will be posted the following day on their facebook page.
New Paradigm Brewing is located at 600 S. Main St. downtown Elkhart. hours: Tues – Fri 5PM – midnight, Sat 5PM – 3 AM.
City Wide Liquors, 109 E. Jefferson St, downtown South Bend, hours: Mon – Sat 9AM – 10 PM
Bare Hands Brewing is located at 12804 Sandy Ct., Granger, hours: Tue – Thurs 4PM – 11PM, Sat noon -midnight, Sun noon - 7PM