Thursday, July 31, 2008

DIG-B Stays.

I've been pretty torn about what to do with DIG-B. On the one hand, splitting off my beer writing does provide an excellent opportunity to start something new, with a blog title that is more descriptive than this crazy acronym. On the other hand, I happen to like the acronym!

I've settled on keeping DIG-B. The vast majority of posts will be about development happenings around Indianapolis, but it'll continue to provide a place where I can write about gear if I want to, or the occasional beer post that doesn't really fit at Hoosier Beer Geek.

Speaking of which, things are a little busy over there these days. In case you haven't heard, we're throwing a 2nd Anniversary Party next Thursday at Brugge in Broad Ripple (details here). Once the dust settles from that, I expect I'll probably be able to post two to three photo items here per week, with the occasional random post thrown in for fun.

Photos: Zing's Outdoor Seating Goes Up

The wrap-around seating area on Zing -- a new restaurant coming soon to the corner of West and Indiana -- has been going up piece-by-banging-piece over the last week. Thankfully, all the clanging appears to be done. To start, here are a couple photos I took late last week as the pieces started to morph into a real balcony (as always, click any picture for a larger version):
And here are some shots I took yesterday. The railings are mostly complete but the flooring still needs to be put down.
Interestingly, the southern end of the balcony extends slightly beyond the edge of the building:
What do you think?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photos: Under the Facade

Construction work continues at Allen Plaza (Virginia and Pennsylvania Sts.). As part of the construction work, some windows were removed revealing what appears to be an old facade for this building. Not only was the previous facade covered up, it looks like an architectural flourish at the top of the window arches was hacked off in order to put the new facade over the old.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

DIG-B News

Sorry about the sparse content over here the last couple of weeks! As some of you may know -- if you follow other Indy beer blogs -- I recently started writing for Hoosier Beer Geek. That means that all of my beer writing will now be appearing over there (my first post).

Unfortunately, that leaves DIG-B in limbo. B is gone, so do I keep writing DIG? Well, I don't really write much G anymore, so it would be DI? I don't know yet. Maybe I'll come up with a new meaning for the DIG-B acronym. The only things I know for sure are that my beer writing will be heading to Hoosier Beer Geek and I will still be taking pictures of development and random things around downtown. Stay tuned and I'll figure out what to do with my pictures.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Photos: Old Stone Curb

You can still find old stone curbs in various areas around the central city of Indianapolis. In particular, there are many streets in Chatham Arch lined with stone and Ransom Place is quite proud of what remains of their historical curbs on the 800 and 900 blocks of California St.

Just south of Ransom Place, in the parking lot immediately north of the Walker Theater, there's a parking lot entrance with curb made of stone. This driveway lines up pretty closely with Walnut St. and it could very well have been designated as such at some point in the past. These are the kinds of things you notice when you walk or bike around the city instead of drive. Humans aren't designed to take in the details of the world at 55mph!

Here's the curb right as you turn in from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.:
A little ways up the driveway, another piece of the curb pokes out:
At a distance, you can see the relationship of the two segments:How many layers of asphalt must have been laid next to that old curb for it to barely protrude at this point?! How many more pieces of this curb may be completely covered?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Photos: Zing Coming Soon

This second picture shows what I assume are pieces of the wrap-around patio. As long as it doesn't go up too quickly, I should be able to show the process of that being assembled. The interior also seems to be coming along with drywall up in most areas of the ground floor. The former bar area -- the southern end of the building along Indiana -- looks like it will be the kitchen when the building reopens as Zing. That could be very interesting, as there are a pair of large windows (right side of the image below) that would allow passersby to see all of the action inside.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bike Life: The Car Is Back

I'm proud to report that despite a car sitting in our garage for the first time in over three weeks, I still walked to work this morning. Whether it was inertia or just the wonderfully pleasant weather this morning, I only considered using the car for a split second before I settled on walking. We'll see how long I keep this up.

I'm planning a wrap-up of my Bike Life experience at some point, but for now I'm catching up on things after being gone for five days.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

DIG-B Vacation

Once again, DIG-B will be going on vacation until next week. I'm heading to the Finger Lakes of New York for a long weekend of family fun. The Finger Lakes is just north of the region of NY called the Southern Tier which -- surprise, surprise -- happens to be home to Southern Tier Brewing Company. If I'm lucky, I'll be bringing some Unearthly back with me (and anything else I can find). See you next week!

Beer: Brugge, Goose the Market, and More

Just noticed over at Goose Blog that Chris Eley, chef/owner of Goose the Market, will be preparing a "Farm to Table" dinner Sunday, August 3rd at Good Life Farms in Eminence, IN. Information about other "Farm to Table" dinners can be found at Feed Me/Drink Me, but I'm mentioning this dinner specifically because the menu indicates "Beer, wine and cocktail pairings to follow." At the bottom of the menu, Brugge is among several names that will be supplying things for the dinner, so I think it's a safe bet that a Brugge beer of some sort will be among the pairings. Goose-Eley-Brugge and MORE?! Sounds pretty good. Reservations are $65, including tax and tip.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Beer: The Frugal Beer Drinkers Guide

Looking to go out for beer in downtown Indy on a budget? Here's a list of the best Monday to Friday deals in downtown.


  • J. Gumbo's -- $3.25 u-call-it pints
  • Alcatraz -- Half-priced growler refills
  • Rock Bottom -- All "standard" styles: $2 pints
  • John's Fine Wine & Spirits -- Buy three 6-packs, get one for a penny (must be different styles)
  • John's Fine Wine & Spirits -- 15% off single bottles
  • Alcatraz -- Half-priced growler refills
  • The Ram -- All "standard" styles: $2 pints
  • The Ram -- Half-priced growler refills
If you're not picky, the downtown brew pubs generally have a single style on special any day of the week you go in (though usually not on Friday or Saturday). If you've got tips for other great deals around town -- or downtown, if I missed one -- let everybody know in the comments!

Beer: On Tap

A couple quick notes about beers on tap around town:
  • J. Gumbo's recently put Founders Red's Rye, Two Brothers Cane & Abel, as well as Three Floyds Dreadnaught on tap. I'm not sure if this is still true, but J. Gumbo's/BadaBoomz/Buffalo Wild Wings was once the ONLY place other than the Three Floyds Brew Pub where you could find Dreadnaught on tap. Even if that's no longer the case, it's certainly a rare opportunity. Get down there and give it a whirl!
  • Victory Brewing Company has finally broken into Indiana -- you may have seen them promoted at recent local beer festivals -- and you can now find their Prima Pils on tap at MacNiven's. Beer Advocate users rate it one of the best German Pilsners you can find anywhere. Mike DeWeese is hoping to get Victory's Hop Devil, their IPA, on tap at J. Gumbo's at some point.
  • At MacNiven's, you can also find Brooklyn Monster Ale on tap. Monster is an English Barleywine that clocks in at 11.8%, so watch out.
  • Growler refills at The Ram are half-priced for the entire month of July. I believe they're normally $9, so that's just $4.50 for a half-gallon of fresh, tasty beer. You can't beat that!
And finally, you've probably heard that Hot Shotz had a kitchen fire the morning of Hops for Pops that's forced them to close down for now. You can help get their taps flowing again by making a donation through their webpage. Any amount you donate will be good for double your donation in food and drinks when they reopen their doors.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bike Life: Walkin' in the Rain

A day like today separates the men from the boys: will you bike/walk to work in the rain? I had no choice but to walk this morning -- amazingly, this was the first time in two weeks that I had to go somewhere in the rain -- but I have to admit that there's no way I would have done it if there was a car in the garage. Even the 8-10 minute walk, with an umbrella, through steady but not torrential rain got me pretty wet from the waist on down. It would take a stronger conviction than I've got to commit to doing this on a regular basis. I can't even imagine attempting a 10+ mile bike ride in the rain....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Beer: This is Your Beer Glass on Dark Lord

I took this picture quite a while ago, but Hoosier Beer Geek's roundtable post today reminded me of it. Beer drinkers often talk about a beer leaving "lacing" behind on a glass, but I've never had a beer coat a glass the way Three Floyd's Dark Lord coated this glass. That's just how thick Dark Lord is! Here's the glass with the offending beer's container:
And here's the glass in comparison to a clean glass:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bike Life/Beer: A Trip To Evansville

I decided that last weekend would be a good time to take a trip down to Evansville to visit my wife. Without a car, this presented a challenge. I looked into several options for getting down there, including plane, bus and train. Flying was nixed because of expense and a lack of direct service. Bus was nixed because of an absurd NINE hour travel time each direction. Unfortunately, train isn't even an option! Evansville is NOT well-connected to Indianapolis.

I was hoping to avoid it, but the only other option was renting a car. Luckily, Avis and Budget operate car rental agencies in downtown so I was able to just walk to an agency to pick up a car. I rented a compact to try to get better fuel economy, but not too surprisingly my gas expenditure still came out higher than my rental rate!

The generally preferred route from Indy to Evansville is to drive west on I-70 to Terre Haute and then take Highway 41 south to Evansville (this was the rejected no-new-terrain route for I-69). An alternate route is to take I-65 south to Louisville and then I-64 west to Evansville. That route is about 40 miles longer but eliminates all traffic lights, so it takes basically the same amount of time. It also happens to take you right past New Albany, the home of up-and-coming brewery New Albanian. Needless to say, that's the route I chose.

Evansville is about three hours away, with New Albany almost exactly halfway. That puts New Albanian about an hour and a half from Indy, not a bad distance for a day trip. I stopped in very briefly, just so I could grab a growler of Hoptimus and get back on the road. The place is a little confusing. First of all, there are actually two separate areas: one is a pizzeria and the other is a public house. I made the mistake of going into the pizzeria first and while you can get New Albanian beer in there, there is no bar.

Once I got into the public house, I was confused yet again because there's no obvious bar area. The arrangement is very interesting and eclectic, but not very user-friendly on the first visit. It seems to be one part restaurant, one part "coffee house/lounge" and one part bar. After winding through a couple areas, there actually is a bar area of sorts in the back. There are two small bars, maybe large enough for three people to stand at. In addition to a half dozen or so New Albanian beers on tap, they also have several guest beers on tap. I stepped up to the bar and ordered my growler, chatted with a guy enjoying a pint at the bar, and then got on my way. At some point, I'm going have to head back there so I can really experience the place.

I pulled into Evansville right around dinner time, so we headed out to eat almost immediately. Our destination was Turoni's, a locally-owned brew pub and the only one in Evansville. People in southern Indiana must really love their craft beer with pizza because, again, this beer destination is also a pizzeria. We split a very tasty thin crust pizza and I tried their Wit's Up and their IPA. Both were very good, but nothing amazing. I don't think it was on tap while we were there, but courtesy of the tap swap for Indiana Beer Week, you can try Turoni's Helles Bock at The Ram starting Monday, July 14th. Like all Indiana breweries, they'll also be at the Microbrewers Festival.

The next night, we went out to the other must-try Evansville beer stop, Gerst Bavarian Haus. Think Rathskeller, except with more taps, fewer bottles and a much smaller outdoor seating area. The menu features standard (and delicious) German fare and an excellent selection of beers. I went with "Frank Hefe" which I'm assuming was Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse. Very tasty, though I still have to go with Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier when I've got a hankering for real German hefe. For dessert I decided to go with what they told me was a Schlafly Milk Stout. It was very good, with a strong chocolate presence up front and a nice creamy finish. The thing is, I can't find any mention of the existence of a Schlafly Milk Stout anywhere. It was definitely brewed with lactose -- the non-fermentable sugar that's the hallmark of milk stouts -- but the milkiness wasn't as strong as Left Hand Milk Stout, the only major milk stout I know of. I wish I knew what it was so I could recommend it!

All in all, a very fun weekend trip and of course, it was wonderful to see my wife after being apart over a week. All the beer stops I mentioned are highly recommended!

(I also recovered my camera, which accidentally made the trip down to Evansville, so you can expect to see photo features return this week.)