Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Photos: An Indianapolis Aqueduct

You may not be aware that Indianapolis has an aqueduct as it's near, well, nothing. It was originally built in 1836-37 as part of the Central Canal to move the canal over Fall Creek. The current aqueduct was built in 1904-05, a replacement for one washed away in a flood of Fall Creek on March 27, 1904.

To get to it, you drive north off 16th St. onto the appropriately named Aqueduct St. After driving about a half mile, it dead ends very near a junk yard. Then you have to hop out of your car and (presumably trespassing) walk about a 10th of a mile back on a gravely path. At the end of your walk, you're presented with this:

Looking West:
Looking West and slightly down at Fall Creek:
Looking East:
Aqueducts always get me. The juxtaposition of "tamed" and "wild" bodies of water always looks and feels very odd to me.

Note: these pictures were taken June, 2006.

UPDATE (2/4): Finally took a look at the birds-eye shots that thundermutt mentioned in the comments. Here's a shot of the aqueduct from the South:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Photos: IUPUI Campus Center Bell Tower

Interior photos will follow later this week. See earlier exterior photos here.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beer: Rock Bottom Brewer's Dinner Menu

I received the menu for the upcoming Rock Bottom Brewer's Dinner in the mail the other day. Rock Bottom hosts these dinners quarterly for a very reasonable $35/person. Since the Brewer's Dinner menus rarely get posted online -- and usually not in their entirety even if they do -- here's the full menu, verbatim, so you can see what you think (sorry, no time listed):

Brew Master Jerry Sutherlin
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Prosciutto Wrapped Pears
Seasonally ripened D'Anjou Pear wedges wrapped in Italian ham, laid over an apple pear glace, with hints of cinnamon and sugar, accompanied with a fontina cheese sauce.

Belgian Trippel called "Trouble"

Oyster & Chicken Gumbo
Traditional New Orleans style soup with all the right spices.
American IPA

Quail & Crawfish Cream
Quail Breast, pan seared and baked, with a sweet and zesty Crawfish Cream Sauce. Accompanied by dirty rice.
Circle City Light

Bananas Foster
A succulent dish of bananas sauteed in sugars and syrups, flambeed in rum, served ala mode.

Executive Chef Victor Garcia

UPDATE (1/27): Apparently Rock Bottom does have the menu online. Unfortunately, it's nearly unreadable. What I can make out, however, shows that the soup and entree have already changed from the menu I received last week. The beers remain the same. If you can read this, more power to you (click for a slightly larger, equally unreadable version):

Friday, January 25, 2008

Beer: Notes on My First Homebrew

My first homebrew finally finished aging on Thursday (see my brother's review below). It went through two weeks of aging for proper carbonation and another three weeks recommended aging for "best taste" according to my kit's directions. I decided to name it WillCo, a smashing together of my last name with that of my lovely wife and brewing assistant.

The kit I used to make this beer is produced by Brewer's Best and is called California Imperial Pale Ale. They describe the kit as their take on the popular Arrogant Bastard Ale. I had one during the aging process directly next to an Arrogant Bastard. While mine isn't quite as good, the fact that it's even in the same ballpark is amazing to me! There are some subtle differences in the hop character and there's something a little funky on the finish that isn't there in Arrogant Bastard. Maybe just the difference between the water in San Diego and our lovely water supply in Indy.

I started out with 38 12oz. bottles and two 22oz. bombers but somehow through gifting at Christmas and tasting one here or there through the aging process, I'm left with slightly less than half that number. My initial number of bottles was a bit low, as 5 gallons should produce about 53 12oz. bottles. Probably lost some volume to evaporation while boiling the wort and taking gravity readings. Plus, there isn't a mark on my carboy for 5 gallons so if I had tried to correct the volume, it would have been a complete guess. I'll have to fill it with 5 gallons of water at some point and make a big permanent marker line on it for the future.

One side-effect of the low yield is that I inadvertently used too much finishing sugar during bottling. That is, I used the entire packet that came in my kit. Finishing sugar is consumed by the remaining yeast in a bottle to produce CO2 that carbonates the beer. Unfortunately, the amount in the packet is intended for 5 gallons of beer when I was closer to 4 gallons. That means there was extra sugar in each bottle which produced extra CO2 and slightly over-carbonated beer. When I opened a 22oz. bottle, I could only pour about half a pint before the head was almost overflowing. Luckily, the 12oz. bottles aren't nearly as bad and I only used two 22s this time.

My plan is to start Batch #2 this weekend. I previously thought I'd do a stout but when I think about the time to ferment, bottle and age a stout, I probably won't be drinking it before the spring! By then I'll probably be thinking about drinking something different....maybe an IPA?

Beer: WillCo -- A Coming of Age Ale

Today we've got another guest poster, my younger brother. He's providing a thorough review of my first homebrew, named WillCo, which just finished aging yesterday. I'll have another post later on with some personal notes about the beer.

Beer: WillCo

Brewed by:

WillCo Homebrewing Company
Indiana, United States

Style / ABV:

American Strong Beer / Plenty (7%?)

Poured from a 12oz bottle (with a duct tape label) into a pint glass. Batch #1.

A: Pours a deep caramel color under two fingers worth of white head which diminished quickly. Minimal lace, no retention (although that may be my fresh-out-of-the-dishwasher glass, which I forgot to rinse).

S: Lots of toasty goodness. Seriously, I smell toast. There’s plenty of sweet coffee aroma as well.

T: The initial taste at the front of the mouth is fairly sweet, but is quickly dominated by a roasted nutty/caramely/coffeey flavor on the sides and back. Quite a bit more carbonation than in previous tastings, which seems to balance the sweetness well. There seems to be a distinct lack of the unmistakable home-brew after taste – big plus!

F: medium-bodied with lots of activity. The ending feel is roasted and bitter, which certainly invites the next sweet-starting sip.

D: I fear the home-brew headache, so I haven’t had more than 1 bottle per sitting.

I like this beer, a lot! Very respectable for your first go around. I look forward to Batch #2 with great anticipation.

Reviewed on 1/24/2008 10:45PM

Here's a picture of my pour from last night, with one of my duct tape labeled bottles!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Beer: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine

I have to admit, I'm not very good at writing a beer review. I don't typically take notes and I don't look for nuance as much as I probably should. Beer reviewing is often a digital experience for me: do I like this or do I not like this?

Last night, however, I was at BadaBoomz and ordered a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine (2000), their "January Feature." This is the first time I've ever ordered the monthly feature, but I think the idea is that owner Mike Deweese pulls out a vintage beer from his stash and offers it for one month. After one sip, I felt compelled to write down notes. This is one of the most complex beers I've ever had, certainly the most complex since I first had a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Here's what I managed to scribble on the Bell's coaster I had under the beer:

For those that can't decipher my chicken scratch, that translates to a truly awesome beer. I've only had a couple barleywines and I haven't been particularly crazy about them. In most cases, they're much too sweet for my taste. This beer has its fair share of sweetness, but I don't think it's overdone. It's what's behind the sweetness that makes this a great beer.

The waiter brought the beer out to me with a tulip glass. BadaBoomz does pretty well with their selection of glassware and I like that the waiter left the bottle and glass for me to pour (some may think this bad service, but I like the opportunity to pour my own beer). I did a mildly aggressive pour and ended up with just a hint of head that disappeared almost immediately, leaving just a trace around the edge of the glass. It smells strongly of raisins.

The flavor starts with a strong taste of raisins and dark fruit, very similar to the smell. Then you hit some roasted barley mixed with a strong kick of hops. It finishes with an almost smokey flavor and a hint of chocolate. A little warming alcohol is there at 9.6% but it's pretty well hidden. This is a wonderful sipping beer.

If you like barleywine, get thee to BadaBoomz before the end of the month and Mike moves the leftovers (if there are any) back into storage! I can't recommend this beer enough.

In closing, here's a quote by Michael Jackson from the back of the BadaBoomz menu:

"...Bigfoot captures the imagination, and its character is as big as the name implies, with a huge hoppiness in its earthy aroma, a chewy palate, and a great depth of flavor."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Development: Cosmopolitan on the Canal is ON!

Just a quick note that as of today, fences are up surrounding the Cosmopolitan on the Canal site. In my quick drive by, it doesn't appear to be permanent fencing, more like the kind of fencing surrounding Military Park when a concert or festival is there. Still, this is a wonderful sign that this project is officially moving forward!

Here are a couple shots of the site as it looks before construction.

Once construction activity starts, you can be sure I'll have photos up here. See earlier posts here and here for renderings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Beer: This n' That

Hopslam: It's available in Indy and the price of a 6-pack varies from $14 (Hop Shop, or $50/case (thanks Jason) ) to $15 (Crown Liquor) to $15.50 (Kahn's). If you're looking for it on tap around Indy, World Class Beverages' search engine says it should be available at BadaBoomz in downtown, Hot Shotz on the NE side, and the Corner Wine Bar in Broad Ripple (yeah, I'm scratching my head on that one too). You can find it in bottles at Bazbeaux in downtown and Chumley's in Broad Ripple. Also, check out Matt's review.

Expansions: Indiana Beer reports (Jan. 15) that Brugge Brasserie in Broad Ripple will be expanding into the upstairs space formerly occupied by Net Heads, a computer gaming cafe (Net Heads is moving to Carmel). New Albanian Brewing Company reports that they are exploring the possibility of expanding their brewing and restaurant operations in New Albany (h/t Hoosier Beer Geek).

Indy Pub Crawl: I first heard about the Indy pub crawl last summer but couldn't make it. I swore I was going to try to go on the winter crawl but apparently it came and went this past Saturday before I even knew it. I swear I'm going to try to go on the summer crawl!

Consumption: This weekend my wife and I opened the bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca that we brought back from Christmas in Rochester. YUCK! It was unexpectedly tart, very citrusy and tough to get down. I don't have too much experience with Belgian white ales but this seemed pretty out-of-character to me. It may have been better if we had known how tart it was and had an appropriate food pairing for it. Luckily my beer evening was saved by a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout with some dark chocolate. I love that pairing!

This is the first Jolly Pumpkin beer I've tried and from the look of their beer ratings, I definitely shouldn't give up on them. Does anybody have a recommendation for one to try next?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Beer: It's Hopslam Day!

Hoosier Beer Geek reports that Hopslam, Bell's limited distribution Double IPA, has been received by Bell's local distributor, World Class Beverage. The WCB search engine indicates that it should be appearing on store shelves around Indy as of today. It ain't cheap -- I paid $15 for a 6er at Crown Liquor -- but it's SO worth it! Search for a location near you and pick some up.

Treat yourself, it's Hopslam Day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gear: A New Internet Access Pricing Structure

I came across a very interesting article earlier regarding Time Warner's proposed new internet access pricing. They'll begin limited trials later this year on a pricing structure that charges for internet usage rather than bandwidth.

This concept is so logical, I'm not sure why it hasn't been tested yet. Electric companies don't charge you based on voltage (bandwidth), they charge you for the power you use (internet usage). Water companies may charge you partially for the size pipe into your house but they mostly charge you based on the water you consume. I could see internet service providers (ISPs) moving to a pricing model similar to the water company, with a base service charge and then usage fees.

While this will more fairly distribute the cost of internet use, the more profound effect will be on the download of bandwidth-hogging pirated content. Current limitless internet access essentially makes it free to pirate movies, music and TV. Charge people "by the bit" or at set usage tiers and suddenly there's a very real cost associated with that kind of internet use. You better believe that the MPAA and RIAA will be lining up behind this concept.

Additionally, this presents a way for ISPs to charge consumers for piggybacking VoIP services like Vonage and streaming audio/video services like Rhapsody and Yahoo! Music. In particular, ISPs are none too pleased with Vonage for using their networks for "free," particularly when they offer their own competing internet phone services.

I'll be keeping an eye on this concept to see if it goes anywhere.

Beer/Gear: Krups-Heineken BeerTender

Commenter Indy Steve forwarded me a link to this device last week and I have to say, I love the concept! Krups and Heineken have joined forces to create a mini-kegerator called BeerTender. First released in Europe, the news is that they're now bringing the device over to the US.

I like the concept because few people have the space for a full-on kegerator and even fewer people probably have the inclination to drink an entire keg of beer at home (I think I'd hate even my favorite beer after working through a whole keg of it!). Not to mention you've got to have a significant other willing to allow such a thing into their home. BeerTender, on the other hand, is cool, small and sleek looking. A much easier sell. And using mini kegs, you could change out the beer style much more frequently.

Steve wondered if this would work with the new Two Hearted Ale mini-kegs from Bell's. Unfortunately, it looks like the answer is no. The BeerTender is only compatible with DraughtKeg mini-kegs, and even then, it's designed to use the 4L version common in Europe. A tube attachment will allow it to work with 5L DraughtKegs common in the US, but how many beers are produced in those pressurized DraughtKegs?

Of course, there's another BIG downside: the price on this thing is outrageous. News reports indicate that it will be available at Williams-Sonoma for $400 on March 1 and rumor is that other retailers will have it for approximately $299 on April 1. Who's going to pay $400 for this?! That's approaching the price of a full-sized kegerator.

At $200, I bet they'd do solid business. Bring it down to $100 and it would fly off the shelves. I just don't see this product taking off at $400 or even $300. Think of all the different bottled beer you could enjoy for $300!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gear: Pursuit of the Silent Computer

Today we've got a guest blogger, my older brother and the family guru on silent computing. This is the first in a small series he's going to write about the concept and pursuit of silent computers. (Also note that Silent PC Review -- the bible for this topic area -- has been added to the 'Gear Links' sidebar.)

With all the noisy things in the world these days (my 9-month old is a good example), it's nice to have a serene place where you can relax in silence. Unfortunately, if you have a computer running in that place, you may have trouble relaxing, due to all the racket it generates.

Fortunately, quieting the jet engine sitting next to you is easier than you may think. Our parents' computer, for example, was a major offender, but with some easy changes, Chris (even without silence as his objective) dramatically reduced its noise footprint -- I'll get to how in just a bit. Hopefully this entry will get you thinking about the all noise your computer makes, or more specifically, all the noise it doesn't need to make.

To start, a little theory. The first law of silent computing:

Heat = Noise

To elaborate: computer parts generate heat, which must be dissipated to prevent damage. Heat dissipation usually occurs through airflow across the parts and their heatsinks. The more heat that is generated, the more airflow that is required. The more airflow that is required, the faster fans must spin and the more turbulence in the airflow, both of which generate noise.

So what is the major source of heat in a computer? The CPU: by far the hottest element in a computer. Fortunately, as CPUs get faster, smaller, and hotter, a lot of engineering has gone into increasing their energy efficiency and mitigating their heat generation. The CPUs available today are much more power efficient (power consumed has a direct relationship to heat generation) than the prior generation of processors. Systems based on AMD's Athlon X2 and Intel's Core 2 Duo can consume less than half the power of the dominant processors of just three years ago: the spaceheaters from AMD (Athlon XP) and Intel (Pentium 4). I won't comment about the performance increase these new processors also offer, suffice it to say it is quite significant.

Which brings me to the change Chris made: he upgraded our parents' computer from an Athlon XP to a Core 2 Duo, mainly for performance reasons. This involved purchasing a new CPU, motherboard, and RAM, with a total cost of around $250. His objective was easily achieved: the updated system runs circles around the one it replaced. But the collateral improvement in the noise generation was what had both Chris and me swooning as our ears breathed a sigh of relief.

So my main recommendation for today: if you've got an older computer, consider an upgrade to a Core 2 Duo or Athlon X2 system. You'll get an impressive trifecta: (1) a performance bump, (2) a noise reduction, and (3) a reduction in the energy you consume.

Is our parents' computer quiet enough for the way they use it? Sure. Could more be done to make it even quieter if they needed to? You bet, and I'll explore silent computing and its tools and techniques even further in future guest entries.

Enjoy the silence!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Development: Cosmopolitan on the Canal in Color

I finally located a full color rendering of the Cosmopolitan on the Canal. This shot is looking Northwest at the corner of Senate and Michigan.

I'm not so sure about the choice of colors. What do you think of it?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday's Five Ws (and One H)

Who is thinking about attending the Indiana Craft Brew & Food Symposium at L'Explorateur? No menu or price yet (hopefully they'll be available sometime this week) but Neal Brown mentioned over at Hoosier Beer Geek that a date has been set for Wednesday, February 27th. Also, H20 Sushi will be hosting a Beer Dinner on March 10th and Rock Bottom downtown will be hosting their next Brewer's Dinner on February 5th (thanks to commenter Rodney for that one).

What beers have people been enjoying recently? I popped open a Stone Arrogant Bastard last night to drown my sorrows. Maybe Rogue Dead Guy would have been more appropriate, but I didn't have any around. Some local brewer needs to make "Indy Choked at Crunch Time Ale" for these occasions.

When do you think Indy will start seeing the hops/barley shortages reflected in the price of beer? (Or if someone already has, what was the location/beer/price change?)

Where will you be eating during Devour Downtown Winterfest? My wife and I are thinking about finally trying Hot Tuna in the Omni.

Why aren't all awards shows done like the Golden Globes Announcement Special last night? I'm almost hoping the writers strike continues through the Oscars so we can get another awards show out of the way in this format. (I hate these awards shows in concept but I can't not watch!)

How is everyone recovering from the Colts loss to that bunch of back-ups?

Gear: HD Format War Update

The HD movie world is very much in flux after the recent announcement that Warner Bros. would move from HD format neutrality to Blu-ray exclusivity. A quick rundown on the news of the last week:
  • HBO and New Line Cinema follow Warner to Blu-ray exclusivity. (This was not unexpected given that these are sister studios to Warner and also distributed by Warner.)
  • BBC Home Video, despite also being a sister studio to Warner, announces that they will continue to be format neutral, citing stronger sales of their Planet Earth series on HD-DVD.
  • Rumors swirl early last week that Paramount is interested in exercising an escape clause in their HD-DVD exclusivity agreement to switch to Blu-ray. The clause reportedly allows Paramount to back out in the event that a major studio switches to Blu-ray exclusivity.
  • Further rumors indicate Universal's exclusivity agreement with HD-DVD will expire shortly and they are considering a switch to Blu-ray.
  • Both Paramount and Universal publicly state their on-going support for the HD-DVD format.
  • Toshiba slashes the MSRP on their HD-DVD players. Street price for their entry-level, 1080i HD-A3 is now as low as $127, while the step-up, 1080p HD-A30 can be had for $164.
For now, HD-DVD is still standing. But things are looking increasingly desperate, and even the slightest bad news could be the final bell for HD-DVD. Paramount and Universal were hardly forceful in their public support of HD-DVD and nothing prevents them from backing out in the future. At this point, perception is reality. If people perceive HD-DVD to be dead, they won't buy and the format will be dead.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Beer: Rock Bottom Taps Belgian Tripel

Just noticed over on the events page at Indiana Beer that Rock Bottom apparently had a tapping party for a Belgian Tripel last night. I usually keep up-to-date on these tappings from their email newsletters and occasionally checking out their webpage. I never saw anything -- must have been a double-secret tapping.

In any case, I'm very curious to try it out. A Belgian Tripel is pretty far outside the brewing norm for Rock Bottom, so I wonder how it turned out.

For reference, their next tapping is something called "Sub Zero" on Wednesday, February 6th.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Beer: New York Times Review of Double IPAs

The New York Times online has an article today that discusses the American brewing trend to more and more powerful brews, in particular the Double IPA style. It's not too long and fairly interesting, particularly for any fan of the style. It begins with a discussion of the trend and ends with a review of 25 DIPAs by a panel of tasters. A handful of the top beers are given a quick blurb and you shouldn't be a bit surprised by their top selection.

I particularly liked one quote by Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery:

"The hoppiest beer?" Garrett asked. "It’s a fairly idiotic pursuit, like a chef saying, 'This is the saltiest dish.' Anyone can toss hops in a pot, but can you make it beautiful?"

Not surprising, coming from a guy that wrote "The Brewmaster's Table," a book about pairing beer with food. Double IPAs are probably the worst beers for pairing with food. They'll destroy the taste of just about anything you pair with them. Still, that doesn't mean I don't love them all by themselves!

Photos: Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Photo 3

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is recognizing significant donors to the trail by naming "corridors" after them. A corridor appears to be a block or two segment of the trail. Myrta J. Pulliam, who gave an extremely generous $1M donation to the trail, has the corridor passing in front of O'Malia's named after her.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Beer: This n' That

  • Has anybody ever been to (or even heard of) the Bottle Shop at 49th and College? I was playing around with the beer locater engine on World Class Beverages site and it came up as a delivery location for a beer I was looking at (can't seem to remember which one). I'm curious if this is a place worth checking out.
  • Growlers are half price at The Ram for the entire month of January (via email newsletter).
  • Hoosier Beer Geek reports that Bell's is bottling Hopslam, their extremely tasty double IPA, this week. It should start appearing on store shelves late next week and the following week. There will only be one batch this year, so you better grab it quickly.
  • BadaBoomz kept their word and their online beer list has been updated, at least as of December 20th. Check out the beer menu here. As a nice reference, page one of the list also shows their daily specials.
  • Buggs Temple has finally launched a new webpage with menus: The Grill, The Tavern, The Tavern Bar Menu as well as The Tavern Wine Menu. At least they did a comprehensive job, even if it took months.
  • Hoosier Beer Geek and Feed Me/Drink Me are both discussing the issue of craft beer in restaurants. I brought this up a couple months ago, but it's generating a bit more discussion over there. If this interests you, go make your voice heard, if you haven't already.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gear: The Beginning of the End for HD-DVD?

The big news in the HD movie format war is that Warner Brothers has chosen to release movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. They expect to complete the transition by May 2008. This appears to be more of a loss for HD-DVD than a gain for Blu-ray as Warner had previously been releasing movies in both the Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats, the last major studio to do so.

Admittedly, my assertion that both formats would continue to exist now has very little possibility of happening. While HD-DVD still maintains a significant lead in the cost of players, from a content perspective, the format war has moved from a 5-to-3 studio lead for Blu-ray to a 5-to-2 lead. Without Warner Bro., it seems impossible that HD-DVD can continue to produce content at a similar rate to Blu-ray. A cash infusion to induce a flood of catalog releases by the remaining two HD-DVD exclusives could keep them competitive for awhile, but they simply won't be able to compete on the new releases front. Further, the handful of movies released by Warner exclusively on HD-DVD because of interactive features available on HD-DVD players (such as Batman Begins and The Matrix trilogy) will move to Blu-ray in May.

I have a soft spot in my heart for HD-DVD because their cheaper player price allowed me to enter the market last Christmas. I recently bought a Toshiba HD-A3 player so that I could more easily play my HD-DVD collection. However, I have to admit that the Christmas sales on players and movies also moved me to purchase a Blu-ray player. My early December purchase of a Samsung BD-P1400 Blu-ray player now seems prescient in light of Warner's decision. I would be lying if I said I saw this coming, but this possibility was definitely in the back of my mind when I made the purchase. At least I'm now future-proofed.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Photos: A little of the old, a lot of the new.

Was there a similar sign for O'Malia's on this corner (Alabama and Vermont)? My gut says no, but my mind isn't sure. Anybody know? In any case, despite the fact that I don't like the name change, I like the new Marsh sign. And it's a nice touch that they kept a little piece of O'Malia's with the old awnings.

Photos: Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Photo 2

(Yes, I know I announced this feature two months ago and promptly let it slip. I'm going to try to revive it in the coming weeks.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Beer: The Christmas Haul

The word is out in my family that I'm really into beer and homebrewing. Among other things, I received three beer books for Christmas!

Beer, Michael Jackson (my copy is older; it's now "Ultimate Beer")
The Brewmaster's Table, Garrett Oliver
Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide

I also received four Spiegelau Pilsner glasses:

A traditional pilsner glass is tall, tapered and thin, so I have no clue why Spiegelau calls those glasses pilsner. They should be awesome for Belgian beers, though! Interestingly, I received no actual beer for Christmas. Instead, I created my own Christmas haul from Beers of the World in Rochester, NY. Frankly, this store completely blows away everything we have here in Indy. Here's what I picked up, mostly from breweries I know have no distribution in Indy or beers I've never seen/tried before:

Weyerbacher Quad
Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA
Bear Republic Racer 5
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout
Middle Ages ImPaled Ale
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Calabaza Blanca
Allagash White

Can't wait to try them all!

As a bonus, I also stopped off at Willoughby Brewing Company on the outskirts of Cleveland on my way back from Rochester. Their brewmaster once worked at Stone Brewing and created a beer at Willoughby called Homage to Arrogance (H2A). The guy sitting at the bar strongly recommended it, so I grabbed a growler of it and got back on the road. Once I got back to Indy and got everything unloaded, a pint of H2A was wonderful, tasty way to unwind from the trip, though I'm hard-pressed to say that it's as good as Arrogant Bastard. Willoughby is only about 5 miles off I-90, so if you ever find yourself in the area, I'd recommend checking it out. I expect I'll pack the growler and grab something on my future trips to Rochester.