Friday, May 30, 2008

New DIG-B Header

So there it is -- my weak attempt using absolutely no skills and no real graphics software to produce a header that differentiates this place from the basic minima template, even a little bit. Anybody want to make me a real header?!

UPDATE (5:20): Naturally, I hated my first attempt and immediately wanted to delete it. So, I went out to pick up the best freebie software I could find and ended up with something called GIMP. Seems pretty nice and I was able to whip up the second new header today in just a little time. It's not perfect, but it looks a lot better and I'm satisfied for now.

Photos: Cosmopolitan Update

Here are some photos of the Cosmopolitan construction progress as of May 29th.

Looking Northeast at the "Main" Building
Looking North
Looking Northwest
Looking West
Construction of the central garageMore garage work

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beer: Brugge Tidbits

A couple quick notes from a chat with the bartender on my most recent Brugge trip:
  • Pale is almost gone so get in there quick if you want to try it (or get another) before it's gone. Ted is currently working on something to replace it.
  • All Black, White and Triple on tap anywhere -- including the Brugge Brasserie itself -- is coming out of Terre Haute at this point. The Brasserie facility is now being used for experimentation and specialty/seasonal beers like the Pale.
  • The tap handles at Brugge may seem like random works of art, but there's a meaning behind each of them that ties them to the beer they dispense. Next time you're in ask the bartender to get the full story!
  • After a very long absence, Dubbel and Saison are likely to return in the fall.
Brugge-related: Devour Downtown -- the bi-annual promotion that gets you three courses at most downtown restaurants for $30 -- starts next Monday. J. Gumbo's is once again participating and as usual is pumping of the value of their menu by adding a fourth course and beers with every course. Interestingly, they're providing all three standard Brugge offerings with their menu along with a pint of Redhook Sunrye Ale to start. Those beers would cost you almost $19 alone, so throwing four courses of food on top makes that a pretty good deal. Check out the full menu here as well as the other participating restaurants.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beer: Weekend Update

Did everybody have a fun Memorial Day weekend?! Whether you were at the track or out at parties and barbecues, it was hard NOT to find something to do. We didn't go to the Indy 500 this weekend, but we did host a couple of people that were going to the race. They were from Michigan and brought some local libations: a bottle of Michigan wine and 6 packs of Bell's Oberon and Arcadia IPA. They sure know how to thank us right! I've seen but never purchased the Arcadia IPA and this was the first Oberon of the season for us. The Oberon was delicious while barbecuing outside on that gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

Yesterday, we tried to get out and do some shopping. We struck out left and right with stores closed for the holiday -- Costco closed on Memorial Day...really?! -- but we lucked out and Hot Shotz was open. We've been barraged with people telling us we HAVE TO CHECK OUT HOT SHOTZ. It was just as good as promised and we even got to meet the beer guru there, Hans. He said they almost didn't open at all yesterday and were likely to close early. We really did luck out, as we were the only people in the place the entire time we were there.

Hans mentioned that he's toying with the idea of hosting a beer and wine pairing dinner at some point in the future, so that's something to keep an eye on. He also recommended that we check out the beer selection at the Crown Liquor store at 31 and Carmel Dr. Coming from downtown, that's a bit far for us to go on a regular basis, but since we were already at 96th St, we decided to head up there to see the selection. I wouldn't say the selection is as wide as Kahn's or Parti Pak, our regular beer shopping locations, but there were quite a few things there that I haven't seen anywhere else (or had never pulled the trigger on). I ended up walking out with a mixed 6 pack containing:

Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA
Dark Horse Plead the Fifth (Imperial Stout)
Mad River John Barleycorn Barleywine
Goose Island Demolition
Hofbräuhaus Münchner Kindl Weissbier

Plus a large bottle of Brooklyn Local 1.

We popped the Bam Noire last night. BAM is right -- that beer has quite the sour punch! Does Jolly Pumpkin make anything that isn't tongue-curlingly sour? We tried their Calabaza Blanca a while back and thought the sour was way over the top. I'm really trying to give sour beers a chance, but I'm not really inclined to try much else from Jolly Pumpkin, especially given how damn expensive they are. Most of their beers are sold as 750ml bottles for well over $10, though thankfully the Bam Noire was just a single 12oz bottle for about $3.50. Maybe sour beers just aren't for me. . . .

Friday, May 23, 2008

Beer: Indiana Beer Week

I don't know how new this news is, but I just came across this on the Brewer's of Indiana Guild news page. That Tap Swap sounds like a great idea. I've been wanting to try Shoreline for a while now, so hopefully we can get that on tap somewhere around Indy.

B.I.G. News

July is coming and the Brewers Guild is expanding the Indiana Microbrewers Festival to a full week of activities. Indiana Beer Week will start on Saturday, July 12th with the Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup Judging and end on the 19th at the end of the Festival.

During the week we hope to have a Tap Swap with many Indiana beers available at brewpubs and good bars where they normally aren't found. Also many tappings and tastings all over the state. Posters. Oh, and Shoreline's Summer Festival on Sunday the 13th.

We'll be sending out an email to B.I.G. members with more details shortly.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday's Five Ws (and One H)

Who is curious about how the NFL owners voted to give the Super Bowl to Indianapolis in 2012? IBJ's The Score has an interesting rundown on the process, including some estimates of the final vote.

What do you think of this idea about putting donation boxes for the homeless downtown? I'm sure they'll collect some money and do some good with the collections, but I have doubts that it will actually move the homeless off the street corners.

When will you be able to drink on the balcony at Brugge? Sounds like they're still several weeks (or more) away from completing the conversion of the upstairs space. (See Jim's comments on this post.)

Where do you go on Indy 500 weekend? Do you join the festivities at the track? Catch up on shopping while the rest of the city is at the race? Get out of town? (For whatever reason, I'm almost always out of town -- I even got married this weekend last year.)

Why haven't I brewed my next batch of homebrew yet?! My Digby IPA supplies are dwindling and my tripel is not exactly a session beer. Thanks to some tips from Matt, I think I'm going to give the Brewer's Best IPA kit another spin, though I'm going to use a different yeast strain this time.

How long has R Bistro been open? As of yesterday, exactly 7 YEARS! Congratulations Chef Regina!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This n' That

Things are a little busy for me right now, so how about checking out these other interesting sources for now:

Brew Bits is back from vacation and has a huge rundown of beer industry news.

Generik's Tap's Red Wings finally shut down my wife's Stars to reach the Stanley Cup finals. Plus, a review of Three Floyds Fantabulous Resplendence, their anniversary beer that was released last year.

Matt took a weekend trip to Grand Rapids and hit up Founders and The HopCat.

Hoosier Beer Geek has info and menus for upcoming beer dinners.

Check out recent pictures of the construction progress on 3Mass over at Skyscraper City. Looks like the underground parking garage is almost done and the steel frame for the building is starting to go up.

Jason has Part 2 of his IUPUI Campus Center review up at Circle & Squares. If you missed it, also check out Part 1.

If you even have a passing interest in what makes urban areas tick, read everything The Urbanophile puts up.

If I get a chance this week, I'll try to grab some pictures of the construction progress at the Cosmopolitan. Lots of concrete work to show. One of these days, I'll also get over to The Maxwell to show the construction progress.

Anybody been to Brugge recently? Is the upstairs open yet?

Oh yeah, and Indianapolis....Super Bowl....2012.....AWESOME!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Aside: Downtown Safety

I received the weekly Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. newsletter yesterday. Stuck in the middle was this section:

Keeping Downtown Safe
Keeping Downtown safe is a top priority. You can help keep it safe. Fortunately, Downtown Indianapolis remains one of the safest areas of the city. With warmer weather and more outdoor activities, here are some tips you can use while out:
General Tips
1. Be aware. Know where you are and what's going on around you at all times.
2. Use alert and assertive body language. Walk with purpose, head up, back straight.
3. Avoid poorly lit areas at night and areas not visible from the street.
4. Don't walk or drive alone at night in unfamiliar areas where you could easily become lost.
Parking Tips
1. Secure your vehicle at all times. When you close a car door, lock it, whether you are inside or outside the car.
2. Always remove items from plain sight when you park your car. Anything of value should be removed from an unattended vehicle.
3. Ask for assistance or go with a coworker if you don't feel safe walking to your destination. Report crimes to the police. Even small crimes and minor thefts should be reported as they may be part of a developing trend. Call 911 for emergencies or call 327.3811 for non-emergencies.

This is notable because the primary purpose of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. is to advertise and promote downtown. Talking about potential safety issues only undermines that goal. Their emails usually provide a weekly list of events, a little bit of "RA-RA, Indianapolis is wonderful" with a sprinkling of downtown news. And, of course, there's always the obligatory "there are 66,000 parking spaces downtown" line to appeal to people that require parking within 20 feet of their destination. (The most recent email upped this number to 70,000, though I'm not sure where 4,000 new spaces popped up.)

This email provides the first instance that I've noticed where they even hint at the possibility that downtown isn't gloriously clean with flowers everywhere, sunshine every day and a free curb-side parking space in front of your destination. Lines like, "Use alert and assertive body language. Walk with purpose, head up, back straight" will not inspire people to go downtown when their alternatives are places like Olive Garden on 82nd St. It's almost like the heading for that section should have read "Admitting Downtown Isn't 100% Safe."

The whole thing strikes me as very odd and I'm not sure the reason that they're addressing downtown safety. Has there been a rash of downtown crime that's been kept under wraps or something?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This n' That

Indiana Microbrewer's Festival: I was just looking at the festival webpage -- mark your calendars: it's Saturday, July 19th -- and I noticed this line:

Food by BadaBoomz, Hogshead BBQ, and Yats

Hmmm....BadaBoomz is now J. Gumbo's and serves the exact same food as Yats. I wonder if that's going to be a little sticky. (and not like the defunct BadaBoomz Burger.)

Zing: the tiny, mostly useless, but still kinda cool looking balcony right at the point of the building that will house Zing is now gone. I don't have a picture of what it looks like now, but here's an old photo. I should have some photos as they start to put the new balcony on the building.

BJ's Brewhouse: Indiana's newest brew pub chain is now open in Greenwood. No beer is brewed on site; instead they're bringing the beer over from RENO! That goes against the locally-brewed concept of most brew pubs (and it certainly ain't green). Check out Matt's review here.

Brugge Brasserie: if the rumors are true, the upstairs expansion should be open soon. It might be coincidence, but it seems like there's a never-ending tour route up there every time I'm there for a beer. Rod and Jess have photos of the new sign on the balcony here.

And speaking of Brugge, where's the new Brugge Beer webpage?

Beer: J. Gumbo's Downtown Opening Tonight

Just passing on Mike DeWeese's email, color and all.





Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photos: Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center

This is just a quick update on the University Hospital expansion, formally titled the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. The timing seems appropriate, as IBJ's Cory Schouten reported this weekend that Melvin and Bren Simon are on the verge of donating their Carmel estate to the IU Foundation. The hospital expansion, located on the NW corner of University and Michigan, sits directly across Michigan from the IUPUI Campus Center. Jason at Circle and Squares has just posted part one of his three part write-up on that building.

Here are a couple photos of the on-going expansion work. The landscaping and sign work are relatively recent.
The New Sign
A Full View of the Expansion
The Expansion in Relation to the Campus Center

Friday, May 9, 2008

Beer: Brugge Kegs

Want to drink some Brugge beer at home but can't wait for their bottling operation to finally kick into gear? If you've got a kegerator setup, you can look to Kahn's for Brugge kegs. They've had 5 gallon kegs of Black and White for a while, but according to World Class Beverage's beer search, they now have Tripel de Ripple. So, if you just have to have some Brugge Tripel at home now, contact Kahn's to see if you can get some.

Also, looks like Locals Only recently received a keg of Tripel de Ripple. I've never been there, so this may be a good excuse for me to finally check it out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Photos: Fogo de Chao

In recognition of the rumored soft opening of Fogo de Chao tonight, here are some photos of the building that houses Indianapolis' newest restaurant, the Broadbent Building.
(Yes, that's me -- the amateur photographer -- reflected in the glass.)

I know architecture buffs are up-in-arms over the design of the Broadbent Building, but when I stand in front of the building, I rather like it. In fact, the street-level presence is really quite good. At the very least, I'm not aghast by this building, as I was when I stood in front of the previous design, commonly called the "Zipper Building." It may have been unique and I know some people admired it for that fact, but the street-level feel was incredibly uninviting. My memory is foggy, but I'm not even sure it had street-level windows. Here's a picture of the building borrowed from (you guessed it)
Is the Broadbent Building a home run? No. But it's definitely a welcome improvement. In particular, I'm in love with the stained-glass window that Fogo de Chao has installed at the point of the first floor. I haven't seen it with full back-lighting yet, but I can only imagine it's going to look amazing at night. The black awnings are a positive addition as well.

In closing, here's a shot of the on-going renovation of the Allen Plaza -- formerly Jefferson Plaza, directly across Virginia from the Broadbent Building -- rumored to be the future home of a Scotty's Brewhouse:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DIG-B Housekeeping and Updates

Hits record: almost 50% more people showed up at DIG-B yesterday than have EVER been here in a single day. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail and the Cosmopolitan certainly are hot topics. Welcome new readers!

Zing: Urban Times reports that Zing's opening date goal is late July or early August. The source of the July 1st goal that I reported was the person that just happened to be locking the doors at the end of the day while I was taking pictures. He seemed pretty well informed, but I'd go with Urban Times (they appear to have contacted Zing's owner).

(Note: while I do my best to ensure that all information I post is accurate, please realize that it's just little ol' me and I don't have a fact checking team!)

J. Gumbo's: More info on the conversion -- Indianapolis Monthly's The Dish is reporting that BadaBoomz will close this weekend and reopen next Thursday, May 15th as J. Gumbo's. The good news? BadaBoomz smoked wings will carry over to the new menu.

Beer: This n' That (On Tap Edition)

MacNiven's: Brooklyn Blast, a double IPA, is on tap.

BadaBoomz: Left Hand Milk Stout is on tap. Due to supply issues, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA will be replaced with Bell's Two Hearted Ale when the current keg is kicked. Bell's Hopslam is still available but Founders Devil Dancer is going, going...

Rock Bottom: both locations will be tapping Maibock on Thursday at 6pm.

Aside: this quote from a Beer Advocate user review is the most amusing, accurate description I've ever read of Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA:

A great session brew for any raging alcoholic hophead with a sweet-tooth.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Development: New Cosmopolitan on the Canal Rendering

Hot off the presses, here's a new canal-side rendering of Flaherty & Collins' mixed-use apartment complex Cosmopolitan on the Canal.
For convenience, here's the earlier rendering of the complex at the corner of Senate and Michigan.
What do you think?

Photos: Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Photo 6

New "duratherm" crosswalk markings were recently installed on the Cultural Trail. The material is pressed into the asphalt which should help with the longevity of the markings.
I'm guessing the Cultural Trail logo will be placed in the blank space shown in this photo. See other Cultural Trail photos here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Beer: BadaBoomz No More

In about two weeks, BadaBoomz will no longer exist.

Before you get your pants all in a bunch, Mike DeWeese and his amazing beer selection aren't going anywhere. The decor of his downtown restaurant won't even be changing. The food concept at the restaurant will simply be changing from the current independent menu to a franchise of J. Gumbo's. J. Gumbo's is a Cajun/Creole concept out of the Louisville area that features food along the lines of Yats. In fact, looking at the menu it's basically a carbon copy of Yats.

Now, you're probably thinking the same thing I was thinking: why switch out of one franchise to go independent and then switch back to another franchise? Apparently, the main thing Mike cares about is having a great beer selection. In the previous incarnation of his restaurant as Buffalo Wild Wings, he was allowed to do whatever he wanted with his beer menu. Sometime last year, however, Buffalo Wild Wings struck deals with several large breweries that required all franchises to have the same beer menu. Needless to say, that was a deal-breaker for Mike and he chose not to renew his franchise.

Instead of switching to a different franchise, he chose to break out as an independent. Unfortunately, that decision has not worked out well as the BadaBoomz food concept simply doesn't sell. They apparently do fairly well with the beer but would like to do a little more food volume, hopefully increasing beer sales as well. That's where J. Gumbo's comes in: a fast-service, blinky-light-on-the-table, every-plate-is-$6 kind of restaurant. On the down side, they'll be letting go of about half of their kitchen and wait staff as this concept is significantly less labor-intensive.

For better or worse, BadaBoomz is done and it's time to welcome J. Gumbo's to town. Personally, as long as the beer selection doesn't change, it's all gravy to me.

Friday, May 2, 2008

This n' That

Brugge Brasserie: in addition to their regulars -- White, Black and Tripel de Ripple -- they've got a Belgian pale ale on tap now.

Fogo de Chao: I took a walk past Fogo de Chao -- the new Brazilian steak house in the Broadbent Building that's expected to open sometime this month next week (see braingirl's comment below) -- and from what I could see, the inside looks pretty amazing. Lots of dark woods and what I think was a tiled floor in the bar area (tucked into the point of the building at Virginia and Washington). There's a very nice stained-glass window at the point of the building featuring the restaurant's name. Expect pictures of the exterior soon (see older photos here).

Cosmopolitan on the Canal
: this is a very active site these days. Lots of concrete has already been poured for what will be the garage at the center of the complex. They've recently started concrete work for the "main" structure at the corner of Michigan and Senate.

RCA Dome Deconstruction: a schedule for the deconstruction of the RCA Dome was released this week. Work will be done in stages, beginning with the removal of signage this month and culminating with the implosion of the upper deck seating in October. The Indy Star indicates that work on the Convention Center expansion will begin in June. Given that the bulk of the expansion requires the removal of the RCA Dome, I can only assume that work will begin first on the small expansion to be added to the NW corner of the existing structure.

Dark Lord Day: Bob Ostrander of Indiana Beer has posted his take on Dark Lord Day along with a great set of photos at the event. Check it out here as well as his most recent, loaded news update.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Photos: Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Photo 5

New logo stickers on the pole lights:
See earlier Cultural Trail photos here.