(updated May 6, with expanded NABC beer list)
It’s almost time again for RiverRoots, the annual music and folk arts festival on the banks of the Ohio in historic Madison, Indiana.
It takes place on Friday and Saturday nights, May 16 and 17, and for the ninth year running (actually, since the fest’s inception), NABC will be on hand to share beer vending duties with craft-brewing Hoosier friends: Upland Brewing Company (Bloomington IN), who’ve been there with us from the beginning; Great Crescent Brewing from Aurora; Indianapolis stalwart Sun King; and Power House out of Columbus.
In fact, in 2014 the craft beer tent is being sponsored in part by the Brewers of Indiana Guild. It’s a wonderful tradition to have great beers like these with equally great music, and an overall festival ethos of localism. It’s a testament to the vision of the fest’s founder, the late John Walburn.
We’ve already chosen NABC’s beer lineup for RiverRoots. There may be an added surprise; we’ve been known to get sentimental, and take beloved “special” kegs with us.
Black & Blue Grass
Belgian-style Spiced Ale
Whether ground cover or ear candy, the consensus is that “bluegrass” is an adaptive concept, deriving from more than one source, and reflecting the authenticity of America’s traditional melting pot. NABC brews Black & Blue Grass in Indiana, but the inspiration and raw materials come from many locales outside our own immediate neighborhood. The ingredient list for Black & Blue Grass includes North American barley malt, wheat, German hops and Wallonian yeast. Blue agave nectar from south of the border is used as a fermentable sugar, and black pepper and lemongrass (as opposed to blue) are added for spicing.
Let’s shake on it. NABC’s best-selling beer in its own two New Albany premises isn’t Elector, Hoptimus or Black & Blue Grass. It’s Community Dark, a dark-hued, session-strength traditional English Mild, the style that fueled the factory workers who made the Industrial Revolution. Easy to drink, yet exuding integrity, Community Dark also is NABC’s most awarded ale.
Imperial India Pale Ale
Living vicariously through others is a sad compromise meant only for rank amateurs and subpar international lagers. Rather, we all might profit from the principled example of Hoptimus, which lives vivaciously, audaciously and capriciously through itself. With a snarky hop character that is blatantly unrepentant, Hoptimus ensures that meek palates surely will not inherit the earth.
Hoppy American Wheat
Houndmouth: It’s a four-piece band from New Albany, with music that defies brief description. There are bits of country, soul, rock and gospel – instrumentally tight, with gorgeous harmonies. NABC collaborated with Houndmouth to create the band’s namesake ale, hoppier than wheat should be, subtle and complex, and session-strength. Let the good times roll, and the circle be unbroken.
Special keg pour (1:00 p.m. on Saturday):
American Pale Ale
Everybody wants a piece of the Action!, and for this brand new NABC release, the brew team brainstormed classic American Pale Ale formulations (you should have tasted the homework) and settled on a British Pale Ale malt bill, with uniquely American Galena and Mosaic hops, the latter a Simcoe/Nugget hybrid. Super San Diego yeast does the heavy lifting, and the end result is timeless, fruity ale with earthy, tropical notes.
We have a marvelous time pouring at RiverRoots each year, so plan on attending and supporting the soothing idea that handcrafted music and handcrafted beer belong together. Hit the links above and below to learn more.