We drove to Indianapolis for the 3rd annual Upland Sour + Wild + Funk beer festival on May 17th. I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural event in 2011, but I never received any info regarding the second festival so I missed it. However, I’m here for the third!
We arrived to a line that curved back around the corner several hundred feet. The line moved quickly and orderly, spilling upward into the mezzanine of the Indianapolis City Market. It is an interesting space in an old renovated building with wrought iron and exposed brick. The City Market was built in 1886 and is in the National Register of Historic Places. It now contains delis, chocolatiers, smoothie shops, and restaurants on the first floor. The Tomlinson Taproom is upstairs where the event was held.
It was a very tight squeeze. The lines to get samples were not too long but finding a space to stand was claustrophobic at times. Not sure how many people were in attendance but I would say a few too many for the space.
Over twenty-five breweries were represented and most had multiple offerings to sample. Local Option from Chicago was there but not in the program – maybe they were a late addition. They were sampling Walk of Shame a nice bretty beer and their tasty Kentucky Common.
There was a DJ. There were snacks. Pretzels and occasionally Chex Mix. I was disappointed with the lack of food. I expected a bit more for forty-eight dollars. The first Upland Sour Fest provided cheese, deli sliced meats, and crackers. Also there was more available space to mingle. I supposed the event is a victim of it’s own success.
This being said – I did have a nice time. There were some interesting beers – good and bad. Some beers hit a homerun, others just tasted like an error.
There were friendly folks and lots of beer choices. There was never a line for the restrooms. However, there was a woman crying in the bathroom. Her friends were consoling her. Strangely, what seemed like an hour later (on another visit to the restroom) there was a woman sobbing, sitting on the floor in the bathroom corner. I am not sure if it was the same woman or not! Alcohol and emotions = drama. Maybe she needed some cheese.
There were several people from Louisville in addition to Kelly and me. Josh Allfree and John King were representing. Josh said his favorites were Upland’s Kiwi and New Belgium’s Leopold. Of course minor celebrity – John King – had VIP passes and those secret perks (maybe massages and cheese cubes?). He will tell you his favorites in his write up.
By far – my favorites were from Upland. The DarkSynth and the Kiwi Lambic were fantastic! The Kiwi was so sour and drying, but fresh and fruity too. DarkSynth was multidimensional with lots of flavors and characteristics that complimented the overall beer. I would love to sit down with a bottle of this one, where I could enjoy it more! All of the Upland offerings were delicious. Kelly named Tinman’s Apricot Sour one of her favorites. I liked it, but it was a little too sweet for me.
It seem like the crowd was having a great time and so did I. Hopefully next year’s festival is in a larger space or maybe fewer tickets sold so that the event is more comfortable. Overall. It was a great time. Sour beers are one of my favorite styles and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to attend this Sour + Wild + Funk Festival.