Monday, February 16, 2009

Keepin' it Local, the Introduction

A recent post over at Pfiff! got me thinking about the local beer scene here in Indiana, PA. Now, to not mince words, Indiana is basically a beer desert. Seriously. Living here is by far a beer geek's worst nightmare. Well, second worse, right behind not having any beer. The locals are full of BMC mediocrity, where even the "micros" are "macros", but I guess you have to cater to the crowd you have, namely swill-chugging collegians and fans of the ubiquitous "dark beer", Guinness. I've been living and drinking in this town for seven years now, and have, sadly, been both of the aforementioned stereotypes. Now I'm a beer geek/nerd/snob, the latter being the vein this post is written in, but back to the reason for this post.

Rob at Pfiff! posited the need for some retrospection concerning the availability of good, local brews, and if none are available, why aren't they. So for the past several weeks, since reading the post, I've been paying more attention to the availability of craft beer in Indiana and the surrounding area. And, be it fate or luck, there have been some significant changes in the normal tap rotation of local pubs as of late. Not only have tap lists expanded, but craft bottle selections have increased to some surprising heights. Not to get anyone's hopes up, but there have been some big steps forward, especially for this area.

The main issue with this is that there's no real "local" brewery in Indiana. No, no one has stepped up and opened a small brewery or brewpub in this college town. I personally think it would do well, but not having a solid financial background, nor a product good enough to put forth, this task can't rest on my shoulders. So with no truly local beer available, what's the next step in "Keepin' it Local"? Well, first is patronizing local bars, bottle shops, and distributors. This is where a lot of my focus will be. Secondly is expanding "local" to "regional". Now we're getting somewhere. Within a two-hour drive, there are no less than 11 breweries and brewpubs, many of which make some great brews. I'll be hitting on these, too.

I'm going to try to break this down into several parts to keep each post reasonably focused.

So stay tuned.




Adam said...

I wonder what it would take to open a brewery in Indiana, PA. Hmmm...Guy from One Guy in Wilkebarre area did it up there.

I attended IUP 15 years ago and well I can remember buying the cheapest stuff 'cause that's all I had money for.

Wouldn't it be cool if suddenly all the people on campus wanted to buy a local beer.

Dave said...

Indiana is ripe for the picking when it comes to the possibilities surrounding a brewpub. There's a solid base of folk who like good beer and would support a local run at it.

Campus itself is a different animal. In my line of work, I deal with students and professors on a daily basis, and while they're a huge part of the local economy, one must remember that there are four months of the year where the population decreases by thousands. That's when businesses are made or broken. Just because there's a college, doesn't mean a good idea will succeed. There's plenty more to the local economy than pleasing the students.

Oh, and Adam, when you're back in town, let us know. There's a gang of us here who'd love to meet up for a pint.


Go Indians (Crimson Hawks, not so much!)