Jake May holds a beer after the Indiana News Photographers Association annual contest weekend on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at The Tap in Bloomington. (Photo by James Brosher)

My Favorite Bloomington Beers

It’s Monday … and that’s a good thing this week! Today kicks off Bloomington Craft Beer Week, which culminates Saturday with Bloomington Craft Beer Fest. I’m not exaggerating when I say I look forward to this week all year. It’s packed with special tastings and events and always reminds me of what an amazing, supportive community Bloomington is. People turn out in droves to support their local craft breweries!

I’m excited to check out some of the special events throughout the week. There are several tappings of special brews I’m hoping to make it to. We already tried the collaboration beer, which Bloomington’s five breweries come together to make for the fest every year. Ship Hop Hooray is a lavender-smoked honey ale and I’m a big fan. The smokiness is subtle, making it an easy-to-drink, refreshing spring beer. And, each brewery also has a special variation on the brew available on tap. I can’t wait to try them all!

In honor of the big week of beer ahead of us, here’s a list of my favorite brew from each of Bloomington’s breweries. Cheers!

Bloomington Brewing Co.: 10-Speed Hoppy Wheat

I love Mosaic hops, so this beer became an instant favorite when we moved to Bloomington. I can’t top the brewery’s description of this beer:

Like an early morning summer ride through the Indiana countryside, this American wheat ale is golden and hazy with earthy pine and tropical fruit notes rippling throughout each sip. Mosaic hops bring their unique aromas of crisp citrus and juicy pineapple, creating an invigorating finish full of single-hopped bliss.

I love that this beer is light enough to drink at an afternoon cookout, but still has a complex flavor with just enough bite. I drink this all spring and summer!

Function Brewing: Origin Cherry Brown Ale

Function Brewing is the smallest brewery in town and does the most experimenting. That makes it such a fun place to frequent β€” you’ll always find something unique on the menu. I’m an IPA-loving lady, but at Function I often find myself gravitating toward other styles. The Origin Cherry Brown Ale is one that pleasantly surprised me. The American ale is brewed with a whole lot of cherry juice, but it’s not overly sweet. I like to order a pint along with their awesome cheese plate.

The Tap: Bionic Dragon IPA

We’ve always loved the impressive selection of brews at The Tap, but we became even bigger fans when the craft beer bar became a brewery. Bionic Dragon is another brew made with Mosaic hops, which gives it the perfect hint of citrus. Pair it with an order of Tap fries and you’ll know what happiness tastes like.

Upland Brewing: Coastbuster Imperial IPA

This is one of those beers I will never forget tasting for the first time. James and I were having dinner at Upland and both ordered a Coastbuster. We took one sip and immediately fell in love with this beer. Here’s how Upland describes this bad boy:

Inspired by the gloriously effervescent qualities of hop varieties common to West Coast style Imperial IPAs, Coastbuster is our vehicle for displaying the best of what these hops have to offer: their tropical, fruity, and floral aromas and flavors.

Quaff On!: Yellow Dwarf

Are you seeing a trend with my love of hoppy wheats? I gravitate toward bitter beers with tropical flavors, and Yellow Dwarf does not disappoint. While they have some other great styles, I order this beer almost every time we go toΒ Quaff On! It’s the perfect beer to sip in their beer garden on a summer day and pairs perfectly with an order of their famous nachos.

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