John Holl's pub crawl

Dateline: Mon 14 Dec 2009

Former Indianapolis Star staff writer John Holl, now a full-time drinks writer, is getting ready to again immerse himself in Indiana for a book he's writing on beer.

"The book will examine the brewpubs and microbreweries of Indiana, telling the stories behind each location," says John. "Each entry will also have a few suggestions as to decent bars in the area.

"At this point there is a chapter dedicated to Indy and one to Broad Ripple. The breweries in the northern and southern counties will be part of a 'Central Indiana' chapter."

Holl postulates that Indiana beer is often overlooked, even in the Midwest; the focus instead is on beers from Missouri and Michigan. But Indiana has more than 30 brewpubs and breweries, he says, and boasts some excellent suds.

Holl worked for the Star from 2003-04, during which time he honed his beer consumption and tastes. He spent down time driving around the state, checking out breweries, including a lot of which were "very fine," and lapping up.

He's working on his book project with Nate Schweber, a freelance journalist (New York Times, Rolling Stone) and vocalist whose NYC-based band is named the New Heathens. Holl and Schweber will hit the road together.

Nate is on the lookout for some solo gigs to play in Indy or Bloomington to supply gas money.

Here's where you come in: If you know of any joints that you think should be included in a book about Indiana beer, Holl would appreciate suggestions. "I'll be sure to include places like St. Elmo and the Red Key (because of their quirky rules)," he says. But he's looking for others to check out.

Holl and Schweber will be in Indiana between between now and their September deadling.

The book is slated for publication in 2011 by Stackpole Books.

So, suggest away....and if anybody wants to contact Holl directly, he's on Facebook and his email is

(Please put suggestions on this blog as well; nothing like a little education...)








Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Sounds like an interesting article or two. Maybe even a series. But a book?

Who's gonna publish it? Who's gonna buy it?

Will it have a chapter on 3/2 beer they sell in those Ohio-border taverns? It's effective at one thing: after downing gallons in high school, I've yet to drink any more beer.

As gramps used to say, they'd be better off putting it all back in the horse it came from.

2009-12-14 11:43:19

hendy [Member] said:

An anecdote that my father told me:

Dubois County at one time had the second highest per-capita consumption of beer in the US. The German-American population seemed to be at the root of it, if you'll pardon that pun. Hopsing little place.

2009-12-14 12:01:50

news junkie [Member] said:

3.2 beer? You've got to be kidding. Ohio hasn't sold 3.2 beer since the drinking age went to 21. You need to get out more.

2009-12-14 14:14:15

John Holl [unverified] said:

Oh, there is a book in all this.
There is already a series that is selling quite well. Beer has moved beyond the big Three (Bud, Coors and Miller) and a lot of the suds being produced by smaller breweries are really innovative and tasty. Give it a chance, you might find a hidden gem in your own back yard.


2009-12-14 15:55:38

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

News junkie--I just bought some over Thanksgiving at a liquor store in Ft. Recovery, Ohio. I bought it as a joke, for the nostalgia of it. All my old friends thought it was hilarious. But they didn't drink it.

2009-12-14 16:07:24

news junkie [Member] said:

Back when Indiana had a drinking age of 21, people flocked to Ohio, to the Triangle (which still exists, by the way, in Greenville, Ohio) and to Cincinnati, which had clubs like the Carousel downtown and Nebish near Eden Park. These clubs were for the 18 to 21 year olds and they had bands, poetry readings and 3.2 or near beer. We had a lot of fun

2009-12-14 19:12:30

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Those were the days, Junkie. Near-beer for 18-21, and alcohol for over 21. Bartenders were confused at "Our Place" in Ft. Recovery. The parking lots were dicey--you had to dodge puke piles.

On my graduation day, the seat beside me was roped in black ribbon because one kid didn't make it back intact.

Yeah, those were the days. 27 miles to Ohio, and 27--sometimes deadly--miles home.

2009-12-15 04:45:04

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