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The real March Madness

March Madness.

To sports fans (like myself), the phrase conjures up thoughts of the college basketball tournament currently going on. But to beer fans (like all of us) the phrase could also apply to the 450 North beer release that took place last Friday.

For the unaware, 450 North Brewing Co. (Columbus, IN) is a brewery located south of Indianapolis. While they make many different types of beers, they are perhaps best known for their Slushy series, which integrates several different fruits prominently into their brews. They hold a beer release every three weeks on a Friday morning, showcasing some of their newest creations. And while I have been to said brewery on several occasions, those trips were mostly on weekend road trips. (I live in Goshen, in the northern part of Indiana.) Luckily, my schedule allowed for me to make their most recent release.

I’ll get to the beer in a minute, but first I want to talk about the event itself. I got my spot in line at about 7:45, well before the 11 a.m. release. Since this was the second time I had been to a 450 North beer release, chalk this up to experience. That put me approximately 40 people behind the head of the line. The weather was a bit chilly, so I set up my chair, drank my Starbucks, and waited.

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But not as long as this woman.

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There is a human being under that blanket.

The line behind me started lengthening rather quickly, and before long there were at least 300 people behind me.

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The view roughly 30 minutes after I arrived.

By the way, here is a pro tip: Make friends with the people in line behind you. If you step out for whatever reason (to buy merch, get beer, go to the bathroom, etc.) they are pretty much the only thing allowing you back in line.

One of my main fears Friday morning was dealing with boredom patiently waiting for 11 a.m. to arrive. However, I quickly learned that the good people at 450 North and the seasoned veterans of beer releases I was surrounded by had a game plan in place. Because as the number of people in line grew, so did the number of beers people brought to share!

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So much beer. From literally all over the country. But that’s not the beer I was there for.

As the morning progressed, the distractions to pass the time continued. The merchandise table was set up for patrons, while seemingly every alt-rock song from the late 90s and early 2000s (my personal musical wheelhouse) played through the speakers that were set-up. For the record, I was the dude in line singing “Freshmen” by Verve Pipe louder than I probably should have. What can I say? That song is a banger.

Finally 11 a.m. arrived, and the transactions began. From where I stood, the whole thing was very organized. Pieces of paper were printed off showing the beers released. Everyone grabbed one and put the quantities they were looking to purchase. Then when you get to the tent, simply give the list to the worker and they put your order together. A seamless process really.

Now then, as for the beer. My personal order was: Two 4-packs of the Sapphire Sour IPA, two 4-packs of the Blueberry Slushy, two 4-packs of the Caribbean Punch Slushy, a 4-pack of the Peach Ring Slushy and a 4-pack of the Strawberry Banana Fresh Froot Milkshake IPA.

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I realize that the Taco Tuesday and Fruity Nuggets were available, but when making the trek 4 hours south from my home, I lean towards getting the beers that are more unique. Having said that, between the flight I ordered with my lunch and the flight I created at home, I have now sampled each of the new beers released. For the record, here is my personal “New Release Power Rankings”.

  1. Strawberry Banana Fresh Froot Milkshake IPA
  2. Blueberry Slushy
  3. Taco Tuesday
  4. Caribbean Punch Slushy
  5. Peach Ring Slushy
  6. Sapphire
  7. Fruity Nuggets

All in all, the experience was phenomenal! It was more than a beer release, it was a party! The beers are well worth the travel for me, and based on the line, people who traveled further than I. (I heard someone say that they flew in from Houston Friday morning.)¬† I venture to guess that not everyone in line got what they were hoping for, and I don’t know how to remedy that. But for anyone who is looking to get a hold of some liquid gold (nuggets), mark your calendars every three Fridays. (The next one is scheduled for April 12 according to their social media.)

 

Born and raised Hoosier who enjoys beer, minor league baseball, beer, the Green Bay Packers, beer, the Indiana Hoosiers, and beer.

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