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Scott Witzke

Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011

New documentary from WTIU-TV explores craft beer and micro-brewing in Indiana

March 4, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new documentary film from Indiana University's WTIU-TV, Hoosier Hospitality: Craft Beer, takes viewers on an arm-chair journey throughout Indiana to learn the stories behind craft beer and the art of micro-brewing in the Hoosier state.

The one-hour documentary offers tips and insights on how to make to craft beer, what foods to pair with it and how to brew your own.

The film premieres Monday, March 7 at 8 p.m. on WTIU-TV. Additional air times are Saturday, March 12 at noon and Tuesday, March 15 at 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. The complete program will be available online from March 8 through March 22 at

"A national beer enthusiast website recently rated Three Floyds in Munster the number one brewer in the world -- not in the Midwest or in America, but in the world," said Ted Miller, President of Brewers of Indiana Guild. "The rest of Indiana can be proud of that and use it as an inspiration to maintain that quality."

Indiana has a rich heritage of breweries dating back to 1816 when the German harmonists settled in New Harmony. The heyday of locally brewed beer in Indiana took place from the mid-19th century up to the time of prohibition. "You have a broad range of people that were going to taverns and to beer gardens. Every town had one of those attached to a brewery," wrote Douglas Wissing, Author of Indiana: One Pint at a Time.

After World War II was a period of massive consolidations and buyouts of local and regional breweries. "The product began to be blander and blander, less and less flavorful, lighter and lighter. And that was the style that people wanted, but we ended up getting a product that was, in my estimation, not as good," Wissing wrote.

Indiana had some well-known brands, such as Champagne Velvet, brewed in Terre Haute. Moving into the 1960s and '70s, there was a rediscovery of more authentic, traditional beers, ushering in the rise of the Hoosier craft beer industry in the 1980s. Today, there are more than 30 craft beer breweries in Indiana.

Hoosier Hospitality: Craft Beer includes unique behind-the-scenes visits to three leading breweries: Broad Ripple Brewing, Co. in Indianapolis; Three Floyds Brewing Company in Munster; and Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington.

Viewers travel to Bee Creek Brewery in Brazil, where brewers use local honey and coffee to create their brews and get to know Liz Laughlin at Rock Bottom Brewery College Park and Eileen Martin at Bloomington Brewing Company, two women who are making their mark in a male-dominated field. Bill Ballinger and the MECA Home-Brew Club members in Shelbyville share their passion for craft beer and brewing, while Dave Colt from Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis gives a tour of the facility and explains why he thinks canned beer is better. Viewers will also meet the next generation of microbreweries in Indiana, including Black Swan Pub in Plainfield and Bier Taproom in Indianapolis.

Hoosier Hospitality: Craft Beer is made possible with production support from Best Beers, Inc. and The Bloomington/Monroe County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

WTIU is the PBS television station owned and operated by Indiana University, serving more than 350,000 households in 29 counties in West and South Central Indiana. WTIU airs programming on four digital channels 24 hours a day, and produces local, regional and national programs.