The biggest problem I have in my life right now is that I’m not currently planning on taking a trip to Indiana. It’s causing serious angst because that’s the only place where Daredevil Brewing distributes their beer, and I really, really want to get my hands on some more of their goods. I’m suffering serious suburban angst rivals the rage I felt as a privileged suburban kid listening to grunge in the ‘90s. All this anger, and nowhere to place it. I mean, I have a ton of great beers in my fridge, but I want more Daredevil. Cue Nirvana. Where’s my flannel?
Sigh. Such is the life of a beer nerd trapped in a time zone far, far away from his new crush’s distribution footprint. The crazy thing is, a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t even heard of Daredevil Brewing. The Indianapolis-based brewer was completely off my radar, because you know, they only distribute in Indiana, and they haven’t made much of a splash at any nationwide competitions. And their ratings aren’t off the charts on any of the beer rating sites. But they sent me a mix pack of their jam. So, I drank it, and now I’m hooked. Like ‘80s crack rock, instantly addicted kind of hooked.
Daredevil started brewing West Coast IPAs several years ago, but based on the sampler they sent me, they’ve come to master a variety of styles. After a little research, I discovered that they won Grand Champion Brewery this year at the Indiana Brewers’ Cup, and also took home a silver for their Vacation Kolsch at GABF in 2016. Props to DD, but honestly, there are tons of completely forgettable breweries who’ve taken home GABF hardware. My current enthusiasm is based solely on the four beers they sent me to sample, ranging from lagers to a Belgian to an experimental IPA, all of which were homeruns. Mad respect to any small brewery that can nail a variety of styles with this much mastery.
Check out the gallery to see my thoughts on the four beers they sent, along with a few others from Daredevil that I’m dying to get my hands on. Daddy needs his fix.
1 of 8
Race Day Craft Lager
Just when I think I'm totally over this whole "craft lager" thing, Race Day shows up and I'm smitten with the style all over again. This beer is a subtle showcase of malt, which comes at you in a soft wave at the front of the sip before giving way to an even softer hop tang on the backend. It's a proper lawnmower beer if there ever was one, and one of the best arguments for drinking craft instead of one of the Big Beer lager options.
2 of 8
Helles Munich Style Lager
Speaking of lagers, this one isn't as subtle as Race Day, but it just as balanced and enticing. Again, it's a showcase for the malt bill, but far less subtle, hitting you harder with toasted notes upfront and a really crisp, dry finish that's loaded with hop zest. It's 5%, and I'd drink it all the time this fall if I could.
3 of 8
This is a Belgian golden ale, and another solid execution of style. The mouthfeel is creamy, delivering some sugary sweetness on the front end, along with a little bit of banana and pepper. This is the kind of beer where I expect yeast to gather at the bottom of the can. Watch your back though; Muse comes in at 8% ABV, despite its light, delicate character.
4 of 8
NEX Experimental IPA
This is the third beer in a series of experimental IPAs, and based on the execution, I need to try the first two. I can smell this beer from across the table after I pour it. It smells like straight up fruit juice. The syrupy kind. And it tastes even better. It has all of the fruit notes of a New England IPA, but plenty of bite and bitterness too. It's aggressive and interesting, hitting the expected mango and tangerine notes, as well as the more intriguing hints of papaya and honeydew.
5 of 8
Lift Off IPA
This is Daredevil's flagship beer, and from what I understand, one hell of an IPA. Dig the label too.
6 of 8
Here's the beer that won silver at GABF in 2016. Kolsch is an interesting style, and one that I absolutely adore, so naturally, I want to get my hands on this one.
7 of 8
A double IPA. Based on my experience with NEX, I'm thinking this beer is sure to be my jam. The label mentions something about "balance," but I think that's just a joke. Something tells me this is off the charts hop-forward. Man, I hope so.
8 of 8
And here's the slogan for Daredevil. "Aggressively fun." That pretty much says it all.