Craft Beer to Cross the Border For: Figure Eight, Tapistry Hippy Smell

In Cross the Border For by Steve

You can cross the border into Michigan or Indiana to snag this collaborative beer from Tapistry Brewing in Bridgman, MI and Figure Eight Brewing in Valparaiso, IN — available in 22 oz bottles and on draft.

cross the border forTwo relatively new breweries had to cross borders of their own to make the second in their “Collabrewation Series” and it’s worth sniffing around for it whether you’re in Indiana or Michigan.

Hippy Smell is a complex but powerful punch of an American Imperial Wheat Ale delivered by Figure Eight Brewing in Valparaiso, Ind. and Tapistry Brewing in Bridgman, Mich.

The bottle says “Wheat Ale” but at 10% ABV, it’s “wheat wine” worthy. The added wallop of 100 IBU’s and a soft sweetness brings it even closer to a barleywine. That’s a long way of saying there’s a lot going on here. And I like it.

Maybe because it doesn’t smell like any hippies I know.

It’s a beer that evolves even as it warms. Initially, I found it big and bitter, largely thanks to loads of at least three different hops — Target, Belma and Amarillo, among others. Its sweet, boozy aroma begins to take over as it reaches room temperature, though. Not that it becomes a totally different beer, because at 100 IBU’s those hops are still going to pop, but that bite fades over time as its dangerous smoothness takes over. Floral sweetness, burn, bite … all in one beer.

Figure Eight has been making solid beers for nearly five years on the downtown square in Valparaiso, just off U.S. 30. Tapistry, meanwhile, is gaining heavy praise after just more than a year in operation.

Together, they are part of what they call the “Beer Belt” from Southwest Michigan up to Wisconsin.

Figure Eight’s Tom Uban named his brewery after a knot used in rock climbing, one of his passions. His lively, fun and family friendly brewpub has an impressive food roster and a friendly, informed staff. No pretentiousness here. I recommend the farmhouse burger and their bacon on a stick is not to be missed. Shocker, I know.

Their brewing partners on this one – Joe Rudnick and Greg Korson – paid the bills as an engineer and accountant, respectively, before turning their passion for beer into Tapistry. If you’ve been to the Weko Beach beer festival, you’re walking distance to their red brick storefront brewery. An artisan-leaning menu is a plus, as is their outdoor beer garden. Granted, neither the beach nor beer garden is likely to be in your immediate future plans, but this beer should be.

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The skills Steve honed in his 20 years digging up corruption and cornering politicians as a newspaper reporter in northwest Indiana and Chicago are now being used to track down and review quality craft beer only available in the Hoosier state.