Craft Beer to Cross the Border For: Flat 12 Bierwerks Moustache Ride Red

In Cross the Border For by Steve

The idea behind Movember – growing out facial hair for one month to raise awareness of men’s health issues – is noble enough.

But for many beer geeks, the shaggy beard or bushy mustache is a look that isn’t limited to just November.

Now, Flat 12 Bierwerks has given the beer community another way to rally behind the cause.

Last month, the Indianapolis-based brewer released its Moustache Ride Red – which comes with a description so puzzling and intriguing, it’s tough to resist.


photo courtesy Flat 12 Bierwerks

An American amber with roasted malts and moderate bitterness, OK. But then that amber is aged – with real vanilla beans – in Angel’s Envy Bourbon barrels. And despite the aging and noticeable bourbon aroma, it clocks in with just a 6% ABV.

Did  I mention it’s refreshing and sessionable, as well?

There’s just so much going on with this beer, it’s best to just take you through a taste, which delivers each of those flavor profiles throughout the sip. It pours a brownish-red and while the nose is more bourbon than vanilla, the taste of both comes through. And yet the amber doesn’t get lost in here, either. And neither do the hops. It’s just got it all in one beer.

There are hints of chocolate and caramel and with the vanilla, there is definitely a cream soda element to it. That sweetness settles down later, however, as light spices begin to take over.

A beer with this much going on could be a mess. This isn’t. It’s surprisingly smooth and, available on tap in in 4-packs sold only at the brewery, Moustache Ride Red is a beer so different and so good, it’s worth crossing the border to find.

Flat 12 has only been around for four years, but it’s already gained a strong reputation for quality beer. The brewery’s name is rooted in Indianapolis history. Flat 12 is the nickname for the flathead cylinder engines of the early 1900’s that translated to the speed and power familiar to anyone who’s visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bierwerks, they said, is a nod to the melting pot of immigrant cultures that served as the city’s foundation.

Flat 12 has maintained a strong and steady growth pattern since opening. They expanded beyond the Indianapolis area by shipping draft beer around the state in 2011 and their bottles hit shelves state-wide in 2012. Their Indianapolis tap room has more than a dozen of their beers on tap, with five house beers, four seasonal and the rest coming from their small pilot and barrel-aging program, one head brewer and co-founder Rob Caputo started simply to satisfy his own curiosity. That’s led to offerings like Glazed Ham Porter, Flat Jack Pumpkin Ale and Cucumber Kolsch.

Caputo, a Michigan native, and his partners just opened another tap room in Jeffersonville, not far from Louisville, along the Ohio River. If you’re in the area, their year-round offerings are worth stopping in to sample, but don’t miss their seasonal and select beers, either, whether it’s Movember or any other month of the year.

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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.