Craft Beer to Cross the Border For: Sun King Three Floyds Slacktivist

In Beer Politics, Cross the Border For by Steve

Want to back Indiana craft brewers in their plight for higher production caps but don’t have the energy? Just drink a Sun King Three Floyds Slacktivist.


Photo Courtesy Sun King Brewing on Twitter

A “slacktivist” is many things – not too many things, mind you, lest the slacktivist grow tired and weary.

He’s cheering from the sidelines. Or, at least with you in spirit.

Down with the cause, but not so down that he’s marching in protest.

Actually marching would be a bit too much effort – exhausting to even think about.

So exhausting, in fact, he probably feels like he’s earned a break with a crisp, refreshing beverage.

And that’s what Three Floyds and Sun King have collaborated to deliver – a beer that’s even specifically aimed at that slacktivist.

As the two Indiana breweries spend significant time and resources in Indianapolis – along with the Brewers Guild of Indiana – urging the Legislature to raise the limit that small brewers are able to produce without being subjected to tougher restrictions, they’ve collaborated to make a beer to help raise awareness of that fight.

Slacktivist is a Dopple Kolsch. And before you say “gesundheit,” just remember Three Floyds’ motto of not being normal. In this day of Double IPAs, Hoppy Wheats and Belgian IPAs, a “double Kolsch” was seemingly inevitable.

Crisp and refreshing, it has everything you’ve come to know and love about the Kolsch – with a little extra oomph.

And the two brewers teamed up to brew just 120 barrels of it to get Hoosiers talking about the need to support Indiana brewers in their legislative fight.

The beer itself comes across as light and smooth – sweet and malty on the nose, with a slight lemon or citrus aroma. Everything about it is light, from the color to the initial mouthfeel.

Though the beer begins as an easy one, it steps up later with even more maltiness and just a slight touch of hops. I picked up honey through a few tastes, while my companion referenced an apple overtone to that mild sweetness.

By the end, it remained smooth and sweet, but I was also picking up more of that lemon, with a hoppy twist.

It’s light, but it’s fun. There’s a lot going on with this beer, just as there’s a lot going on with the brewing scene in the Hoosier state.

In 2010, it was home to just 40 breweries. Today, there are nearly 100. The Brewers Guild of Indiana reports those breweries employ nearly 2,000 people and helped the state with an economic impact of $609 million in 2013.

As it now stands, those breweries can only manufacture up to 30,000 barrels each year for distribution in Indiana, before new rules kick in. Hoosier lawmakers bumped it up from 20,000 barrels in 2011 and it has since been equal to the limits in Illinois.

But the charge to do even more to support these locally grown small businesses stems from the restrictions that even the 30,000-barrel limit has – or soon will have – on three Indiana breweries: Three Floyds, Sun King and Upland.

Three Floyds is in the midst of a $10 million expansion next to its existing brewery in Munster, where they employ 66 full-time and 17 part-time employees. Sun King, which has grown from just five full-time employees to 58 today and 60 more part-time, recently put the brakes on its own $9 million expansion plan from its Indianapolis base, for fear of pushing over that 30,000-barrel limit. Upland recently completed a $5 million upgrade at its Bloomington operation, where they employ 75 full-time employees and 65 more part-timers.

But going over that 30,000-barrel production cap means breweries can’t have a tasting room, nor can they self-distribute any of their products.

The proposed legislation — which has the backing of lawmakers in both the Indiana House and Indiana Senate — will triple the amount of beer Indiana microbreweries can produce for in-state distribution to 90,000 barrels – though only 30,000 of those barrels can be self-distributed. Out-of-state distribution is unaffected.

While the strong, early support for the measure is a good sign, these things take time. And now there’s a great way to kill the time as that legislation bounces around the Statehouse.

Cross the border, grab a Slacktivist and salute the brewery owners, lobbyists and Guild leaders for doing all that they are doing in Indianapolis.

It’s the absolute, very least craft beer fans can do.

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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.