When Harmony Winery co-owner Kevin Croak was a teenager growing up on Long Island, he experimented with making wines from sugar and the juice of wild berries. "I used to hide them in the cemetery behind my house, hoping my dad wouldn't find them," Croak told the Indianapolis Star. "But I didn't understand about fermentation, and the bottles blew up." Luckily for visitors to the cozy tasting room and winemaking studio, Harmony Winery has mastered all aspects of the vino-crafting process. Now, they invite their guests to do the same through fun, informative classes and you-make-it bottling sessions.
Clients stop in to sample some of Harmony's 35 different vintages amid luxurious leather sofas, a warm fireplace, and friendly company, pairing their wines with fine chocolates and seasonal dinner selections. Guests can cozy up to a tasting bar or commune in an event space outfitted with a big-screen TV and surround sound. Aspiring vintners hone their crafts with the winery's extensive selection of supplies, which includes custom labels for weddings or holidays, bohemian-crystal decanters for letting wine breathe, and vacuum pumps for trapping wine-spoiling poltergeists. Harmony Winery also demonstrates how cost-effective and healthy homemade wine can be, and how self-crafted vino can have lower levels of tannin and sulfites.
Powered by than more 5 score of collective experience, the staff members at Great Fermentations share their technical know-how with the public through classes and an intimate knowledge of the store's merchandise. Beginner-friendly beer and wine courses teach fundamentals of tasty beverage creation, overviewing the process, ingredients, sanitation, and how to do a proper keg stand. A huge selection of beer and wine making supplies makes it easy for alumni to go forth and prosper with all the appropriate equipment and ingredients. Great Fermentations also stocks provisions for creating homemade sodas, wines, and a variety of cheeses.
Since making their first batch in 1998, The Upland Brewing Company's crew has gone on to engineer more than 30 craft beers. Besides seasonal beers and fruit-infused sours, such as the Kiwi Lambic, Upland's crew crafts seven year-round varieties, including Preservation Pilsner, brewed in a 19th-century style and aged, like the oldest Lilliputian, one whole month.
Those seven are always on tap at Upland's Bloomington brewpub, where Executive Chef Seth Elgar complements pours with local entrees such as farm-to-table steak. For further forays into the brew-chemists' imaginations, folks can sample more drafts at Upland's Bloomington tasting room, which neighbors its 37,000-square-foot production facility.
Though rooted in Indiana, Upland shares its tasty libations with bars and distributors in Ohio, southern Wisconsin, and Louisville, where people not named Louis just won the right to drink. In turn, the brewery lures outsiders to Indiana with frequent events like the annual Hillbilly Haiku Americana Concert, whose local and national touring musicians help raise money for the Sycamore Land Trust.
Buck Creek Winery is truly the result of a joint effort between family and friends, and it began its first year with 1,500 vines. That was 1991. Back then, it was called Durm Vineyards, after its founders. With the help of the community, friends, and travelers from both near and far, harvests passed, and the founders sold their grapes to other wineries.
Rechristened Buck Creek Winery in the spring of 2006, the vineyard quickly became home to a host of award-winning wines, including Alley Cat, a slightly spicy red with notes of cranberry, strawberry, and territorialism.