We’re deep in the midst of summer this month, and the events are all about finding escapes from the heat. Namely, by drinking beer. From the Hops & Vines Festival (that’s beer and wine, guys) to a celebration of National IPA Day, there are no shortage of options to sip on something cold and refreshing. Speaking of refreshing, how does a dip in the Downtown Canal sound? We’ve got you covered.
National IPA Day
2 p.m. Aug. 3 to 3 a.m. Aug. 4, The Sinking Ship, 4923 N. College Ave., free entry, (317) 920-7999 or sinkingshipindy.com.
Whether you’re a beer snob or a complete, Miller Lite-drinking novice, chances are the letters IPA mean something to you. India Pale Ales get their own day on August 3, when The Sinking Ship will hook up eight different brews on their taps. IPAs are famous (or infamous, depending on who’s drinking) for their strong, hoppy flavor. Drinking a heavy-duty IPA can feel like eating a meal and The Sinking Ship is going gourmet.
Books & Brews Harry Potterfest
7 p.m. to 12 a.m. Aug. 4, Books & Brews, 9402 Uptown Dr., Suite 1400, free entry, (317) 288-5136 or booksnbrews.com.
Kids may think they own the Harry Potter universe, but us adult muggles can get down with the wizards, too. Books & Brews is adding an extra kick to the world of grown-up fandom: beer. Their first ever Harry Potterfest will feature brews like Dubbledore’s Magic Ale (or, a Belgian Dubbel) and more. Down a few, then give yourself a lipstick lightning bolt and head to the Potter photo booth. Stick around for a screening of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” at 10 p.m.
Indiana State Fair
Gates open at 8 a.m. daily Aug. 4 to 20, Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St. $8, (317) 927-7500 or indianastatefair.com.
The big one is here folks. Sure, Indy’s got tons of festivals, fairs, and events, but never do they come together in such a huge, magical way like the Indiana State Fair. It all kicks off with a Giant Hot-Air Balloon Race at 6 a.m. on Aug. 4 at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand and doesn’t quit for more than two weeks. You can see all the action from 35 feet off the ground on this year’s Subaru Skyride, but we suggest tackling this behemoth by foot.
Indy Burger Battle
1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 5, West Georgia St. between South Capitol Ave. and Illinois St., $30-$50, (317) 632-3545 or buildingtomorrow.org.
More than a dozen local burger joints will step into the ring at this year’s Indy Burger Battle, presenting you with their very best sliders. And as judge, jury and executioner, you get to vote on which burger deserves the crown. Reigning people’s choice winner Weber Grill Restaurant will return, alongside burgers from Flame Burger, Bent Rail, Between the Bun and more. Proceeds to go Building Tomorrow, which supports education for East African students.
A Taste of the Wild Cookout
10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 5, Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., free with State Fair entry, (317) 875-9453 or indianawildlife.org.
The Indiana Wildlife Federation works to educate the public and advocate for the state’s vast array of wildlife. But that doesn’t mean they’re too serious to enjoy some sloppy joes at the State Fair. This year’s Taste of the Wild Cookout will feature that American favorite prepared with a decidedly wilder twist—with venison—and served with lemonade.
SoundSport International Music & Food Festival
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 12, Pan Am Plaza, 201 S. Capitol Ave., free entry, soundsport.com.
More than 30 marching band and drum corps ensembles from all over the world will descend on Indy for this year’s SoundSport fest, performing on three stages across Pan Am Plaza. A handful of Indy’s favorite food trucks will be on hand for some on-the-go eats as you check out the best stick work you’ve seen since the last time you watched “Drumline.” Speaking of which, drumline teams will face off on Georgia Street, so expect some heat.
Jockey Box Hero
4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 12, The Hatch, 6161 N. Hillside Ave., $35-$45, indianaontap.com.
Let’s get the major questions answered first: a jockey box is an insulated cooler used to keep beers cold at outdoor events. And how do you become a Jockey Box Hero? Easy—perform your favorite karaoke jam with live band Catalyst Gypsy in front of a panel of local celebrity judges… after enjoying unlimited tastings from nearly 20 breweries. To cool everyone’s nerves, Indiana on Tap has invited William Hung out to perform “She Bangs.” Yes, that William Hung.
Ultimate Grilled Cheese Contest
2 p.m. Aug. 12, Purdue Extension Agriculture & Horticulture Building, State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., free with State Fair entry, winnersdrinkmilk.com.
For the second year running, the American Dairy Association of Indiana is getting serious about cheese. After receiving about 25 applications, they’ve narrowed the pool down to 8 contestants who will cook their special grilled cheese recipes live. A panel of celebrity judges (including our own Liz Biro) will decide who is, in fact, the Indiana grilled cheese champ. Prizes will include gift cards, a trophy, and, of course, lots of dairy.
Indy Pizza Week
Aug. 14 to 20, locations throughout Indianapolis, indypizzaweek.com.
Nuvo’s Indy Burger Week had all of us attempting to out-burger each other by checking out as many local spots as possible. But let’s be honest, there’s no better food to nerd out about than pizza. Indy Pizza Week is the perfect opportunity to debate the merits of pizza spots all over town. Who’s got the best toppings? The best crust? The most cheese? Participating pizzerias will be offering half-off of their gooey goodness, meaning you can eat twice as much.
6 p.m. to midnight Aug. 18 and 5:30 p.m. to midnight, August 19, St. Thomas Aquinas School, 4600 N. Illinois St., free, (317) 255-6244 or staindy.org.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ SausageFest may lead you to believe that this event celebrates the sausage—a food near and dear to our hearts. And it does, we assure you, but there’s so much more to SausageFest (provided by the L.E. Kincaid and Sons meat market). Craft beer, face painting, a cake walk, a bouncy house, a just-for-teens concert by School of Rock: celebrate it all at the 13th annual festival.
4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 19, Federal Hill Commons Park, 175 Logan St., Noblesville, $45-$50, rotaryclubofnoblesville.com.
Here’s more proof that there’s more to do in Noblesville than see pop stars and country acts. The Noblesville Rotary Club’s inaugural BeerBQ was such a hit last year, they decided to make it a tradition. The event’s name brings together two things that make summer great—tickets will grant you access to an all-you-can-eat amateur BBQ competition, plus sips from Big Lug Canteen, The Bier Brewery and Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda.
11 a.m. Aug. 19, Craig Park, 10 E. Smith Valley Rd., Greenwood, $10-$15, (317) 289-7575 or wammfest.com.
Though the name sounds like an FM radio station playing all the top hits, there’s real meaning to WAMMfest. Wine, art, music, and microbrews. It’s four letters pouring into one great festival that’ll pack Greenwood with folks who love at least one, if not all of ‘em. A handful of Indiana vineyards and microbreweries will be pouring all day while you peruse jewelry, pottery, photography and more before getting down to acts like Indy Nile, Woomblies Rock Orchestra and headliners Soul Street.
Hops & Flip Flops Craft Beer Festival
2 to 5 p.m., Aug. 19, Daredevil Brewing Co, 1151 N. Main St., Speedway, $40-$50, daredevilbeer.com.
Make no mistake: flip flops may be the most casual of footwear, but extremely hopped-up beers are anything but laid back. Even so, Daredevil Brewing Co’s annual festival brings the unlikely pair together for a day of excellent beer, music, and pure summer fun. About two dozen local and international breweries will brandish their hoppiest creations as bands including the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys whip up a storm. The whole day benefits local charities and service organizations.
Cabrewing on the Canal
1 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. August 20, inner tube pick-up at W. Walnut St./USS Indianapolis Canal Crossing, $10 suggested donation, yelp.com.
At least once this summer, you should truly kick back and relax. Yelp’s Cabrewing on the Canal makes it easy for you. Pick up your inner tube and get into the Downtown Canal—and that’s it. As you float, you’ll find complimentary food and drinks, plus wine popsicles and musicians playing just for you. If this sounds like a dream, it can be. Just close your eyes! Proceeds will help with the beautification of the canal.
Begins Aug. 21, locations throughout Indianapolis, (317) 673-4211 or devourindy.com.
You’ve got exactly two weeks to devour Indy. We know, it’s a tall order, but with all the amazing special menus and deals going on at restaurants all over town, we have faith you’re up to the task. Twice a year for two weeks, hundreds of restaurants introduce three-course, specially-priced menus for Devour Indy. You don’t need a coupon or a promotion code—just show up and, well, start devouring. Check the website for a full list of participating joints.
Son of a Booshie Kitchen Takeover
5 to 10 p.m. Aug. 21, Average Joe’s Sports Pub, 816 Broad Ripple Ave., free entry, (317) 253-5844 or averagejoes.ws.
Average Joe’s is always a great place for a pint, but on August 21 Gary Szymczak is taking the place to a whole new level. Szymczak is the Son of a Booshie in question here (booshie being a rough translation of Polish grandmother), and he specializes in his family’s traditional cuisine: delicious, hearty Polish and German food. Stop by Joe’s for pierogis, potato salad, Polish sausages and more.
Cooking Class: Fair Food!
6:30 to 9 p.m. Aug. 24, Indy’s Kitchen, 2442 Central Ave., $35, eventbrite.com, search: Chef Jenny Fox.
Chef Jenny Fox has already taught us so much about how to cook easy, healthy dishes in our own kitchens. But this time around, she’s focusing on some decidedly more festive foods—specifically, the often fried and sometimes on-a-stick foods of the State Fair. If you’ve ever thought, “I want to host a dinner party for friends or colleagues serving only corn dogs and fried Oreos,” this is a great place to start.
Brews & Bites 2017
6 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 24, The Tinker House, 1101 E. 16th St., $30, (317) 237-9288 or indianapolismonthly.com.
Indianapolis Monthly has long helped you decide what to do and where across the city—but they excel in another type of pairing as well. Bites & Brews is their craft beer and food pairing event, where you’ll sample fantastic local beers and the absolute best food to make it pop. The party will go down at the new Tinker House event venue. The only other pairing to think about is which babysitter to call for the kids.
4 to 10 p.m., Aug. 25, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 27, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 3500 W. 106th St., Carmel, free entry, (317) 733-3033 or indygreekfest.org.
Close your eyes and say the following words: Spanakopita. Tzatziki. Souvlaki. Now repeat this one a few times: Feta. Can you taste it now? It’s time to indulge in one of the world’s best culinary traditions at this year’s Indianapolis GreekFest. Between bites, you can also check out Hellenic dancing, scope out some Greek jewelry and float away on the bouzouki music of George Karras.
Hops & Vines Beer Festival
5 to 10 p.m. Aug. 26, Discover Downtown Franklin, 70 E. Monroe St., Franklin, $5, discoverdowntownfranklin.com.
Downtown Franklin will light up with locally-created craft beer and wine for one summer evening—but that’s not the only reason to drive out. This festival has got an ‘80s theme (the ‘vines’ are actually welcoming you to the jungle), with Hairbangers Ball playing at 7 p.m. Eighties costumes are heartily encouraged, so expect to see high-teased hair and Cher-worthy one-piece outfits. Extra points to anyone dressing as Alf.
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