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The Indiana Daily Student

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Kurt Vonnegut inspired drinks arrive in Bloomington

Writing a Novel

Whether at Upland Brewing Co. or C3 Bar, Kurt Vonnegut-inspired beers and cocktails will trap you in the amber of the moment. There is no “why,” except the Granfalloon: A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence that starts May 10.

Granfalloon is a three-day conference and festival celebrating the life and work of Vonnegut. On May 11, Upland Brewing Co. at 350 W 11th St. will present a series of musical acts, including a solo performance from Father John Misty.

Emily Eckelbarger

In honor of Vonnegut and his German heritage, Upland is offering a traditionally brewed kolsch beer called Proteus. Proteus was created as an ale that tastes similar to a lager.

“It’s a nice, clean, crisp, refreshing beer,” said Pete Batule, head of brewing operations at Upland. “Got a nice level of malt character. Have a couple of them, and you’re not feeling really weighed down.”

Proteus Beer
Proteus, a Kurt Vonnegut-inspired beer, sits on a table at Upland Brewing Company. The beer is on sale for the Granfalloon festival, which takes place May 10-12.  Matt Begala

Batule said Proteus gets to the roots of the kolsch’s German tradition.

“We basically heat the mash,” Batule said. “We use a little bit of a different process, which is traditional. It’s a very light beer, but it gives it a little bit of body.”

Upland has made kolsch-style beer in the past, but it used ingredients like smoked malts, which didn’t follow the traditional kolsch style. For Proteus, Upland brought in a brewer from Cologne, Germany, to create as authentic of a kolsch as possible.

The name was chosen from a list of 40 different names the brewing staff came up with. From there, they decided on Proteus, named after the first character from Kurt Vonnegut’s first book “Player Piano.”

Proteus is on tap at Upland locations. 

Batule said tons of people who work at Upland are fans of Vonnegut, and they were excited to celebrate the festival by creating a beer for it.

“It’s a great example of what we love to do,” Batule said. “It’s celebrating Indiana artists and how big of an impact folks from Indiana can have on the rest of the world.”

C3 Bar at 1505 S Piazza Drive has also created a cocktail based on Vonnegut’s tastes and writing, but also on Father John Misty.

"If all goes well, it should smell like weed," assistant manager Tobias Thatcher said.

Writing a Novel 2
Assistant manager and bartender Tobias Thatcher burns tea leaves to infuse with C3’s new cocktail, “Writing a Novel,” which is inspired by the Father John Misty song of the same name.  Matt Begala

The drink, “I’m Writing a Novel,” is named after a Father John Misty song. The drink is a take on two classic cocktails, Perfect Manhattan and Sazerac.

“There are some fantastical, magical realistic elements in Vonnegut’s work we wanted to do something with,” C3 general manager Allison Smith said. “We went back to some basic facts: that Kurt Vonnegut enjoyed whisky, and both he and Father John Misty are smokers.”

The cocktail combines elements of both classic cocktails with a touch of absinthe. Then the cocktail is put into a smoking box and smoked with Earl Grey smoke, put in a glass bottle, and served. 

“It’s a big, boozy, very dynamic, multi-layered cocktail that has a real smoky finish,” Smith said. “When you open the bottle, the smoke comes out of the cocktail.”

Smith said the drink is playful and whimsical, like Vonnegut’s novels.

“We really enjoy taking part in community events, so it was really a perfect fit that way,” Smith said.

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