The old adage goes that only two things in life are guaranteed: death and taxes.

Over the past three years, beer lovers on the southside have found that the springtime beer festival at Bargersville’s Taxman Brewing Co. has reached a similar level of consistency.

Taxman will once again host its aptly named Death & Taxes celebration on April 22, bringing together more than 40 Hoosier breweries to offer tastings on specialty beers and flagship brews. The festival also will serve as the unveiling of this year’s incarnation of Evasion; this year, the Belgian-style stout has been aged with Indonesian vanilla beans and rested several months on Kentucky whiskey barrels.

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Just as Taxman is inspired by the Belgian approach to brewing and beer pubs, Death & Taxes Day taps into the same energy that the beer-loving European nation brings to its festivals.

“The Belgian beer focus was very much about community, and we very much want our focus to be the same, always about community,” said Leah Huelsebusche, co-founder of Taxman with her husband, Nathan.

Taxman started its Death & Taxes event in 2015 as a springtime celebration of its opening the year before. The style was modeled on town-wide beer festivals that the Huelsebusches encountered while living in Belgium for more than two years.

“When we lived in Belgium, one of the things we really enjoyed was going to the festivals. They were not a race to consumption, but more a day you spent with friends and family sharing great beers together,” Leah Huelsebusche said. “It highlighted what the craft that the city or town was doing a great job with.”

With the brewery’s tax-themed offerings, stemming from Nathan Huelsebusche’s work as an international tax director for Cummins, the idea was to host the festival on the first Saturday after April 15.

That first year, Taxman invited 12 other breweries to set up tasting tables in their parking lot and a beautiful spring day. The event drew more than 450 people.

“It’s been fun. Year one, we thought we’d just put this on and see how it’s received. Then it picked up last year, and ticket sales this year from the beginning have been amazing,” Nathan Huelsebusche said.

Since then, the event has grown tremendously, Nathan Huelsebusche said. More than 1,250 people came last year, and this time around, organizers have 2,000 tickets available for the event. Only had a few hundred left available, Nathan Huelsebusche said.

The number of breweries wanting to take part has also expanded. All 40 participants are from Indiana, and all bring dozens of different tweaks on the beer they brew.

“We have a unique location, and with the size of the festival, we have an intimate feel. It’s all Indiana craft; it’s not 100 different distributors coming together. For some reason, we’ve created an environment that breweries want to be part of,” Leah Huelsebusche said.

Johnson County breweries such as MashCraft Brewing, Planetary Brewing and Oaken Barrel Brewing will all be participating, as will local favorites such as Sun King, Upland and 450 North.

Taxman’s Bargersville neighbor, Mallow Run Winery, will have a table to offer an alternative at the beer-centric festival. Diverse companies such as Ash & Elm Cider Co. and New Day Meadery will also take part.

Organizers have also tried to included brewers who may be new to southside consumers, such as Bare Hands Brewery out of Granger and Trubble Brewing from Fort Wayne, Nathan Huelsebusche said.

For Taxman, it’s fun to get together with the other breweries in the area to celebrate their beer-making passion, Leah Huelsebusche said. But they also get to play mad scientist with one of their own creations: Evasion.

The limited-release beer will be available in samples, and to purchase in 22-ounce bombers. But the team at Taxman has also created variants of that beer with different flavors and subtle tastes on top of the vanilla stout profile.

“Those are all draft-only, day of the festival. It’s just one more reason to have a little fun and see what we can do,” Nathan Huelsebusche said.

If you go

Death & Taxes Day

What: A beer tasting festival featuring more than 40 breweries and other craft beverage companies to celebrate spring.

When: Noon to 4 p.m. April 22

Where: Taxman Brewing Co., 13 S. Baldwin St., Bargersville

Cost: $40 general admission, $10 for designated drivers

What does that include:

  • Commemorative snifter glass
  • One 22-ounce bottle of Evasion, a Belgian-style stout aged with Indonesian vanilla beans and rested several months on Kentucky-whiskey barrels
  • Two sample pours of Evasion and one sample pour of Cocoa Vanilla Evasion
  • Open sampling from the other breweries and wineries during the festival
  • Ability to purchase up to three carryout bottles of Evasion, while supplies last
  • Ability to purchase one carryout bottle of Cocoa Vanilla Evasion

Tickets and information: TaxmanBrewing.com

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.