eating indie in indy

Brewery

Upland Brewing College Ave. 4842 N. College Ave.

Upland is a successful brewery from Bloomington. In the early days of the blog we visited it. About 10 years ago they opened up a tasting room on College. It was a place where you could have a few beers and maybe get a growler refilled. I was only there once or twice because they never seemed open when I wanted to go. A couple of years ago Open Society opened a large space next to Upland’s. When they closed Upland moved in and now they have a real restaurant/bar at a very convenient location.

When I go out to eat I try to get stuff I don’t like to make at home. Either it requires too much time or the ingredients are hard for me to get. On this day I opted for their grilled cheese.

Toasted Sour Dough Bread, Smoking Goose Ham,
Pimento Cheese, Peppadew Peppers

I love each and every one of those ingredients.

It was a messy sandwich but what should you expect? The pimento cheese was very good and the ham had been browned a bit on a flat top so it had a nice crispness. The bread was well toasted and it even had marks that it been but on a char grill. I like that because it brings another layer of flavor. The Peppadews seemed to have gotten lost but it was still a good sandwich. They offer it with fries or chips from the Broad Ripple Chip Co. I got chips. They were okay nothing extraordinary.

We knew the beer was good and now we know that their food on College is on a par as the food they serve in Bloomington and that after all is the Mothership.


Liter House 5301 Winthrop Avenue. (revisit)

I visited this place solo about 2 months ago. Pat was out-of-town and he didn’t seem too excited about their menu. He considered it too nouveau or something. I just think it had more embellishments than he would have prefered. That is just the way restaurants conduct their business anymore. It takes a lot of bells and whistles to make someone pay 9 or 10 dollars for a sausage sandwich.

https://literhouse.com/

Their smokehouse is finished so I was looking forward to some smoked meats. They have a few items and they also have the occasional special. The first thing I noticed was “burnt ends” for $8. I think burnt ends are some of the best part of the brisket. It comes from the second cut of the brisket which is also the fatty part. If done correctly, and that includes a proper trim they are delicious. Moist and tender with just enough fat to be flavorful. They are also not too common around here.

They serve theirs with a side of pickles and Crystal hot sauce and they were excellent. It was a nice size portion that I couldn’t finish.

The other thing that jumped out at me was fried smelt. I have a thing for smelts and they are even harder to come by than burnt ends.

Another nice amount well worth the 10 buck price tag. The offered a garlic mayo which was all right but I would have preferred a cocktail sauce or a plain old tartar sauce. Another plate I enjoyed but couldn’t finish. My eyes were bigger than my stomach but I did take home dinner.

Their beer garden isn’t quite finished but I expect it will be hopping once warm weather arrives once more. Imagine a nice Spring day munching on a plate of dry rubbed smoked wings and drinking a Big Lug beer under a warm Hoosier sun. Sounds good doesn’t it.


Books and Brews 6420 Cornell Ave.

This a local chain with about 9 locations with the Mothership up around 96th Street. According to their website franchising may be available so I have no idea how many if any are franchises. The concept is rather novel. All of their places have print book libraries where you can browse and read with your lunch. The books are also available for sale.

https://www.booksnbrews.com/broad-ripple

All of their beers and menu items have literary names and to be honest some are pretty cheesy; but that’s okay. Beer and cheese go well together. Pat ordered off the Special menu and got the Return of the King

In addition to Panini style sandwiches they offer Naan-Fiction. That is their version of pizza. The flat breads can be ordered with choice of sauce and various other toppings. The options are red sauce, BBQ sauce or buttermilk Ranch. I really don’t get the Ranch at all, but I am sure they offer it for a reason.

My piece of Naan-Fiction was called the Wilbur. Pulled pork with mozzarella, cheddar cheese and garlic salt. With that combo I went with BBQ sauce. It was really pretty good. The Naan made a nice crisp crust. The sauce seemed exceptionally sweet but not excessively so. The amounts of pork and cheese were a trifle sparse but all in all not a bad lunch for $9. I would probably do it again, but more than likely I would try one of their other options.

This is a nice little joint. It is North of the Canel. That is the quiet part of the Village. It is also the part with trees in the front. We ate on the porch so it was more like having lunch at a friend’s house. I want to get back and enjoy the quiet and their beer and food again.

 


Liter House 5301 Winthrop Ave.

https://literhouse.com/

This was Bent Rail Brewery and now it is another part of the Sahms Family empire. I thought their Big Lug was ambitious but this could at least rival that location. As you can tell from the name that they have a German theme going on with a beer Garden planned. They also have a large smoke house in the works. They hope to have the whole project completed by Oktoberfest.

As an appetizer I was tempted between the rabbit pate and the Cornwurst. They were out of the pate; so by default it was the Cornwurst; pulled pork corn dogs, curried ketchup, rutabaga mustard for $8.

These little things were crazy. A nice pulled pork wrapped in a beautiful corn dog type batter. The curry ketchup and the mustard were very good complements to the corn-ness. The only possible critique would be the dryness of the “wurst”. In order to shape and coat the pork balls they were limited on the amount of sauce they could use. More ketchup would help.

For my main lunch I ordered a Bratwurst. They don’t make their own sausage yet. They do make their own buns though. Right now they have Smoking Goose make their sausages to their own specs.  The brat was excellent, full of flavor and a very nice snap to it. The mustard creme fraiche brought a nice creaminess to the sandwich which balanced nicely with the fried shallot.

For my side I got a simple side salad. However it was hardly simple in taste.

I ordered it with their smoked peach hefeweizen vinaigrette. It was a clean and fresh dressing that clung to the greens and enhanced their taste. The way I think a salad should be. It could be my imagination but it seems as though every salad I have gotten from a Sahms restaurant has been a cut or two above other joints. This new place is another home run for the Sahms and I am looking forward to Oktoberfest.


Happy Brewing 3902 N. Illinois Street

I am sure some people will ask the same question that is always asked when a new brewery opens. “Do we really need any more breweries?” Well I don’t see how that is possible. Can you have too much happiness or too many smiles? I don’t think so.

Happy Brewing opened in one of the defunct Double 8 grocery stores. It opened about 2-3 months ago with typical brewery hours. No lunch just evenings and noon opening on weekends. My first trip there was on a Sunday to sample some beer. I really enjoyed the beers I tried. They have a nice ale and a great cream ale but the show stopper was their Happy Hopper. Be advised though it has a ABV approaching 11 so it is best consumed in small quantities. Their cream ale is less than 5 ABV so it is more like a session beer. A brew you can drink while mowing your lawn. I think the owner Gabe has plans on canning it in the future. As of the past week they took the bold step to open for lunch.

Their menu is small and concise and it is all done in a kitchen without an exhaust hood. For those who don’t know all commercial kitchens require an exhaust hood when the cooking process produces fumes or smoke. Further more you will also need a fire suppression system. All of this runs into a bunch of dollars. Dollars they did not want to spend at this time. So now they have an impinger conveyer belt oven, a Panini press and a soup warmer. I think they pulled it off well.

On my first trip there I had their Italian sausage. It was a solid sandwich. The sausage had a slight spiciness to it but what carried the dish was the red sauce. It was very good. I ordered it with chips and pickle but in the future I will probably just opt for the sandwich alone. Beer carbs are superior to chip carbs.

On my return trip I ordered a pizza. They buy all the pizza product from Delco a Hoosier firm founded in 1957 that sells all things Italian related. That includes the raw dough they use for the pizza and the Calzone.

I thought it was a nice pie. The crust had a slight chew and again that marinara sauce has great flavor and richness.

I have only tried 2 items on their menu but I plan on trying more. This joint is very close to home so I can see myself there weekly. I had a very good conversation with Gabe on my first lunch trip. He has some great plans for his place. Patio seating and even a rooftop beer garden and in time he would like to have a “proper” kitchen. I am always excited for new places to eat. Especially one so close.


Bent Rail Brewery 5301 Winthrop Ave. (Revisit)

We visited this place about 2 years ago, right after they first opened. They weren’t brewing their own beer yet but they did offer some quality grafts. Now they are now offering their own brews. There are a couple of eating places close by that I thought we could try and then stop at BRB afterwards, but we couldn’t agree so here we are. New beers and a new menu makes this like a new joint.

The menu on their website isn’t up to date as they changed it about a week ago. The biggest change may be the bread they use. The menu suggests several different bread options but all we saw was Texas Toast. I hope they have other breads because, as much as I like the TT I don’t think it works on every sandwich. Pat’s BLT for example.

Unless you plan on using a pound of bacon I think 3 full slices of Texas Toast is a bit much.

I fell back to my comfort food zone and ordered the Meat Loaf Sandwich. Their version was a big slab with bacon, fried onion straws and smoked Gouda cheese. Alas the cheese was of the shredded variety and I am not a fan of shredded cheese on a sandwich. The fried straws added a nice crunch along with the bacon. The poor cheese was pretty over whelmed though. The meat loaf itself was quite nice and I really appreciated the “bark” on the edges. I would have it again with a few alterations.

The beer is top notch as well. Their wheat beer is oh so drinkable. They sell pints for $5 to $5.50  They also have a an interesting selections of house cocktails in the $7 to $9 range. Our sandwiches were $9.50 each and for an extra buck fifty we were able to pick our sides. Normally the sandwiches come with chips. All in all this joint is working out to be the joint I thought it would be. Good food made in-house and now some great beer to go with it.

 

Bent Rail Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


ZwanzigZ Pizza 1038 Lafayette Avenue Columbus Indiana

On the road again. Of course we picked one of the hottest days to do it but we had a reward of cold beer awaiting us. ZwanzigZ is not just a pizza parlor it is a small brewery as well. It has won awards for their effort so they take their beer seriously. Their menu is small; revolving around fresh dough, sauce and cheese.

I decided on one of their specials a 3 meat slice with 2 bread sticks, dipping sauce and drink  for $ 5.49. I am not sure what Pat’s sandwich cost because of his modifications but the total was less than $11; with tax. That is the deal of the year. No wonder the place was full with a line.

My slice was huge. The crust was more bread like than I like but the sauce and cheese more than made up for it. It was a really nice slice and with the bread sticks a carb coma inducing bargain.

You order at a cashier station, take a number and they bring the food to you. We sat in the bar area so we could have some beer.

The beers we sampled were quite tasty. The ales were not overly hoppy and the wheat beer had a nice finish. The most unique was the Chocolate beer. It was a sweet amber beer loaded with vanilla. The stout was probably our favorite. The beers are as reasonably priced as the food. A flight of five is $7.50 and a growler refill is $7. This place may be new to us out of towners but it is definitely a success with the locals. It is only a 40 minute drive from Indy and I think it is worth it. There is also the added attraction of Zaharakos Ice Cream. We’ll save that for another time.

 

Zwanzigz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Hoosier Brewing 155 Holiday Place Franklin Indiana

We just love new Breweries. We especially love the ones open for lunch. Quite a few don’t open until 4:00 PM. This particular one has been opened for a while but I didn’t discover it until recently. It is quite the drive; 27 miles from me and 20 miles from Pat’s. Even with a map we still got lost.

Now what would be a trip to a new brewery without a flight of beers.

We opted for the flight of 8 for $10. I think only 6 of the beers offered are brewed at Hoosiers, the remaining two were guests. I was not sure which beer was which I just drank ’em. I think they may want to find a way to name the brews for the patrons without relying on the memory of the server. At least they may want to have a beer list.

They have a nice sized menu; featuring the usual stuff and a few “surprises”.

https://www.facebook.com/HoosierBrewhouse/menu/

I was intrigued by cod for the fish and chips and the  tenderloin. Both are smoked then battered and fried for service. Pat wasn’t too sure about cold smoked cod so he opted for a tenderloin sandwich for $9.99.

In addition to a sandwich they a General Tso’s Tenderloin in a bowl. That would be a bowl of rice topped with Red Flyer battered tenderloin bites with Tso sauce and green onion. Sounded good and it was.

I enjoyed the slight smokiness of the meat and the batter was a pleasant alternative to a more conventional breading. Their Tso sauce tasted a lot like Mae Ploy; a sweet Thai chile sauce. That was fine I like Mae Ploy. I usually keep a bottle on hand at home. I would have liked some sauce between the rice and meat as well as on top; or at least some soy available. Over all a pretty good lunch for $8.49.

So these guys brew some pretty good beer. A nice stout? As well as one with a coconut flavor to it. They seem to have a nice balance of hop and malt in their selections. As for the food they offer a smoked ribeye steak dinner for $19.99 in addition to a respectable lunch menu. That may be the reason for a return trip.

Hoosier Brewing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Big Woods Speedway 1002 W. 10th Street Speedway In.

big-woods-001

Big Woods is a brewery AND distillery and originated in Nashville Indiana. They also have a joint in Bloomington Indiana. I believe last year they decided to make the move north to Speedway. The home of America’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing; the 500. It is a big beautiful building with an amazing interior of varnished wood.

big-woods-013

Quaff On is the name of the beer they produce. Also each beer has an individual name. So when you order a Quaff On flight you get 5 five ounce pours of beers that are representative of their brewing skills.

big-woods-004

I am not going to begin to describe each beer. I will say they were excellent examples of their craft. All for $13.

big-woods

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As soon as we pulled up I could smell their smoker. I love smoked meats. I find pulled chicken boring. Brisket is still hit and miss around here. A good smoked pork butt is getting easier to find and from the aroma of their smoker I figured this one should be pretty good.

big-woods-006

It was excellent. A great smokiness and the pickled veggies were a marvelous counterpoint. Of course I would have enjoyed more and a larger variety but carrot and onion are pretty commonplace in most kitchens. The bun was nice and I appreciated the sauce on the side. Their side options were kettle chips with truffle oil and parm, fries or kicked up slaw. For some reason I chose chips. They were okay but I think the truffle and parm bit looked better on paper. I forgot all about the slaw option. That was silly. Next time. My sandwich was $11.25 and Pat’s 2 topping pizza pie was $10.95.

In the beginning I mentioned that Big Woods was a distillery too. Their brand of liquor is called Hard Truth. They offered Vodka, Rum and Gin at first. Now they have a whisky. It is a clear liquor; like moonshine. So in keeping with the spirit of adventure I ordered a Manhattan cocktail.

big-woods-012

It was a wonderful beverage. It was incredibly smooth. Too often when all the components of a cocktail are alcoholic the first taste can be a bit astringent. Not here. That is a testimony to the bartender and the liquor. In my opinion.

Pat and I had a swell time. The food is good. The beer is good. The surroundings are good and the service was outstanding. I think Pat and I will both be back;even though it is a drive for both of us. We think it may be worth it.

Big Woods Speedway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Four Day Ray 11671 Lantern Road Fishers Indiana

four-day-ray-002

This joint brews beer. But it is more; it is a Gastropub. I have seen that word around a lot more recently. That led me to believe it was possibly more than a made up word. Like Gastronaut. I looked it up on Google and this is what I discovered.

gas·tro·pub
ˈɡastrōˌpəb/

noun

BRITISH
  •                   a pub that specializes in serving high quality food.
 Yelp even offers a list of the “best” gastropubs in Indy. According to the list I have eaten at a few of these places and I hadn’t even noticed. I am guessing that if their menu uses the words confit and or aioli you may be at a gastropub.  What ever the joint calls itself as long as the food is done well that is all that matters.
As I mentioned this is a brewery. The picture I started with is on the outside of the building in the parking lot. The place is huge and appears to have been constructed just for this operation. They have an upper level  that allows them to seat more than 200 eaters and drinkers.
four-day-ray-006The sandwiches are in the $10 to $13 range and the beers are $5.50 per pint. The going rate at most breweries; and most joints in Fishers. A cautionary note about their beer flights. They serve the flights in 5 ounce pours; as many as you would like at $2.50 each. I think that is a bit high for anywhere.
four-day-rayfour-day-ray-005Since Pat got the BT I opted for a burger. I just feel better when we order different things. I noticed they had a double burger available which made me ask the server how big a patty they serve. He had no idea. He just said they were “big”. Hopefully he will learn his menu soon. I ordered my burger Mid-rare. It came out close to medium. They use a 2-year-old cheddar from Fair Oaks Farms as one of their cheese choices. That is what I ordered and it was delicious. As a matter of fact the burger was pretty damn good, overcook and all. I was also impressed with the fries. They had a crunchy exterior and a soft interior and the sprinkling of coarse salt really made them exceptional. For what it is worth the burgers appear to be 6 ounce.
four-day-ray-004So I wouldn’t mind going back but I agree with Pat about the distance. Maybe when the weather warms again.

Four Day Ray Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato