eating indie in indy

Brewery

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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


The Tap 306 Mass. Ave.

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Well one more brewery has come to town. Actually this one isn’t brand new. It originated in Bloomington where it still does a brisk business they just thought they would follow some of the grads to Indianapolis. Be careful with the address. The place is right on the corner of New York and Delaware in the new Pulliam Square project. Where the Indianapolis Star and News building used to be. How they managed to get Mass. Ave out of this I have no idea. This Pulliam Square is a rather swank affair and The Tap blends in well.

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It is a large venue with 2 rooms and 2 bars. Above the main bar is a stage for a DJ and a pull down screen with a rear projector for sports. After all the Big Ten football tourney will be coming to town in December. In the above picture the forlorn Santa looking fellow is Pat,and behind him is the row of beer taps. Seventy of them. It doesn’t seem too long ago that a joint having 6 drafts on-line was a big deal. Progress.

Their menu is the new typical for a brewery/bar. The Zomato link has a path to their website showing both food and beer menus. They offer pizza which uses a pre-made dough that comes in frozen and they stretch it to shape. Pizza is always a great choice with beer.

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I was drawn to the Ahi salad. A seared to rare sashimi grade Tuna on a salad bed. The bed is a coleslaw, sans dressing, topped with chopped romaine and cheese. In place of croutons they used crisp noodles. The kind that come in a bag that you serve over some Chinese dishes. Frankly I like them,they give a nice crunch without adding a big flavor. The tuna was expertly prepared. Rare and melt in your mouth tender with a great little punch from the Teriyaki glaze used. The salad part was so-so. I have had better salad mixes before. The shaved Parmesan would have been a nice touch had there been enough to have noticed. It was almost as if it was added as an after thought. One very nice part of the assembly was the half-dozen grape tomatoes on it. You don’t usually see that many. The dressing they served is a cucumber wasabi creation. I don’t know if they make it in-house or buy it ready-made but it was very good. I think you could take some fallen leaves from your back yard and add this stuff and it would be delicious.

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So, overall I really enjoyed my salad, and like Pat. I would order it again. After the pizza;and burger. Another thing I like about this joint is that the windows let in a bunch of natural light so taking pictures is great. Also you can access their WiFi almost without trying. Parking;while hardly good;is better than a lot of places downtown. Of course the Pulliam Project is on going. There is a huge hole at the corner of New York and Penn. Still;I think it is worth a trip.
The Tap Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Big Lug Canteen 1435 E. 86th Street

Well we have another Brewery in Indy. Or as some folks called it a few years ago Nap Town. This particular place is unique if only in the fact that it is part of the Sahms’ Family of businesses. The Sahm family has been involved in the restaurant business for more years than I can remember,and I think their total stands at 10 across the city. So we have pretty high expectations for this, their first endeavor into brewing. They opened this past Monday and on Tuesday I went in to have a look. The place is a two-story beauty right on the Monon Trail at the corner of 86th St. and Westfield Blvd. To ease some of the traffic problems on 86th they provided a cut in onto Westfield Blvd. Good for them.

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This sign is a large sheet of plate steel with the name cut out by laser or water jet. Pretty dramatic. I was told that the cutouts were used for a sign in the upstairs dining area. I didn’t check that out then I thought I would wait until I came back. They offer their beers in sizes ranging from 20 oz. to 7 oz. The prices go from $6 to $3. So that means you can try 2 different beers and consume less than a pint doing it. I had a pint of their IPA and a Hoss-Dip appetizer for $7. The app was melted mozzarella cheese,topped with avocado mixed with Greek yogurt;Greekamole; spicy hummus and a black bean and corn salsa served with a big side of Frito scoops. The dip was pretty tasty. A nice bite to go with a beer.

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Today we both went,and we were both impressed with the space. An up stairs deck;overlooking the trail and an expansive patio mere feet from the Monon.

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These are the cutouts from the outdoor sigh;downstairs.

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These are the remaining letters.

Not only do they offer smaller pours for their beers they also offer half sandwiches and half salads. They even have a Big Lug Half N’ Half. That is a half a sandwich and a half a salad for 2 bucks off the regular price. That is what I opted for. A Bahn Lug; their facsimile of a Vietnamese sandwich with Smoked Pork Belly, Chicken Pate and Bahn Mi vegetables. I married that with a half Judo Chop Salad. The salad was a bowl of mixed greens topped with ham and cappacola as well as olives and bleu cheese. My choice may seem odd but all the flavors worked well together and there could not be any complaining on the size of my meal.

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Patrick decided on a BLT with grilled chicken and avocado; a full size and a half salad as a side.

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We spent $11 each for our sandwiches, a price I think is more than reasonable. The menu they give is unique and from what I have had well prepared. So. Good food. Good beer. Good prices. I especially liked that they offer “specialty” salads and each one offered a protein,be it chicken, veggie patty or ham. Basically all of their salads;except the House salad was a version of what could be called a Chef Salad. I am really excited about this place and what it can do to revitalize Nora.

Big Lug Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Redemption Alewerks 7035 E. 96th Street.

Today we headed North to Fishers; the high rent district. It seems as though the new breweries,with few exceptions,have bypassed the far north of the Metropolitan area. That is why I was surprised when I realized that I had missed this one. It is a new construction in a strip mall in a heavily traveled area of the North side.

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It is an attractive joint and the brewing equipment is highly visible as you enter.

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As soon as you walk in you are greeted by the large semi-circular bar in front of you and the aroma of smoked meat and brewing beer all around you. If that doesn’t get your appetite up and running you are a lost cause.

The menu offers some unique items not usually found on a beer joint’s menu. Battered and deep-fried artichoke hearts or a basket of hush puppies on the appetizer menu. The artichokes at $7.49 are reasonably priced,I supposed, as I have never seen them on a menu around here. I do question the pups being priced at $8.49 though. I think across the board the food prices are a bit higher than what you would find at joints closer to the city.

We thought the beer they brew is excellent,having a beginning,middle and finish. Something desirable in food as well as drink. The pricing is from $5 to $6.50,with imperial pints selling for the higher price. That is the going rate for a lot of microbrews. They do offer a flight of 6 5 oz. glasses for $10,but I was told they would be raising the price to $12. So that may be incentive to go sooner than later.

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Pat’s sandwich was $10.49. Frankly I thought that a bit high for a below average portion. If I may digress a bit on the sliced vs pulled “controversy” pulling as opposed to slicing would save some money.

The sandwich I ordered was unique to me. It included items that I would not necessarily put together but I was intrigued. Here is the description from the menu.

http://www.redemptionalewerks.com/homeRedemption Alewerks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Broad Ripple Brewpub 840 E.65th Street

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This is the oldest craft brewery in the state,opening in 1990. It was modeled after an English Pub. It is a series of several connected rooms,wood-paneled and rather dark. Just the right atmosphere for sipping ESB and single malts,not so much for picture-taking.

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Pat and I have both been here before. I just never felt compelled to write about it because;frankly I thought the joint was a bit boring. Not bad just not too interesting. Well they have changed their menu and have added a couple of new and exciting brews so I thought today would be a good day to review the Papa of Hoosier brewing. They have always had a good selection of vegetarian dishes and with the new menu they offer even more. The also added a cheese curd appetizer for $8.75.

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These were just plain good. A nice size with just the slightest outside crunch to offset the mozzarella cheesiness inside. I think these are possibly the best in town.

Pat ordered a Pub BLT for $7.95. You could get it with Applewood smoked bacon or veggie coconut “bacon”. For 2 bucks you can add Braunschweiger as well.

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I was intrigued by the Thai spiced Pork sandwich,for $10.

Marinated in our ESB and slow braised with cumin, Chinese Five Spice and fresh ginger, flat grilled on toasted baguette with shredded carrots, spicy cucumbers, fresh cilantro and mayo.  10.00

Sound really great doesn’t? Unfortunately it reads better than it eats. The bread was hard,the meat was dry and offered little flavor. If they were trying to offer a version of a Bahn mi I can think of a few ways they could have pulled it off better. I also decided on a side of onion rings which were okay. Thin slices of onion simply coated and fried. Nice but nothing to shout about.

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The beers were great. The stars of the line were two cask ales. A red and an ESB. Both were very drinkable. Pat tried a mix of the two. Pretty tasty. If you are a beer drinking vegetarian this may be the place for you. They have a nice new menu on their website so one bad sandwich won’t deter me from going back.

Broad Ripple Brewpub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Blind Owl Brewery 5014 E. 62 nd Street

Well we have a new brewery in town. I think that brings the number to an even 2 dozen. Some say this influx will glut the market; I say; is it possible to have too much beer?.

Last week after lunch at Black Diamond we stopped there for beer.

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The place is a looker. Expansive with high ceilings,exposed brick and interior garage type doors to separate the different dining spaces. They also have a beautiful outdoor seating area,complete with bocce ball court, herb gardens and even bee hives for their brewery.

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The menu they are currently using is a pared down version of their opening menu. As I was told the kitchen had trouble keeping up with the huge rush of the hungry and thirsty. So they trimmed the menu down with plans on adding more options as the crew became more proficient.

Their house soup is Tomato soup with bacon and Creme Fraiche. A cup is $3.99 That is how I decided on starting my lunch.

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The soup was really good. A nice bright tomato presence with a hint of herbs and slight creaminess. The addition of bacon is always good and the slightly tart creme balanced it out nicely.

As for the entre the only thing I was sure of ,was that I wanted to try their onion rings. For that reason I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. Normally I don’t order chicken breast out. The boneless,skinless breast can be a pretty boring piece of meat. What sold me on the Coop sandwich was that they added Gouda cheese and apple slices to the chicken and served it on a Brioche bun.The resultant sandwich was really good. The basic sandwich was $10.99 and for onion rings you pay an extra dollar. The rings were excellent. The batter they make is great and the result is crisp and tasty.

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Pat’s pizza was about $12, and you might notice that they use a cheese blend for the pies. Personally not a big fan of cheddar on pizza. I do agree with is assessment of Lisa. She was a perky delight.

The whole joint is just what you expect from a Lux restaurant. A well-trained staff and nicely crafted food. Oh and the beer is pretty great too.

Click to add a blog post for Blind Owl Brewery on Zomato