Indianapolis’s New Delaware Street Craft Beer Connection
Are you familiar with Fall Creek Place? It’s a small neighborhood of downtown Indy.
It probably won’t come up on most GPS systems, but it’s between Fall Creek (duh) and 22nd with its east/west borders being Meridian St and College Ave (ish). Two years ago when my good friend, known occasionally as “Don,” moved into a place at 22nd and Delaware, this neighborhood was still coming out of its rough past.
More than once, we heard gunshots while sitting in his living room and watching his Cowboys lose. But the building he moved into was a beautiful brick building with all the modern amenities. Like his, new dwellings were popping up and old ones were being renovated all around him.
The neighborhood was, and is, on the up and up.
People living in this subtly vibrant area always enjoyed the gems that were there — mainly Shoefly and Talbot street (which, sadly, closed). Then, last January saw the neighborhood’s first big foray into the craft beer world (aside from Shoefly’s tap list): The Koelschip (2505 N Delaware St.)
The Koelschip is NOT a brewery. Please read that again. Literally every single Sunday I’ve been in there, someone has popped in and asked about growler fills. The Koelschip is an extension of Central State Brewing, and you could call this their tap room, though they have far more than just their own beer. I think their Facebook page perfectly describes the Koelschip as “a beer bar in Indianapolis, serving eclectic beer, wine, and coffee.” (https://www.facebook.com/thekoelschip/).
You could argue their tap list is the best in the city. The top of the list will be Central State’s own beers, of course, but look down it and you’d be hard pressed to not see something from 18th Street or the like.But I digress.
The reason I was at this particular suds-server on Saturday December 17th was because of their much anticipated second release of Lazer Raptor. You may remember Central State releasing this in the spring. It’s a Gose made with cranberries and lime.
Supply didn’t last long back then, so Jake and the team decided to do another batch. The original was great the way it was, but I do think they’ve improved it. It’s 5.9% ABV and compared to last time, this batch uses less cranberries so it’s slightly more drinkable (in my opinion).
Most people are more familiar with their beer formerly called “House”, a delicious rustic blonde (4.0% ABV). In case you didn’t know, it’s now called “Table”. If you’re curious about the meaning behind either name, feel free to ask someone there; they can give a much more poetic description than I can.
Anyway, get some Lazer Raptor soon (assuming you still can)! On the day of the release, there was a line out the door. At the release, each person was limited to just three 4-packs. But, if you came, you also probably left with a Lazer Raptor shirt and glass too.
After we had a few Lazor Raptors and a Gute Nacht for good measure (farmhouse stout, 8.0% ABV) the running crew and I wandered south down Delaware for the second big thing happening in the neighborhood that day: The opening of MashCraft Brewing’s second location.
You may know MashCraft as the brewery based in Greenwood who occupied an old Mexican restaurant and became a destination for IPA’s and exciting experimental beers. A few months back, head brewer Andrew Castner and the team announced they’d be opening a second brewing location in the new building being built at the corner of 22nd and Delaware (2205 N. Delaware St).
This was big news for me. Living in Broad Ripple, I didn’t often make it down to Greenwood. Being the social people that they are, MashCraft decided to do a soft opening the Friday night before, aimed mostly at their new friends from the neighborhood.
They haven’t begun their brewing operations at this site yet. They still have to get some venting stuff taken care of. They are serving a large line up of beer, though (see photos).
I personally had the Linus and Lucy (imperial brown ale, 8.4% ABV) which was very good, and the Sir James. Sir James was out-of-sight. Aged for 8 months in Buffalo Trace barrels (9% ABV), it was worth the trip alone.
Compare and Contrast
When I first heard about MashCraft opening I was, to be honest, a little concerned for the Koelschip. I thought it may take some of their business. Now having been in both places, I’m not concerned at all. Here’s my personal opinion on why both will complement each other:
-Is a good place to have an intimate conversation with friends.
-Has a very “come in here and leave the world out there” feel to it. I’m really only focused on enjoying my drink when I’m there.
-Is a place people seem to come to really exhale from their day.
-A bit larger in size, so would be good for bigger groups.
-Family friendly, while the Koelschip is for those 21 and over.
-Stocked with TVs for watching the game. This is important for some people.
Basically, the two will only benefit each other and the neighborhood. While the area used to be a one-stop-shop for whatever you were doing at the time, you can now spend the whole day in Fall Creek Place.
Here’s your possible agenda if you need to, say, get away from the in-laws on a Saturday:
o 11:45 am – Swing by Goose the Market for a sandwich to-go
o 12 noon – Plop down with your favorite bearded barkeep next door at The Koelschip, where he can tell you all about his recent trip to Cincinnati, Boston, or Louisville
o Eat sandwich, drink beers
o 6pm – Have dinner at Shoefly (I like the Blue Bison)
o 7pm – Head over to MashCraft to watch IU beat Nebraska