Fowling Warehouse Indianapolis – a Completely New Way to Enjoy Your Beer and Free Time

Fowling Warehouse Indianapolis – a Completely New Way to Enjoy Your Beer and Free Time

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

I could write for days about the things invented in Indiana… I have in fact. However, I learned just a couple of weeks ago of one Indiana invention. Not a technology or medicine, this invention is something that makes life more enjoyable – a game. It was invented more than 20 years ago in Lot 1a at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and somewhat by chance.

A Detroit native, Chis Hutt, built a regulation size bowling alley for the week long tailgating that leads up to the Indy 500 race on Sunday. After the first bowling ball was sent down the lane they realized that the backstop had failed and the game was over. Hours later, a fellow tailgater happened to throw a football and knock down pins that were still on the lane. In an instant, fowling was born! Chris took the idea back Detroit and the details of his vision were hatched over the following years.

After much thinking, growth and success, now fowling has come back home. The Fowling Warehouse Indianapolis is now open in the Circle City Industrial Complex (CCIC) at the end opposite Centerpoint Brewing and just down the way from 8th Day Distillery. Their hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 5pm – midnight, and Sunday noon-8pm, but you can get in earlier if you have a private party arranged.

So – what is fowling you ask (pronounced faux-ling)? It can best be described as a combination of football, bowling, and corn hole. It’s much like bowling except you throw a football at the pins to knock them down instead of rolling a bowling ball. It’s like football in that you’re throwing a football, but you don’t want anyone to catch it. Finally, it’s like corn hole in that you stand at the opposite of your opponent and you each toss at a target on a board in front of you, only there’s no hole.

One to five opponents or teams stand opposite each other like corn hole, with a singular goal of knocking down the other team’s pins first.  The ball will bounce around akimbo after it lands, and if it knocks down any of your pins on a bounce – they stay down. Even more insidious, if the ball from a neighboring lane bounces over and knocks down your pins, they stay down. So now you know the game – five minutes to learn, a lifetime to master.

After that afternoon of genius at the IMS twenty years ago, the first Fowling Warehouse was opened in north Detroit in 2014, and now there are fowling stores or franchises in Cincinnati and Grand Rapids, with new ones coming in Milwaukee, Minnesota, and two in Texas. Act quickly and you could get in on a franchise in another part of the country.

Eric and Meggan Page are the owners the franchise for Indianapolis, and their 50,000 sq. ft. warehouse with 33 lanes and two bars has been open for a few weeks now. It’s an impressive space, much like an indoor tennis or soccer facility, with a lot of sweat equity going in to the nets, tables, walls, and bars. Yes, bars, plural – this is where the craft beverage part of our story begins.

Oh, and the craft beverages…there are plenty. Fowling Warehouse has a three way permit, so they have spirits as well as wine and beer. Their sixteen taps and 50+ cans/bottles are focused on Indiana craft beer, but there are some regional and national choices as well.

And then there’s the Mystery Beer Machine. For $2 to $5 a vending machine will randomly decide what you get. The beer isn’t trash or old, it’s just a new way to try some beer with a random way of delivering it. Of course, you could possibly end up with a Natty Ice! The Mystery Beer machine is a favorite of the Fowling Family and has become a staple at each of the Warehouses.

You can go in, have a few drinks, and watch people knock down bowling pins with footballs (and perhaps bean each other), or you can pay just $10 and have access to the fowling lanes for as long as you like. You can call “next,” and play whoever is available – you can make new friends! – or you can take any free lane with the people that brought ya.

If you’ve got a bunch of folks, like a corporate team-building event or a parolee reunion, you can rent out a lane for $120/ lane for up to 10 people for two hours, or for really big groups you can rent the entire space. Any way you do it, you get to throw things, knock things down, and drink alcohol – it’s all good. (Please don’t climb the nets or kick the balls – No Knuckleheads!)

So there you have it, two new things in Indy for your entertainment located in one place; fowling and drinking mystery beer. Please remember two things when contemplating a visit – a) new things and new experiences are good, so trying a new game should be part of your life plan, and b) it’s a beer, not a life choice, so attack the mystery beer as an adventure – if you care that much about what beer you get, you’re a snob and you aren’t really embracing life. Add in the mini-zamboni they use to clean the lanes, Ken and Cynthia who are your managers and are heavily invested to this place, the many TVs to show sports (when we have sports), and the downtown location – this is a great addition for Indy entertainment.

And the answer to the question I know you’re asking is– yes, I’ll be visiting just to drink and see what people can knock down with those footballs, but Walter wants to throw footballs for sure.

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