It’s an exciting time for craft beer fans in Fort Wayne

It’s an exciting time for craft beer fans in Fort Wayne


By Charlie Sasse for Indiana On Tap

I have traveled through Fort Wayne, IN many times over the years but rarely stopped, except for the occasional pint and lunch at Mad Anthony, or to fill up my tank at a gas station just off one of the exits. I recently received an invitation to visit a friend that lives in the area and decided to stop in at a couple of places. My first stop was at Summit City Brewing and a quick visit with one of the owners, Dave. I found several beers I liked and a lunch item that I can’t recommend enough. My next stop took me to Trubble Brewing and even though they don’t serve their own beer they have a cool space and a great menu. The end of my night was a little different – I was drug along to a couple of local places that were oddly filled with a diverse crowd and both had small decent beer lists. I missed out on a couple of places I heard about, but that is for another trip.

Summit City Brewerks is located in the historic Wayne Candies building at 1501 E. Berry Street. Dave Tomaszewski and Will Long opened the brewery just over a year ago and have found success in offering 20 small batch brews of their own and 20 guest taps including soda, ciders, etc.   I bought two flights so that I could try as many of their beers as possible without getting hammered. This place produces my kind of “session” beers, with 12 of their offering over 7% and 7 of those over 8.5%!  My first flight consisted of all IPAs; C-Hop Anonymous (IIPA with all “C” named hops, 9.8%), Tropical Ale (IPA with Orange and Pineapple, 8.8%), Caribbean Vacation (IPA with Centennial and Columbus Hops, 7%), and Funny Bidness (IPA with Brett, Lactose, and Calypso Hops, 7.2%). All of the offerings were deliciously hoppy and fun to drink, but Funny Bidness really struck my fancy. 

The Brett and Calypso Hops really worked well together and the lactose seemed to have the most effect in the mouth feel. It was a bit creamier than the others which let me know I was drinking a good beer. The stand out of the day came from the second flight.  Bretta Moretta is an American Wild Ale with coffee and cocoa and is one of the most unique beers I remember having in quite a while. There is a tartness at the beginning which makes me think I am going to pucker up, but the coffee and cocoa smooth it out before the vinegar strokes kick in! I brought a bullet of this beer back to share with friends and they agreed this is a fantastic beer. I will definitely return to Summit City to check out their offerings any time I am in Fort Wayne.

I headed over to Trubble Brewing knowing they were not selling their own beer yet. I had heard about the building, guest taps, and food that are available and it was enough to lure me in. The first thing I noticed about the place when I walked in was the décor. The inside has a funky industrial vibe that also seems very refined. I straddled a stool at the small bar and ordered a Stone Graniac while I waited on Chad and Keli Hankee. The wait was short before Keli and I introduced ourselves and Chad was waived over. We talked about the business and the process of inspections and licensing. Then I checked out the future brewery. Chad hopes to have their beer available within three months following fed approval.   I enjoyed a couple more small pours of Founders Double Trouble and another Graniac. I was also treated with one heck of a meal including a meatloaf sandwich, pretzels with the Trub Cheese dip, and a dish called “Dad Bod” which was cheese fries with big chunks of thick cut bacon sprinkled throughout!  The meatloaf was moist, the cheese dip made me want to make better dips, and the fries had cheese and bacon on them: what else need I say. I am excited to go back up once Chad is brewing to eat and try his beers.

After these places I met up with my buddy and went out for an oddly enjoyable guy’s night. The first place we went was a locally owned restaurant named Flanagan’s. When we pulled up and I saw the old school Euro styling of the building I didn’t have high hopes. What I found was a mix of young and old sitting in the bar area watching sports and drinking beer. The food menu is very diverse and you can find anything from Shepherd’s Pie to a very filling Quesadilla to a build-your-own burger. I also found out they have a pretty good Bloody Mary bar on Sundays. Flanagan’s only has a few taps but one was pouring Bell’s Two Hearted and there were a few bottles of craft beer available for purchase. I enjoyed a few pints of what seemed like fresh Two Hearted while beating my buddy at Golden Tee. 

From there we went to a place called Chevy’s Pizza. We rolled into a parking lot that was overflowing at a place that looked like a mom and pop pizza joint. A couple of pool tables, karaoke, and a few tap handles that included Lagunitas IPA and Bells Double Cream Stout were the first things I notice when we walked in. There were people of all types interacting and partying together. At one point I was hanging out with a guy that looks just like Rob Gronkowski, two guys that could have passed for the Bosnian Mafia, and playing pool with a group of former emo kids that were trying their hand at the hipster life style. Later I was drinking bourbon with an older gentleman and his wife while watching guys sing Whitney Houston and a very drunk woman sing Johnny Cash on the karaoke floor. This place is my kind of place, a dive bar with a very diverse group of people, strong drinks, and good beer! Apparently this place is well known in the area for having great pizza, so it’s too bad I wasn’t there to eat. Maybe next time…

There is quite a bit going on in and around Fort Wayne, IN these days. In the past, one would have to visit Mad Anthony’s to get a craft beer, but that has changed. New breweries are opening, bars are adding good beer to their taps, restaurants are following suit, and the locals are taking notice. I did miss quite a few places that were recommended to me like Acme Bar and Grill, Trion Tavern (pronounced Tree-on), Deer Park Pub, etc. (Ed. note: I highly recommend the Brass Rail and the aptly-named Oyster Bar) I will look forward to stopping in on my next visit to Northeast Indiana.

​Keep drinking great beer and talking about it, I know I will.

No Comments
  • Kyle
    Posted at 18:23h, 26 January Reply

    Good article, Charlie. Lived in Fort Wayne for 4 years before a lot of these great places were around and/or had decent beer. Summit City is awesome and Deer Park is THE dive bar with the most surprisingly good selection I’ve come across. Last time I was at Trion, a Saturday night, they had $3 Robert the Bruce pints….silly.

  • Obe
    Posted at 23:12h, 26 January Reply

    Glad people are starting to know; I have been at all of the place you have with the exception of Summit. I will surely get there, but we are progressing as a city as this is no longer the domestic capital of Indiana! Happy beers to you!

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