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