One Weekend with Four Openings: Indiana is Truly Beer Blessed

One Weekend with Four Openings: Indiana is Truly Beer Blessed

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

The openings for Indiana craft beer establishments have picked up in the last few weeks. We had Chesterton Brewery opened in September and Our Lady of Perpetual Hops opened the week before Halloween, and Sun King Broad Ripple the week before that, but this weekend will really ramp up our number for the year. Three breweries and a brewery restaurant location will open in some form (grand or soft) on Friday (8th) and Saturday (9th) – and wouldn’t you know it, we’ll be in Chicago.

Here is a short run down of the openings and their stories. I tell only a bit of each, because you should visit them and learn their story on the spot. It gives you a tie to their brand and what they hold dear. When you buy into their philosophy and why they do what they do, you’re much more likely to support them, and I think they should be the ones to explain who they are.

Taxman-CityWay is the third location for Taxman Brewing, originally from Bargersville and still making all their beer there. The CityWay restaurant (310 S.Delaware) represents a devotion to the city and region unlike many others. Taxman has always embraced history and older buildings; Taxman Bargersville’s location was built before 1910 as the Ed C. Barnett General Merchandise store and had several residents over the century. The oldest half off the Fortville location was built in 1896 while the adjoining building is slightly younger. CityWay has a history all its own, and all that history has moved 300 ft. north in the last year. The building which houses Taxman CityWay was originally a livery for the horses that pulled the coal carts for the railroads downtown. It was built in 1850-51 and by the 1960-70s, it was the only remaining original building on the block.

The first public pool in Indianapolis was exactly where Taxman CityWay is now. image credit: Indiana Historical Society

After the age of the horse and cart was over, the livery building house several automobile businesses, and was given historic status. So, when CityWay wanted to expand its footprint, they couldn’t just tear down the building. Taxman entered the picture and together with the city, they moved the building 300 feet north on Delaware St., so now it is immediately south of the Bankers Life Arena where the Pacers play. The most interesting part is that the location to where they parked their building used to be the Indianapolis Gaslight & Coke storage lot. A huge (really, it was huge) gas storage tank was located on the site where the restaurant is now. When the Gaslight company moved, the storage tank was cut off at street level and turned into Indianapolis’ first public pool (see picture)

Starting Friday (8th) from 11 am – midnight, you can lounge with gastropub food and 16 taps of Taxman beer on the site where Hoagie Carmichael, Kurt Vonnegut, Wes Montgomery, Booth Tarkington, Major Taylor, or even Steve McQueen took a swim. The pool was so big that it probably encompassed all that is now the 3000 sq. beer garden, the 1400 sq. ft. covered patio, and the building itself of Taxman CityWay. It’s family friendly and will serve burgers and sandwiches, as well as the liege waffles and frites that people have come to love from Taxman. I stopped in on Friday afternoon and the thing I would most recommend ….. is reservations. This is going to be a popular spot, but the bar is of a healthy enough size that waiting for a table won’t be painful at all.

Ellison Brewing – Indianapolis will have it’s grand opening on Saturday and Sunday (9th-10th), after an industry lunch and friends and family soft open on Friday (8th). The old TowYard Brewing space, at 501 Madison Avenue, has just as much history as the Taxman location, having housed the largest druggist company (before Lilly, that is) and a large sheet metalworks during its heyday. It survived two devastating fires and is still here to be a place for your weekly beer or as a stop before or after something going on at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The opening day beers include a fruity/piney IPA called Crescent Fresh and the Relativity DIPA that is a bit dry but also has a nice malt background. There is also an American Brown, a hazy pale ale, two fruit beers and tiramasu coffee stout; that’s a solid first day lineup for Colt and Aaron. The brewery already has an imperial stout in a dozen Buffalo Trace barrels, are looking to bring a small canning line down from up north, and have growlers on order. The restaurant is kid friendly and has an extensive menu.

Perhaps the best sign, housed within a bunch of good signs, for Ellison’s success is that owner Aaron Hanson is extremely hands on. He’s on site fixing railings, helping with the electrical, transferring beers, etc. We had a good long talk about barrel aging and the beers they have at FOBAB this weekend (Taxman has beers there too), along with what their plans are for the location and the beers in Indy. Let’s just say we’ve got a lot of good things coming down the pike.

Westwind Brewery in Elkhart has been a team effort to get up and running for quite a while. Located at 911 Plum St. in Elkhart, Westwind has got the kitchen and small batch brewery up and running and are ready to welcome new friends. The Westwind team (and it is a team, they prefer the term team rather naming individuals). They’re going to open with at least five beers on tap on Saturday (9th) and Sunday (10th), a NEPIA (called Primis), a wheat, a porter, a stout (called Genesis), and a honey ale, but they aren’t making these for the first time. They already have beer awards under their belt, but they will also have a small plate menu with artisan sandwiches and appetizers, and eventually they will expand to pizzas as well.

Westwind will start with weekend hours only, but looks to expand and be another seven days/week great craft beer destination for northern Indiana. The local breweries of Elkhart have been great to Westwind, and they state that they really just want to fit into that community and be another reason for craft beer fans to park their car in Elkhart and spend the day enjoying their beers. As Westwind says, “Always share your brews.”

Primeval has restored the Maxwell Motor Co. sign on their wall; they definitely have an appreciation for the history of their building. image credit: Primeval Brewing

Primeval Brewing in Noblesville has been one of the most anticipated openings of the year. But before you hop in the car,  this weekend’s hours are for an invitation only soft opening. NEXT Friday, the 15th, they will be open to the public – but we have been looking forward to them for so long that I decided to include them in this weekend’s write up.  Nathan and Tim have a prime spot, just off the square in the historic Noblesville downtown district (960 Logan St.). The building they are in is the Castor Block, built in 1909 and first housed Carl O. Hare’s Garage, an Maxwell Motor Co. showroom through the 1920s (owned by Walter Chrysler before he started his own car company, Jack Benny drove a Maxwell), and then later a hardware store.

Primeval will focus on classic beers styles made with exacting detail, the kinds of beers that have won Tim and Nathan many homebrewing medals. The opening weekend will have some well known Primeval beers, such as the Welcome to Helles (a German Helles Lager), Edelweiss (a Hefeweizen), Rauch My World (smoked bier), Sacred Seduction (an English Porter), Maxwell IPA (a Euro hybrid IPA), Lazy Days (a Euro cream ale), Eruption (a British Brown Ale), and Titus (a Wezenbock). Along with wine and cocktails, they will also have a small food menu with shareables and sandwiches including a charcuterie board with sausages from Claus German Sausages, a braided pretzel, several paninis and as well as a soup  and some kids items. Therefore, Primeval will be a full service, family-friendly brewpub.

Primeval will be open six days a week, from 4pm on Tuesday-Friday and opening at noon on Saturdays and Sundays. This has been a three year odyssey for Tim and Nathan, so come out visit them this weekend if you have an invite, or next Saturday for sure.


No Comments

Post A Comment