Up and Down Week For Sahm’s/Big Lug Canteen Ends On A High Note with Purchase of Bent Rail Brewery

Up and Down Week For Sahm’s/Big Lug Canteen Ends On A High Note with Purchase of Bent Rail Brewery

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

based in part on Indianapolis Star article of 12/22/17

Eddie Sahm’s week started by finding out that a car had run through the door and wall of Sahm’s Place at 65th and Keystone Avenue. Taking lemons and finding a way to make lemonade, Sahm’s is turning that unexpected opening into a patio door. This was followed by an early morning call from the fire department telling the Sahm family that their Sahm’s Atrium at the Tower downtown was on fire. Both locations will reopen after repairs and upgrades, but it’s not really the week that someone would want to have just before Christmas – or any time really.

Luckily, there is good news to balance out the bad. Big Lug Country Pub opened late last week in Pendleton. This restaurant/pub will figure strongly in the Sahms’ future plans, with cabins for overnight stays, bocce ball and disc golf amenities, a large beer garden, and a larger restaurant with an event space. Implementing these features over time, the location will be an eventual destination brewery and recreation spot. I say brewery because Big Lug Canteen intends to put in a brewhouse on site to make experimental and mixed fermentation beers, perhaps even with a true koelschip featuring open fermentation via windows across the fermenter.

Photo credit: trip advisor

And Friday afternoon the Indianapolis Star reported that Big Lug’s owners have entered into an agreement to purchase the Bent Rail Brewery and Restaurant, which closed permanently on that same day. The brew house will be used as a production brewery in order that all the Sahm’s restaurant properties can be supplied with Big Lug beer. However, the brewing system will also allow Big Lug to produce lagers and other styles of beer that they have not attempted before.

The restaurant space and grounds will undergo a $1 million dollar renovation and expansion to convert the current industrial looking space into a Bavarian style restaurant with a 300 person beer garden and a two level patio, said Eddie Sahm in the Indianapolis Star online article. Big Lug looks to open the new venture in May of 2018. The article also included that current chef/co-owner of Bent Rail, Craig Baker, plans to devote his time to his other two restaurants – The Local Eatery & Pub and The Taco Shop, while the future of head brewer Shawn Byrnes is unknown at this time.

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