24 Dec Why Visiting Family Over the Holidays is Made Easier Thanks to Some of Indiana’s New & Lesser Known Breweries
When one (me) chooses to get engaged, they (me again) do not always think about the details and smaller obligations that come with it. What I mean is, when down on one knee, you’re not only proposing marriage, but actually agreeing to surrender all future decisions that could potentially require some thought and planning. For example, where do we go for Christmas? Important question that I found out I’m not really allowed to answer because the outcome has already been decided for me.
(This is sarcasm at its finest. However, if I just described YOU to a T, you may want to navigate your web browser to a couple’s therapist).
Regardless, I found myself headed north to New Castle. After a day filled with laughter, presents, and Aunt Vickie’s sugar cookies (definitely worth the trip), my fiancé and I decided to avoid interstates and drive Indiana’s scenic highways home. Before long, we found ourselves in lovely downtown Greenfield. Home of Wooden Bear Brewing Company. Which means we found beer!
And “wooden” ya know it (see what I did there), we just had to stop!
When I entered Wooden Bear my expectations were exceeded. Not that I had low expectations, but for a brewery that just had their grand opening in mid-October, it looked like they had been operating for years based on the number of people already there at 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon. The open room reminded me of an old German beer hall, with tables adequately spaced for family and friends.
After taking in the brewery from the front entrance and noticing the giant wooden bear (literally), we made our way to the bar, which sat in the back right corner of the large banquet room. Every bar stool was filled with thirsty customers save for, wooden you know it (last time), two!
There was a nice lineup on the guest tap list including Oskar Blues and Bell’s, and Indiana pioneers3 Floyds and Upland. Wooden Bear had 8 of their own beers on tap! We ordered a flight consisting of Growl at the Moon (witbier), Cougar Town Brown, Pennsy Trail Ale (pale), Harvest Zeus Hallertauer, and Hoppy Bear IPA. All were solid offerings but I came away most impressed by the Harvest Zeus, a seasonal IPA that I would gladly make the trip back up to have again.
Even though they have only been open for about three months, Wooden Bear has already brewed some really tasty beers. I’m excited to follow their progress.
The next time you find yourself off the beaten path near Greenfield, or if you’re a local looking to get your growl on, do yourself a favor and swing into Wooden Bear. You’ll be glad you did.
As we made our way south through the town of Hope on Indiana 9 we decided to take a small detour to 450 North Brewery like I hoped (couldn’t resist) we would. For those of you who are not familiar with 450 North, it is located at Simmons Winery just north of Columbus. If you’re not familiar with either, do yourself a favor and go visit already! (If your girlfriend/wife/significant other is a wino, and you’re reading this because you love beer, this is a win win…I mean this!)
Like I said, 450 North is the brewery part of Simmons Winery and it may be Indiana’s best kept beer secret. Each time I’ve visited the beer has been consistent and wonderful! Not to mention their brick oven pizza, which is absolutely phenomenal!
In previous visits to 450 North I’ve always went with a Scarecrow IPA and each time it was fantastic (they even can a few of their beers, this being one of them)! However, on this visit, we went with a Pothole Porter and a hoppy wheat. The porter was very light and smooth, and the hoppy wheat was a wonderfully sessionable beer that begged to be drank while telling profound tales of the good old days (Indiana high school basketball fans take note, and if you’re lucky, you might just bump into some locals that will share tales of their own).
The holidays are a special time of year. Visiting family is just as special, if not more so. I am very blessed to have family all over this great state and with quality breweries popping up all over Indiana, I’m finding it very easy to go and visit…relatives of course.