These days, technology makes it easy to do most things quickly, and with little effort. But more often than not, quality requires a human touch, and that's exactly what the brewers at Union Brewing Company are doing. They create a slew of beers just two barrels at a time, rendering each of them with old-school methods and natural ingredients. Each of the ales are cask-conditioned, unfiltered, and never force carbonated. At the brewery, visitors can sample the hand-pulled ales at their ideal temperature?the exact temperature of a Snowman's frosted beer stein?check out the equipment, or sign up for a membership for discounts on pours.
As a student at Ball State University, Scott Wise spent many a night at Mugly's Pub & Eatery, a local dive known for its burgers and trio of draft beers. After some time away, Scott returned to his college town of Muncie only to discover that Mugly's was for sale. Rechristened Scotty's Brewhouse, the former dive now sports a handmade oak bar and old-fashioned gas-burning lanterns, not to mention more than 30 beers on tap.
Scotty's now has six locations throughout Indiana as well as sister pub, Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co, and each has its own menu of brews, wines, cocktails, and alcohol-repellent sodas. Though the libations change, the food menu remains the same at each award-winning eatery. The brew houses' cooks pair beer-spiked marinara sauce with gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches full of cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack, as well as crown half-pound burgers with peanut butter and jalape?os. Bison burgers are available on a low-calorie menu, and gluten-free options include chicken sandwiches smothered in thai peanut sauce. All venues welcome scores of families and kids, who feast on homemade pizzas, salads, and subs--especially on Sundays and Tuesday, when kids eat free with the purchase of adult entrees.
With its street-level location beneath a downtown Indianapolis parking garage, adjacent to the multi-level Circle Centre Mall, Ram Restaurant and Brewery is an easily-accessible lunch and dinner option for shoppers and business professionals alike. The facility’s red-brick exterior, which holds an oversized mock brewery kettle drum, makes Ram easy to find at its South Illinois Street location. An obvious focus on the craft beer industry and locally-created seasonal brews can be found on the menu, making Ram a popular after-work stop, where visitors can even sit outside and enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life. Tucked inside, menu options vary from steaks, ribs and seafood to fire-grilled burgers, unique sandwiches and various gluten-free selections. Child-friendly items are also available.
Crown Brewing’s statement light fixture isn’t like traditional chandeliers hung with crystals—instead, the amber light that filters down to the floor shines through an array of empty beer bottles. There are plenty of full bottles and pints to be found, however, as the brewery's boasts 12 varieties of brew, including award-winning beers such as the blueberry and Special Forces IPA, which Chicago magazine named one of the city's 36 best local craft beers. From the cozy bar, patrons get a view of the brewery itself, where brewmaster Steve Mazylewski is hard at work crafting batches of customer favorites and testing out his new recipes. Weekly specials include stein nights, discounted growler refills, and half-price pints can be enjoyed inside or on Crown Brewing's outdoor patio.
As a student at Indiana University, Bradley Zimmerman rarely had money for beer. But rather than syphon kegs behind the liquor store, he decided to brew his own, starting with a batch of oatmeal stout. Bradley soon fell in love with the process, and spent nearly a decade after school honing his brewing skills in Seattle. These days, he imbues Pacific Northwest flavors into his four pours at Tow Yard Brewing, which range from a double pale ale to a golden ale aptly named Goldie Hops.
Bartenders serve Bradley's own beers, plus a rotating selection of other brews, inside an industrial space anchored by exposed brick, a wall of rare beer cans, and stunning views of Lucas Oil Stadium. Every drink option pairs well with New Orleans-inspired cuisine from The Larder, the brewery's in-house restaurant. Here, Chef Tommy Thompson wrestles with fried alligator sandwiches, douses wings in Jamaican relish, and serves pretzels alongside ale mustard and beer cheese.