Beer, Spirits and Cocktails in Indianapolis


Food & Drink




Indianapolis has a growing craft beer and artisan-distilling scene. With this trend, there are a large number of fun tasting rooms and bars serving the brews and creative cocktails. My recent recommendations include:

Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery: Hotel Tango is one of my favorite new finds while visiting Indianapolis. A small-batch distillery, their spirits distilled on-site include Golf Gin, Romeo Rum,Victor Vodka, Mike Moonshine, Lima Charlie Limoncello, Oscar Charlie Orangecello, Bravo Bourbon and Whiskey. You can taste their spirits or try one of their creative cocktails. Located in a former 19th century carriage house, I loved the comfortable, warm atmosphere, with a fireplace, and their great old fashioned made with their Bravo Bourbon. Founded in 2014, their goal was to make it a “one-of-a-kind destination place in Indy.” They definitely succeeded. Don’t miss it when you are in town. 702 Virginia Ave.

Thunderbird: Located in the Fountain Square neighborhood at 1102 Shelby St., Thunderbird features a large number of cocktails as well as a Southern-inspired food menu.

Repeal/12.05 Distillery: Repeal, named for the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, is a restaurant located in the former Virginia Avenue State Bank Building from 1924 at 630 Virginia Ave. They feature a menu of tacos, sandwiches and some southern specialties. They offer chef’s dinners on Wednesdays with a paired craft cocktail and prix fixe menu. It is attached to the 12.05 Distillery and features their spirits in the bar. The distillery, whose name comes from December 5, 1933, the date of the repeal of Prohibition, makes Vodka, New American Gin, Rhubarb Liqueur, Four Finger Rye Whiskey, White on the Line Wheat Whiskey, The Barreled Reporter distilled from a sour beer and The Corn Star Corn Whiskey. Tours are available on request, but currently tastings are done at Repeal until a new tasting room is opened. I really enjoyed tasting the Four Finger Rye Whiskey after a great dinner at Bluebeard across the street.

Broken Beaker Distillery: With a fun take on combining science with alcohol, they call themselves a laboratory. I love their humor! They experiment with flavors and infusions to make a Hypotenuse Gin, a Pendulum Vodka and three Isotope Liqueurs in cranberry, ginger and rhubarb. Their menu features a number of Compounds or specialty cocktails, Molecules and Atoms along with a food menu of appetizers and entrees. Make sure to check out their website for the Laboratory Hours. 642 Massachusetts Ave.

Broad Ripple Brewpub: Located in the heart of Broad Ripple Village, this brewpub was established in 1990, making it the first and oldest operating brewery in the state. It has an English Pub decor and a large outdoor patio. They make a number of IPAs, ales, rye beer, stouts, porters and cask ales.

Sun King Brewery: At 135 N. College, Sun King is a large brewery and taproom featuring their own brews. It has grown into the second largest brewer in Indiana and has received many awards for the quality of its beer. I enjoyed the experience and tasting their smooth Sunlight Cream Ale and rich Wee-Mac Scottish Style Ale.

Indy Brew Bus: This is a great way to tour some of the best craft breweries in town. The tour covers four breweries where you spend 35 minutes at each location.. A new addition is the Cider & Craft Beer Tour, downtown on Fridays.

New Day Craft Mead & Hard Cider: New Day has been producing craft mead and ciders since 2006. Their tasting room in the heart of Fountain Square is a fun experience as they feature a selection of both their ciders and meads. I enjoyed tasting the Gold Rush Cider a bright, dry hard cider and the Washington’s Folly mead which is fermented honey made with tart cherries. They also feature cocktails and some food and dessert items. I highly recommend the experience.

Chilly Water Brewing Company: Located at 1719 Virginia Ave., this is a local brewpub, opened in 2014 in an “industrial-chic” setting, that features their own ales, pilsners, IPAs and lagers. I enjoyed tasting the Moonlight Sonata Vienna Lager which is one of their lighter offerings. They also offer a food menu featuring panini’s, wraps, soups, salads, hummus and dips. Some items are made with their own beer.

Tow Yard Brewing Company: This is a local craft brewery on the south side of downtown Indy. Located in a large industrial setting with brewery, tasting room and restaurant, they feature their IPAs, ales and shandies. New to me, a shandy is a beer mixed with a soft drink or fruit juice such carbonated lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale, apple juice, or orange juice. The deli menu features a good number of  burgers, salads and sandwiches. 501 S. Madison.

Bloomington-based Upland Brewing Co. has a Meridian Kessler tasting room in SoBro or South of Broad Ripple at 4842 N. College. Here you can taste one of their ales, IPAs, stouts, lagers, saisons and seasonal offerings. I also saw their Pump House in Columbus, IN. You might check out the Open Society Public House next door at 4850 N. College where they feature brunch, dinner, coffee, wine, beer and cocktails. It has received great reviews as one of the top new spots in town.

Fountain Square Brewing Co. also gets good reviews. Started in 2010, they brew a number of ales, pilsners, porters and IPAs at 1301 Barth Ave. They do offer music events as well.