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.
The NY Times in a recent 36 Hours in Indianapolis, highly recommends the Brass Ring Lounge at 1245 Shelby St. for cocktails. It is a classic, speakeasy type bar that serves food items as well.
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 at 636 Virginia 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.
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. 842 E. 65th St.
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. Inside the taproom is a branch of Oca SKB, featuring cheese, charcuterie, sausage and sandwiches.
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. 1102 Prospect St.
Chilly Water Brewing Company: Located at 719 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.
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. Their newest Indy location is in Fountain Square at 1201 Prospect St. I also saw their Pump House in Columbus, IN.
To the north is Aristocrat Pub & Restaurant at 5212 N. College. Since 1933, they feature food and 60 craft beers on tap. They also feature live music twice weekly.
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.
I also just read about West Fork Whiskey. This is great pick for housemade whiskeys and spirits, plus craft cocktails, in a sleek, industrial-chic setting. It is located at 1660 Bellefontaine St. just north of downtown. I am excited to visit it when I am back in town and the The Colonel bourbon.