Craft beer isn’t just a drink. Nor are brewpubs just another place to visit during a trip. Devotees have turned craft beer into a movement. Brewpubs are its epicenter — relaxed spaces where folks can unwind over a pint and get a taste for what’s being brewed locally.
They’re also often an introduction, one of the first establishments someone visits in a new place. The Bend’s craft beer scene is sure to make a positive impression. Here’s what to know before you visit.
Note: As laid out in Gov. Eric Holcomb’s coronavirus reopening plans, restaurants can begin to reopen for dine-in at 50 percent capacity starting May 11. That doesn’t mean, however, that all will do so. Please call ahead to the establishment for the latest information regarding hours, operations and guidelines.
Bare Hands Brewery
Flagship beer: Thai.P.A.
Visit like a regular: You’ll find conversation flows easily here, especially among the many patrons that make the tap room part of their routine. Thai.P.A., an American IPA, tantalizes the taste buds with thai spices. Double Thai.P.A., a punch-packing variant, is so popular it merits a special release party in late summer. Want a real treat? Snag a Milkshake DIPA variant if you can find one.
Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House
Flagship beer: Turtle Tamer IPA
Visit like a regular: Parking looks limited on site but keep an eye out for signage at nearby businesses that help handle overflow. If in The Bend during the week, you’re in luck. Crooked Ewe taps “small batch” brews every Wednesday. Weekend visitors should consider visiting Sunday for one of the best brunch menus around.
Danny Boy Draft Works
Flagship beer: Rock N’ Rolla
Visit like a regular: Located within walking distance of Notre Dame, this Danny Boy location is a satellite of the main brewery in the Indianapolis suburbs. Rock N’ Rolla, a double IPA, is the biggest seller. Not always feeling beer? Danny Boy also produces its own line of spirits, in particular multiple lines of whiskey. If you’re into pizza, there’s an extensive menu of specialty pies.
Evil Czech Brewery
Flagship beer: Voodoo Vanilla Rye Porter
Visit like a regular: Voodoo is a go-to for many but don’t overlook Static Chipmunk, a double IPA. Stalin’s Dark Side, a Russian imperial stout, gets a special release every winter. You can’t miss its aroma of chocolate and roasted malts. Evil Czech really comes to life in spring with the opening of its patio, which features a double-decker bus serving food. Get the tacos.
Heavenly Goat Brewing Co.
Flagship beer: Black Triangles
Visit like a regular: Like hop-forward beer? Stop by Heavenly Goat and ask for Black Triangles, a bold IPA and one of its most popular brews. You’ll want to make a visit to the tap room if you’re in The Bend over a weekend — Heavenly Goat releases a new cask ale on “Firkin Fridays” then keeps it on tap for the next few days. Cask ales are served at a slightly warmer temperature with less carbonation, an ode beer making in years gone by.
South Bend Brew Werks
Flagship beer: Stargazer
Visit like a regular: Brew Werks keeps things interesting with a tap list that’s always evolving, plus a regular slate of events. Stargazer, an IPA with a pop of citrus, is the beer that brings people back. Order a pint at Brew Werks and you’ll receive a bottle cap. Drop it in one of the boxes on your way out. That turns into a donation to one of the non-profit community organizations with which the brewpub partners.
Studebaker Brewing Co.
Flagship beer: Champion IPA
Visit like a regular: Hops and history are the theme here and it’s easy to see why. Studebaker Brewing Co. is located inside Tippecanoe Place Restaurant, which is in the former Clem Studebaker mansion. The beer names are often a nod to the Studebakers. Try the Champion IPA (named after the Studebaker Champion, a long-running car model) if you’re looking for something a little hoppier.
Insider Tip: Don’t care to limit yourself to one brewery’s beer? Fair point. Many bars around The Bend with excellent tap lists. LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern has one of the best tap lists in downtown South Bend. Taphouse on the Edge, Bar Louie, Coach’s Sports Bar & Grill and Brothers Bar & Grill all lean heavy on craft for their beer selection.