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Indianapolis road trip: Broad Ripple Brew Pub

February 13, 2010

Brewery: Broad Ripple Brew Pub
Beer 1:
Replic Ale, pint on draught
Oatmeal Coffee Stout
Beer 2:
Wee Alec Heavy, poured from cask
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Indianapolis, IN

Many of you know that I used to live in the wonderful neighborhood of Broad Ripple, on Indianapolis’ north side. This trendy blip on the map is a haven for Indianapolis’ artist and musician community, local independent business, outdoor recreation, well-kept bungalows and apartments, and of course, the bar hopping crowd. What may surprise you is that it’s home to two spectacular independent brewpubs: Broad Ripple Brew Pub, an English-style pub specializing in traditional English ales and hearty pub food with tons of vegetarian options, and Brugge Brasserie, specializing in all things Belgian. (Yeah. These guys were pouring Belgians and serving ‘frites’ in frickin’ Indianapolis before Belgians got cool.) This road trip did not include a trip to Brugge, but I wanted to include linkage to tout my former ‘hood.

Anyway, back to Broad Ripple Brew Pub. I have always liked this place. But being away for so long has made the heart grow fonder. I LOVE this place. If I still lived in the neighborhood, I would be there at least four times a week. Good beer with many of my favorite styles? Check. Smoke free? Has been for years, check. Lots and lots of good veggie options? Check. Wi-fi for when you’re chillin’ at the bar alone? Check. Walking distance to everything? Check. So seriously, Broad Ripple Brew Pub, I love you. As was our plan, this is the perfect place to get some beer and a bite prior to heading to the cathedral of college basketball, Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Poured into a nonic pint glass, the Replic Ale, an oatmeal coffee stout, is an inky black with a one finger light tan head that dissipates slowly. I’ll admit I was a bit worried about an “oatmeal coffee stout”. I like oatmeal stouts, I like coffee stouts, but the two together seemed like there’d be a bit too much going on. Thank goodness I was wrong! The nose is pretty subtle considering how flavorful this beer is…crisp malts and espresso come through pretty clearly but not a lot else. The flavor up front is beautiful – thick and hearty, you can really taste the oats and malts. Coffee and hops linger around in the finish with only a slight alcohol taste. One thing of note (that makes me love the brew pub that much more) is that their pints all come out at the right temperature. None of this waiting around for it to warm noise. Nope. Perfect from the second it hits the table. For as hearty as this beer is, it went down really smooth, owing to the silky mouthfeel and gentle carbonation.

Round two!
Broad Ripple Brew Pub is always sure to have at least two beers on cask, and as much as I enjoyed the Replic Ale, it would be a crime not to have at least one cask ale. I opted for the Wee Alec Heavy, a Scotch style wee heavy. Poured into a tulip glass, this amber, almost red beer is syrupy sweet. Almost too much. But it’s a wee heavy, and that’s how it should be. The warmer, smoother texture of a cask ale brings out the syrup-like qualities even more. Though it’s not characteristic of the style, I think it would be nice to have a little more hops in here. Not bad, but nothing compares to the Replic Ale.

Oh, as for the food, I got the vegan shepherd’s pie. Rich and hearty, it’s a pretty solid interpretation of a traditional shepherd’s pie. The veggie crumbles aren’t my favorite – I prefer the kind that Ritual in San Diego uses – but good nonetheless. Good enough to order again for sure.

Oh yeah. Get the pretzels with beer cheese. It’ll change your life.

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