Near and beer to our hearts

My Brief History of Beer

The first time I tasted beer was at a family gathering in the summer. My grandfather let me take a sip from the sweating can of Budweiser sitting in the grass beside his lawn chair. It reminded me of the raw Pillsbury bread dough my grandmother used to let me eat, each time warning me that my stomach might blow up. Then years later came a beer from Japan at a joint in Chicago. And just a few years ago, Double Chocolate Stout from Trader Joe’s. Chocolate. In beer.

Here’s a couple of the places we’ve tried in and near one of our favorite cities–Indianapolis.

The Bier Brewery & Taproom, 5133 E. 65th St.

So unassuming, I assumed we were in the wrong place, the Bier Brewery shocked us when we walked in. It’s a man cave: garage-like room, leather couch, golf channel on the flat screen, stereo in one corner blasting “American Woman,” and, in the corner, a ledge to belly up to with a big chalkboard on the wall listing that week’s brews.

We stand hesitantly a few feet away until the guy states the obvious. “Is this your first time here?” Then he takes us on a beer “journey,” beginning with the lighter beers until we reach the dark Dred Brown. One of the first is the Belgian Blonde.

Me to my husband: “You better not like blondes.”

Beer guy: “What? He doesn’t like blondes?”

Good husband: “She cured me of blondes.”

But I have to admit I’m loving the Belgian Blonde. In fact, every sample we try, each served in a small disposable cup not unlike the kind you use for cough medicine, is delicious. One almost more so than the next.

What we’d go back for: The congenial and knowledgeable guy behind the ledge. Free samples, every single one delicious. A “growler” (jug o’ beer). A refill of Oatmeal Stout.

What we wouldn’t go back for: The food…pretzels in a bowl.

Can you handle another round?

The next stop took us to the nearby art district of Broad Ripple. With all our visits to this area, I’m not sure how we missed this place right on Broad Ripple Avenue with the giant 3.

THR3E WISE MEN Brewing Co., 1021 Broad Ripple Avenue

THR3E WISE MEN is “bustling” for sure. I never hung with a college drinking crowd when I was young but did on this afternoon. We sat at a high table with lots of a-little-younger-than-we types who I imagined could be in danger of falling to their deaths from the chairs after a few too many samplers.

We ordered two samplers, deep-fried pickle chips and homemade potato chips.

Dan dons his beer glasses.

What we’d come back for: The beer is good. Best brews were the citrus-y Centennial Martyr Double IPA and the Hubbard & Cravens Porter (made with locally produced H&C coffee. Yes, coffee. It’s what’s for breakfast in college.)

What we wouldn’t come back for: The company of people who think we’re professors. The food that is just made to keep you from getting drunk too fast.


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