story by GLENDA WINDERS
Once upon a time breweries made beer, wineries made wine and distilleries made spirits. Then they delivered them to grocery stores and restaurants and that’s where you needed to go if you wanted to partake of these products. But today, purveyors of adult beverages have created destination experiences, offering tours, tastings, pairings, festivals, and full-on meals when you come to visit – each one done with its own special twist.
Perhaps the best place to start is with a bus tour. That way you have a designated driver and everyone in your group can take part. Check out the Brew Bus that leaves from the Brewery Lodge in Michigan City. Whether your choice is beer, wine, cocktails or a mix thereof, you’ll have 14 stops from which to select your favorites. Be sure to include Zorn Brew Works and Shoreline Brewery.
In Crown Point you’ll find Off Square Brewing, a locally-owned brewpub featuring craft brews on tap. Their menu has appetizers like “jerky” and Scotch eggs, but patrons flock here for their wood-fired pizzas. At Blockhead Beerworks in Valparaiso you’ll experience a “brewstillery” with an Asian-fusion kitchen.
If wine is your pleasure, select Anderson’s Winery in Valparaiso as one of your stops. Pair their sandwiches and flatbreads with wine, slushies, and beer. Four Corners Winery is in a rustic country location where you can relax with a glass of wine on a deck overlooking the vineyards. And you can “misbeehave” while sipping on unconventional meads at Misbeehavin’ Meads in downtown Valparaiso.
Opening this fall in Valpo will be the Journeyman Distillery, housed in the formerly-abandoned Anco windshield wiper factory. This destination will feature multiple event spaces specifically designed for weddings and corporate events, a new brewery called Sea of Monsters, Union Hall Restaurant, a retail hub, and, of course, a distillery.
Many of these businesses create their potables while at the same time keeping the planet in mind. “Goshen Brewing Co. is a solar- and wind-powered fami- ly-friendly brewpub,” said founder Jesse Sensing. “We’re located along the Elkhart River in down- town Goshen.” Come here to enjoy a rotating list of beers, a pint on the lawn, or a meal that includes in-house smoked brisket and a locally-focused menu.
In Bristol, you can enjoy “music on the deck” and wine tastings at Fruit Hills Winery and Orchard, located on the Judson Fruit Farm in the historic Bristol Fruit Hills. In Elkhart, an elevated food menu complements incredible craft beers at Brass Elk Brewing.
Fort Wayne celebrates its German heritage with more than a dozen historic and locally owned breweries and cideries. You’ll be sure to find your favorite mug of suds at Mad Anthony Brewing Co. and Hop River, and at Gnometown Brewing you can create your own beer exactly to your liking.
Country Heritage, the largest winery in Indiana, invites you to come and sip on their patio. Two-EE’s Winery calls itself “a sweet Midwestern winery with a touch of swank.” Be sure to try their award- winning Pinot Noir. And at Vinland Reserve Winery you can enjoy brunch with their red and whites on tap.
Fort Wayne is also home to Three Rivers Distilling Co., where you can savor hand- crafted spirits made in small batches from local ingredients. Take a tour and have a meal on their patio.
Plan to be in Carroll County on Aug. 26 for the 10th annual Indiana Bacon Festival. Take part in the BBQ Cook- Off while you sip products from local producers such as Whyte Horse Winery and Fruitshine Winery.
In Starke County 10-56 Brewing Co. is the place to be for small bites and pizza to accompany your beer, wine or cider, and there’s live entertainment on the weekends. Taste the beer at Koontz Lake Brewing Co. and then match your favorite with some of the gems on their extensive list of sandwiches – perhaps the Koontz Lake Burger.
One of your best bets in Kosciusko County is the Sipping Trail Passport. Stopping at each of the seven brewery and winery locations throughout the year and having your passport stamped will enter you to win $100 in Kosciusko Cash, and the places where you stop will also be offering discounts.
One of your stops will be the HopLore Brewing Co., where the setting – a renovated old mill – will be part of the fun. For barbecue to go with your beer there’s Ledgeview Brewing Co.
Tippy Creek Winery is the county’s first, with every variety they make blended and bottled onsite. You’ll do your tasting of their 14 wines that range from sweet to dry on sofas beside a fireplace.
The Albion Ale House in Noble County is just four miles from the Chain O’ Lakes State Park, so for a day in the out-of-doors they suggest you plan to boat, canoe, or kayak through the nine interconnected kettle lakes, hike through 23 miles of forested trails, then head into town for craft beers and mouthwatering bar food. Bourbon BBQ Cheeseburger, anyone?
A visit to Hopwood Winery and William Rose Distillery means you can spend the day boutique shopping and walking the beautiful brick streets of downtown Zionsville. The inviting atmosphere boasts an extraordinary experience from husband and wife, Ron and Janet Hopwood. What started as a hobby grew into a love for award-winning wine and spirits. This family-owned business thrives on being Boone County’s first winery.
In Fairmount, family-owned Bad Dad Brewery is housed in a former John Deere deal- ership. Today, the space is a vibrant destination offering wood-fired pizza, ice cream, and award-winning Bad Dad brews.
Check out Sip & Share Wines, a boutique winery in Indianapolis producing a diversity of handcrafted vegan wines. They’re passionate about creating community and cultivating experiences, and their variety of vegan wines are approachable to diverse palates.
On Indiana 47 in Sheridan, you’ll find Hunt Club Distillery, a cool, quirky space in a poplar barn where you can sample fine spirits and shop for antiques and eclectic gift items. They also carry handmade cigars.
For a unique overnight stay, check out Patoka Lake Winery, located in southern Indiana just outside the main entrance to Patoka Lake. They offer three luxury suites located above the tasting Room and are attached to the winery for easy access.
French Lick Winery and the Spirits of French Lick are also nearby offering many different wine selections and spirits.
Looking for a family fun winery for all ages? Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyard have almost 600 acres of farmland on which they grow many fruits, vegetables, Christmas trees, pumpkins, and grapes. Load up the family and experience the children’s farm park, farm market, cheese shoppe, ice cream factory, winery, gift shoppe, banquet facility and Indiana’s first distillery – The Starlight Distillery.
Just outside Martinsville is Cedar Creek’s family of businesses which include an award-winning winery, craft brewery, and distillery. Producing artisan batches of moonshine, rum and brandy, Cedar Creek is Morgan County’s first distillery location. One of their signature creations Artesian Water Moonshine, recalls Martinsville’s historic reputation as the City of Mineral Water. Don’t miss their unique cocktails and live music in the amphitheater.