Inside a multi-storied red brick industrial warehouse a few blocks from Indianapolis Colts indoor football stadium, TOW YARD BREWING opened April 2014. A large concrete-floored facility serving local downtown businesses with expressive libations and good bar food, its sportsbar atmosphere certainly suits the basketball, hockey and football fans attending nearby games.
Tow Yard’s main 20-seat pergo wood-ceilinged bar and smaller right side 6-seat bar serve two community tables, several stooled tables, a backroom banquet area and wraparound front deck. An enormous well-kept beer can collection spreads across the spacious interior walls and an on-site deli provides sandwiches, burgers, chicken wings and salads to go alongside homemade draught beer.
Purdue bio grad and head brewer, Tony Fleming (who replaced Indiana University alumni, Bradley Zimmerman), provides a wide array of stylistic brews – some of which are slightly off-the-beaten path.
Visited April 2016, I quaffed the three flagship beers first. Each of these approachable offerings are also available in cans for outside consumption.
Easygoing Goldie Hops Cream Ale placed spicy Saaz hops and honeyed wheat malts above a soft biscuit bottom. Using Goldie Hops as the base, Hook Up Shandler, a soda-like Radler shandy, brought ruby red grapefruit sweetness and tart lemonade-powdered granulated sugaring to the fore as iced tea nuances wavered below. Splendid Horsepower Double Pale Ale plied orange-spiced piney hop dryness and subtle peach-mango undertones to barley-grained Maris Otter malting.
Briskly dry-hopped moderation, Impound IPA, contrasted grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering against sugar-spiced sweetness. English dark mild ale, Who’s That Brown Ale, tasted like day-old coffee with roasted chocolate tones and a brown-sugared candied walnut glaze riding above the light hop-charred bittering.
A bit unusual, classic brown-hued Japanese malt liquor, Beat Box Samurai, delivered sourly dark-roasted chocolate nuttiness and peated soy sauce brininess to earthen wood tones.
Dark-roasted coffee and chocolate dominated Creamy Behemoth Imperial Oatmeal Stout, deepening its mocha frontage with caramelized oats and wispy nuttiness.
My fave: Oatis Redding Imperial Red Ale retained a silken flow despite its heightened 11% ABV as roasted caramel malting, subtle bourbon sweetness and sugary oats coalesced above mild dry-hopped bittering.