Proudly patriotic Midwest hub, Indianapolis already had a dozen well-respected brewpubs when CHILLY WATER BREWING COMPANY opened its doors, June 2014. But as the micro-nano brewery scene gained hyperactive nationwide momentum, startups like this fascinating Industrial downtown watering hole became just another prominent member of the ongoing American beer revolution. As of April ’16, its raw, unfinished feel appeared temporary since recent accolades such as Best Brewer at Indiana State Fair makes expansion seem imminent (though the low ceiling and exposed pipes offered a cozily rustic intimacy).
A covered front porch and windowed brew tanks lead to the entrance of Chilly Water. The 12-seat bar accommodates ten taps, two TV’s, and a host of classic rock albums (whose titles make up the name of a few beers) on the nearby wall.
Chili, quesadillas, paninis and soup paired well with nine rounded beer selections available this sunny afternoon. Specializing in a wide array of worldly styles, their lagers are as sublime and expressive as the ‘bigger’ ales.
Light-bodied flagship, Built To Last Pilsner bounced spicy pale malts against lemondrop dollops and grassy Noble hop astringency. Easygoing Chilly Water Lager retained a dry wood tone and herbal respite to contrast barley-roasted pale malt sugaring.
Lemon-soured orange candy delicately embraced Smash Hit Belgian Wit, a coriander-clove-spiced dry body with plantain-banana snips. One Hit Wonder countered subtle grapefruit peel bittering with wispy banana-clove sweetness. Saison Du 92 stayed soft-toned as its mandarin orange spicing picked up light hop peppering.
Meditative moderation, Blazin’ Fiddles Scottish Ale layered sweet caramel malting atop peaty earthiness. Tropical Mosaic-hopped One Hop Wonder brought tangy grapefruit-peeled bittering to clove-spiced banana, pineapple and mango auxiliary.
Taking its moniker from Pink Floyd’s space rock gem, Dark Side Of The Munich Dunkel surrendered brown-sugared fig sweetness, creamy toffee malting and sedate purple-red grape tartness to dewy peat mildew in a definitive manner.
On the dark side, worthy Hey Porter pleated brown chocolate sweetness to pecan, hazelnut and praline undertones. For dessert, outstanding Chocolate Coconut Porter duplicated a Mounds Bar with its dark chocolate malting and toasted coconut center, picking up Pina Colata hints at the nutty mocha finish.