Opened in 2011 by hometown married couple, Chip and Summer Lewis, Elkhart-based IECHYD DA BREWING COMPANY (its name is Welch for Cheers!) has become a popular Main Street bistro in this small northern Indiana metropolis. Visited July ’14, the caliginous freestanding pub was packed on a Friday evening. Settling in at the long right side granite bar (with hanging tiki lamps), I ordered up some hummus from the respectable light menu (pizza/ sandwiches/ snacks) and prepare to consume all eight currently available house brews.
Iechyd Da’s dark gray and maroon interior and scenic Welch decor match the dusky twilight setting of its external design. Shelved ceramic mugs, two TV’s and a back-walled blackboard beer list inundate the bar while an open kitchen, one community table, several tables, exposed pipes and black ceiling fill out the midsize room. A side patio is also available for dining and the brew tanks are stationed in the rear.
First up, light-bodied session ale, Local Blonde, offered buttery corn malts and light rice niceties to softly perfume-hopped grapefruit-juiced navel orange tartness. Sour lactic acidity imbibed Tata Rosa Razz Berliner Weisse, a tart raspberry-laden summertime treat with lemon-dropped cranberry, green apple, mandarin orange and white grape souring over a soft salty-bottomed white wheat base.
Just as smooth, Cantankerous Irish Red brought toasted caramel spicing to tropical orange, pineapple, mango and peach fruiting as well as tobacco-leafed crisping and wispy nuttiness. Approachable Two Mile Pale Ale let IPA-like lemon-seeded grapefruit and orange fruiting and oily pine-hopped perfuming deepen its juniper bittering above moderate pale malting. A bit bitterer, floral-perfumed hops engaged Revolution American IPA, a wood-dried medium body gathering orange-peeled grapefruit, pineapple and pear illusions.
Each fine dark ale had a similar mocha profile. 13 American Black Ale layered sweet dark-roasted malts above hop-charred dark fruiting while Fearless King Rye Smoked Porter dealt smoked chocolate malts to dry-spiced rye breading, cocoa powdered chalking, cookie dough yeast and black cherry tartness.
For dessert, dry English-styled Cannonball Rye Stout plied sweet milk chocolate creaming to its toasted rye-pumpernickel base.