Years ago I lived in Indianapolis and fell in love with the downtown. It has big city attractions without being too big. Living nearby I found that sounds, sights and smells of this medium to large sized city captivated me.
Smell in particular has always held a particular fascination for me as it can subconsciously impart such a lasting impression. Our sense of smell has the power to alter our perceptions and impart a strong emotional impact on our memory. Pleasing aromas are a blessing, so why don’t more companies capitalize on this wonderful sense?
Daredevil brewing seems to get this. Their brewing operation isn’t like going to an exhibit where you see a brewer from behind a wall of glass. It’s all out in the open at Daredevil. Customers share space with a brewery that is in full production. I enjoyed the wonderful aromas emanating from their brewing operations while drinking their beers.
I was driving through Indy on a Friday afternoon and I popped in for a quick beer and lunch. I walked in the side door and was immediately assaulted, overwhelmed with the pungent rich smell of hops. Not just any hops, these were definitely German hops. I couldn’t get over how good this place smelled. It left such a positive impression that I could smell the hops for hours afterwards (in my mind pretty sure).
I sat down at the bar and realized that I was the only one there. I walked in at 11:05am because I’m a beer nerd travelling through town and this was my only shot at checking these guys out. I opened the place up that morning! It should have felt weird but it didn’t because the bar staff was so friendly. They immediately talked about their beers and how they emphasize German styles of beer (I was right about the German hops). They also talked about their food and how they really worked hard to pull in items from local farmers and producers. Drink local meets Eat local – this was going to be fun.
I ordered the mandatory beer flight, and went to town.
I ordered a flight and asked only that they give me samples of their most flavorful beers. It took restraint not to ask for all dark beers as I am notoriously over the top with that style.
Brett Project – Described as similar to their Rip Cord but with a different yeast (and I would suspect different hops). This was rich with a nice mouthfeel. As a dark beer guy, I love it when a lighter colored beer is everything I like – strong, rich and flavorful. This was all that with the yeast adding additional interest. I only had business cards to write my tasting notes on. The next day I noticed that I wrote “unexpected spice” “unexpected – awesome” all over the card for Brett. Sheesh that was a good afternoon.
Ripcord – Double IPA
I’m a hophead so this beer didn’t stand a chance in my glass. Pour it drink it, gone. Could this Imperial/Double IPA compete with the super hyped IPAs from the coasts? I say yes. Still kicking myself for not grabbing a 4-pack of this on my way out. It’s pricey so I’d need a distraction.
JWP – American Stout
I researched the brewery the night before. This was the beer that really pulled me in past the front door. It was nicely balanced with coffee and chocolate and just a slightly bitter finish. The beer was complex. It would be interesting to take a can of this home and try it after some cellaring.
Rauchbier – Smoked Malt
Hey now, whoa this is smoky. I like this beer style in small quantities, with a side of water and another beer to serve as a chaser. It’s not for everyone as it’s kinda like drinking beef jerky. I tasted smoke as I walked out the brewery – and I liked it. When I told my wife about this beer she was upset I didn’t buy a 4-pack for her to try.
This has to be one of the best Cold Plates I’ve had in a very long time. It had so many different flavors that it could have been a mess but turned out to be food harmony. Check out the elk sausage pictured on the bottom right.
If a brewery located across the street from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway wasn’t cool enough, well the interior has a lot of appeal too.
Before I left, I talked to some of the “locals” sitting next to me, which was weird because I used to be one. They were proud of how downtown Indy had turned itself around. The pride doesn’t stop when you enter Daredevil. Local beer brewed aggressively paired with locally sourced food is hard to beat.