On the beer road from Indianapolis to Columbus 

A road trip full of beers

click to enlarge The door to Upland's newest venture in Columbus, Ind. - @UPLANDBREWCO
  • The door to Upland's newest venture in Columbus, Ind.
  • @UplandBrewCo
June closed out with the grand opening of Upland’s Columbus Pump House as an upscale restaurant alongside the East Fork of the White River at 148 Lindsey St., just off 2nd St. But it’s silly to travel from Indianapolis to Columbus without stopping at other craft breweries also bringing new life to old buildings — though they might not be as historically commanding as is the 1903 Columbus Pump House. 
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Going South on US-31 to Bargersville we caught a day of Indiana Mobile Canning at Taxman. We also learned about Taxman’s plans for another appearance at DigIN's Taste of Indiana on Aug. 31 at Military Park (an extension of co-owner Leah Huelsbusch’s participation with Slow Food Indy) and inspected Taxman’s re-use of Bargersville’s old Fire Station 201. It’s a perfect fit for Taxman’s cooler storage and barrel rooms for sours and regular barrel-aging lineup.

On to Nashville via scenic SR-135, we detoured to the newly enlarged Brown County Art Center before stopping first at Big Woods in downtown and then at the Quaff ON! Brewery to say hello to Shane Hedrick, head of operations, and his brewing team. We also did a look around at the old motel gaining re-use as office and storage space for Big Woods/Quaff ON! 
click to enlarge @BIGWOODSBREWING
  • @bigwoodsbrewing
Jeff McCabe’s motto, “We’re crafting an Indiana tradition,” is very much in practice with this re-use along with the intent to market only throughout Indiana. Having purchased the closed Three Pints Brewing facility in Martinsville, Quaff ON!’s flagships, Busted Knuckle and Six Foot Blonde are brewed there, allowing for more research and development to happen at the Nashville brewery. With Big Woods restaurant locations in Bloomington and Speedway, along with the original downtown Nashville, the breweries are operating at full-tilt.

Nevertheless, Big Woods is honoring the contract Three Pints had with Big Red, prior to Three Pints closing. “We’re brewing and canning Three Pints’ Honey Ale under their brand as a commitment for summer marketing on their behalf,” offered Hedrick, when we asked how things were playing out with Big Woods having stepped forward to assist Three Pints.

Onward to Columbus. We realized it’s very much a pay attention moment when you cross the bridge to make the turn onto 2nd Street to get to 148 Lindsey and behold the amazing transition from abandoned building to destination place. The solid brick structure is handsome on its own. With near-perfect landscaping on the city street side and nicely engineered overlooks and patios riverside the Pump House provides an invitation to come and stay. The ample parking spots are just an added bonus.

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If the outside earns praise, the inside garners accolades. Better experienced than described, I’ll simply suggest you go there. It’s all in attention to details for a welcoming ambience. “It’s solid, yet gives a feeling of airy light,” remarked one guest. We met up with ZwanzigZ brewer Mike Rybinksi and owners Lisa and Kurt Zwanzig and learned ZwanzigZ in Columbus (like Thr3e Wise Men in Broad Ripple) can home deliver their beers along with orders of pizza. We chatted with Jon Myers, founder/brewer of Powerhouse Brewing Company at Columbus Bar, celebrating its 10th anniversary as the first brewpub in Columbus and Bartholomew County. Stop in all of July for specials at the downtown brewpub and learn how to enjoy a visit with brewer Ritch Mettart at the Powerhouse production brewery.

We also caught up with Terry Miller, founder/brewer of Twisted Crew Brewing Company, in Seymour. He quickly reminded us it’s “the first and only microbrewery in Jackson County,” where eight beers are on tap at any one time with fetching names you don’t want to miss.

More to follow on how Columbus has grown into a craft beer destination.

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About The Author

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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