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Friday Drankin’: Exploring Indiana Brewing With Saint Joseph’s Brewery

Our guest-poster this week helps us explore a Mass Avenue brewery.

Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By Coca-Cola - Pigs and Pints presented by InsideHook hosted by Robert Irvine Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF

We have a guest poster this week. Since I am on the road at Rutgers, Geoffrey Tanner has agree to be our reviewer for the week. He has picked St. Joseph’s Brewing on Mass avenue in Indianapolis as a place to review. I haven’t tried this place yet, so enjoy!

Since T-Mill is off headed to the land of good Italian food and being banned from pumping your own gas for Purdue’s matchup against Rutgers, it’s time for a guest Friday Drankin’. I’m Geoff (a.k.a boilersmaker), and for those who have not been reading the Boiler Stat Summaries I’ve been posting this year in Fanshots, it’s time to brace yourself for my terrible jokes. Although unlike the Stat Summaries, there is no math here.

Saint Joseph Brewery & Public House

540 N. College Avenue

Indianapolis IN 46202

Opened in 2015, Saint Joseph is a newer brewery, but is in a rather unique and historic location. Originally built in 1879, the building Saint Joseph occupied began as a Catholic church, and was later used as a community center before being restored as a brewery. The architectural design of the church was retained after the restoration, resulting in the most beautiful brewery I’ve had the chance to visit. The indoor seating area is open throughout the church with large windows allowing in natural light, with the décor matching the building’s original purpose; the altar is currently the site of fermentation tanks, and the restrooms are located at the confessionals (note to Catholic people: telling your non-Catholic friend that the bathroom is located at the confessional means they will be wandering around confused for the next few minutes). They also have a small outdoor seating area; open to the elements and typically not crowded, it is a very nice place to relax and enjoy some food and drink when the weather cooperates. They also have a small parking lot and street parking available along College Ave.; that makes Saint Joseph one of the few Mass Ave. neighborhood establishments that doesn’t require visitors from elsewhere in the Indianapolis metro (i.e. me) to pay for a meter spot a quarter of a mile from the restaurant.

Many of their beers have names reflecting the Catholic original of the venue; their main offerings, for example, are the Confessional IPA, Cornerstone Kolsch, and Benevolent Belgian Blond, joined by a massive list of rotating seasonal beers. Beers are available at the brewery and other establishments (or at least, the Old Meridian Stacked Pickle) in the Indianapolis metro area have a rotating tap of their brews. Some of my picks among the beers they currently have on tap:

Confessional IPA

It’s an American microbrewery, which means an IPA is always available. That being said the Confessional features grapefruit and citrus flavors pretty heavily, which in addition to your typical hoppiness makes the Confessional a great beer to grab on a warm day.

Augustine ESB

The ESB (Extra Special Bitter) is a style that is uncommon among American breweries, which is a shame because it is a fantastic style. Despite the name, this English style is malt forward, with hops in a quantity that compliments, rather than overpowers, the malts. Augustine is an excellent example of the style. With the toasted flavors of the malt, light touch of hops, and a full but not overly heavy body, it’s a beer for all occasions.

Domine Dunkel Weiss

Dunkelweiss is a dark German wheat style that has flavors originating in the yeast that aren’t too often expected in a beer: banana and clove. The combination of the dark malt with banana and clove give the Domine rich and complex flavors, and excellent mouth feel.

Among the beers that are out of season, their 88 Keys APA, Dowd’s Export Stout and King James Brown Ale are definitely worth a taste. The King James Brown Ale is among the more unique takes on the style, with caramel and chocolate notes.

Beyond the building, the other big thing setting Saint Joseph apart from other breweries is their fantastic food. Their main menu offers a plethora of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. My picks include the Open Faced Bison Meatloaf, the Pulled Pork, and Lamb Burger, all of which are excellent. Joining the main menu is their incredible Sunday brunch; my favorite is the Huevos Rancheros, with egg, smoked pork, salsa verde, queso fresco, and avocado combining in an excellent way to begin the Lord’s Day, especially if you are like me and you need to quench your millennial avocado lust. On the sweeter side, Blueberry-Walnut Pancakes with banana foster sauce provide an adult way to replicate the Hillenbrand pancake bar experience. Saint Joseph also hosts four course beer pairing dinners in the choir loft monthly, which pare exquisite food with four of their amazing beers. Saint Joseph, for their excellence in beer, is worth the parking nightmare that is Mass Ave. for the food alone.