I’d tap that

You can’t shake a stick these days without knocking over someone’s glass of locally brewed beer. The microbrewery scene has simply exploded all over Indianapolis in recent years, leaving plenty of grateful aficionados to enjoy the tasty fallout. If you appreciate local beer, you need to grab your empty growlers ($10 fills on Thursdays – woo hoo!) and get yourself down to Tomlinson Tap Room pronto.

Tomlinson Tap Room in City Market

Located in downtown Indy’s historic City Market, Tomlinson Tap is, I believe, the only place in town that exclusively serves Indiana beers from a number of brewing establishments. And I’m not talking about just beers from here in Indianapolis (although there are certainly plenty to choose from in the Circle City). I mean from throughout the state. Don’t come in here thinking you can order any old bottle of Bud or Miller Lite. Tomlinson shows off 16 rotating taps of flavorful, full-bodied beers made fresh by Hoosiers for other Hoosiers. Nice.

Indy’s historic City Market

The décor is reason enough to visit. I’ve always loved City Market and sadly, don’t get down there very often now that I’m no longer working downtown. The market dates back to 1886 and the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside the brick façade is a soaring marketplace filled with all sorts of distinctive food vendors and retail booths. Add in the bustling weekly Wednesday farmers market that lines Market Street outside, and you’ve got all the makings of a darn cool downtown destination.

Tomlinson Tap Room nestles into a sunny southwest corner on the mezzanine level of the building, offering a bird’s eye view of the marketplace below. You may not even know it’s here unless you’re looking for it specifically, which makes it feel like you’re in on a well-kept secret. It’s not big, just a nice long bar and a scattering of tables. The hours have been a little limited, but I see on the Tap Room web site that they are now open Monday through Saturday. If you work downtown, this would make a fabulous happy hour stop.

Tomlinson doesn’t serve food, but during the day of course, you have your pick of the City Market vendors for everything from ethnic food items to soups to pizza to sweet treats. Several even stay open into the evening to satisfy the tap room patrons with various munchies.

Hubby and I recently met a couple of new friends here for a beer, and it was a great, pub-style spot to hang out and relax. The servers and employees really know their stuff and if you ask nicely, may even let you taste a beer to see if you like it before committing to a full pint. You never know what you might find on tap any given week. During our visit, drinking options included offerings from Sun King, Flat 12, Three Floyds, Oaken Barrel, Crown, New Albanian and Big Woods (which we recently hit up in Nashville), to name a few.

tasty Tomlinson Tap Room beverages

The bottom line? You won’t go thirsty here. Cheers.

For more info:

http://www.indycm.com/tomlinsontaproom/

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I'd tap that

You can’t shake a stick these days without knocking over someone’s glass of locally brewed beer. The microbrewery scene has simply exploded all over Indianapolis in recent years, leaving plenty of grateful aficionados to enjoy the tasty fallout. If you appreciate local beer, you need to grab your empty growlers ($10 fills on Thursdays – woo hoo!) and get yourself down to Tomlinson Tap Room pronto.

Tomlinson Tap Room in City Market

Located in downtown Indy’s historic City Market, Tomlinson Tap is, I believe, the only place in town that exclusively serves Indiana beers from a number of brewing establishments. And I’m not talking about just beers from here in Indianapolis (although there are certainly plenty to choose from in the Circle City). I mean from throughout the state. Don’t come in here thinking you can order any old bottle of Bud or Miller Lite. Tomlinson shows off 16 rotating taps of flavorful, full-bodied beers made fresh by Hoosiers for other Hoosiers. Nice.

Indy’s historic City Market

The décor is reason enough to visit. I’ve always loved City Market and sadly, don’t get down there very often now that I’m no longer working downtown. The market dates back to 1886 and the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside the brick façade is a soaring marketplace filled with all sorts of distinctive food vendors and retail booths. Add in the bustling weekly Wednesday farmers market that lines Market Street outside, and you’ve got all the makings of a darn cool downtown destination.

Tomlinson Tap Room nestles into a sunny southwest corner on the mezzanine level of the building, offering a bird’s eye view of the marketplace below. You may not even know it’s here unless you’re looking for it specifically, which makes it feel like you’re in on a well-kept secret. It’s not big, just a nice long bar and a scattering of tables. The hours have been a little limited, but I see on the Tap Room web site that they are now open Monday through Saturday. If you work downtown, this would make a fabulous happy hour stop.

Tomlinson doesn’t serve food, but during the day of course, you have your pick of the City Market vendors for everything from ethnic food items to soups to pizza to sweet treats. Several even stay open into the evening to satisfy the tap room patrons with various munchies.

Hubby and I recently met a couple of new friends here for a beer, and it was a great, pub-style spot to hang out and relax. The servers and employees really know their stuff and if you ask nicely, may even let you taste a beer to see if you like it before committing to a full pint. You never know what you might find on tap any given week. During our visit, drinking options included offerings from Sun King, Flat 12, Three Floyds, Oaken Barrel, Crown, New Albanian and Big Woods (which we recently hit up in Nashville), to name a few.

tasty Tomlinson Tap Room beverages

The bottom line? You won’t go thirsty here. Cheers.

For more info:

http://www.indycm.com/tomlinsontaproom/

Nashville nosh

I graduated from Indiana University in the early 1990s, and Bloomington will always hold a special place in my heart, but I never really spent any time in nearby Nashville or Brown County except for an occasional drive-through on trips back home when I felt like taking the country route. When you consider how crazy scenic and charming the whole area is, this seems downright disrespectful. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to right my wrong.

beautiful Brown County State Park

Between stints of walking through the adorable shops of Nashville proper, horseback riding, journeying the annual artist studio and gardens tour through some of the most outerlying rural terrain, and an overnight stay at Abe Martin Lodge on the grounds of gorgeous Brown County State Park, I enjoyed some tasty meals.

Words that come to mind when I think of Nashville and Brown County: cute, small-town, old-fashioned, country, charming. Cutting-edge cuisine? Nope. But that’s perfectly ok. If you’re looking for fancy four-star meals full of frills and garnishes, keep on driving. If you’re in the mood for the kind of nostalgic, old-school eats you’ve probably grown up on (if you were born and raised in Indiana, that is), you’ve come to the right place.

Case in point — Hob Nob Corner is about as old-school as you can get in this neck of the woods. Literally. It’s housed in the Taggart Building at the corner of Main and Van Buren, the oldest commercial building in town and dating back to 1873 (the restaurant’s been operating here since 1973).

Hob Nob Corner Restaurant

These days, visitors flock for down-home breakfasts along the lines of eggs, bacon, sausage, hash, oatmeal and French toast. (I was surprised to see huevos rancheros on the menu, it was the only nod to ethnic food I noticed anywhere the entire weekend.) And of course, you can’t call yourself a real-deal breakfast joint in Indiana without serving classic biscuits and gravy. I’ll bet it’s good here, although I opted for the pancakes with bacon on the side.

Hob Nob pancakes

Hubby filled up on the basic breakfast of two eggs, toast and bacon, and added on a slice of country ham to boot cause that’s how he rolls.  (Hubby wants me to mention that he had just biked 70 miles from Indy to Nashville the day prior, and that’s why he needed the extra protein…) Everything was down-home delicious.

hubby’s Hob Nob brekkie

Hobnob Corner on Urbanspoon

For dinner, we visited Brown County’s hometown microbrewery, Big Woods Brewing Company. If we lived down here, I have a feeling this place would claim a lot of our time and money. Like most places in Nashville, the décor is all rustic wood lodge with high beamed ceilings. Big Woods is newer than most, open just since November 2009. The vibe feels a little like Thr3e Wise Men here in Indy, except Big Woods isn’t kid-friendly. The clientele is strictly 21 and up.

The food at Big Woods is probably the most new-fangled of any I saw in town. On the menu — a half dozen or so housemade microbrews (the refreshing Six-Foot Blonde was just our speed), along with a selection of pizzas, sandwiches and apps.

Big Woods Six Foot Blonde Ale

The spinach artichoke dip and Emily’s Garden veggie pizza we shared both arrived piping hot and loaded with super-fresh ingredients. Highly recommend.

Emily’s Garden pizza at Big Woods Brewing Company

Big Woods Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

As an IU grad, several people told me I HAD to make sure I visited that sandwich place… I thought they were speaking non-specifically, but no. The name of the restaurant is actually That Sandwich Place, and anyone with any amount of interest in IU basketball needs to put lunch or breakfast here on their Brown County itinerary.

Visiting this eatery is like worshipping at the church of Bobby Knight. The walls, counters, columns, ceilings — every possible surface is covered with memorabilia, some items ranging back as far as the early 1970s. Seems the restaurant opened around the same time Knight arrived in Bloomington and the owner remains a personal friend. Love him or hate him, Knight is an undeniably charismatic figure that demands attention. An oversized General doll in a glass case holds court (get it???) over the restaurant from its post by the register.

all hail, the General

Down a short flight of stairs, subterranean That Sandwich Place serves simple greasy-spoon breakfast and lunch fare. There’s not a ton of stuff to choose from, just a handful of sandwiches complemented by fries, cole slaw and deviled eggs, and a hi-calorie salad laden with ham, cheese and sunflower seeds. No joke, that’s what it’s called. They are not messing around with any diet food here. At least they’re upfront about it.

tenderloin platter at That Sandwich Place

Hubby and I split a Piggy Wiggy tenderloin platter. The thin crispy pork patty was obviously pre-formed, and reminded me of the kind of sandwich I grew up eating at the local drive-ins in Richmond. Good fries, too.

We ate with wide-eyed wonder, taking in the ambiance. Indiana, oh Indiana, we ARE all for you.

That Sandwich Place on Urbanspoon

Bon appetit, Brown County!

For more info:

http://www.browncounty.com/

http://www.browncounty.com/listing/hobnob-corner-restaurant

http://www.bigwoodsbeer.com/

(Can’t find a web site for That Sandwich Place. Guess you’ll just have to go there and see it for yourself.)