Indianapolis is one of those underrated cities in the Midwest, offering experiences for foodies, beer lovers, and cider lover alike. Recently, we had a chance to visit Indy and explore the great bars and cideries while on a work trip. The two places that stick out for the cider scene are New Day Craft and Ash & Elm Cider Co. These cideries may sound familiar as we attend the Meadful Things and Outcider Festival. That event, itself, is run by Tia at New Day Craft. These properties plus a new one in Indy, Txuleta Basque Cider House, have been making a huge impact in the region. Let’s break it down.
New Day Craft has been making meads and ciders since its humble beginnings in 2006. This was the brainchild of Tia and her husband Brett while they were looking for what they wanted to do with their unique set of skills. They both come from unique backgrounds and had become hobbyist meadmakers made from the extra honey of their homegrown beekeeping. This led them to opening New Day Craft and creating some amazing ciders and meads that they tested through their alma-mater, Purdue, to make sure the product was ready for the masses. Now they are distributing through three states and have opened a tasting room in the trendy Fountain Square area.
Of course, we had to ask where the name came from and Tia said it is a combination of their last names (AgNEW & CanaDAY), also a connection to the optimism they start every day with. This theme runs through their local-artist-designed labels and amazing flavors like Live Currant, Breakfast Magpie, and Johnny Chapman. To get a look at their full tap offering look here: https://www.newdaycraft.com/on-tap . Be sure to check out their tasting room and the Meadful Things event for a taste of their amazing products (we will be reviewing some of their offerings in the near future).
Another must-stop location is Ash & Elm Cider located at 2104 East Washington Street. They share space with a coffee shop in their beautiful and historic building. This husband and wife team, Aaron and Andrea, opened more recently in the summer of 2016 with the goal of making quality ciders with Midwest apples. Their tagline, ‘Rooted in Tradition’, pays homage to the rich history cider has in America that most consumers do not know or appreciate.
A&E is passionate about growing their craft and supporting the local orchards and restoring heirloom cider apple varieties, which are a rare commodity in the US. Their base cider offerings range from crisp champagne-like dry’s to a semi-sweet cider co-fermented with tart whole cherries. These ciders have also recently come to cans, which were beautifully designed. Flavors like tepache and lemon-infused ciders are just some of the seasonal creations they are cranking out, making each trip exciting. To see their full offering look here: www.ashandelmcider.com/ourciders/. Before you leave, make sure to grab some of their quick bites ranging from sandwiches to bar snacks!
The newest cider-related spot in Indy is called Txuleta Basque Cider House, where they are offering up Basque cider options. This is an extension of Brugge Brasserie which makes some Belgian beers and bites. Basque ciders are cider typically from the Basque region of Europe and are typically flat or still (non-carbonated) and poured from height to simulate the carb. This dry offering typically warrants food to accompany. Here, they have extremely traditional option such as a salted cod omelet. Be sure to stop over and try this and some of their other cider options with a view right by the river.
Being a city, there are other places to visit when you need something to eat and perhaps a cider on tap. Here are some locations to grab some great grub and maybe wash it down with some hard cider. Here is the Indianapolis stop quick list:
BuckCreek Winery – This winery outside of the central city does have some ciders for your tasting pleasure if you happen to be venturing out. Their current offering is called Grady’s Hard Cider and is made from Indianapolis Heirloom apple varieties.
The Eagle – This is a necessary stop in Indy for the foodie and fried chicken lover. They are known for their extra crispy bird with a sweet honey sauce that is perfect for the indulgent weekend trip. There may be a cider on tap here and there but you can definitely find a great beer with their large variety of taps and bottles.
Goose the Market – This original butcher shop comes complete with a cellar bar offering some cider from near and far. Their meats come from their Smoking Goose meat brand and are paired with fantastic cheeses and in tasty sandwiches. They even have a meat that is infused with cider…need we say more?
The Tap – If you want a more traditional bar with a variety of cider, beer, and bar food options then the Tap is for you. What you see is what you get here and it is centrally located in the downtown area, a great after work spot or starter for a weekend bar crawl.
As the city grows and develops, make sure to listen to Drink Culture’s podcast in which they explore the depths of the city and its people. This is just some of the great things this under-spoken city has to offer. Make sure to plan a trip in their reasonably priced hotels downtown and walk the streets to get a different city vibe and, of course, enjoy some cider!