Your perfect Northwest Indiana pub crawl
From Three Floyds to Horseshoe Hammond’s Sixth Street bar and beyond.
April is the coolest month for a Northwest Indiana pub crawl, especially if you hit the trail on the 27th.
That’s the date for Dark Lord Day 2013, when Three Floyds Brewing Co. of Munster (9750 Indiana Pkwy) sells its annual production run of Dark Lord Imperial Stout, as well as Barrel-Aged Dark Lord Variant, for patrons lucky enough to score winning scratch-off Golden Tickets.
Guests who buy $30 festival passes at darklordday.com can attend from 10am–10pm, purchase a precise allotment of stout (along with other, less-exclusive Three Floyds brews such as Gumballhead) and food from vendors as bands play on the grounds.
Beyond Dark Lord Day, the Three Floyds brewpub is open Monday–Friday 11:30am–2am, Saturday noon–2am and Sunday noon–midnight. Whichever day you go, continue it with a stop at Sixth Street Bar in Horseshoe Hammond Casino (777 Casino Center Dr).
Tucked away near the Horseshoe’s poker room (Sixth Street’s name is a nod to the fifth community card dealt in a hand of Texas Hold ’Em, which is often called fifth street), the bar taps enough craft and import beers to fill two tall chalkboards with their names. A third board features a hopped-up list of coming attractions.
During a recent visit, the current-brew chalkboards yielded 24 options, ranging from Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale and Blanche de Bruxelles wheat to the malty New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Yeti Imperial Stout and Bell’s seasonal double IPA release, Hopslam.
With bartenders pulling handles daily 11am–3am, you’ll have plenty of time to work through a flight of four short beers of your choice served on a wooden paddle that matches the space’s dark wood paneling and floor.
Flat-screen TVs along the red-brick back bar keep sports highlights flowing as fast as the beer, but it’s easy to find a table or a couple of stools at the 12-seat bar for quiet conversation. On Fridays and Saturdays, Sixth Street offers live music 8pm–midnight.
And did I mention there’s plentiful free bacon available at each table? Just try not to double-fist it.
If you’re not too full of complimentary cured pork products, continue your crawl at Figure Eight Brewing in Valparaiso, which moved to a new location (150 Washington St) last June. There, you can grab 64-ounce growlers to go of microbrews such as First Ascent, Ro Shampo, Offwidth, Where Lizards Dare, Snake Pro, Lost Saint, Raven Tor, Choss, Jumbo Love, Dark Side, Dogma Dubbel and Belly Pat.
Or stick around the brewpub’s restaurant (the first kids-welcome stop on this trek) for artery-clogging sandwiches and other pub grub washed down with 22-ounce bombers. But don’t try to go on Mondays or Tuesdays; Figure Eight is only open Wednesday–Saturday 11am–10pm and Sunday 11am–9pm.
If you got an early start and have a designated driver (and you do have one, don’t you?), consider extending the crawl to Shoreline Brewery in Michigan City (208 Wabash St), open Sunday–Thursday 11am–midnight and Friday, Saturday 11am–1am.
Shoreline has 12 beers on tap, including Singing Sands Oatmeal Stout. Live music there in April includes the roots-rock of Big Leg Emma on the 13th and an “epic evening” featuring Chester Brown and the Diggity on the 27th.
On your way back north to the Illinois border, detour to Whiting, Indiana’s Bulldog Brewing Co. (1409 119th St; Sun–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri, Sat 11am–3am), and sample the six beers crafted there. Grab a growler of your favorite to go. You know what? Better make it two.