The best breweries out there these days need more than just a good beer. Craft brew aficionados want an experience. Whether that’s a family-friendly atmosphere, lawn games, or tasting events, brewery fans want more. Because of this, we’ve assembled a list of the best breweries based on three things: great beer, an enjoyable atmosphere, and that certain something special. So if you’re ready, let’s get talking (and touring) suds shops.
The Chesterton Brewery’s mission is “Veterans brewing for veterans.” They have a strong mix of ales, IPAs, stouts, and lagers as well as several bottle beers. Their menu is comprised of basic bar food that compliments the flavors or their creations.
Their mug club is a great way to enjoy their beers, offering an extra quarter pint at the regular pint price. If you love a good challenge, and you’re able to consume 99.2 mugs of beer in the year, which comes out to a half-barrel, you receive a “beer baptism” and your name and picture will grace the wall along with all of the stalwart fans who have consumed before you.
Windmill Brewing in Dyer, Indiana specializes in ales and lagers using both traditional recipes and creative ideas. They don’t aim to create beers everyone will love. Individual palates are important here. Tap selection rotates periodically and they always have beers to go.
Their taproom is unique in that its focus is not to ply guests with alcohol but to help them enjoy the tastes of the artisanal beers. That’s why there’s a three beer daily limit. While they occasionally have food trucks for guests, there is no food served by Windmill. Outside food is always permitted. Guests may bring it in or have it delivered. The brewery offers an atmosphere that centers around enjoying a nice glass of beer and the flavors that combine to create it.
While it may not have a formal tour, it’s taproom is like a passport to all of its different types of amber goodness. The beers carry humorous names that will make you want to order them just to see if the beer is as good as its name. They offer several IPAs, lagers, and stouts.
Ever tried “wheat wine”? Order yourself a glass of “Mommy Needs a Minute.” See why we love this place? Their beers can also be found at several local markets and restaurants.
This divine brewery in Merrillville, crafts beers in the “old-world tradition” with “new world imagination.” Visitors will enjoy their sour ale and stouts. From cheeseburger-inspired to fruity IPAs, flavorful describes their brews perfectly.
The tasting room is open Friday-Sunday and is a fun place to enjoy their many flavors. They announce special tastings and seasonal tappings, such as their Irish Goodbye, on social media.
Wildrose Brewing in Griffth, Indiana, is known for its American Craft-style beers. The seven-barrel brew house serves up beer and sandwiches in their pub and patio. Food events, like Taco Tuesday and Wing Wednesday, and live entertainment are fan favorites.
Their beers use clever plays on words and humor in their names like Hop Side of the Moon on their black IPA and Mad Cow for the milk sweet stout.
When you first pull up to Ironwood, you might feel like you’re going to a friend’s house. The owner, Barb, intended that. After years of home crafting, she opened this Valparaiso location in 2013, specializing in “traditional beers brewed to style.”
Her passion is evident everywhere as she grows hops vines on the patio and has wooden barrels in the back aging with their own delicious contents. The brewery boasts a tasting room, a lab kitchen, an office, eight wooden aging barrels, coolers, and on-site brewing equipment. If you ask nicely, Barb might just give you a tour.
Hunters Brewing in Chesterton is the only 100 percent plant-based brewpub in northern Indiana. They are also known for their small-batch beers in creative and traditional flavors like English porter and a spiced herb beer with Serrano pepper.
The brewpub also features a rotating selection of guest beers on draft and in can. They also offer a nice selection of cider, mead, wine, and cocktails/spirits. It’s a family-friendly atmosphere.
This Munster, Indiana, brewery and pub serve great beers and food in an edgy atmosphere. Their beer labels resemble heavy metal t-shirt designs with creative names that are fun to say when ordering. They’re known for their barrel-aged milk stouts but also feature lighter seasonal options and ales.
In addition to serving up food from locally-sourced ingredients, 3 Floyds Brew Pub does offer brewery tours and distillery tours of their whiskey, gin, rum, and aquavit production. Their tasting room is open seven days a week and fans love its whimsical, bold, circus sideshow meets comic book decor.
If you’ve never been to a Renaissance fair and you’ve never tasted the honey-smacked goodness of mead, you don’t know what you’re missing. Mead must be 51 percent fermented from honey so it has a distinctly lighter flavor, different from beer.
The founders of Boneflower began in the craft beer scene and then moved into mead. They make some of the best using local honey and fruit in their beverages. Their “Banana Dream Pie” has been described as banana bread in a bottle. Slow Heavy Jam is like a boozy, smooth grape jelly. Their inventive flavors provide something for everyone, whether you enjoy a thick, bubbly, sweet mead or like one that’s drier and still.
As midwestern locals, the team at Energy Diagnostics is particularly knowledgeable not just in energy consulting, but also in what’s happening around town. From craft beers to festivals, Valparaiso offers plenty for all ages to enjoy. Stay up to date on news in the area by following our blog.
So, we turn to you: What do you think of our list of the best breweries to tour in the Valparaiso, Indiana, area? Did your favorite make the list? What else are we missing in Northwest Indiana? Let us know! Leave us a comment or contact us and tell us your favorite and what you love about it; we’ll be sure to add it to our list.