This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Michael Hubatch.
“DETOURS” is a travel series by The Hop Review. Being a weary traveler almost always calls for a reward in the form of a pint at the end of the day. Here, we document those beer breaks–as we travel the U.S. and beyond–with quips, photographs and Q&As.
29 S. Main St., Fortville, INDIANA 46040
After spending the first weekend of March Madness recently with friends on the outskirts of Indianapolis, I can report back that a great way to deal with a first-round-busted bracket is with local Belgian-style craft beer. Promise, it helps.
When referring to America’s Heartland it is easy to picture miles of farmland dotted with iconic green John Deere combines, two-lane roads, and taverns stocking only two kinds of beer: one in a red can and one in an iconic blue can made with rice (and no corn syrup apparently). Our brewery destination was definitely in said Heartland, on the outskirts of Fishers, IN where backyards but up to cornfields. But the view I had from our journey’s end put me on the frontlines of craft beer’s ever-growing grasp.
On recommendation to unseat us from hours of watching college basketball and TV time, we took a short ride to the town over from where we were lodging, to the second location of Taxman Brewing. The trip zig-zagged us down several rural roads, through a neighborhood of cozy ranch homes, then finally to the downtown strip of Fortville. We parked in front of the gun shop across the street.
Taxman originally started in Bargersville, Indiana–population of around 7,500–by three tax professionals who’d frequently worked in Belgium. They returned home with a fond memory of their newfound beer styles and the brewing bug’d bit them; who can blame them, really?
On the outside, the Fortville location isn’t out of place on the quiet downtown strip. The brewery is a modern multi-level space with exposed brick and woodwork, settled next to the train tracks. Zach, the General Manager, was nice enough to tour me around and drop some information on me. In addition to beer, both Taxman locations, Bargersville and Fortville, have full farm-to-table restaurants with a menu emphasizing local sustainability. I had the duck later that evening, and it was lovely.
I was told Indy and the surrounding suburbs make up quite the beer region, but I was still surprised by the range of beer drinkers who came in for a pint. From plaid draped hipsters dropping off a keg, to a group of older ladies deciding if they liked lactobacillus, to a couple of guys rallying up flights–no one seemed out of place here. This was a little surprising to me, because for some reason, I’d pictured rural overall-wearing truckers trying a tripel for the first time. Admittedly, I was dead wrong. Everyone at the brewery knew their beer and knew that if you wanted good local beer: come to Taxman.
Their beers are no joke. I was told by our bartender that customers unsure of the styles ask for ‘whatever,’ which at Taxman can be quite dangerous for the uninitiated. Most of Taxman’s 16 taps are higher gravities–and ‘crushable’ is not a word you’ll find in any description. You’ll find the traditional tripel, quad, saison and dubbel as well as barrel-aged varietals and some other fun stuff, too. The only issue you may have there–which is something Zach emphasized–is that you won’t find anything really hoppy. They’re Belgian through and through.
While the games ended in mostly blowouts and my bracket looked more and more miserable, I was able to find solace in my bourbon barrel-aged dubbel. I think it was Benjamin Franklin that said nothing is certain except death, taxes…and Belgian-style craft beer in the Heartland… Or something like that.
What We Drank
In the Black [10.5% Saison] – It’s an orgy of dark fruit with plenty of layers that hint at cherries, plums, and blackberries. My friend described it as a beer with fruit ‘that would stain your clothes.’
Photographed & authored by Michael A. Hubatch, contributor for The Hop Review. Hubatch is a writer and photographer based in Chicago. He has previously covered the beer scene in Nevada, Tennessee and Illinois for The Hop Review.
Read the rest of the DETOURS series as we highlight unique places to drink across the world.