BIKES AND BREWS INDY – TOUR INDIANAPOLIS MICROBREWERIES ALONG THE CULTURAL TRAIL

Looking for a fun day of leisurely bike riding along perfectly paved city bike trails while enjoying great craft beers, then Indianapolis is your city. 

About the Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is 8 miles of urban pedestrian and bike paths located in downtown Indianapolis.  The trail was completed in May of 2013 and connects 5 of the city’s cultural districts, Massachusetts Avenue, Fountain Square, The Canal & White River State Park, Indiana Avenue, and the Wholesale District.  It also features 7 art projects along the trail and connects with the Monon Trail, the Pleasant Run Trail, and the White River Wapahani Trail.  Indianapolis is an extremely bike friendly city and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is one of the treasures of downtown Indianapolis.

Craft Beer in Indianapolis

The microbrewery scene in Indianapolis is booming, with new ones entering every day, many of which are located in the heart of downtown.  “Drink Indiana Beer” is a great website and app that allows users to discover the many breweries in the area and learn about upcoming beer tasting events.

Biking along the trails and enjoying  tasting flights at the many breweries is a great way to discover the scene and one of my favorite ways to enjoy a Saturday afternoon.  There are also other options to enjoy, such as one of the many guided brewery bus tours such as Indy Brew Bus and Brewery Tours of Indianapolis, or participating in group bike options like the HandleBar and Pickled Peddler.

Where to Rent a Bike

If you do not already have a bike and want to rent one for the day, I suggest Wheel Fun Rental.  They have a location in White River State park, which is an ideal point to launch from for your beer tour of Indy.

Suggested Itinerary – 10.2 miles, 1hr 14mins

There are so many great breweries in Indy, it would be impossible to enjoy them all in one day.  The suggested itinerary I am sharing includes my favorite places and preferred bike path to each.  Click here to get a turn by turn guide.

 White River State Park

If you do not already have a bike, pick one up at Wheel Fun Rental near the entrance of the White River State Park.  I always like to take a quick loop around the White River to enjoy the views and burn a few extra calories before a day of drinking beer.  If you would prefer to save time, just head straight to the Cultural Trail along side the Indiana State Museum (Blackford Street)

White River State Park

White River State Park

Stop 2- TwoDEEP Brewing

714 N. Capitol Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46204

Founded by Andy Meyer, TwoDEEP Brewing opened in 2014 and has been a great addition to the downtown Indy brewery scene.  Their tasting room is big and can easily accommodate large groups of people.  They also have a fireplace which makes it a popular destination in the winter months.

Top Beer Picks:

Brickhouse Roasted Amber AleLake IPA

Dead Rabbits Irish Extra Stout

Stop 3 – St. Joseph Brewery & Public House

540 N. College Ave. Indianapolis IN46202

Continuing along the trail, make your way over to St. Joseph Brewery & Public House in the Massachusetts Avenue District.  Located in a restored Catholic Church, St. Joseph was one of the breweries to arrive on the Indy scene in 2015.  They have a great menu and might be a good place to have lunch before heading out on the rest of your adventure.

Top Beer Picks:

Pew Buster Double IPA

Benevolent Belgian Blond

Stop 4 - Flat12 Bierwerks

414 Dorman St, Indianapolis, IN 46202

You’ll have to venture off the trail slightly to get to Flat12 Bierwerks, but it is well worth the detour to be able to visit one of my favorite summer hangouts.  Flat12 Bierwerks has a great outdoor area with a fire pit, cornhole games, and lots of seating.  They also offer a variety of events such as DOGAPALOOZA, which is a dog adoption drive, with the proceeds benefitting a local animal rescue shelter.  During this event, they offer a non-alcoholic beer option that your dog can enjoy, Flat12 Paws Dog Brew.  This second annual event takes place on Sunday, June 12, 2016 at noon.

Top Beer Picks:

Half Cycle IPA

Walkabout Pale Ale

Stop 5 - Indiana City Brewing

24 Shelby St, Indianapolis, IN 46202

Again, this one is a little off the bike trail but also is worth taking the time to visit.  Their great tap room is surrounded by brick and garage style overhead doors that open up to a great outdoor deck.  Since they opened in 2013, their beers have consistently impressed me, and the facility just has a good vibe.

Top Beer Picks:

Sister City Kölsch (tastes like Cheerios)

Dock 7 IPA

Son of War Blond Ale

Stop 6 – Fountain Square Brewing

1301 Barth Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203

We hang out here frequently in the winter because we like the indoor space, and there is always enough seating. This past summer they added an outdoor deck which makes it even more appealing in the summer months.  The tap room definitely has a hipster vibe that lends itself well to the trendy Fountain Square neighborhood.  Typically you will find artwork for sale from local artists. Patrons are often sporting long beards and man buns, and the beer is always solid.

Top Beer Picks:

Hop for Teacher Pale Ale

Preacher’s Daughter Amber Ale

Fountain Square

Stop 7 –  Chilly Water Brewing

719 Virginia Ave #105, Indianapolis, IN 46203

Now back on the trail, head over to the Fletcher Place Neighborhood where you will find many of my favorite places in Indy, including Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery, Milktooth, and Bluebeard (I’ll report on these venues in an upcoming post).  I have to give a shout out to Chilly Water Brewing, whose owner is my next door neighbor, Skip DuVall.  Skip has an extensive resume in the Indy beer world, including stints at The Alcatraz Brewing Company, Sun King, The Rock Bottom, and Fountain Square Brewing.  Chilly Water not only offers a great beer selection, but also has live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and a great outdoor space to enjoy your drinks and excellent Panini’s, if you need to refuel. 

Top Beer Picks:

One Hop Wonder IPA

Smash Hit Belgian Wit

Stop 8 – Back to White River State Park

After a great day of enjoying Indy’s best microbreweries, follow the trail back to White River State park to return your bike.  If you still have time, enjoy a stroll along The Canal Walk or rent a paddle boat while the sun sets.

Paddle Boats on the Canal