Three weeks into the new year and Hammond’s 18th Street Brewery location is making big moves.
Fresh off a profile in the January issue of Beer Advocate, owner Drew Fox introduced a new Executive Chef for their brewpub, making clear the menu is about to take on a more artisanal flair. Fox has also made social media hints that another collaboration with Arizona Wilderness Brewing is on the way, following their prior successful collaborations, Sophomoric Saison and the imperial stout, Triumph.
Beyond that, there’s been some remodeling in their brewpub and more creative uses for their massive outdoor beer garden and a renovated banquet space there.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, four new 30-barrel tanks just went online – with more on the way – that will allow for an increase in production that will catapult 18th Street to among the state’s largest, likely among the Top 5, just three years after they opened their doors.
First, the food.
Andrew Dering’s resume provides some insights as to what visitors can expect from the brewery – you may know him from his role as Sous Chef at Dusek’s or the Chef de Cuisine at Billy Sunday. He also spent time developing his craft at Pierre Gourmet at the Peninsula Hotel, Graham Elliot Bistro, A10 and Longman & Eagle. Fox said he’s giving Dering complete freedom with the kitchen and expects both elevated pub fare and even innovative fine dining. Yes, that’s right – fine dining from a brewery.
Standard pub fare isn’t going away – smoked wings, Slagel-sourced burgers and poutine are still on the menu – but Dering has rolled out an impressive Sunday brunch, as well as dinner offerings like duck breast, baby octopus and pressed pork belly, among other plates you just don’t often see outside of the city. Add to that a dessert list prepared by 18th Street’s in-house pastry chef, who whips up panna cotta, fried risotto pudding and other sweets, and it’s not only a menu you don’t often see in Northwest Indiana. It’s also one you don’t often find at a brewery.
Dering is presenting kick-ass food as art and has established a meat curing system, as well. He says the food will be as creative as 18th Street has been with their award-winning beer.
And speaking of their beer…
… there’s about to be a lot more of it being pumped out of the brewery located just steps beyond the Illinois state line.
The addition of four new 30-barrel tanks means they’ll be able to produce close to 16,000 barrels of beer this year. That’s about five times what they were doing just three years ago, putting them second in production only to Three Floyds among Northwest Indiana breweries and likely coming in just behind FFF, Upland and Sun King as the state’s largest, according to available numbers.
That means 18th Street’s team of brewers are now working with eight 30bbl, seven 7bbl, five 15bbl and two 10bbl fermenters. They’ll be adding two new 60bbl lager tanks in September. And in April, a new canning line – the Wild Goose 600 – is an 8-head filler that will push out nearly 90 cans a minute.
They’re investments that visibly demonstrate why Fox moved production from the 4,000 square foot building in Gary’s Miller Beach neighborhood to the 32,000 square foot former furniture warehouse in downtown Hammond. Between all of the tanks and the whiskey barrels aging beer along almost every wall, 18th Street is quickly filling a space they moved into just a little more than a year ago.