11 April 2007

Going mad in Fort Wayne: a roadtrip report

When giving the opportunity, I enjoy trying new places when traveling. And with my in-laws living just 30 minutes away from Fort Wayne, I thought it was time for a trip to Mad Anthony Brewing Company's Munchie Emporium. The trip occurred on Good Friday and I was joined on the journey by my sister-in-law Andi and her husband Dale.

First, a little background. The brewery is named after the city's namesake. General "Mad" Anthony Wayne is a Revolutionary War hero who fought many battles in the Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. He was referred to as "Mad Anthony" because he could lead an army into battle on little or no sleep. Sounds like he could have been an architecture major, but I digress.

The brewery has been around since 1995. The Munchie Emporium, apparently, has been around longer.

The Munchie is a large restaurant with separate bar and family rooms. The decor is eclectic, including a dead deer head above the bar.

Upon entering the bar, you will notice the beer list on the wall (unless the picture is too dark, then aren't noticing anything). Tonight they had 10 brews on tap: Auburn Lager, Blonde, Oatmeal Stout, Brown Ale, Spring Fling, Winter Ale, Irish Stout, Ol' Woody Pale Ale, Raspberry, and Blackberry Porter. The lager, blonde, ol' woody pale ale, and others can be found in six packs in liquor stores, including the Hop Shop.

They have a full bar at the Munchie, so if beers aren't your thing, you can get something else. Though I don't know why...

My favorite place to sit in a bar is at the bar. It is where the action is and it is the best place to converse with those who know beer best: the bartender. The bartender on this night was Kelly, a very fun and personable keeper. The beers run between 3.50 and 4 bucks. And there is a sampler set that you can order. Kelly was very kind in letting us try a couple of beer samples each on the house.

My sister-in-law Andi is a light beer drinker. Not in terms of consumption, but type. Domestic beers are her thing, with Budweiser being one of her favorites. She stuck with Blonde all night, a good starting point for those who aren't big into craft beers yet.

Her husband Dale sampled, and liked, the Raspberry wheat ale. About half way through the pint, he had about enough of that. He grew tired of the strong fruit flavor. He liked it, but it was too much of a good thing in this case. Thankfully, it did not go to waste. His lovely wife finished it for him.

After sampling a couple of beers, I elected to start with the Ol' Woody Pale Ale, an APA. It is light amber in color and pours with a small white head. The lace clings some to the glass. The aroma was close to non-existent, with very small hints of citrus and hops. When drinking it, I noticed some citrus and clove notes to the flavor. There is a hit of hops, though much milder than most IPA's. It leaves a dry feeling in the mouth with some aftertaste and a little burn in the throat. It's a fine beer that is a great starting point for those who want to start drinking IPA's. I would give Ol' Woody three and a half mugs.

For my next beer, I went with the curiously named Spring Fling, a German-style Amber Lager with a 6.0% ABV. Looks are deceiving with this beer. It has a dark amber color to it with lots of lace and a slight head. I wasn't able to pick up any aroma at all. It was smooth and syrupy in consistency. And it tasted like...well, sometimes beer just tastes like beer. I have a feeling that this was suppose to be Ft. Wayne's version of Bell's Oberon. It's a simple brew that would work well in warmer weather, but it lacks the yeasty complexities that Oberon possesses. Both Andi and Dale sampled this beer and enjoyed it. It's a good beer, but again, a starter beer in my opinion. I give it three mugs, making this an average (but not bad) beer.

At this point, it is about 5 til midnight. We had been there about an hour at that point. Then Kelly yells "Last Call". Last call? At midnight? On a Friday? You're kidding?

She wasn't. They close at midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 11pm Monday through Thursday, and 10pm on Sundays. Early closing for a bar, so if you go, take notice: go early!

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to try one more beer. I decided to try one of the stouts, but which one. I sampled both and both the were good. I decided to go with the Irish Stout. And I'm glad I did.

As expected, it's a dark beer. A blackhole actually. Light does not penetrate. It's brown to black in color and pours with a nice, dark tan head that leaves lots and lots of lace on the glass. It has a pleasant aroma of roasted malts that carries over into the flavor. I think the easiest way to describe this beer is it's like Guinness, but better. More complexities, more malts, a better flavor. A very full and well balanced beer. Four mugs, all the way. I highly recommend to anyone who prefers maltier beers.

I also want to note that, since it was after midnight, my Lenten obligations were over. I elected to order Scotch Eggs from their late night munchies menu. And the Scotch Eggs match well with the Irish Stout.

As seen by the mugs hanging on the wall, there are many that enjoy the multiple beer offerings of Mad Anthony. I was impressed with the number of beers available (five mugs in that category) as well as with the quality of beers. I'd like to go again when the IPA is on tap. It was an enjoyable bar with enjoyable people. I just wish it could have lasted longer.


  1. ooh, my old stomping grounds!

    Next time get the Scooby Snacks. They're completely addicting.

    Good to see some Mad Anthony love :)

  2. Hey, I was just there the day before you were, but had to be in the restaurant side! Also had the Spring Fling - and I agree - it was ok, but nothing to write home about. I wouldn't kick it out of bed on a cold winter's night.

  3. Whenever I get the Raspberry, I get the 1/2 and 1/2. Something to cut it with. Delish.