Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour: Country Heritage Winery
Jul18

Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour: Country Heritage Winery

This is the fourth stop in the Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour. Every month we will be featuring a different local brewery or winery from our region. Today, Ryan Krueckeberg shares his experience at the LaOtto winery, Country Heritage. I honestly wasn’t aware that LaOtto was a thing until I typed Country Heritage into my GPS. Just north of Fort Wayne on SR 3, Country Heritage sits amid a thriving vineyard in the middle of what I would call BFE. But I’m a downtown guy – I consider anything I can’t ride my bike to BFE. I’ve passed the place several times on my way back and forth from Kendallville, and even stopped once or twice for a bottle of red wine, but never had I taken the time to enjoy the rustic setting. Inside I was greeted with rich natural wood and warm tones. Racks of wine bottles lined the walls topped with ribbons from various wine competitions. Various wine paraphernalia was displayed for sale  in racks made of wooden crates. A cooler in the back proudly displayed cheeses and meats next to a glass-topped display with various flavors of fudge. I was honestly a little overwhelmed at first, but I just did what I do best, I headed straight for the bar. At the tasting counter I was greeted by a friendly young lady who offered up free tastings. We were given four choices from a pretty extensive list and had a fifth seasonal special called Summer Splash given to us for free. I consider myself a wine snob because I know what I like but I am by far no connoisseur. I prefer dry, aromatic wines, (most often red) but you won’t find me passing up a crisp Sauvignon Blanc on a warm summer day. I was pleased by the selection on the list, I went in expecting to dodge a bunch of semi-sweet and dessert wines but the selection of dry and semi-dry was impressive. The tasting experience went well, however it was a little slow due to the volume of people in there at the time. The service was friendly and very knowledgeable. My favorite by far was the Blueberry Merlot. Now I know some of you out there prefer the sweeter side of things, so I did bring along a couple of friends who swing that way. They tasted several sweets and semi sweets and I tasked them with picking their favorite. After much debate and a near brawl, they both settled on the Peach as their favorite, with the Honey Mead just behind it. While the setting isn’t my style and country music isn’t my thing (I’m...

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Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour: Chapman’s Brewing Company
Jul05

Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour: Chapman’s Brewing Company

This is the third stop in the Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour. Every month we will be featuring a different local brewery or winery from our region. Today, Jake Pickett shares his experience at the headquarters of the fledgling brewery Chapman’s Brewing Company in Angola. First things first. The American Ale Cider brewed by Chapman’s Brewing in Angola is not another hard cider apple-tini in a bottle. As a matter of fact, it comes in a can. And it’s real beer. With a hint of apple. While it’s not for everyone, it’s a unique entry into the craft brew scene that has grabbed the attention of local beer aficionados and novices alike. I took a trip up to Angola with a couple of coworkers to meet the Founder and CEO of Chapman’s Brewing, Scott Fergusson. He welcomed us with a handshake and a smile and led us on a tour of their state-of-the-art facility. This place is immaculate. They have the newest, most modern technology in a modest structure perfectly suited for the production and consumption of beer. They’re open 7 days a week for tours, sampling, and growler fills, or you can grab some cans or a keg to go. And yes, even on Sunday! At the conclusion of the tour we enjoyed several beer samples. We started with the American Ale Cider, which as I mentioned before, has an apple taste to it that isn’t overpowering – you can still tell you’re drinking a fresh beer. This is a good one to have on hand at the sandbar this summer or during a tailgate in the fall. Next we tried the Englishman, which is a Southern English Brown Ale. Think New Castle, but with significantly more flavor and complexity. This was one of the crowd favorites, not too heavy, but certainly not light, and versatile enough for any situation that calls for a tasty beverage. We then sampled the Cream Stout. While it’s technically not “dark beer season” for most, I never have a hard time trying a new Stout or Porter. This was smooth and, as it is appropriately named, creamy – definitely on the heavy side, obviously. We followed that up with the Pail Ale (bonus points for the pun in my book), which had a strong taste of hops, but didn’t venture into the too bitter territory in our opinions. If you’re just starting to get into craft brews and your taste for hoppiness is advancing, then this could be right up your alley. Finally, Scott poured us each a taste of the IPA. This is a beer snob’s beer. It’s not the most bitter beer out...

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Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour: Mad Anthony Brewing Company
Jun07

Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour: Mad Anthony Brewing Company

Welcome to the second stop in the Living Fort Wayne Beer and Wine Tour. Every month we will be featuring a different local brewery or winery from our region. Today, Jake Pickett is talking with us about Mad Anthony Brewing Company, a Fort Wayne classic. It’s no secret that craft beers are extremely popular right now, and many of our neighboring cities are seeing a major influx of microbreweries and brewpubs. Indianapolis alone has at least 14, with several more in the works. Here in Fort Wayne we have the longstanding Mad Anthony Brewing Company, along with a newcomer in Angola called Chapman’s, and a national chain in Granite City. Also joining the Fort Wayne beer fray will be Summit City Brewerks, who will hopefully be tapping their barrels over on East Berry this summer. The missus and I went to Mad Anthony at 1109 Taylor Street, on the corner of Taylor and Broadway in downtown Fort Wayne, to have dinner and sample their beers. They had a surprisingly wide variety of options, including their regular staple of Gabby Blonde Ale (summer ballgame beer), Ol’ Woody Pale Ale (hoppy, but not overwhelming), Auburn Lager (solid body and flavor, hint of hoppiness), Raspberry Wheat (sweet and fruity), and Harry Baals Irish Stout (bold, but smooth coffee/chocolate combo) (by the way, anyone else notice that Mr. Baals seems to be getting more and more recognition these days, ever since Citizen’s Square almost took on his namesake? I’m pretty sure a local radio station just renamed their studio after him). They also had a few seasonals –  Summer Daze Wheat (slightly fruity, almost herbal), Bent Rim Black Lager (details below), and a British IPA (subtle at first, then an emergence of late hoppy aftertaste). Typically when I go out for a brew or two I pick a beer or style of beer and stick with it for the duration of my session. However, for the sake of this article I went with a flight, which is basically a short plank of wood that looks like a frat paddle with placeholders for 6 shot glasses. Each sample was 2-3 ounces of a different beer. I made my way through each of the regular options; then of course I had to try the seasonals as well. I’m not going to provide a detailed review of each beer – I’m by no means a beer aficionado (more of an enthusiast), and my pallet isn’t all that refined. All I really ask for when it comes to beer are three things: it’s cold, it has noticeable flavor, and it’s fresh. Simple as that. I’m not looking for the hoppiest beer in the world,...

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