Nestled in the heart of downtown Elkhart, you can not miss the red and black dragon sign on the outside of the building, which makes this brewery incredibly easy to find. Admittedly, downtown Elkhart is not the most aesthetically pleasing areas I have explored, but places like Iechyd Da are going to start re-vitalizing the Elkhart scene....I have no doubt. Upon walking in you find a seating area to the left with some awesome barrel tables by the large windows. There are also some modern couches and chairs which really gives the patrons a variety of awesome seating options.
To the left you will find a chalkboard listing the food menu and specials, more tables, decorative artwork, and a few high top tables surrounded by bar stools.
As you scan the rest of the room you are immediately drawn to the bar area, which is where we immediately ventured to. Several barstools surround the L-Shaped bar top. Plenty of lighting and friendly faces surround you. The place is quite inviting and comfortable. It just feels like a great place for fun, food, friends, and of course....beer.
After selecting our seats, maybe the most impressive attraction of the bar was directly in front of us. The massive wall of Iechyd Da mugs. Made by a local potter, these mugs are available to Mug Club members only. I don't have all the details of the Mug Club, but once it has been established, it's become somewhat difficult to gain a new membership. The mugs are fantastic. Each one unique and sporting the symbol of the brewery on the front. The Dragon. Justin and I spent quite a bit of time discussing the mugs and which ones we liked the best. Truth be told, I would be thrilled to have any one of them. But I don't live locally and so membership to this mug club is likely a dream I won't be able to fulfill. :-( Here is a part of the Mug Wall.
Justin and I ordered a pizza and appetizer to share. The food was outstanding. We had stuffed mushrooms that were loaded with sausage and jalapeno's. The pizza was full of flavor with garlic, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and goat cheese. I would eat there any day of the week.
However, the most important part of any brewery is the need of good beer. Again, Iechyd Da exceeded my expectations. Of course, I have had a couple of their beers via growler samples previously, but on this occasion I felt that I needed to get the full flight of samplers. My favorites of the flight were: Big Pit Porter- very robust and flavorful porter; Revolution- a solid IPA ; 13-an American Black Ale loaded with complexity; and the best of the bunch was Gumption- a double amber loaded with citra hop deliciousness. All of the beers were on the good to great level....but Gumption was the head of the class without a doubt.
If you haven't been there....stop what you are doing....and go now. Seriously.