The Newest Brew Pub in Elkhart: Hydraulic Ale Works
Move over, Iechyd Da. Elkhart, Indiana, has a new brew pub and they’re vying for top dog. From the industrial chic style to the refreshing brews and amazing food and burger options, we can take or leave the pizza-only menu at our old favorite Welsh-style pub across the river.
We sampled several beers, including the Satori Saison, the Winners Circle, the Waterwheel White, and the Goldenrod, as well as the Ash & Elm semi-sweet cider on guest tap. The one who hates citrus beer surprisingly ordered a full pint of the Saison (billed as a tropical fruit aroma with lemon spice), the IPA lover ended up with the Winners Circle (no surprise there), and the cider lover chose the cider (it reminded me of the Smackintosh at Tandem Ciders in Leenlanau, Michigan). All in all, we loved what we got and we’d take it home in a growler. Highly recommend.
If you give every restaurant the fry test, this one will ace it. Homemade fries with skin still on and flaky bits of sea salt make these to-die-for. And when you dip it in their tangy, house ketchup it’s better than beer (well…). The burger was cooked well done, like I asked for, and it was big and juicy and full of flavor. High marks for deliciousness. We also tried the hot chicken, and the al pastor tacos, all worthy of a second trip to Hydraulic for the same food again.
Our waitress went above and beyond. She answered our questions about the brews on tap knowledgeably and with a smile, even though she was busy and had other tables to worry about. She never acted like we were annoying, and when she didn’t know the answer (“Are there any sulfites in the Ash & Elm cider, guest tap?”) she went and found out quickly (no, there weren’t, in case you were wondering).
Right on the river, this place takes tranquil to a new level. We sat outside under the awning, facing the water. Even though there was a giant fun fair across the river, complete with bounce houses and large LED screens, we couldn’t hear it very well. It was close, but it didn’t sound close, and it certainly didn’t mess up the peaceful feeling. There were also quite a few other full tables outside, but we didn’t feel crowded or hemmed in.
A typical entree here ranged from $15-$20, while the burgers were cheaper, from $10-$13. Cocktails were priced around $7 each, with the beers more like $4. Everything was worth the price, and they probably could even have charged more than they did for the quality of the food and brews we received.
Overall Review: Hydraulic Ale Works
You hardly have to read the conclusion to know that the new brewery in town is killing it. Next time you’re in town for a Notre Dame football game, make the Hydraulic Ale Works a stop. It’s well worth your time and money, and your taste buds will thank you. And we still recommend walking along the river to Iechyd Da for dessert--nothing beats their sticky toffee pudding.
For more taste explosions, try these other food-related posts from A Wild Lass: