Restaurant Notes extra: Chapman’s Brewing Co.’s newest Fort Wayne taproom to be family friendly

Chapman's Brewing Co. plans to open its newest taproom at 5735 Falls Drive on June 29. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)
The former space of Salud is going through "de-Latinizing" before it comes Chapman's Brewing Co. , which plans to open its newest taproom at 5735 Falls Drive on June 29. (Photo by Lisa M. Esquivel Long of News-Sentinel.com)

We got you more details on a new brewpub coming to southwest Fort Wayne.

Chapman’s Brewing Co.’s newest location is creating all sorts of opportunities for the company. Its first standalone brewpub in Fort Wayne, it also will be its first family-friendly site.

The brewpub plans a grand opening at 11 a.m. June 29, said Micah J. Soltz, who’s with Chapman’s operations and sales.

The Angola-based brewery was founded in 2012 by Scott Fergusson and has taprooms in Angola, Columbia City and Wabash. It also has a partnership with Fortezza Coffee at its taproom on Fort Wayne’s Calhoun Street.

The company is already looking at another site in Fort Wayne to add a taproom, though Soltz wouldn’t say where.

Like its other locations, the company will incorporate the culture of the area into its design for the southwest space. It also will have a gastropub dinner menu. But make no mistake: “Our philosophy is to focus on the beer,” Soltz said. “…The beer comes first, where others are restaurants that make beer.”

The 10-tap taproom, referred to within the company as the southwest taproom, will feature the company’s six signature beers year-round: Wry American red rye, Harvester blonde ale, Englighten Kolsch-style ale, Englishman brown ale, Valiant American stout, and Undaunted IPA.

All the taprooms have what Soltz calls “a seasonal roulette,” without the conventional pumpkin beer. “Our roulettes are small-batch, one-off beers” that might include collaborations with other breweries, he said.

Plans are to open at 11 a.m. daily and close at 10 p.m. on Sundays and 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The brewpub shares a building with Salsa Grille at Coventry, 5735 Falls Drive, in the Village at Coventry in the space that had been Salud Tapas N Tequila until this year. Because the state issues three-way liquor licenses to addresses, not owners, and the building already has a license, Chapman’s plans to invite local distilleries HT2 and Three Rivers Distilling Company to offer some craft spirits this summer.

The shared roof over the two businesses also means that it can fulfill Indiana’s law that requires alcohol-serving establishments to serve food by allowing guests at lunchtime to bring food from the Salsa Grille side into Chapman’s while they enjoy a beer.

After 4 p.m., though, it will offer the gastropub menu, that Soltz describes as farther from the “super-fancy” end of the spectrum.

Again, it’s about the beer, so those who just eat burgers can get one, but it’ll be with hand-ground, never-frozen beef that can be seasoned with fresh ingredients added – or come just plain.

With northeast Indiana being a family-centered area, it was important that those enjoying craft beers could bring their children along, Soltz said. And those who might be just experiencing craft brews for the first time will find light-tasting beer such as its Kolsch-style and blonde ales that are similar to the beer they’re used to drinking.

“Maybe one day they’ll be IPA (Indian pale ale) drinkers,” he said of the hoppy beer style.

While that part of southwest Fort Wayne has been growing, many of the restaurants there are chains that don’t keep money in the northeast Indiana area, he said.

“You could probably walk into an Applebee’s blindfolded and find your way to the bathroom,” he said.

While chains seek a uniform brand, “We feel every taproom reflects our company and the city it’s in.”

The Columbia City taproom is in an older downtown building that originally served as the courthouse, and the Chapman team looked at 100-year-old items there. It cleaned up old doors and found ways to reuse them. The Wabash taproom is in a former livery stable from the 1880s where the restorer uncovered an old mural that the team chose to keep.

The southwest Fort Wayne location doesn’t have that sense of history, and the company is looking for something that’s not the overly flashy industrial look that’s popular now, Soltz said. While “de-Latinizing” the former Salud spot by taking out the corbels and wall texturization, Chapman’s will also be working with local artists, one of whom is replacing a tangoing couple mural with another image, to showcase their work.

The brewpub will have a full-time manager and about 15 servers/bartenders. A patio will be exclusive to Chapman’s. It can accommodate 40 guests and will have patio warmers so it can be used into the autumn.

Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 260-461-8354, send email to lesquivel@news-sentinel.com or a fax to 260-461-8817 or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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