Windmill Brewing opened in July of 2015 and is in an unlikely spot across from a hospital. In fact, I passed up the street it is on because the Emergency Room sign points that way so I assumed that street was part of the hospital. It was worth the slight confusion to find a session pale called Snuggle Sesh available and to get a taste of NWI (for North West Indiana) Lite with corn and oats.
Their Alligator Blood Russian Imperial Stout sounded delicious with Mexican hot chocolate spices, yum, but alas at 14% and I was there on an afternoon needing to drive on I passed for that tip and I hope I can get some later. Don’t expect to get some of these beers if you visit, though, because this brewery is heavy into rotation. And, they upfront declare they do not think craft beer must be IPA, so while you now find one on their list, maybe several, they brew plenty of other styles.
In some ways this is the farthest off the beaten path, as they say in Indiana, I’ve been since it is a short walk of about 0.2 miles or less to the Illinois state line. Yet, Windmill is only 10 miles west of I-65 at Merrillville. It would be fairly easy to visit several Lake County breweries within a short distance.
I had a sip of the Two if by Citra, New England style IPA, obviously with the flavors of grapefruit and lime which was delicious and popular. Others at the bar that day were drinking Multi Purpose Pils, which tipped just over 6% alcohol. Checking the website frequently I find the pils has been consistently available which is supported by the afternoon sippers I saw on a summer day.
One of the oddest names I’ve seen in awhile was Two Wierd Too Live, a double dry-hopped pale aged in muscatel barrels and at 10%. It was clear these brewers like to experiment in small batches. But then the Cafe Lit almost gave away the stout, a double coffee stout – wakes you up and calms you all in one at 9% .
There are several ways to “size up” a brewery or brew pub. Of course one way is the beer you find. All I had were tasty. Another way is to evaluate vibe and decor. At some I’ve encountered dark wood and quaint; and a few times dark and dusty which was not so appealing. Windmill is light and open, modern and efficient, not too light yet easy to see. Windmill is efficiently appealing. Parking seems limited but that has not stopped them since 2015.
Another important way I evaluate a brewery is the person behind the bar. I like friendly but not immediately in my face. I think a person open to discussing the beer or the place without selling me is a great combination. That’s what I found at Windmill. I meet so many bartenders that I’ve forgotten her name (maybe she’ll email and I can print a correction) but she was this great connection of leaving me alone, to answering questions about the beer when I asked, to engaging me once she realized I am a beer nerd. Her friend was sitting at the bar and also works at 18th Street Brewery. It’s clear there is an admiration for good, local beer! Noting some of the online reviews, there are comments about the beer, the space, and the friendly service so this carries forth throughout the weeks and months.
2121 Gettler St
Dyer, IN 46311 (219) 440-2189
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11am – 10pm, Friday: 11am – 11pm, Saturday: 11am – 11pm, Sunday – Closed