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South Bend Brew Werks: a guide for your first visit

After a lot of buzz and a handful of preview events, South Bend Brew Werks, downtown South Bend’s newest craft brewery and restaurant, plans to open its doors on Saturday, Sept. 20. We chatted with the crew and put together a guide to what you can expect if you visit. 

Distinctive decor

Most of what you’ll see inside the brewery was once something else. The bar top, for example, was made with wood from old bowling alley lanes. The bar stools used to be pallets, and you’ll notice an artist’s mural on the floor under your feet. 

Knowledgeable staff

One way Brew Werks hopes to set itself apart is by training all staff members to be experts on the origins of the decor, the food and of course — the beer. 

So if founders Drew Elegante, Joel Miller and Greg Wisinski aren’t around or if they are busy with another customer, anyone behind the bar should be able to help you out. 

Local, local local

Drew Elegante, one of the operators of Brew Werks, said the brewery is “hyper-actively celebrating local.”

All of the beer (10 different brews will be available at all times, and five will rotate) is brewed in the basement by Joel Miller and his team, and the menu, dreamed up by chef Greg Wisinski, includes comfort food like macaroni and cheese and panini-style sandwiches, all designed to complement the beer. 

Everything’s made in house from scratch using local ingredients (like veggies from Wisinski’s friends’ back yards) or purchased from local vendors like Dainty Maid Bake Shop across the street. 

Waste goes to South Bend’s Unity Gardens, where it’s composted. 

Plus, Brew Werks makes it easy for guests to further support local organizations with its Community Partners Wall. When you purchase a beer, you can put a token worth 25 or 50 cents into a jar dedicated to either La Casa de Amistad, Neighborhood Resources Connection or The Music Village, indicating where you’d like that financial contribution to go.

Less waste

Chef Wisinski is dedicated to wasting as little food as possible. 

To that end, he transforms the spent grains used to make beer into actual food items on the menu: pasta, for example, or the bread stick-like appetizers called spent grain sticks. 

Opening weekend menu

  • I <3 GC
    Cheddar, brie, sliced turkey, white wine braised onions, heirloom tomato, cucumber, basil vinaigrette on multi grain bread
  • Somewhat Classic Mac
    Cheddar, brie, port poached apples, prosciutto, spent grain sticks
  • My Favorite
    House made brew noodles, sundried cranberry, raspberry chipotle bacon and house made smoked Gouda cheese sauce…call for the “encore” and get it in between bread
  • Farmers Choice
    Our favorite farmer’s blend of seasonal veggies, your choice of house made sbbw sauce, port reduction or basil vinaigrette on either the spent grains flatbread or multi grain bread
  • Thanksgiving
    Sliced turkey, cranberry port sauce, roasted red potatoes and gouda cheese sauce on either or spent grains flatbread or multi grain bread
  • The Healthy Snack
    Baked chickpeas, southwest style
  • Brewskey’s BFF
    Spent grains pretzels and beer cheese
  • Fall’s Bounty
    Salsa with chips of course
  • Oma’s Rye
    Buttered with goat cheese or without goat cheese
  • Werker’s Broth
    Carrot ginger
  • Truffle Cast
    Coconut, almond, cranberry
  • Cheesiest Cake
    House made pumpkin cheesecake
  • Dessert minus Gluten
    House made chocolate lava cake, house made peanut butter sauce

The brewery will be open for limited hours for opening weekend: 4 to 8 p.m. (and maybe later, if customers are having a good time) on Saturday, Sept. 20 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. 

Regular hours, starting the following week, will be 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

South Bend Brew Werks is located at 216 S. Michigan St, next to The State Theater.  All customers must be 21 or older. 

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

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