South Bend Brew Werks exceeds expectations


By: Christina Tembo

Earlier this week I had plans to meet some colleagues downtown for lunch, and we were pondering where to go. I always seem to go to the same places.

The women I was meeting suggested a new brew pub I had never visited. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go because I had heard they served only grilled cheese sandwiches and had picnic tables.

Regardless of my ridiculous misconceptions, we decided to go — and I am glad we did.

A little water never hurt anyone…

When we arrived at South Bend Brew Werks, it seemed like they were not open. Apparently, earlier that morning, they had a pipe burst and the owner, Drew, and a buddy spent a while cleaning it up.

They did, however, decide to open at the last minute. Lucky us!

Drew was the only person there to serve since he had called off his wait staff earlier that morning. I know from experience that it can sometimes be challenging to do the job of your employees.

But it’s good for every manager/owner to find themselves walking in the shoes of their staff every so often. Drew did a great job.

Despite a difficult morning, he greeted us warmly and even talked me into the special (there is much more on the menu than grilled cheese, by the way). It was bacon-wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes and ridiculously delicious veggies served in a way I have never seen before. I believe they call it Krystal’s Magical Meatloaf.

It was really very good and reasonably priced for what I got. As a matter of fact, the entire menu is reasonably priced. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Misconceptions mean missing out.

South Bend Brew Werks has been open for six months, and I had all but ignored it. It’s funny how you can have a preconceived notion of a place. I figured it was a bar to check out at night after you had a full meal somewhere else and you wanted a beer and maybe a snack. I was wrong. It’s so much more than that.

There is a picnic table, but it simply serves as a large seating area in the front of the room. The rest of the dining room is flanked by a large, button-tufted booth covering the entire south wall. The booth is a lovely shade of blue-gray and rises about 6 feet up the wall. It gives the room that shabby-chic look that I love.

The other side of the bank of tables features reclaimed chairs from the old St. Joe High School. That was a blast from the past, as I have vivid memories of struggling to stay focused in those very chairs during my short tenure there.

Pretty much the entire space is furnished with reclaimed items. Everywhere you look, there is another example of recycling at its best.

The walls are adorned with artwork from area artists. The art is not just pleasing to look at but is also for sale. New art is rotated in monthly, so the atmosphere is ever-changing. Half of the proceeds from the sale of a piece goes to the artist and the other half goes to the charity of the artist’s choosing. It’s a nice touch.

Everything South Bend Brew Werks makes is fresh and sourced from partners such as the Purple Porch Co-op, Unity Gardens, Green Bridge Growers, Hebron Farms and South Bend Farmer’s Market. A lot of thought has gone into the menu.

Although small, South Bend Brew Werks is brimming with uniqueness, friendly staff and delicious food. South Bend Brew Werks is yet another example of how far the revitalization efforts in downtown South Bend have come.

I highly recommend you visit soon. I cannot wait to go back when I can work my way through its creative menu of beer.

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