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Smoked wings soar at Mishawaka's Evil Czech Brewery

So, a Slovak walks into an evil Czech bar… I don’t have a punchline, as that’s what really happened last week when I went to Evil Czech Brewery Public House to try the smoked fried wings.

The first time I walked in this building, it was 2003 and the place was called Mishawaka Brewing Company.

Back then, there wasn’t a local brewpub on every street corner. You couldn’t walk into your local grocery store and buy a six-pack of St Helen’s Malted Ale. If you wanted to get any kind of microbrew in Elkhart, you would have to go downtown to the liquor store in the old Armory. Draft beer choices at the average tavern consisted of big-name-brand-beer, big-name-brand-beer-light, and small-name-brand-beer-that-your-Grandpa-used-to-drink-that-used-to-be-good-but-after-being-bought-by-big-name-brand-beer-it-now-tastes-really-bad.

So back then,  Mishawaka Brewing Company was a really unique place to hang out and have a brew.

I was there once a month for Theology on Tap. Being Catholic and single back then, it was really hard to meet women at church. We don’t have coffee shops in the back and you are not really allowed to socialize before the service. You could scout the place when you got in and sit behind some attractive girl and make sure your hand wasn’t too sweaty when it came time to shake hands for the sign of peace, but that’s really about it. Theology on Tap was a group for young adults where you would have a guest speaker and socialize about life and religion while enjoying a beer.

The MCB closed back in 2008 and the building remained vacant until Evil Czech completely gutted the place and opened last year.

It looks slick. Inside, the brick walls are covered with graffiti, making it look like a converted 100-year-old warehouse. Beer tanks sit behind glass walls separating the bar from the family dining. There is even a stage behind the bar where bands play on weekdays.

It’s hip, it’s modern, and it is everything the decade of the 2010s is all about. The food is also very different. You can get things like duck tacos, parmesan truffle fries, and bangers and mash.

Oh, and they’ve got wings, too.

Lately I’ve hit a string of places that specialize in smoked or barbecue wings. I was a bit disappointed in Famous Dave’s, but really enjoyed the ones at Smokey Bones and Logan’s Roadhouse. The ones I had at Evil Czech are the best by far.

The chipotle barbecue wings are about the closest chicken wings can come to tasting like dry-rubbed, slow-smoked ribs. The chicken is fall-off-the bone. The rub is smoky and sweet with a little bit of heat.

The wings are huge and, like all smoked wings, the chicken is a little dried out. But, that is OK with these wings, as the dried out chicken works better with the flavor.

When you pair these wings with a house-made brew, you get one of the best meals you could order up. The price is a little steep, with a CPW around about 100 cents, but you do get what you pay for here — these wings are worth every cent.

The Evil Czech Brewery Public House is one of the most unique places I have been to in the Michiana area. It’s one of those bars where, when you get there and take a seat, you think to yourself, “Cool people hang out here.”

The food is different, yet not too exotic. The atmosphere is modern, but not intimidating. The beer is…well, the beer is pretty darn good.

I’ll also have to admit that these are probably the best wings I’ve eaten outside of Elkhart County.

For more commentary on the chicken wings of Michiana from Mike Tomko, subscribe to the Taste These Broken Wings email newsletter.

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