Bad Dad Brewing Co.: Fairmount, Indiana
On a recent road trip that took us through Fairmount, Indiana, we stopped for a bite and some brews at Bad Dad Brewing. This small town is a little off the beaten path in the hometown of James Dean, but well worth veering a little off-course for.
There's a nice variety of styles and they had twelve of their beers on tap when we were there - everything from an IPA to a shandy to a sour to a stout. The names are comical and all tied to something "Dad" related. Names include "Ask Your Mother," "Socks & Sandals" and "The Sodfather."
We sat for a little bit with one of the owners, Patrick Howard, who is part owner along with his brother and dad and he told us a little on the background of the brewery and provided a few beer samples and recommended some of their most popular award-winning pizzas for us to try. His dad, Barry, isn't really a bad dad - that's just what what his sons called him when they were youngsters helping him at his business or doing chores at home. His brother, Derek, who became a big pizza aficionado while living in New York brought back ideas that have made their way onto the food menu.
The pizza is highly rated and has gotten the family recognition in Pizza Today magazine. Each custom pie is made in their pizza oven with all fresh ingredients.
Pizza and beer are, of course, a perfect match. Bad Dad serves up what they call Neapolitan-ish style and also Detroit style. We gave both a try. I'm a big fan of Detroit-style and they've got this one down. I tried the Supreme, which was loaded with mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, green bell pepper, red onion and organic tomato sauce.
We sampled two of the Neapolitan-ish varieties. There are six specialty options with a red sauce and six with a white sauce. And you always have the option of customizing your toppings, but trust me when I say to go with what they have perfected - like the Yo Paulie with a white sauce base topped with ricotta, mozzarella, soppressata salami, hot Italian sausage, fresh garlic, basil and Mike's Hot Honey. The smell alone was intoxicating. It's a pizza that would definitely not make it home in your car were you planning to deliver it to family members.
The other one we sampled was the Red Hook, which has a red sauce base with mozzarella, smoked brisket, pickled red onion and barbecue sauce. It's another winner and one that would please any dad.
I love that in addition to pints, you can also get 5-ounce tasters for $2-$3 allowing you to build your own flight. That's what I did, combining six of their brews. My favorite with the King of the Castle Scottish Ale at 7% ABV, the hearty 12.9% ABV Imperial Stout called Snooze Button and the Polka Face 5.5% ABV Marzen. I had to try the American IPA based on the name alone - it's a nod to a favorite holiday classic of mine, A Christmas Story. I immediately recognized the movie line that was used in the beer's name - Tapestry of Obscenity.
You can't currently purchase Bad Dad beers in the Chicago area, but there is a large distribution around the state, so keep an eye out for it when you're traveling through the Hoosier state.
We're heading into Mother's Day and if you're also thinking ahead to Father's Day, this place would make a great destination for a father/son outing. For more info, visit baddadbrewery.com.
When we were in the area, we stayed at an adorable Bed & Breakfast not far away called the Old Oak Inn, which was just outside of downtown Marion. There's other fun in the area, from the James Dean and Garfield Trails to historical museums and sites.