The Acme Bar is one of those Fort Wayne landmarks that still embodies the charm of the local watering hole while being a family-friendly restaurant. After its brief closing in 2009, it underwent some updating; without losing any of its appeal, it quickly reclaimed its “local favorite” status. I was thrilled to see them introduce craft beer to their establishment. I don’t get over that way as often as I’d like, but I knew they carried a pretty extensive bottle list. Recently I headed over to see how it rated for a beer snob like myself.
The bottle menu contained roughly 85 craft bottled beers to choose from and a handful of macro imports and ciders. That’s a pretty impressive selection! After selecting a few they were out of, I decided to start with the Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat. Wheats are a good beer to start off with, as they aren’t over-powering and won’t kill tastebuds like an IPA might.
After the first sip I knew something was very wrong. I’ve had this beer before, and it’s excellent. The bottle was dated and past its serve-by date. I love brewers who date their bottles, and for this very reason. My drinking companion pointed this out to the bartender and she very apologetically took away the beer. Mistakes happen and don’t particularly bother me when they’re handled well.
The next beer I tried was the Four Barrel Brown by Triton Brewing Company. When I see barrel, I automatically think bourbon barrel, so my first sip was a bit of confusion; my brain was thinking, “Man, if there is supposed to be a bourbon taste, it is really subtle!” Well it’s a four barrel, not a bourbon barrel, so I had to get my brain on another track. Once I readjusted, I was able to take in the subtlety of the beer. It’s a nice well-balanced brown. Hints of malt, caramel. It’s not very dense and a little on the watery side for my taste, but I tend to gravitate towards really densely flavored beers. This is a 2013 Gold Medal winner of the Indiana Beer Cup, and I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you like browns. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow my doors off. The server brought me a small 8-oz. glass to pour it in, a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s not necessarily the worst way to serve a beer, but I do prefer a proper pint glass.
Next up was the Sin-Bin Belgian Pale Ale, also by Triton. This beer is the official craft beer of Indiana Ice, with Sin-Bin being a nod to the penalty box. (I had no idea about any of that, but found their website very helpful.)
I really want to love Belgian pale ales. Belgian-style beers are my favorite, but pale ales are my least favorite. Combine the two, and my heart and taste buds are confused. The smell is all pale ale, and I love the smell of pale ales and can at least appreciate one well done. This one seemed well-balanced and not too over-the-top, as some hoppy beers taste to me. I did request a room temperature pint glass for this beer, and the bartender was accommodating and friendly, which I appreciated.
The last beer of the night was my standby “I know it’s going to be so delicious, so how can I pass it up” beer: The Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. We specifically requested the snifter glasses and split the bottle between two of us, since this beer carries a higher ABV of 8.1. The first time I had this beer I was in Kentucky for work, and my client recommended it. There isn’t anything this beer is lacking. The nose is all soft bourbon with vanilla and oak. The taste is smooth and silky with a hint of bourbon flavor and a caramel back. This beer is better as it warms, and I strongly recommend letting it sit for five to 10 minutes if it’s pulled from a very cold cooler, as this one was. It was the perfect beer to end our evening.
Overall, the Acme is a great place to go for people who want to try different craft beers. The selection is indeed impressive. As someone who is really obnoxious about beer, however, I would like to see all beers served in the proper glass all of the time. I’d like them to never be out of a beer I would like to try, and I would like to never have a bad beer sit in a beer cooler. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and the friendly staff more than makes up for any shortcomings. I would not hesitate to recommend the Acme to someone looking to expand his or her beer knowledge, though I might go with them to make sure they are putting the beer in the proper glass. Man, that really bugs me.