Calhoun Street, Soups, Salads and Spirits
January 16, 2014
Frequent conversation: Me: “Hey, lets go to CS3!”
Me: “Calhoun Street, Soups, Salads and Spirits ... CS3”
Me: “It’s on Calhoun. I’ll drive”
And so it goes.
I have lots of friends who frequent this establishment, and obviously quite a few who don’t. I often go there for lunch. I work downtown, and it’s very close. I know I’ll run into a myriad of downtown business people, so it’s great for socializing and networking.
I have also gone there for lots of shows. They get a variety of bands that play back in the Tiger Room. I’ve also stopped in after work for an after-5 brew or cocktail on many occasions.
On this particular night I was going for a co-worker’s birthday party and took a mutual friend who is recently back in the Fort after a bit of a hiatus. I got to see the place with brand new eyes.
We arrived and asked for a beer menu. I love that more and more places have a real beer menu. Sixteen taps and a variety of bottles. Not bad. We ordered up. I got a Bells Double Cream Stout (6.1 abv), and she got a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (5.6 abv). Both were served in pint glasses. We perused the food menu. Chatted a bit. Then she says, “I never would have guessed, driving by, that this place would be so charming. Its not only charming, it’s cozy, yet spacious – and they have amazing beers!” I was so caught off-guard by her enthusiasm. I have been there so many times, witnessing it through new eyes made me fall in love with the place all over again.
I ordered simply as I always do. A BLT and fries. She opted out of eating. The food is good. As always. I’m not a foodie and not overly picky. They have a wide variety. The soups vary from really good to so-so. I lean toward the grilled cheese (made with Muenster) and a cup of soup. It’s simple, easy comfort food. They have a nice salad bar, and I have friends who are in love with the wraps. Simply put, you can eat there. It’s good.
I love the servers there. I’ve never had bad service. The bartenders are attentive, and the servers are prompt, even in the busy lunch rush.
I wouldn’t call this a bar where they know me. I don’t go often enough. And that is what makes the good service especially appreciated: I’m not a regular, but I get great service. I can’t stress this enough. Service will make up for any transgression, any time.
Back to the beer. The Bells Double Cream is one of my favorite Stouts. Some Stouts are heavy with coffee, chocolate or a burnt note in some way. Bells Double Cream is simply creamy and delicious without too much of any overpowering flavor. There is no actual dairy in this beer. A mixture of 10 different malts derive this creamy, slightly espresso flavor. I like a beer that starts and finishes well, and this beer does not disappoint. Too many Stouts start strong and finish watery. This one does not. It also doesn’t knock me over with the coffee flavor. It’s smooth as silk.
The next beer I had was the Barley Island, Damien. Damien is a Belgian Golden Strong with an abv of 8.4. This one surprised me. Barley Island is a brewery in Noblesville that is most well known to me for their Dirty Helen, a reputable brown ale. Damien was really well done, malty, wheaty and fruity in all the right amounts.
It was a little on the strong side, but didn’t taste it. It was so drinkable I killed it way too quickly, and with an 8.4 abv it was my last beer of the evening.
My only down note is the same issue I have with most bars. I really, really like when a beer is served in its proper glass. Yes, this is what makes me a really annoying person to drink with, but a Belgian should be served in either a tulip, goblet or snifter – not a pint glass. There was glassware available on the shelves. It just wasn’t being used. If you want to be picky, you’ll find a listing of proper glassware at www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style18.php.
If you are going to serve great beer, serve it in the right glass. I’ll pay extra. Give me the right glass. It changes the beer.
Overall, CS3 has a great beer selection, good food and a super friendly staff. And their pricing is really on point and affordable. Stop out and check them out. If you love beer, you wont be disappointed.
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