Thr3e Wisemen Brewery: A Scotty’s Experiment

23 Jan

I know food, but beer is not my area of expertise.  So I turned to my good friend Scott for his review of Broad Ripple’s new Thr3e Wisemen Brewery.  You can expect to see him as a guest poster here from time to time.  I’ll be putting in my two cents about Thr3e Wisemen next week.

I love a good micro-brew.  The only thing better is a good local micro-brew.  So I was excited to hear about the opening of Thr3e Wisemen Brewery (sorry folks, that’s how they spell it) in Broad Ripple.

Part of the Scotty’s group of restaurants, this is the first one that has a brewery onsite.  It is clear from the moment that you walk in that there was a LOT of money spent here.  From the specially inlaid plates to the iPads bolted to the tables to the huge brewery area, there is little doubt in my mind that this was a pet project of Scotty Wise first and a business second.  Thr3e Wisemen opened its doors to the public on January 17, 2011 and eager to check out a new Broad Ripple location and potential source of tasty beer, a friend and I went that night to check it out.

The first thing you notice after walking in, besides the fact that they chose to keep the automatic sliding doors (a remnant of the grocery store that used to be in this location), is that this place is big and open.  Glass walls separate the brewery area from the restaurant, which further lends to the feeling of openness.  This is not what I would call an intimate venue.  The general motif is concrete floors and warm woods everywhere else which might sound sort of rustic but actually has a clean and polished feel to it.  Everything was shiny and new and there were plenty of flat screens around a la Scotty’s.  I hope all the money put into Thr3e Wisemen isn’t going to come back to haunt it.

We got there around 6 pm and even though it’d only been open since 4, the restaurant was full.  This may be partly due to the majority of the dining area tables being picnic table style that take up a lot of space but don’t really seat a large number of people, or opening night, or both.  We managed to find a couple of seats at the bar which worked since we were there for the beer anyway.  We ordered a couple appetizers and two beer samplers that consisted of three 6 ounce glasses arranged in a larger block of wood with the requisite insets for the glasses.  (Games of giant Jenga come to mind.)  This let us sample all but two of the in-house beers.  We chose to forgo the Two Lucy’s Blackberry Wheat and the Golden Zoe IPA as they were the two we were least interested in trying.

So what beers did we try:

Centennial Martyr Double IPA – ABV: 8.00%, IBU: 92

This is a pretty typical Double IPA and was very hoppy just like I expected it to be.  I did notice that it was a bit tastier after it had some time to warm up closer to room temperature.  I’m not big on IPAs in general so I can’t fairly comment beyond this.

King Solomon’s Imperial Stout – ABV: 8.00%, IBU: 80

I love stouts, so unfortunately this was my first disappointment of the evening.  While it was the darkest of the beers I tasted, it actually had very little of the flavor and general body that I’ve come to expect when I order a stout, much less an imperial stout.  Its hoppy aftertaste also took me by surprise.  We finished the 6 ounces of it with indifference.

Naptown Nut Brown – ABV: 5.00%, IBU: 28

The Nut Brown was okay.  It tasted like a nut brown is supposed to taste and had a decent body.  But it didn’t distinguish itself in any way from other nut browns that I’ve had.  I did have another full pint of this after we finished the tasters, but I picked it because it was the best dark beer available, not because I was particularly crazy about it.

Snow Bunny Blonde – ABV: 4.00%, IBU: 16

After the porter and stout, this was a refreshingly tasty surprise.   If lighter colored and wheat-style beers are your preference, give this one a try.  Very drinkable.

Hubbard & Cravens Porter – ABV: 5.00%, IBU: 32

The porter had very little body and the flavor of it seemed almost watered down, similar to the stout but worse.  I really wanted this to be the one I liked but there just didn’t seem to be any substance there.  If you really like porters, I’m sorry, but don’t bother with this one.

Hoggy Style Amber – ABV: 5.00%, IBU: 28

This was my favorite beer of the evening.  The first thing I thought when I tasted it was, “This tastes German.”  It turns out it’s brewed with spalter hops from Germany (as is the Blonde).  If I had been in the mood for this type of flavor, it would have been my second pint.  This is also the only currently available beer that I’d be likely to purchase for carry-out.  This one is worth stopping in for.

As you can probably tell based on my review of the beers, we were generally unimpressed with the offering. However, there’s still a glimmer of hope for this place:  The brewmaster is still very much experimenting and trying out new recipes, so hopefully the beers will improve with new batches.  Based on what they had available for carry-out from other breweries, they seem to have good taste in beer and hopefully this is an indicator of the quality of what they’re shooting for with the in-house brews.  But I still can’t help but wonder how much tasting and comparison to similar beers was done prior to opening night, because overall, their beer can’t stand up to other local beers yet. And that’s never a good omen for a brewery.

The hostesses, wait staff, and bartenders were friendly and attentive (hopefully that continues beyond the first week of business).  I asked our server what the “mofo” in the mofo mustard meant.  She gave me a sly smile and said, “That means it’s hot.”  Not my first guess, but she was right.

– Scott Brechmacher

7 Responses to “Thr3e Wisemen Brewery: A Scotty’s Experiment”

  1. Scotty Wise February 14, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

    Thanks for the write up and sampling of the beers. You are right Scott, a first brew on new equipment is never going to be the perfect result; but, I beg to differ on many of your opinions, I feel our beer has a lot of quality, depth and accurate body and taste. But, see, the issue at hand here is that beer is very subjective, so everyone will have differing opinions. And, as the owner, I will listen and heed advice from any and all. So, I thank you for the comments and we will continue to work to improve operations to be the best we can be.

    PS – don’t worry, the money we spent to build this “is not going to come back to haunt it.” I promise you this.

    Since you like dark beers, watch for our limited edition Saint Slater’s Irish Stout being launched at all locations on St. Patrick’s Day.


    • Scott Brechmacher February 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM #

      Thanks for your comments Scotty. At the time, I questioned if my thoughts on some of the beers we sampled were due solely to my subjective tastes (they always are to some degree) and if my tastes were just “off” that night, but the friend I visited with also seemed to form the same general opinion about each beer we tried.

      There are any number of variables that can influence the batch or even pour of a certain beer at a certain time. Maybe that was the case when we visited on opening night.

      I certainly haven’t dismissed Thr3e Wisemen Brewery as a potential source of good brew, but we had come in planning on walking out with kegs of the beers we liked most, so we took the disappointment especially hard when nothing rose to the occasion of either of us wanting to take some with us.

      However, the Irish stout sounds tasty and I look forward to trying it in March and giving some of the other house brews a second consideration as well.

      – Scott Brechmacher

      • Scotty Wise February 14, 2011 at 5:30 PM #

        Thanks again Scott. Again, however, even with a friend nearby, I think craft beer taste is much like art – you might hang around the same group of friends with the same tastes. Not that any of them are “bad,” or worse than others, I think we just know “it” when we see/taste it. Me, for example, and maybe I’m biased; but, I’d like to think after 20 years in the industry that I have a tiny bit of experience, I think our IPA’s and DIPA’s are great. Exactly what I was aiming for. But, those may not be your cup of tea. We had a GABF judge tell us the Stout and Porter bordered on perfection. Now, I don’t think that is completely accurate, I don’t think anyone or anything is perfect; but, I hear many compliments on the other side of the fence, many from local “experts.” Anyway, I’m not here to argue; but, merely to point out that I think we are going to have people on both sides of the fence. I think we will see loyalists to Sun King, Brugge or others that just may expect something similar and that is not what we will be. Regardless, I know we will get better in time and I hope we can grow on your tastebuds more in the future…

  2. FLOEatsIndy February 20, 2011 at 11:02 AM #

    Just poking around the net as we’re writing our own review of Thr3e Wise Men and had to add our 2 cents. We agree that the beers are all very restrained on their malt profiles. There’s just no body in any of them (we too decided against the IPAs as we’re not hop-heads, so we cannot comment on those). The flavor was fine on most, but the mouthfeel was completely lacking. All-in-all it was good beer to wash down pizza, but not something we’d go out of our way for.

    On the other hand, we felt the pizza was top-notch and the price is certainly right. While we love the concept of $20 for a pizza & a growler, we worry that the thin-crust would be cold by the time it got home…

    • Erin April 8, 2011 at 3:10 PM #

      I love beer, love hops, spend a lot of time and money drinking unusual and craft beers, and have tasted most of Scotty’s offerings. I hope to see Scotty’s beers evolve in a positive direction with time.

      The pizza is top three in the city, unexpectedly outstanding!

  3. Erin April 8, 2011 at 3:19 PM #

    Also…shades of the <a href= Earth Brew Co. fiasco…


  1. Rustic Pizzas & Unique Concept at Thr3e Wise Men « Indulge In Indy - January 28, 2011

    […] We sampled quite a few—our favorite was the Hoggy Style Amber.  If beer is your thing, click here to read my friend Scott’s more beer-focused review. Beer […]

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