Last night, Ann and I went to Brown County, Indiana, to belatedly celebrate our 14th anniversary. Ann had intended to take me to the Big Woods Brewing Co. for dinner, but the crowd was massive and the wait uncertain (although our best guess from looking at the crowds was at least an hour to an hour and a half).
Barely a hundred yards away, though, is the Big Woods Pizza Co., which has a lot of the same menu and as far as I could tell all of the same beer.
We started with breadsticks (and cheese sauce) and a small Greek salad to share. The salad was a pretty basic, straightforward salad with a balsamic dressing; the highlight of the salad was the pesto and goat cheese applied to the top. When we started on the breadsticks, though, Ann’s comment after her first bite was telling: “If the breadsticks are any indication of how good the pizza is going to be…” (with the implication of “we’re in for a treat!”)
I’m not sure how to explain how good the breadsticks are. Breadsticks are almost always good. But these breadsticks were good enough that I declared if I lived in Nashville, I would go to the restaurant just for those breadsticks periodically.
Ann selected a “Cat Tail Wheat,” one of their regular brews. I had a sip of it, and I can report that it was a very good wheat, especially with an orange slice squeezed into it. I got a sampler of four of their beers. Unfortunately, I did not write down the names, and not all of them were regular brews. There was one that was something like “Six Foot Blonde,” and it was a very drinkable, standard “blonde” ale — nothing to write home about, but certainly nothing to complain about. Two were pales — one an American pale (only about 30 IBU) and one an IPA (about 75 IBU). The IPA was very serious about being an IPA, and it was definitely my favorite (all the more reason I should have written down the name… Firefly? I want to say Firefly, but I know Upland does a Dragonfly and I might be misremembering). There were distinct citrus notes in there — if I thought orange, I tasted orange, and if I thought grapefruit, I tasted grapefruit — but there was another flavor that I think might possibly have been currant.
The last of the four beers is their standard Bare Knuckle Ale. They describe it as “a hybrid ale, similar in style to a light porter with a complex malty flavor.” I describe it as “a stout for people who don’t like stouts.” It’s dark enough that I thought they had brought me the wrong beer at first. The flavor profile was very much as described — complex and malty. The aftertaste was more of an ale, and the mouth feel was one hundred percent ale. The server told me that the beer was actually made on accident. Well, it should be consumed on purpose.
The absolute pinnacle of the evening, though, was the pizza. We did the “build-your own” option with a 10-inch pizza, using olive oil instead of traditional pizza/marinara sauce. In additional to the mozzarella, we selected smoked provolone. For toppings, we put on roasted garlic, mushrooms, chicken, and cherrywood-smoked bacon. I say without reservation that it was the best pizza I have had in years — and I honestly can’t remember the last best pizza from years ago. It might possibly have been the best pizza I’ve ever eaten.
Do yourself a huge favor if you’re ever in Nashville, Indiana. Stop at the Big Woods Pizza Co, get the breadsticks, get some beer, and have yourself a phenomenal pizza. You’ll thank me.