Alongside the infamous craft beer boom across the US has been a quiet rise in mead and hard cider. Indianapolis is no stranger to that, with both becoming more widely available across the area. Topping both Foursquare and Yelp lists for best cider in Indianapolis is Fountain Square's New Day Craft.
New Day has been making modern craft mead or 'short mead' and hard cider for 13 years. Located on the corner of Shelby and Prospect Street, New Day is the perfect stop for your next visit to Fountain Square. Bright and inviting, the taproom is laid-back with a wide range of drink options. I ordered a sampler and spoke with taproom manager Jacob Howe about their bold beverages and why craft beer drinkers shouldn't be afraid to stop in.
The sampler includes 3 hard ciders and 3 meads, it begins dry and increases with sweetness. "The ciders are all very light and approachable, Gold Rush is much more dry and crisp while Johnny Chapman has caramel added and South Cider includes honey for more sweeter finishes," Howe said. The mead lineup features Washington's Folly which has a hint of cherry, Shelby Blue Ribbon which includes tangy strawberry notes, and ReThinker, a hit with craft beer drinkers. "ReThinker is my personal favorite, it's a blueberry mead that's dry-hopped with Cascade and Columbus hops for really strong unique aromas." While it comes off a little funky, craft beer fans will immediately recognize the signature hop aroma, however there's no subsequent bitterness. Floral and blueberry notes mix well with a dry finish.
While most visitors know their cider, the ones that don't shouldn't be hesitant. Howe said some of their biggest fans used to exclusively drink beer. "Those that maybe aren't familiar with cider should be open-minded about it. It's always hardest with those that aren't, you won't know unless you try it!" To appeal to more drinkers, New Day also makes mead spritzers, a long list of cocktails, and slushies. Their pineapple key lime mead slushie was exceptionally refreshing.
Keep an eye out for Breakfast Magpie returning in October. "It's an espresso infused black raspberry mead that's by far our most popular release," Howe said. Imperial Breakfast Magpie features the same mead, but aged in Angel's Envy Bourbon Barrels for 14 months. Released every Black Friday, they expect a long line out the door for the day with everyone hoping to get a taste of the bourbon-berry goodness.
Sales Manager Luke Nelson weighed in on their top brands while taking a break from putting New Day all over the city. "I'd say our Pineapple Mead Spritzer, South Cider, and the Shelby Blue Ribbon Mead are our best sellers." 4-packs of 12oz cans can be found at your nearest liquor store and most Meijer stores, as well. For the first time this fall, Purdue football fans will also be able to find New Day cans at Ross-Ade Stadium for all home football games. If you're a beer drinker looking for something new, the ReThinker is a great introduction to cider as its generous dry-hopping will give you a sense of familiarity. Looking to continue exploring hard ciders and meads? Go for the Shelby Blue Ribbon Mead, as it's very rich with refreshing strawberry notes throughout. Stop by their taproom soon and check out their daily specials here. Stay tuned for our next brewery visit!