Black Swan, gastro-pub and brewery in Plainfield, IN

Ever have one of those “go to” places where you feel comfortable, you like the beer, you like the food and like the staff? Black Swan brewpub in Plainfield is one of those places. Black Swan is the place our current core bloggers met to ‘take over’ and has become the place we like to go to meet or just to grab a beer or a meal. Plus Black Swan is conveniently located at the first stop light North of I-70 at the Plainfield, Indiana, exit making it one of the closest good eating places to the Indianapolis Airport. Black Swan always has at least ten taps of solid beers, great gastro-pub food, and friendly service. A funny story: in March we sat next to a fellow from Virginia who was in the area frequently on business and started talking about enjoying this place several times and wanting to get to another brewery he had read about. I asked how he knew about the local beer scene and he started telling me about ‘this site called’ Yes, brother, we beer nerds can stick together.

Locals at Black Swan love the IPAs and the strong beers. Yet the interesting fact is that there are people loyal to nearly every regular beer style on tap. If the scotch (locally called Scottish but at 8%) ale blows there are always some patrons that ask and ask when it will be back on. When the Ruby is out there are always patrons who ask when it will be back. Of course, Black Swan owner/brewer D.J.McAllister would really hear about it if there were no hoppy options. On our March visit he had the IPA at 90iub (6.9%), and the double pale at 75ibu (5.7%). For our June visit we find the hop heads truly satisfied with the IPA, Chinook IPA 90ibu, Falconer’s Flight IPA 90 ibu, and Double Pale. Overall there were 11 Black Swan beers on tap plus a guest cider. Basically there is something for nearly every taste, except Budweiser – drink the Blond or the Wit.

Want flavor beyond hops? In March a Black Peat Stout that gave the impression it was a cousin to a fine Scotch Malt whisky was delicious as was a Sour Cherry and a nearly traditional British Mild, a session beer at 4.5% abv. And DJ had a Quad on at 12.9%. Last week (June ) we found a delicious Cherry Wood porter providing a slight smoke flavor and a nice subtle cherry while the Sour Cherry was also still on tap and still tasty. A cream stout offered a fantastic richness and a French Country Ale using French saison yeast provided refreshing Belgian flavor and a slight tartness. The slightly sweet but well balanced Scottish (the scotch ale at 8%) was on tap along with a Wit at 4.9% with coriander and orange. For maximum flavor with hops there was the “Oak Aged Maris Otter Strong Ale” which at almost 10% was a big beer but very dry. This one was made using bourbon barrel staves.

Black Swan opened on 10/10/10 (Oct. 2010, lest you though I was writing in code) with a lot of guest beers and good food that immediately drew in loyal customers. Once they got their own beers on tap business boomed.

D.J. operates a 5.5 barrel system that could be stretched to 7.5 capacity with the right additions. This is an electric fired system that proves you can put out solid beer using electric. At under $4 for some local pints patrons get their money’s worth. Having brewed more than 30 different beers, the IPA, the Scottish, and the Double pale are the overall top sellers. Yet, as noted most of the beers develop their own fan club.

Due to the location in an area with many hotels serving the Indianapolis International airport, Black Swan has a steady stream of hotel patrons as well as local residents.

McAllister had both brewing and business experience before opening Black Swan. D.J. learned a lot brewing as assistant at such notable places Oaken Barrel, Greenwood, and at Lafayette Brewing. He has specific business goals for Black Swan and, luckily for all of us, he is very consistent with his goals of serving great food (“killer” local made-in-house corned beef), with a great staff , and consistently delicious beer. Black Swan is a place where you know you can usually find one of those beers that has developed its own fan club or choose from a nice selection of specialty beers such as the Black Peat Stout, the Quad, the wood-aged Cherry Porter, or the French Country Ale. Thanks, Black Swan, for great beer and great hospitality.

Cheers! Greg Kitz

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