Microbrewery opens in ElkhartPublished 10:47am Thursday, June 21, 2012
ELKHART — Michiana’s newest microbrewery — Iechyd Da — might be difficult to pronounce, but its handcrafted brews are easy on the taste buds.
Chip and Summer Lewis, a local married couple, opened the brewery on June 1 at 371 N. Main St. in Elkhart, just a few blocks down from Lerner Theatre.
Iechyd Da is a Welsh word for good health. It’s pronounced Yah-key-Dah. The Lewis’ were looking for something unique and Chip happens to be of Welsh heritage — so the name stuck.
“You may not know how to say it, but you will be able to say it’s that brewery with the weird name in Elkhart,” Summer said.
Summer described her husband as a serial hobbyist. She said he is known for picking up a hobby and learning everything he can about it before moving on to the next.
He began brewing beer at home about seven years ago, but, unlike other hobbies, he never got tired of brewing. Over the years, Chip’s home brews took home dozens of awards from contests across the country.
With thoughts of going pro, Chip took an immersion course in Colorado last summer where he basically worked in every part of a brewery.
“When he came home he said ‘yeah that’s what I want to do,’” Summer said. “I told him let’s go for it.”
Chip brews the half a dozen or so beers on tap and two house sodas. Summer takes care of the marketing.
Chip described his brew style as English session with an American twist.
“They are a little bit lower in alcohol, but not in flavor,” Chip said. “You get that satisfaction of drinking a good craft beer and still be able to walk to the bathroom without stumbling.”
Iechyd Da currently has seven taps and two hand pulls dedicated to beer, and two taps dedicated for house-made soda.
“We’ve gone through more root beer than we ever thought we would,” Summer said. “People are wanting growlers of root beer.”
Iechyd Da also serves homemade hot sandwiches, pizza and snacks.
Summer described the atmosphere as coffee house meets beer. There are no waitresses — everything is ordered at the bar. There are large tables, board games and free Wi-Fi.
“If you want to hang out for four hours, drink beer and play board games you can do that,” Chip said. “There is no pressure to give up your table.”
“It’s about striking up conversations with total strangers,” Summer said. “It is part of that whole vibe of craft brew and the English-style pub. We hope people do that here.”
Iechyd Da is open from 3-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Find Iechyd Da online at iechyddabrewingcompany.com or call at 574-293-0506.