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US 33 Drive-Bys: The Electric Brew (Goshen, IN) and Mad Anthony BrewingCompany (Ft. Wayne, IN)

There's an old saying about taking the path less traveled, and my spouse and I are full believers in that line of thought. When expedience is the goal, the combination of US Route 23 to the Ohio/Indiana Turnpike via I-75 to get to the Northern Indiana/South Michigan/Chicago metro areas is a perfectly fine route to take. However, US 33, traversing a crooked line from Elkhart, Indiana to Richmond, Virginia, offers a wonderful drive through the countryside and includes some of the more picturesque areas in the heart of Ohio, including Bellefontaine, the scenic Hocking Hills, and the Athens area in the southeast..

Of course, you can't take a leisurely drive like that without stopping along the way somewhere for some food and beverages, right?

The Electric Brew, named for the unique electrified shoe sign
that stood outside its original downtown space, has been
serving its coffee to local residents since 1996
The Electric Brew - My spouse was familiar with this coffee shop from previous travels into the area. However, it had been awhile since her last visit when we dropped on an early weekend afternoon for a quick shot of caffeine.

Established by ex-Oregonian Brenda Hostetler-Kauffman and her husband Tony in 1996, The Electric Brew touts itself as Goshen's original coffeehouse. Since its opening, the business has undergone a couple of ownership changes but has not lost the original vision and has become essentially a family-owned business, with various members of the Bontrager family running the shop since 2009.

The Electric Brew offers  the typical coffeehouse trappings and a cozy
yet spacious interior in its historic downtown Goshen space
The spacious interior of Electric Brew sports a combination of old-time and modern elements that would feel right in line with one of Columbus' older neighborhoods. A visitor to this coffeehouse can easily hide away within dual-level building, or socialize with a group on their outdoor patio area.

Since 2008, this coffeehouse has featured its own line of in-house roasted coffees and offers visitors the usual assortment of hot and cold java drinks. The two iced coffee drinks we ordered on this brief stop were well prepared, and the service was welcoming and friendly.

Similar to Columbus' Impero Coffee, Electric Brew has a "Suspended Coffee" program where you can buy a coffee ahead of time for a less-fortunate individual. Meanwhile, available food options for the diner include scratch-made breakfast items sandwiches, salads and baked goods.

If you happen to be in nearby Elkhart, a second location of the Electric Brew has now opened as of May 2015 at the former location of The Daily Grind on 113 East Lexington Ave.

The Electric Brew
118 E Washington St.
Goshen, IN 46528
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Mad Anthony Brewing has been providing brew and food to residents
around the Fort Wayne area since 1998
Mad Anthony Brewing Company - Mad Anthony Brewing, like the city it resides in (Fort Wayne), is a nod to the Revolutionary War-era general and House Representative Anthony Wayne. Wayne's unique "Mad Anthony" sobriquet derives from his famously tempestuous nature and his impulsive maneuvers on the battlefield. Later, his actions leading troops in the Northwest Indian War led to the annexation of much of the land that would become Ohio and Indiana by the newly formed United States.

Mad Anthony Brewing falls in the first wave of Indiana microbreweries, establishing itself in 1998 and eventually occupying the space formerly known as the Munchie Emporium, located just to the south of Fort Wayne's main downtown area. In many ways, the interior seems pretty much frozen in that pre-Y2K era, the most prominent feature being the Heineken-themed drinkers hall-of-fame-of-sorts (our server explained that the names of those who managed to pound down a certain number of Heineken beers at one setting; their reward was immortality on the ceiling above.) Locals probably don't pay the ceiling much mind now, and plenty of them were in house on the night we dropped by conversing and hanging out, probably relaxing from a day's worth of outdoor-based activities.

Mad Anthony's features a huge menu and solidly brewed beers of various styles
In many ways, we found the relation of Mad Anthony Brewing to the Indiana beer scene similar to that of Asheville Brewing Company to the burgeoning scene in Asheville, North Carolina. Both breweries were established roughly at the same time, have branch locations in the surrounding area (Mad Anthony Brewing can also be found in Angola, Auburn and Warsaw), and sport draft beers that rate as solidly made and generally enjoyable. However, if you are a more experienced craft beer drinker and/or looking to expand your craft beer palate, neither of these two breweries will most likely give you what you are seeking.

Mad Anthony has a plethora (some would argue too many) of items available to order on its menu. Indeed, for the drop-by visitor, the array of sandwiches, pizza, burgers,"un-wraps", etc. is a bit dizzying, and I imagine you have to be a regular to figure out what the true gems are. As it stood, the Chicago Italian Beef sandwich and Walleye Sliders were decent fare, rating a half-notch lower or so from similar places sporting large menus we have visited recently such as Gella's Diner/LB Brewing in Hays, KS, or Columbus' own Smokehouse Brewing.

Mad Anthony Brewing Company
2002 Broadway
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
(260) 426-2537
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