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Cheers: West Fork Whiskey

With its mix of recent renovations and empty lots, the corner of 17th and Bellefontaine may feel a bit like the Wild West. But when a trio of enterprising distillers (David McIntyre, Blake Jones, and Julian Jones) landed their sleek, plank-sided whiskey tasting room for  in this neck of the Kennedy-King neighborhood in late fall, they showed they knew more than just how to age Indiana corn whiskey in old bourbon barrels or infuse it with aromatics such as cinnamon stick and dried chilies. West Fork Whiskey is a perfect backdrop for their subway-tiled, exposed-brick urban saloon, where product-use specialist (aka barkeep) Nate Purcell pairs West Fork’s catalog of whiskeys with such intriguing flavors as beet juice and amaretto or a complex, tangy sweet-potato-and-balsamic shrub. 1660 Bellefontaine St., 317-672-7468

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.