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Taste Test: Fried Cheese with Real Curd Appeal

It’s no stretch: Batter-fried cheese ranks among our all-time favorite bar snacks, especially when paired with a tasty dipping sauce.
 
Big Lug Canteen
1435 E. 86th St., 317-672-3503, biglugcanteen.com
Mild, citrusy Quintana wheat ale added to the batter gives these pillowy curds an extra richness and depth. Thoughtful dipping sauces—an herbaceous throwback Green Goddess dressing or a not-too-spicy chipotle purée—bring another layer of flavor.
 
 
Twenty Tap
5406 N. College Ave., 317-602-8840, twentytap.com
It’s no wonder the softest, gooiest curds around enjoy a fierce following at this College Avenue craft-beer draw. Let them cool a few minutes, and they take on the characteristic snap of the best. Almost as fun is choosing from a long list of house sauces such as chipotle, roasted garlic, or creamy chimichurri.

Twenty Tap fried cheese


 
 
Broad Ripple Brewpub
842 E. 65th St., 317-253-2739
These tender, herb-flecked curds come with a rich tomato marinara that makes them the closest to those stretchy, decadent fried mozzarella sticks you loved growing up.

Broad Ripple Brewpub’s fried cheese


 
 
The Pint Room
110 W. Main St., Carmel, 317-571-8400, pintroomcarmel.com
Light and crisp with a golden coating, these beer-battered nuggets have a winning texture. Don’t worry: The Sriracha ranch sauce is milder than you might expect.

The Pint Room’s fried cheese


 
Rebar
20 N. Delaware St., 317-685-5100, rebarindy.com
The curds at this pour-your-own suds spot depart from the crowd with a thicker, onion ring-style batter. A mild dill ranch comes on the side, but for more kick, try them with Rebar’s house ketchups, either the earthy curry or the tangy bloody Mary.

Rebar’s fried cheese


 
 
Alley Cat Lounge
6267 Carrollton Ave., 317-257-4036
Not technically curds but battered cubes of pepperjack cheese, these flavorful bites at Broad Ripple’s legendary dive are some of the richest of the bunch. A side of Southwest sauce—essentially ranch dressing mixed with salsa—ups the spice quotient.

The Alley Cat’s fried cheese


 
 
St. Joseph’s Brewery
540 N. College Ave., 317-602-5670, saintjoseph.beer
You can get your curds melted on some of the heartiest, most savory poutine topped with smoked beef and Porter gravy at this Catholic church-turned-brewery.

St. Joseph Brewery’s fried cheese


 

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.
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