Best New Breweries, No. 5: Twenty Below Brewing

When Kevin Matalucci opened Twenty Tap in SoBro a few years ago, the former Broad Ripple Brewpub brewer said he had no immediate plans to make his own beer there. We knew better. Last fall, alongside the list of regional craft beers on draught, Matalucci quietly started serving Twenty Below—a rotating line of English-style ales produced in the Twenty Tap basement.
Like the Brewpub’s beers, Twenty Below’s offerings are often unfiltered, meaning they’re cloudy with little bits of yeast and grain. Unlike the Brewpub’s beers, they’re served fully chilled. (We Americans never completely warmed up to some of the Brewpub’s traditional “cellar temperature” pints.) In keeping with the rest of the Twenty Tap beer menu, which changes every day and is available on its website, Twenty Below has no flagship brew. But the plum stout—more light-bodied than expected, and as much a fruit beer as a stout—appears frequently. The excellent hefeweizen (a name for unfiltered wheat beer) downplays the banana flavor that’s overdone by lesser versions in the category. Perhaps the only negative thing one can say about the beers here is that there aren’t many of them. One to three choices appear on the menu at any given time, competing with the likes of Three Floyds, Founders, and lesser-known but typically distinguished brands.
As for the grub, Twenty Tap chef Rob Coate (formerly of Pizzology) has been producing innovative takes on pub favorites since the beginning, and he doesn’t have to go to the basement to do it. The pimiento mac ’n’ cheese with bacon will melt a dieter’s resolve, and even the mild version of the pressed Cuban sandwich is deliciously spicy. One word of warning about timing your visit: Because of its small dining room and huge following, Twenty Tap has a long wait just about anytime after 5 p.m. and all weekend. As Yogi Berra once quipped about a St. Louis restaurant, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
5406 N. College Ave., 317-602-8840.