[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"]T[/dropcap]in Man has finally opened in Evansville, after months of teaser advertisements and much social fan fare. A few weeks ago I was able to experience what Tin Man had to offer first hand and in the robots natural habitat, a brewery. Lured in by promises of a unique experience, good beer, and awesome food I came prepared to be amazed.
For starters, Tin Man is located on Franklin Street, a prime location for beer lovers. A block or two in any direction will land you at other popular Evansville bars, like the Gerst Haus and Lamasco Bar. In comparison, Tin Man has a more modern decor, this contemporary look can be found in the seating layout, restrooms, and even the method of which you are served. Tin Man has done an amazing job at creating a unique environment to enjoy their beer, which is evident as soon as you see the front of their building.
Now for the beer, which depending on who you talk to is the blandest tasting beer around or the smoothest, best tasting in America. I think I've figured out why such a varying opinion exists and why it shouldn't deter you from experiencing such a high quality and unique brew. What I think separates the opinions is the patrons previous experience with local creations and a preconceived notion of what an independent beer should taste like. To the people I spoke with and myself, I expected a thick, heavy and bitter drink or at the very least a strong beer. This is not the case with Tin Man beer.
I sampled 5 different flavors during my visit and 2 flavors poured with the optional Nitrogen Pour. Every beer was extremely smooth and not once did I experience bitter beer mouth. Each flavor had a unique taste, but it was subtle and never overbearing. Perhaps my love of the this beer is due to me only drinking light beers, which made the experience pleasant and allowed me to enjoy the undertones. I'm far from a beer snob, so I'm not able to use the descriptive terms a seasoned beer connoisseur would use. Just understand, the beer is fantastic, smooth, flavorful, and would most likely be enjoyed by those who don't expect a strong thick drink.
What did the Nitrogen Pour add to the beer? I noticed the look of the beer first, when poured with Nitrogen, which gave it a thick milky color. As mentioned previously, this does not increase the strength of the beer, only alters the smoothness, at least in my experience. In addition, choosing the Nitrogen pour shortens the life span of your beer, which is advised by the bartender. Any of their beer flavors poured with nitrogen would go flat faster than a beer poured with the typical carbon dioxide.
[quote type="center"]What to expect when entering the Tin Man building?[/quote]
Walking through the doors I expected a setup like any other bar/restaurant. However, there were some major differences in the way I was served, which in my opinion was not for the better. There was no hostess, so patrons were left standing around not sure of the protocol to get food and drink. So let me explain the process to you.
Seat yourself, wherever you like, but don't set down! There are no servers making rounds, at least while we were there, so to place your drink or food order you must go to the bar. However, you cannot place your food and drink order at the same location, rather they encourage you to wait in one line for food and another line to order your beer. This just added to the confusion of myself and other people waiting in line. Why won't they make it easier for them to take my money!?
I know it's early in the Tin Man's life, so I'm sure this is something they will be addressing in the near future, at least I hope so. That being said, after setting down, enjoying their beer and an appetizer, we had an employee come over to ask us if we needed anything else, this was after being in the restaurant for over an hour. I felt more like the employee was doing us a favor, rather than providing an expected service.
The appetizer I choose was a table version of the smoked sausage and cheddar. Their appetizers are served in a single serving or table version, which I was led to believe the table version would provide food for at least 4 of us. I was mistaken, the appetizer was small, was brought out on a single paper plate with only 1 package of utensils. It was not share worthy, nor table share friendly, it was simply OK and forgettable.
My overall recommendation of the Tin Man brewery in Evansville is to give it a few more months of operation to allow them to work the kinks out. They should most definitely have a host welcoming consumers at the door to explain their process and talking up their different beers. It's cool place to hang out, but I'm not sure it would be my first choice if I was in the mood for food over beer. Strong beer drinkers probably won't enjoy the smooth flavors offered in the Tin Man flavors, but light beer drinkers and those looking for something different should love the offering.
Tin Man Website - http://www.tinmanbrewing.com/
1430 W. Franklin Street
Evansville, IN 47710