Crooked Ewe is dangerously close to our home on the south side of South Bend. If the sun is shining, my husband, Dan, and I can’t resist riding our bikes 15 minutes north for dinner and a pint of Scottish ale, or whatever tempting small batch is on tap. Executive Chef Alain Helfrich or Sous Chef Mat Ewing often smiles and nods a welcome from the kitchen when we arrive. After we sit, I like to take a survey of the room and greet all the familiar South Bend faces, like chocolatier Hans Westerink of Violet Sky or coffee roaster Shaun Maeyens of Zen Café.
Every Monday Crooked Ewe releases a special beer, such as its Monday Pale Ale infused with raspberries and blood oranges using a device called a "randall," and every Wednesday they release a small batch, such as an imperial coconut milk stout. As Ewe Crew members, we get first dibs on the new beer and delectable culinary experiments like brisket jerky with fresh cracked red pepper and shagbark hickory syrup. We always try the featured dish, but we come back for our favorites over and over again.
The brisket at Crooked Ewe spends 12 or more hours in a large smoker overlooking the St. Joseph River before it reaches my plate and practically falls apart as I cut it. Each bite has a wonderful complex smoky flavor marbled with mouthwatering fat. I’m also a huge fan of the Ewe Tso, cauliflower fried tempura style and spiced like General Tso’s chicken, and the unique seasonal gelato, such as avocado and blood orange. On quieter weekday evenings I can find myself so deeply entrenched in good conversation with my husband over dinner that I’ve lost track of the time. And sometimes we just cozy up to the bar, look out over the river and chat with the rest of the Ewe Crew.
Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House
1074 Lincoln Way E., South Bend, IN