We unknowingly began Trails & Ales about a year ago in Indiana. We wanted to go on a hike and noticed we could hit a brewery on our way back for some post-hike refreshments. A perfect marriage of two of our favorite things. This weekend we decided to recreate that experience by heading to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and 3 Floyds Brewing Co.
Most wouldn't think a hike to the beach in 45° weather would be ideal. However, we managed to convince a couple of friends to join us on a rugged 5 mile loop on Cowles Bog Trail. The first stretch of the trail takes you through wetlands lined with red pitcher plants, our hiking partners even claimed to have spotted some garter snakes. Gradually the scene shifts into a sandy forest and we know we are getting closer to the beach. The temperature drops and we see the waves of Lake Michigan.
The beach was a great mid-hike reward. We've been to many of the other beaches along the dunes and none were as isolated as this. It was just the four of us and another hiker napping in a hammock. We spent some time enjoying the lake and attempting to skip rocks on the water. Once we had our fill we headed to the next half of the hike, where we quickly learned we may have done the hike backwards. The dunes became steeper and the trail narrower. It definitely earned us some drinks.
We finished the trail and made our way to Munster, Indiana- home of 3 Floyds Brewing Company. The wait for a table on a Saturday afternoon is rather long, but well worth it. After an hour we made our way inside the low lit brewpub. As far as atmosphere goes, 3 Floyds is nothing like what you would expect in Northern Indiana. Slayer blared through the speakers as B-horror movies played on the television screens. Our group ordered some flights and pints, the favorite was by far Robert the Bruce – a delicious Scottish Ale with a full body, but surprisingly easy to drink.
After catching up with our friends and finishing our drinks we grabbed a couple of six-packs and bombers to bring back home to Chicago. Looking forward to another successful Trails and Ales!