For decades, breweries have advertised with gritty visuals and voiceovers that speak to the average, blue-collar worker looking to unwind with a cold one after a long, hard day of honest work. Behind these ads, however, are usually a board room full of Banana Republic-wearing marketers sipping on white wine spritzers. When the owners of Bulldog Brewing say their beer “celebrates the blue-collar worker” or “is crafted for hardworking people,” rest assured that their messaging has been certified as 100% genuine.
Bulldog owners Kevin Clark, Bob Fausto and Jeff Kochis certainly identify with the customers they serve as they all work full-time jobs during the day before heading to the brewery. Clark and Fausto, who began as childhood friends and are now in the steelworking industry, along with firefighter Kochis, opened the brewpub in October 2011. Day or night, these three have no issue with getting some dirt under their nails as each plays a major role in the business.
Bulldog is located in Whiting, Indiana, which is a stone’s throw past the Illinois state line and only a half-mile from Lake Michigan. Dubbed the “Oil City,” this Southern Shores community is steeped in a history of industry, ethnic heritage and lakefront amenities. The brewery is located in the heart of Whiting’s downtown district and has benefited from the town’s bustling festival calendar, most notably its world-famous Pierogi Fest. For a weekend every summer, the town’s streets are filled with people from all over the world with Bulldog proudly pouring as the official beer provider of the event. With 300,000 thirsty fest-goers this past summer (Whiting’s population is a mere 5000), the brewery definitely got its fair share of national and international recognition.
When Bulldog isn’t entertaining mobs of pierogi-seeking out-of-towners, its family friendly, 150-person-capacity brewpub more than adequately suits its needs. Clark is also the brewmaster, bringing with him an endless array of recipes from his homebrewing days. Using a 7bbl brewing system with three 7bbl fermenters, all within view from every seat in the brewpub, he and his assistant brewers keep the tap list full. Flagships include the 11 Mile Lager, Roby Red Ale and Industrial Harbor IPA, while a handful of seasonal selections come and go. Look for a Dunkelweizen, Oktoberfest and pumpkin ale in the very near future.
A large menu of standard bar appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas and entrees makes Bulldog a great stop for lunch, dinner, or watching the games after work and on weekends. Half-priced growlers on Mondays and 50-cent wings/potato skins/select pint of beer on Tuesdays help keep the seats filled after busy weekends.
No matter what color your collar may be, Bulldog Brewing is worth checking out. You’ll have to wait until next summer for a pierogi though.