Meet the Geeks [video by Rod J. Eckrich]


Meet the tall, dark and frothy at Highland’s beer bar

We here at the Region Rambler are a diverse bunch; our range of interests and tastes is fairly broad. Many of us enjoy a cold beer and, despite our penchant for appearing semi-frequently at the local dive bar and generally sticking to the lower tier of the beer menu (Miller Lite, PBR, etc.), there are those of us who do appreciate and enjoy a finely crafted microbrew from time to time.

I don’t think anybody on the Region Rambler staff would remotely qualify as a beer “geek.” Nevertheless, our little band of investigative amateurs put on our drinking caps and trekked out to Beer Geeks on a brisk Saturday night to seek some intimate knowledge on the subject.

Nestled in an unassuming strip on 45th Street in Highland and neighboring a Verona Pizza, Beer Geeks is a beer bar—yes, that means beer only—with the woody facade of an old English pub. The main room in Beer Geeks is cozy and low-key like a classic dive bar yet without the traditional tacky decor and smoky atmosphere. (Yes, it is smoke-free.)

Lit with blue Christmas lights and adorned with painted murals of famous historical and pop cultural figures—such as Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, Mr. Spock—enjoying a pint, the general vibe is that of a modern speakeasy, a friend’s basement or, as I noted before, an old English pub.

Inside, approaching the bar, I’m struck by the impressive 20-tap beer engine (where all the tap beer is dispensed) and the massive beer menu on the back wall, handwritten in glowing neon colors on a black board. The pub’s vast selection of craft beers has an international and local flavor, ranging from Belgian Tripel and German Kölsch to bocks brewed right in Valparaiso and ales from acclaimed regional brewmasters Three Floyds.

Many of these beers have names—Lindemans Framboise, Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Shaggin' in the Wood—that sound exotic, suggestive or, at the very least, intriguing. To keep things fresh and adventurous, Beer Geeks changes its selection frequently, and the styles of beer available reach far beyond your basic ales and lagers. Swish these words around on your mental palette for a second: barleywine, lambic-fruit, spiced beer, chocolate stout. The bar even has mead! Yes, that’s what the Vikings drank.

Not surprisingly, many beers here can be on the pricey side, but that should be expected when partaking of these complex, sophisticated brews. For the budget-conscious, there are beers in smaller sizes priced in the $2.50 to $4 range. These are often served in a snifter glass (my personal favorite glass; it’s like a short, fat wine glass). Beer Geeks also throws a bone to those who prefer to keep it cheap and uncomplicated by offering what it calls a “lawnmower beer,” named for beer that you may have “seen in the sweaty palms of dads across the country, right after a long, hot summer afternoon of cutting the grass.” A cold can of Hamm’s fills this role.

Live music is common here as well. There’s a blues music showcase on Tuesday nights, as well as open mics and local bands playing most Saturdays. On this particular Saturday, Region-based rock band Nomad Planets was playing. It’s a very intimate venue for seeing live music. There is no stage; just a space on the floor in front of a large, beer-themed interpretation of Michelangelo’s famous “The Creation of Adam” section of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. It’s titled “The Creation of Beer.”

After our initial excursion with the Rambler staff—the events of which are well-documented in the accompanying video—I returned on a Tuesday night. I noticed that, a mere week and a half later, the draft menu had changed significantly.

I started off with a Scotty Karate, a name that inspired a brief foray into song with my compatriots. (Scotty Karate! Scotty Karate!) The description on the menu reported a seemingly impossible array of tastes—fresh apple, cinnamon, cranberry shortbread, chocolate chips, cherry-asparagus (!)—that was right on the money. My last beer was an Arrogant Bastard Ale, one of the few mainstays on tap. The menu described it as an “aggressive beer” that I probably wouldn’t like. Sounded enough like a dare, so I took the challenge and emerged victorious. It was my favorite of the night. 

The knowledge that bubbled forth from these excursions compels me to conclude that Beer Geeks lives up to its name. We non-geeks should not feel intimidated. The helpful staff here will do its best to find something suitable to your taste, and only the pickiest Vicky would fail to find something he or she likes.

I strongly encourage everyone who visits the pub to branch out from your comfort zone. Those strange and bittersweet notes ringing out on your palette just may be the taste of enlightenment.

Beer Geeks is at 3030 45th St. in Highland. For more info and a very informative “Beer 101,” visit