Bringing the Outdoors In
By Chris Bavender
Greg and Jackie Dikos only lived in Seattle for a year, but the town left a huge impression.
“It’s a great brewing town with neighborhoods that have a lot of different little elements and camaraderie. You could go from neighborhood to neighborhood and try a different brewery - the craft beer out there is amazing,” Jackie said. “And we always felt like we were having really great food with the beer - it’s just a whole different element we weren’t used to.”
Back in Indiana, the couple - he’s an orthopedic surgeon and longtime home brewer, and she’s a sports dietician with a passion for healthy eating - talked about creating something similar.
“Two to three years ago we started formulating a plan and moving forward with the process,” Jackie said.
That plan came to fruition in early October when Field Brewing opened at 303 E. Main St. in Westfield.
“I feel there are a lot of little pieces of Greg and I laced throughout the brewery. It’s the opposite of what many Midwest breweries are,” she said. “Ours is meant to be light and bright and we believe in bringing the outdoors in so there are windows all around. We try to be different but still approachable and the place you want to hang out.”
Because the building is new, Jackie said they wanted to avoid the “too fresh and spanking new” feel.
“So, there are some lived in elements in the interior. I did a lot of antique shopping,” she said. “The chairs are schoolhouse chairs from the1950’s and there are some vintage elements such as our lights which are old school lights.”
Field Brewing is comprised of two buildings with a courtyard in between where families can hang out.
“We do a lot of things with our own kids so that was part of that element we wanted. It’s not like we have a jungle gym out back but parents can go out and play games with their kids,” Jackie said. “The whole point is to connect. If servers notice everyone in the family is on their phones there are games they can bring over to them. We want to generate community and a sense of coming together.”
That’s why you’ll find few TV’s.
“We want people to feel they can get away in our space. That’s one of the original concepts we had,” she said. “Sometimes when you’re out you have to snap your fingers to capture the kid’s attention and we knew that was not the environment we wanted for our space.”
What you will find is six craft beers by head brewer Rian Umbach who came to the brewery from Cincinnati's Moerlein Lager House.
“He’s done a lot of fun things with one-offs. He will take one of our main brews - say a stout - and infuse it with flavors. At Christmas we had the 12 Stouts of Christmas with flavors like Thin Mint and Yule Log,” Jackie said. “It was a big hit and some of them didn’t last more than four or five hours. We just released our Resolution - a black IPA - at midnight on the 31st (Dec.).”
As for the food, everything is as fresh and from scratch as possible with no corn syrups or preservatives - something that was very important to Jackie. Chef Alan Sternberg, a multiple James Beard Award nominee, brought her vision to life.
“Greg and I took him to Seattle and said this is the type of food we appreciated,” she said. “I gave him some feedback on the types of ingredients I’d like to use but he is a professional so we let him run with it.”
Customer favorites include the Field Burger, Beet Salad, Salmon, and Ricotta Gnocchi which utilizes seasonal ingredients.
Breakfast at the Brewery
But Field Brewing doesn’t just offer craft beer and dinner options. The brewery opens at 7 a.m. Mon. - Fri. with Grab-n-Go items ranging from hard boiled eggs to yogurt and fruit, baked goods and coffee. From 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays you’ll find a full blown brunch featuring everything from Ricotta Pancakes to Avocado Toast to Biscuit Bennie – salmon and poached egg with a chive hollandaise. Lunch offerings include Beef & Beer Chili, Roast Pork Sandwich and a Sprouted Grain Burger.
“We wanted you to be able to come three different times during the day and have three different experiences,” Jackie said. “Whether it’s sitting with a laptop and coffee to a beer and burger, depending on the time of day.”
Future plans include turning the second building - now an event space - into a distillery.
“We want to pace things at a rate where we can be the most successful. On the forefront for 2019 is working on distributing our beers and seeing where that takes us,” Jackie said. “Then, have the brewery and distillery. But, ultimately, we just want to be the comfortable, go to destination. A place you can always rely on and hang out and have a good time and reconnect with family and friends.”