There is an inherent tinge of excitement to the term “escape velocity.” That’s partially because “Escape Velocity” sounds like it could be the name of a thrilling blockbuster action film. But even in its most straightforwardly scientific definition, there’s still a sense of adventure — the speed that an object must travel to break free of a planet or moon’s gravitational pull.
Without scientific calculation and daredevil momentum, escape velocity would be impossible. The husband-and-wife team of Jason Behenna and Heather Howard have brought both to Escape Velocity Brewing Company — from the outer-space inspiration for their beer names and interior décor to staking a distinct claim in the area’s burgeoning brewpub scene.
What began as a home-brewing hobby for Behenna has blossomed into a business where he pours his award-winning beers, including a stout that took 2016’s Best in Show at the Indiana State Fair Brewers’ Cup. (Behenna cut his professional teeth during stints at Fountain Square Brewing and Daredevil Brewing Company, staples of Indianapolis’s craft-beer contingent.)
Escape Velocity’s crisp Wheels Stop Kölsch (which splits the difference between an ale and a lager) and the dark-lager SCE to AUX Munich Dunkel are both hits. It also serves Irish and imperial stouts, a Scottish ale, IPAs and rotating options. In addition to flights and pints, Escape Velocity sells 32- or 64-ounce carryout growlers, with select refill discounts.
Where Escape Velocity sets itself apart from its Lafayette-area brewery brethren is a bold food menu that’s entirely vegetarian, with vegan and gluten-free substitutions available for almost every option. That means Escape Velocity’s soft pretzel is accompanied by a side of sharp cashew nacho cheese and its barbecue sandwich is stuffed with savory pulled jackfruit.
What’s jackfruit? It’s a large tropical fruit with a neutral flavor, a meat-like texture, plenty of nutrients and (like tofu) the ability to absorb almost any flavor. On this sandwich, that’s a zesty, lip-smacking barbecue sauce, complemented by a somewhat sweet Irish Cheddar cheese and the crunch of hand-cut potato chips from Indianapolis’s Broad Ripple Chip Company. I can’t wait to try the spicy jackfruit torta the next time out.
Most Escape Velocity sandwiches also include options for a lettuce wrap or gluten-free bread, and if you need to skip the chips, the tomato soup weighs in with considerable body and bite. In all, Escape Velocity delivers something out of this world right here at home.