In places like England and Wales, a pub is more than a joint you go to just to get a beer. The pub is where families, friends and neighbors meet to enjoy good company in a familiar and comfortable environment. Milestones are celebrated at the pub and losses are mourned. There is beer to drink and food to eat. A well-run pub is a hub for community life.
Iechyd Da Brewing Company on Main Street just north of downtown Elkhart has become such a place. It is much enjoyed for the spirit of the place as it is for well-crafted brews and tasty things to eat.
It is the publican who is the face of the pub and the one who makes it tick. Since its opening seven years ago, Summer Lewis has run the kitchen and the front of the house at Iechyd Da. She cares about everyone who walks through the door. She wants the best for guests and employees alike and she is willing to put in the energy and effort to make sure that happens.
Summer modestly says that Iechyd Da is “just a pub.” However, from the start, Summer along with Chip, her husband and partner, set the tone and made it a lively space. It has become just that and their loyal guests have made it home. It is much more akin to a Welsh pub than the average American bar.
In nominating Summer, Jodi Byer told us, “Summer pours her heart and soul into her business and it has positively changed Elkhart for the better.” That holds true for Chip too, and we would be remiss if we did not give him a shout out as well. “While I may be the face everybody sees,” Summer says, “Chip is in the background making the great beer.” She adds, “We really wouldn’t be here without his beer, to be honest.”
Summer finds getting to know the young people who work at Iechyd Da rewarding. She is a mentor and takes pride when one of them figures out what they want to do and then follow their dreams. She is also pleased with how the staff makes guests feel at home.
By all standards, Iechyd Da has become a very good pub. We thank Summer and Chip for making it a vibrant place and being the kinds of people others should want to meet. You can meet them at Iechyd Da. Cheers! By the way, that’s English for Iechyd Da.