Guggman Haus Brewing in Indianapolis is Growing Right in Front of Our Eyes

Guggman Haus Brewing in Indianapolis is Growing Right in Front of Our Eyes

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap

Breweries have sights, sounds, and smells all their own – patrons laughing, TVs playing sports, pressure valves releasing in the brew house, wort being transferred to the kettle, and of course the hops. All that stainless, sometimes with lights highlighting it, is a beautiful sight. The bar with glassware and all the wonderful looking bar tops. Breweries are indeed a circus for the senses.

But there are different smells, visuals, and noises going on at Guggman Haus Brewing in Indianapolis right now. The smell of wort is mixed with the smell of cut pine. The sound of conversation and laughter is mixed with that of hammers and saws. The breeze moving through the sun sails and potted plants is complemented by shouts of work chatter and big equipment. In short, this is a working brewery that is in the middle of a huge expansion next door which should be finished sometime early next spring.

Guggman Haus is serving outdoors only right now, on their patio and in the beer garden next to it. Covid-19 has resulted in the homey and cozy taproom being used only for ordering right now, and brew house downstairs is now completely out of sight.

image credit: Guggman Haus

Drinking on the deck and in the garden is wonderful, considering that Indy had full 0.10 inches of rain in September, and as an added bonus right now, you can feel like you’re a part of their significant expansion. The Boyle Racing Headquarters immediately to the south of Guggman Haus was always intended to house the brewery and more, and now it is coming to fruition.

A joint effort between Guggman Haus and the Boyle Race Team Foundation, the original brick building has been rescued from blight and obscurity and is well on its way to once again being an important part of the near west side landscape. Racing fans have always revered this site, even when it was reduced to nothing but two brick walls with no roof, but now it will be a mecca for automobile fans and beer fans alike.

The 22,000 sq. ft. building has a bigger footprint than the original Boyle headquarters, but every square inch has a planned use for Guggman Haus and the foundation. The structure dwarfs the current brewery/taproom and grounds, extending from the Gent Street face to the alleyway behind the original house on the grounds, a full 140 ft. deep. There will also be a portion that wraps around the current beer garden and extends behind the house that is now the complete brewery and taproom.

Inside this massive new building (massive compared to the house they are in now) will be an expanded brew house, a large event space, a racing shop to house pieces of racing history that call the Boyle headquarters home, a full kitchen, a warehouse/cold room, and a much larger taproom. Each one is well designed, and Courtney, Derek, Abby, Ryan, and Tyler can’t wait to get in their and make the spaces their own.

This is just a week old, but the facade and roof have been completed since it was taken. image credit: Walter

The kitchen will be in the southern most back corner of the new taproom and will house a food partner. As so many places are doing nowadays, the partner will be on site making food to order, but it will be a completely separate business. Why did I open a brewery? Because I didn’t want to open a restaurant. The tenant food vendor has been selected and will be announced soon – the custom build out of their kitchen will start in mere weeks.

The event space will be on located along he long south wall, with room for about 150 guests. Everything from private parties to weddings to corporate events are already looking to book the space, and I’m guessing there will be more than a few racing parties and racing education events that will be in there all year round.

The new brew house will be in the northeast corner and along east wall, a huge expansion from what Derek and Ryan have now, both in terms of sq. footage and in production volume. Guggman Haus has had a 5 bbl brewhouse (the old 3 Pints system with larger 10-15 bbl fermentors) in storage since before they even started the current taproom rebuild; it will be nice to take it out of moth balls and get it up and running. The current brewhouse will be saved to function as a small batch/pilot system, portending even more innovative beers.

The warehouse/cold room will be the wrap around portion, in the farthest northeast corner behind the beer garden. The added space will be used for kegs most certainly, but will also allow Guggman Haus room to store more grain, more hops, and LOTS of cans. Their current manual canning machine will be replaced with a Wild Goose Filling canning line that will be more than 4x as fast, and will can beers with much more consistency and less oxygen.

The original taproom and deck at Guggman Haus will stick around, they will just have multiple functions. image credit: Guggman Haus Brewing

The taproom will be on the northern side, with garage door(s) access to the beer garden. There will most definitely be more room in the new taproom, but the plan is to maintain the homey, intimate quality of the current taproom.

On the street side of the taproom will be a racing shop garage that will house the Boyle Racing Headquarters memorabilia and the restored Boyle race car hauler that has quite a story behind it. Ask them, they’ll tell you all about it.

So that’s the new space in prose, but to get a better feeling for the space, you really should make several trips to Guggman Haus and follow the progress on your own. The views, sounds, and smells make you feel like your part of the process and will undoubtedly lead you have a more personal relationship with the new space. Some people have a hard time with change, but visiting often during the construction will help those people ease into the new Guggman Haus. You’ve got until early 2021 to anticipate the new space.

And of course the original house will still be there. Look for it to be used as a 21+ taproom and small event/party space. Guggman Haus has fielded hundreds of requests over the last year to use that spot for events, and the new larger space will allow them to accommodate more of these smaller events.

The lesson? Stay true to the original theme and feel, use the space you had in a new way, and then build your business by using the new space to the utmost – Guggman Haus is approaching the expansion in the right way. It’s not going to be a new Guggman Haus, just a bigger, better version of itself.

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