MADE IN NORTHWEST INDIANA: Valparaiso welcomes new brewery

MADE IN NORTHWEST INDIANA: Valparaiso welcomes new brewery

PicturePhoto by Andy Lavalley, The Times

By Rob Earnshaw of

VALPARAISO │ A new microbrewery is tapping beers in Valparaiso.

Ironwood Brewing opened Aug. 16 on the corner of Roosevelt Road and Lincolnway. Owner and brewer Barb Kehe is offering four beers on tap with plans for two more.

Kehe chose the brewery’s location, which used to be a house, after looking at many other buildings in Valparaiso, Chesterton, Porter and Burns Harbor.

“The guy told me he was thinking about selling it, and I told him I’d take it,” she said. “It’s close to town, and I’m on a busy intersection”

Kehe put a mortgage on the building, and used her own funds to do extensive rehab that continues. The tap room is in the former living room of the home, but she plans to expand into what used to be a back bedroom. There’s also a new deck outside the front entrance.

“I’ve done a lot of work on it,” Kehe said.

Kehe started brewing as a hobby in the early 1980s and did it professionally at other breweries prior to opening Ironwood.

“I wanted to do this for so long,” she said. “It’s just what I wanted to do.”

Kehe, a Valparaiso University graduate, is the not only the owner and brewer of Ironwood, but its lone employee. She has had the help of volunteers but expects to hire help “eventually.”

Ironwood’s four beers on tap include a porter, a pale, an Irish red and American wheat.

“I plan to go six,” Kehe said. “They will be changing. I’m going to try to keep the wheat on all the time. I’ve got a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout that I’m going to put on after Thanksgiving and it just rocks.”

Ironwood marks Valparaiso’s second brewery following Figure Eight, and Kehe hopes it will help make the area a destination spot.

“The more the merrier,” she said.

Kehe hopes to have her beer available in restaurants soon but so far “has been blessed” as far as the response to Ironwood.

“It’s like having a party every day,” she said. “I’m having a blast.”

Ironwood Brewing is located at 6 Roosevelt Road. Current hours of operation are 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. For more information call (219) 405-4644.

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