29 Oct Round Town Brewery Celebrates Successful First Year On October 21st
If you’ve been to a central Indiana craft beer festival any time over the last year, the odds are high you have run into the Round Town Brewery crew. Jerry, Eric, Max, and Company have worked hard to get their name out. Along the way they’ve made some quality beer, including the K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simcoe, Stupid) and my favorite, the Irish Coffee Red Ale. On Saturday, October 21st, they hosted their one year anniversary party at the brewery/taproom in the Biltwell Event Center on Indianapolis’ near southwest side (950 S. White River Parkway W. Dr.). Featuring special anniversary releases, guest taps, and a food truck, the daylong event was a late October highlight for this writer.
I attend many grand openings/anniversary parties, and I like to get there early and watch as the crowd arrives. A lot of loyal fans of breweries do the same, and today was no exception. I arrived as the outdoor beer tent was being set up, and the food truck was parking. Black Metal BBQ would be serving up brisket, pulled pork, and other delicacies throughout the day.
I made my way inside and saw my long time acquaintance, Max Schenk, was behind the bar. My friend Dwayne Blazek from Mr. B’s in Avon (a cigar bar that serves Round Town beer) was completing the days tap list. A lot of last minute hustle and bustle was going on, and soon Eric Fear, Round Town’s Everyman arrived. I had a Sherlock Porter to start things off, and took in the scenery before it all got too crazy. The taproom has four pinball machines and lots of bar games including an oversized Connect Four and Jenga. It wasn’t even 12:30 before all the games were being utilized. As the taproom filled up, I ordered a Ninety-Eight Stout which was one of the special anniversary beers coming out of a jockey box in the cooler. It was bold, and chocolatey with a cascade finish. I sipped on it as Dwayne and I made our way outside.
More taps were outside, and we tried a few of the excellent guest beers. Sun King Brewing’s GranMuckle was perplexingly good. It didn’t get me until the second sip. I definitely recommend trying it. It blows the Wee Muckle out of the water. Sun King also brought After Party, a wild ale. Taxman brought Berry Ratio, a solid fruit beer, and a last-minute decision got Central State Brewing’s Ottermelon on tap while I was there. It is a subtle Watermelon Gose, and I enjoyed it as well. Central State had recently been using Round Town’s facility to brew, so it was appropriate for them to contribute.
While I was outside, the Black Metal BBQ food truck was doing brisk business. I thought about getting some food, but instead took the time to visit with Jerry Sutherlin, Round Town’s co-owner and head brewer. He brings a lot of experience to the brewery, having cut his teeth at Oaken Barrel and the downtown Rock Bottom where I first met him about four years ago. He is pleased with where Round Town is going, and we talked about where craft beer is currently. To this point they have only served in the taproom and on draft with many accounts in central Indiana, but fortunately for the rest of the state, Round Town will be canning shortly, an endeavor in which I wish them success.
I tried Round Town’s Raspberry Saison while we talked, and though light in carbonation, it was an excellent representation of the style. After this, I made my way back inside were Dwayne and I chatted with Eric, who is excited about the barrel aging program Round Town is working on. We got to try their barrel-aged lager, and since I have tried a lot of barrel-aged products recently, I feel I’m a good judge. This one was superb. Eric assured me more barrel-aged beers will be on the way soon. I also tried the lager with smoked hops, and this was interesting to say the least. Smoked beers are slowly getting the spotlight they deserve, especially since smoked food is often available at craft breweries! Round Town has some good ideas, and I hope they all come to fruition.
I was enjoying the party, and the taproom was hopping. I ran into my friend Scott Hardwick, formally of 3 Pints and Indiana Mobile Canning, and now working with Sean Webster at Monon Beverage Brokers. I had last seen him at Grand Junction Brewing’s Rock the Junction this past spring where he had been pouring for Round Town. I know a lot of people in the industry, so it’s always nice to see friends. Scott and I chatted for a bit as the party continued around us. A lot of good beer was on tap, and there was a good crowd to drink it.
I had a prior engagement later in the day, so I left around three. I had friends who would be arriving later, and they took some more pictures for me. From what they said, the party was excellent later as well. Live music was performed in the back room and the Colts, such as they are, were on the televisions. I’m sure that many people moved over to Round Town from Lucas Oil Stadium to drown their sorrows.
Round Town has a year under their belt, and with the direction they are heading, I feel their poised for tremendous growth in their second year. Beer Advocate named them one of the best new breweries recently, and I expect good things from this crew. I’ve tried some good beer from them, and feel their flagship lineup is excellent. I encourage you to seek them out.
The taproom is close to downtown with ample parking. I have known Max for years, and she has an excellent bar staff. I have no doubt you’ll see many of them at future beer fests, and hopefully in the coming year at your local liquor store. If they keep building on the success they’ve already had, then they definitely are a brewery to watch. Their anniversary party was great, and I look forward to doing it again next year!