27 Sep The Summer of 2019 Was a Lull for Indiana Brewery Openings, But Fall Should Be Big
Through late May or mid-June Indiana was on its way to stellar year for brewery openings. Just halfway through 2019, Indiana craft beer fans had been the grateful recipients of 16 new breweries, with as many as 24 more on the way. Unfortunately, it’s been thirteen weeks with only three openings (Fortlandia Brewing in Fort Wayne, The Chesterton Brewery in Chesterton, and Upland Brewing in Fountain Square). At that rate, we’d only have 11 openings in an entire year! It’s time for the openings to kick back into overdrive.
The May and June openings included Guggman Haus in Indianapolis, Fork + Ale House in Carmel, Harry Stuff Brewing in Wawaka, Logansport Brewing in Logansport, New Madison Brewing in Madison, and City Wineworks in Peru. While Logansport has already closed its doors, all the others seem to be doing extremely well.
In a previous article, I had previewed many of the breweries that were opening in the first half of the year, and some of those same breweries are also in these previews of openings for the last quarter of the year. That summer lull did engulf some of the breweries that had hoped to be open already, and has been mostly due to running into setbacks on inspections and permits. It’s nobody’s fault really, this is just how it goes – no one ever hits their projected opening date.
I also missed talking about City Wineworks and their early summer opening because the owners and I just kept missing each other, but we can rectify that now. Jason McKeever has gotten several beers through their system and they have sold extremely well. They are already thinking about expanding the brewhouse and doing more one off beers, the types that have been selling out in single weekends at the taproom in downtown Peru (69 N. Broadway).
They are also wine producers, and are cognizant of the fact that their beer has a tendency to get lost because of their name. Look for a rebrand of the beers coming soon, under the name of Madwerks. Brewmaster Russ Kinzie is now using this as both a name and a philosophy, with beers coming out that our full of flavor and just a bit mad, mad I say – like the Chocolate Cherry porter that was just tapped.
The summer drought of openings was interrupted by the early September advent of The Chesterton Brewery at 1050 Broadway in Chesterton. This is a special brewery because they are all veterans and make no bones that their venture is about and for other veterans. They serve everyone, but the armed services play a role in their link to the community, in their charitable work, and in their attitudes.
Now it’s time to preview the breweries that probably/may open in this last quarter of the year. They represent all corners of the state and some of the rural areas that have thus far been beer deserts. I think it’s a good bet that at least 11 or 12 of these 13 breweries will open before years end. Today we will look at the breweries opening in Indianapolis and to the north,and next week we’ll look at those in the south.
5 Arch Brewing – Kyle and Scott are working hard to get their brewpub open before the first of the year. The sign on the outside of the building in Centerville (206 S. Morton) is up and shows everyone where they are, and the federal brewer’s license has been procured, so now they are waiting for the state permit and some inspections before they fire up to kettle and the ovens.
With luck, they should have beer and food out to the tables by December, but if not, the opening will surely come just after we enter 2020. Their name comes from the five arches that are still visible on US 40, places where people could ride their horses (not so much cars) through the vestibules and access the calmer inside courtyards or the buildings crowded out by all the construction up against the National Road.
Ellison Brewing – Indianapolis – This brewery from Lansing, MI is coming to Indianapolis, but not just to sell their beer. Colt Carpenter, late of Wooden Bear Brewing, has been hired as the head brewer and will be making Ellison Brewery beers in the capital city. Ellison has a stone pizza oven installed and will be serving a variety of different food styles under head chef Ricky Hatfield. Check out this previous article for more information on Ellison.
Ellison beers run the gamut from dark to light and ale to lager, but they do put out a massive number of stouts, which is great when we are entering the cold season. The name of the Lansing mothership is Ellison Brewery + Spirits because they also have a distillery. They won’t be making spirits in Indianapolis, at least not to begin with, but that could change in the future. Look for Ellison-Indianapolis to be open in the next couple of weeks, perhaps with some soft opens to begin with, and then a public opening to get in as many Colts Sundays as they can. Look for them in the old Towyard Brewing space on Madison Avenue.
Escape Velocity Brewing – The opening is within sight for Jason Behenna and Heather Howard in Lafayette. They are in the home stretch of their build out at 405 Sagamore Parkway South. The paint is on the walls (lots of color) and the brewhouse is almost complete at Blichmann Engineering across town.
Jason and Heather started this quest in 2016, when they crowd funded some capital to aid with acquiring a property and opening costs. The funding came, but so did the real estate headaches. Three buildings and a whole lot of lost capital later, they’re almost ready to go.
Look for the vegetarian brewpub portion of the project to follow the opening by a month or two, as they are dealing with some last second issues – who doesn’t have those – that have forced them to move some money around. Even with this latest glitch, Jason and Heather expect to be pouring beer in the Oct./Nov. range. The name of the brewery reflects their attention to details and their journey to open their place. It takes a lot of fuel, planning, and time to be able to achieve an escape velocity, but once you do, the stars aren’t even the limit of how far you can go.
Klooz Brewz – Lebanon has been wanting a brewery for a while, and now they are going to get a brewery and a steakhouse rolled into one. Klooz Brewz, owned and operated by Patrick Klooz will be pouring beer as a professional brewery by the end of the year, even though they have been looking good as a homebrewer this summer.
Klooz Brewz is looking to brew fun beers with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible and be a destination in historic Lebanon of which the community can be proud. This will eventually include a locally sourced steakhouse, but Patrick is looking get the brewery and taproom open first, and then bring on more amenities in a step-wise fashion. Also look for a bit of distribution in bars and restaurants around Boone County.
A very late 2019 opening isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but 2020 may be a bit more realistic. However, you’ll be able to drink either way at the 2020 Savor Lebanon Fest on the 29th. This has been a labor of love, with Patrick and his wife, Jamie, have done almost all the branding of Klooz Brewz on their own, and it will continue to be a family endeavor. Patrick says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Primeval Brewing – The opening is getting close for Primeval Brewing in Noblesville (960 Logan St.). The Mug Club is open for sign ups and the taproom is pretty much ready to go. Nathan and Tim have been brewing beer on site in anticipation of opening, and it looks as if October/November will be the big event.
Primeval will focus on classic beers styles made with exacting detail, the kinds of beers that have won Tim and Nathan many homebrewing medals. They will also have a small food menu with shareables and sandwiches, so this will be a full service brewpub. Keep an eye on the social media and website to see when the soft openings will commence.
Westwind Brewery Co. – Located at 911 Plum St. in Elkhart, Westwind has passed their food service license inspection and are now gearing up the brewhouse and kitchen to have some soft open dates in late October. The Westwind team (and it is a team, they prefer the term team rather naming individuals). They’re going to open with at least five beers on tap, a NEPIA (called Primis), a wheat, a porter, a stout (called Genesis), and a honey ale, but they aren’t making these for the first time. They already have beer awards under their belt. They will have a small plate menu with artisan sandwiches and appetizers, and eventually they will expand to pizzas as well.
Westwind will start with weekend hours only, but looks to expand and be another seven days/week great craft beer destination for northern Indiana. The local breweries of Elkhart have been great to Westwind, and they state that they really just want to fit into that community and be another reason for craft beer fans to park their car in Elkhart and spend the day enjoying their beers. As Westwind says, “Always share your brews.”
Conclusion. It’s apparent that the drought of openings is over. The next few months will be rife with new beer choices. Remember, support them, but also give them time to work into their system, to work out the kinks of owning a small business. Very few businesses run perfectly right away, the key is to hang tight – some need a bit of time, some need more, but they all deserve a fair shake. Next week, we’ll travel from Martinsville down to the Knobs to find more breweries ready to open their doors.