04 May The Time for a New Brewpub in Plainfield is Nigh
Few things right now make me happier than being able to talk about a new brewpub for the state of Indiana. The irony is not lost on me that we’re talking about an opening when so many breweries are in danger of going away forever, but I’m glad for the opportunity to get out some good news. In the next month or so, everyone should get ready to say hello to Nigh Brewpub in Plainfield.
While Nigh is an entity of it’s own and stands alone as a brewpub, it is a project of Ruari and Jessica Crabbe and the folks at Brew Link Brewing. This is an interesting time for Brew Link to add a new company to its holdings, especially since Brew Link moved to a new building, expanded their footprint and brewhouse, and added a full food menu less than a year ago. I talked to Ruari about Nigh why they chose to expand to an additional brand after their recent move and growth. “Why now? Because apparently I love pain!”
Much of the decision to take on the project had to do with the location and the previous owner. Nigh Brewpub will come to fruition on the spot of the old Black Swan Brewpub, where DJ McAlister had served his food and beer for the past decade. Ruari took on the space and the brewhouse at the end of 2019, just as Black Swan was singing its swan song. Ruari said, “I’ve known DJ for over 5 years and met him when we started Brew Link back in 2015. Black Swan was around for 10 years, it was a nice spot for locals and travelers to unwind, talk to their regulars and just have a damn beer around people you know. We didn’t want to see Plainfield lose a locally owned restaurant; Plainfield needs more locally owned small businesses, not more chains. I’m a huge supporter of small business and a Plainfield local so it just made sense for us to take over what he started.”
He added, “DJ approached us because he was ready to move on. With his lease coming to an end, he had to make the tough decision to sign on for another five years or pass it on.” That’s another reason now was the time to make the move, because this was when the space and brewhouse were available. Sometime you have to take the leap when the leap is there to be taken. And the brewhouse was a crucial for this venture. Black Swan had a 5 bbl system and Ruari is upgrading it significantly.
You might ask why Brew Link, with its newly expanded brewhouse just 4.5 miles from the Black Swan site would choose to brew Nigh beers on site. Well, thanks for asking. It was important for Brew Link that Nigh be, and be seen to be, a completely different entity. Ruari told me, “I was very adamant about not crossing streams with Brew Link. It is a separate brand and even a separate entity, just the same team behind it.”
The team includes the current two business partners who run the FOH and BOH operations at Brew Link. They will be splitting duties between the two locations in the future. Ruari told me, “I owe so much to these two for going above and beyond every single day and getting us to where we are. Then there’s the not always recognized team members…the wives. The women behind us are the unsung heroes who keep us going and the foundation that keeps us steady. All six of us, along with a total of eight kids are able to systematically work together to create this powerhouse of a team and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Beer-wise, the team includes three men on the mash paddle – Ruari, Mike Hess, and Matthew Mourning. Mike came to Brew Link from Triton Brewing a bit over two years ago, and Matthew moved from his Brew Link bar manager role to assistant brewer late last year. The three of them will do the brewing for both Nigh and Brew Link but they will have separate philosophies and be separate businesses.
“Nigh” is an Old English word meaning “near” or “close by,” and this conveys part of the philosophy for the new brewpub. Ruari told me, “We are big on the community aspect and still want the locals to come back, but also support the many travelers that stay in the thirteen hotels surrounding us. Our slogan is ‘away from home, but near to us.’” Nigh is located just a quarter mile of Interstate 70, so travelers will be a highly sought out demographic for this brewpub. To draw them in, Ruari is looking to tempt them with beer, bourbon, and food.
Nigh will have 18 taps of craft beer, with six of those showcasing other Indiana breweries to both locals and people on the move. The food will be brewpub favorites and designed to pair well with beer, wine, and bourbon. He said, “This location actually came with a 3 way. Along with all the taps, we will have a large selection of choice bourbon, along with spirits/mixed drinks. We have zero plans to distribute as we want to focus mainly on in house sales.”
The timeline for Nigh’s opening has been difficult to gauge given the present situation. Ruari remarked, “Covid-19 smacked the industry right in the face. Its brutal right now, but as always the community and the industry came together and we are surviving. Due to the delayed opening, right now, we are serving five beers of Nigh at Brew Link.” But the work goes on at Nigh. They have gutted the physical space and have rebuilt the bar, the kitchen, redesigned the draft system, and taken out many of the dividing walls to really open the space.
They had a tentative open date of mid-April, but with the shutdown, they are now aiming for June, Covid-19-willing. But they are making the best of it, working with the system at Brew Link. Ruari said, “Mikey and I worked together to create the first 5 beers and he is producing them on the Brew Link system until we are approved to brew at the new location. I plan to brew at Nigh with the assistance of Mikey and Matthew. Mikey strives for excellence and keeping the 24 Brew Link taps full of Brew Link beer. I’m pretty sure it keeps him up at night knowing not all 24 beers are on tap because of the current pandemic. We didn’t plan on putting any Nigh Beers on tap, unfortunately with the COVID crisis, we had beers planned for our April opening so we are tapping five of them today.”
It’s going to be a bit before we can meet for a beer and a meal at Nigh Brewpub, but you can help the cause right now by picking up growlers of Nigh beer at Brew Link. They are now offering Sunshine Daydream – a blonde ale, Limelight – a key lime sour, NighPA – an American IPA, Silken Sinister – an American IPA, and Cordially Yours – a cherry chocolate cream stout. Your support of Nigh Brewing now will help to make their opening that much sweeter. Let’s face it, opening this spring is ballsy – anyone who does it deserves all the support they can get.
About Nigh Brewpub: Tucked away in Plainfield, IN, step into our world of 100% authentic, uniquely us craft beer and bourbon. Nigh Brewpub highlights all of the thrills you can expect from a contemporary brewpub featuring choice bourbon and swanky hand crafted beer created by some of the brightest artisans you can find. Come dine with us and celebrate this quintessential American tradition by sampling our beer infused and new-age menu derived from fresh ingredients and built from scratch by local food creators.