Trubble Brewing a key part of revitalizing Fort Wayne Craft Beer Scene

Trubble Brewing a key part of revitalizing Fort Wayne Craft Beer Scene

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By Charlie Sasse for Indiana On Tap

When I walked into Trubble Brewing the first thing I noticed was a massive structure behind the bar with a big mirror in the middle and shelves located on both sides and below. The taps pour from a chrome bar tower in the middle of a large mirror custom etched with Trubble Brewing’s logo. The logo is two geometrically shaped faces looking in opposite directions, and one has a smile while the other is frowning. There is also a tulip glass design incorporated into the top. The back of the bar has that cool western movie vibe without seeming fake and/or forced. The big structure and the bar were part of the original construction when Chad and Keli Hankee took over the building. Chad’s background in construction came in very handy during the build-out, but they couldn’t have done it with out their inner circle of friends and volunteers.

I immediately headed for the bar and grabbed a stool and the beer menu. There are several taps and a solid bottle/can list to choose from. I was happy to order a Stone Graniac and a couple of Founders Double Troubles while chatting up Chad. Chad is the President, Head Brewer, Janitor, and anything else he needs to be. Keli is not only Chad’s partner in life but also in Trubble. She is officially a partner, General Manager, waitress, bartender, and, like Chad, anything else needed. While I was doing the interview Keli spent most of the time calmly filtering through paper work, paying bills, and occasionally laughing at the conversations Chad and I were having. These are two of the most down to earth people I have ever met, and they didn’t seem to get upset when I ran into the original French Doors leading to the brewery and caused everyone to turn and look. I am not very stealthy.


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Chad and Keli have applied for their federal permit and are patiently waiting to begin brewing. Chad will be working with a three barrel system including three jacketed fermenters and a bright tank. The current plan is to have six standard beers including a west coast style IPA called Mindtrap IPA3 and a peanut butter stout called Dog Jaw. I love peanut butter and I love the play on words. My guess is the addition of cocoa nibs and cocoa powder make this 4.5% stout delicious. Mindtrap IPA3 will come in at 10.8% with 103 IBUs when it is brewed. According to Chad, there are a “shit” ton of hops used during dry hopping. I do believe that is an exact measurement in brewery terms. He also plans to do some fun one-off beers with interesting ingredients to serve in the restaurant. I imagine there will be a lot of local adjuncts in their beer, since all of the food served in the restaurant is sourced within a 30 mile radius. I can’t wait to visit the brewery when I can have their beer paired with their delicious food.

There is an amazing mural on the brewery wall of a monkey doing The Thinker. Anyone that knows me knows I love chimps, and if you show me chimps in people clothes I turn into a little kid. The mural was painted by a local artist named Jared Tobias, and is now the wallpaper on my phone. Chad and Keli show their support for local business by sourcing local ingredients for their chef to hiring local artist Jusin from the Old Five and Dime Sign Shop to paint their windows to having a local carpenter make the community tables out of a 10’ x 1” slab of walnut. Decorating the brewery area are brewery signs, artwork, and shiny new equipment, and then there is a tambourine sitting on the stainless steel table. I have never seen a tambourine in a brewery before and I was curious. It turns out that Chad is not only a carpenter and brewer – he is also a musician. He is fluent with the guitar and several percussion instruments and enjoys sitting around and playing music with others. In fact, if you show up when Chad’s mom is visiting you may walk into a jam session back in the brewery. Apparently she is one heck of a guitar player and learns songs simply by ear. That is pretty impressive!

From his blue VW beanbag chair, referred to as his office chair, Chad told me some fun stories and we talked about people we mutually know in the brewing business. At one point he became excited, which means a bigger smile and grander hand movements, when he told me about his custom branding iron. All of the four tops have the brewery logo branded on the corner, and I left wondering how long it will be before Chad convinces himself to get branded. I for one would love to be there and write something up about how many uses there are for a branding iron after you have one made. Really I just want to drink beer and see someone get branded. Next time you make it to Fort Wayne, or are passing through, I suggest you stop in and have a pint. Don’t forget to order the Dad Bod or the Trub Cheese!  Keep drinking great beer and talking about it, I know I will.




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