30 Jul Wabash Brewing in Indy is Doubling Down on a Big Post-Shutdown Comeback
There are many people in beer that I trust – there are a few that I go to for advice and learning. Mark Schiess, the head brewer at Wabash Brewing, is one of those people. Mark, as well as Matt and Dave Kriech, have been working hard to bring Wabash back after the shutdown, and now they have a lot to talk about. So let’s talk about them.
Wabash Brewing has a model that is different than most breweries. They have only owners and and volunteers, which suggests that they have a loyal following – loyal enough to volunteer to work for them. They also exist in an industrial park with no residential areas around them. This also suggests that their fans are very loyal; they come to see them without living nearby.
Matt told me, “I know our location can limiting for our growth, but we’re happy being Park 100’s happy hour place.” Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t looking to grow, but both Dave and Matt have full time electrician and chemistry jobs (respectively), so growth is slow and deliberate. And they know that Wabash is really a labor of love at its core. Matt said, “We don’t need to make a mint, but we’re happy that we have no debt and that we’re self-sustaining.”
Wabash had some bad karma a while back (not even counting Covid-19); they had a food vendor and then lost them. They had a coffee roaster in house and then lost them. They had a patio and were then told that their zoning didn’t allow for one…..one problem after another. But with a redoubled effort from Dave and Matt, and bringing in Mark to make beer, they are now staring to spread their wings again.
To make it easiest to follow and most impressive, here’s a list of the things that Wabash Brewing is doing to make themselves into a Wabash that can soar:
1) Lifting the ceiling in the small taproom to match the ceiling of the large room and putting in new lighting.
2) Redoing the bar so it is much longer and faces the brewhouse wall. There will be more room for lounging at the bar and more tables rather than standing rails. The changes have been approved and construction should begin soon.
3) Bringing a company called 2nd Kitchens, who specialize in pairing non-food places with restaurants that want another location. Wabash will now be partnering with Squealers Barbeque. You will be able to order from the taproom, pay online, and they will deliver your food, dinnerware, and napkins straight to your table in minutes.
4) The patio is back! The landlord has given the OK and the zoning regulations have been loosened, so there is once again room for outdoor seating.
5) A new coffee roaster has taken up residence now – Kiel Coffee. They have coffee at farmers’ markets around town and in some of the better shops and coffee houses, but now they have a home in a hip craft brewery. We can’t wait for the coffee beer collab.s. Their motto? “We intend to change your taste buds.”
6) Mark will be reducing the core beer list to about four; the rest of the taps will be taken by seasonals. Look for the innovation to explode! You’ll basically see a bunch of new beers every time you walk into the taproom.
7) There isn’t anything concrete to point at now, but rumor has it that Wabash might be looking into expanding into a 2nd craft alcohol line. We’ll let you know when there is progress on this front.
8) Small Batch Sundays are back now; a recent offering was a purple pineapple milkshake IPA. Yes, I know you want more weird beers – here they are.
9) Wabash has a van that will be getting decals and will be used for events.
10) Speaking of events, Matt is an adult onset type I diabetic (just like Walter), so look for Wabash to restart up their fundraisers for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association soon. This is as good a reason as any to visit a brewery – they try to make things better.
Now you get the idea – Wabash has doubled down on being a true craft brewery – with food, coffee, and as always, music and games. Do the work to find them on the northwest side of Indy, not far at all from Traders Brewing and Deviate Brewing – make a day of it.