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Beer Buzz: Sanctuary Brewing

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Newly established Sanctuary Brewing has an elsewhere namesake


In a nondescript warehouse, a block north of The Milano Inn at the rise where College Avenue bequeaths a triumphant view of downtown Indianapolis, I came into a story even Mark Twain would have been hard put to devise.

In rapid aria-like profusion four people reveal singular paths to the development of yet another Indianapolis-based production brewery. Sanctuary Brewing Company brings together two seasoned entrepreneurs, a brewer spinning off from the lineage of Oaken Barrel and a brand new Butler University graduate. It’s through the latter that I got to be sitting in a cavernous space with two mis-matched desks, a ping pong table covered over with build-out plans, a coffeepot corner, a profusion of very old wooden crates, stacks of shiny kegs labeled “Sanctuary,” a pile of 2x4s, and an ante-room with a homebrew set up offering up the delicious aroma of a brew-in-process.

I’m in the midst of what portends to be an adventure with echoes from a dozen other Indiana breweries converging into this one spot. It started for me in April when a customer service member at my Chase branch mentioned he knows a young woman who has just gotten a job working with “a couple of guys who are opening a brewery. Is it OK if I tell her to contact you?” I handed him my card with a hearty “yes.”

First week of June an introductory email arrived inviting me to visit Sanctuary Brewing Company at 140 South College. I’d heard of an application but nothing more. I automatically looked up “Sanctuary Brewing Company” and found a site in Hendersonville, North Carolina announcing a nano-brewery and taproom “committed to enriching the lives of humans through our excellent craft beer, and benefiting animals through local advocacy. This business is an extension of us, beer enthusiasts and animal lovers with a strong sense of community and environmental responsibility. See more here.

They’re opening Summer 2015 with a slogan, “Crafted in the Brewhouse, Committed to the Farmhouse.”

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That’s a long way from 140 South College Avenue. I revise my search, add Indianapolis and up comes “Brewery Tours of Indianapolis.” Aha—Dave Worthington and Rand Wilson. I’ve met them at various festivals and was on their initial Johnson County brewery tour. From first meeting they come across as smart business people. Nevertheless, to me it was Red Flag time, but I resolved to play it cool sitting in a circle on one of three matching chairs. I absorb the bubbling over enthusiasm and at the first quiet interval ask, “Do you have a lawyer doing a due-process search?”

Worthington’s ready laugh meets me head-on. I let him unfold the narrative. Yes, there is another Sanctuary Brewing Company that applied for the same name about the same time he and Wilson applied, and both breweries are dedicated toward well-being of animals—hence sanctuary as for animals not church, and yes, they’ve had amicable conversations; North Carolina Sanctury Brewing is concerned with treat of farm animals while Indiana Sanctuary [like Upland] is concerned with providing safe places for big cats and any other abandoned and ‘out-of-work’ 4-leggeds, wingeds and swimmers with a need for care. And yes, there’s an airtight legal agreement that keeps each brewery out of each other’s territory—“us for states surrounding North Carolina and them for states surrounding Indiana.” And by the way, says Worthington with a hint of humble triumph, Indianapolis’ Sanctuary Brewing Co. snagged the sanctuary.brew domain.

It’s a deja vu per Chuck Krcilek who had to finesse a similar situation in 1996 with the founding of his La Porte-based Back Road Brewery. Indiana brewing history has had a way of repeating itself with the newer places.

I breathe easier. Last thing I want to read is headlines about Indiana and North Carolina breweries in contention. So we move on—why do Worthington and Wilson want to open yet another brewery when they already have a distinctive corner in the brewery bus tour market?

“Location,” cites Worthington. “Isn’t the view of downtown spectacular from right here?”

"Right here" is the taproom-with-a-view in the projected build-out.

And then with a sweep of his arms he points out the residential growth within reach of 140 South College. It’s right in the center of their city touring options and it’s a grand old building with a history of its own and it deserves to be brought back to life. Worthington and Wilson convince me it would be a terrible thing to waste the “magnificent view” on anything but a brewery with a taproom, and I need not worry. Between the two of them they have the where-with-all to make it happen.

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Here’s what they bring to the enterprise per their “official” bios:

Dave Worthington, Owner of Indianapolis-based Sanctuary Brewing Co., graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University in 1979. Following college he held high level management positions with two Fortune 500 companies before embarking on the adventure that would lead to starting a brewery – becoming a business owner. Dave always was a leader and thrived in the position. In 1985 Dave started his first business, A Taste of Indiana. He has started approximately 10 businesses to date, including The Worthington Company and, most recently, Sanctuary Brewing Co. In 2012, Dave and Rand Wilson began Brewery Tours of Indianapolis. Being involved with local breweries just made both Rand and Dave hungry to be more deeply involved in the craft beer community, which led to the creation of Sanctuary Brewing Co.

A ‘retired’ home brewer, Dave usually visits over 100 breweries per year across the United States, especially in the Midwest and North Carolina. His favorite beers are those with an ABV of 10% or higher and Belgians. When he’s not enjoying beer you can find Dave on the golf course, fishing or spending quality time with his family and beloved three-legged cat, Speedy.

Rand Wilson, COO, started working for Dave Worthington on Feb. 7, 2007 at The Worthington Company as an on-site coordinator. He quickly proved himself invaluable to Dave and over time worked at almost every position throughout the company, including managing fleets of trucks and working as a General Manager for a trucking company. In 2012, Rand and Dave began Brewery Tours of Indianapolis. After a year of successful business they expanded and opened Brewery Tours of St. Louis. Rand refers to himself as a “Hop Head” and loves anything hoppy and imperial.

As a former Marine, Rand currently holds the position of Commander of the American Legion Post in Broad Ripple. He enjoys riding his Harley Davidson Street Glide on long road trips or spur of the moment adventures. In fact, he wishes he could put his golf clubs on his bike and ride it on the green. Aside from beer and motorcycles, Rand loves photography and enjoyed his time as a wedding photographer in Kokomo. His favorite animals are dogs and horses, although he loves all animals … except opossums.

In the following weeks you’ll learn how Cynthia Roush secured her desired career path at a beer festival and why Aaron Koerner came back to Indiana and what role they each take on with “our” Sanctuary Brewing Company.

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Indiana Homebrewers on the national scene

Four first place and two third place regional homebrew winners have their beers in competition at The American Homebrewers Association 2015 National Homebrewers Conference June 11-13 in San Diego. Based on results from the April 2015 judging in Chicago:

First Place winners:

from Indianapolis: John Allison a member of Foam Blowers of Indiana Homebrew Club, for Porter
from Indianapolis : Nathan Compton, Foam Blowers of Indiana, for Belgian & French Ales
from West Lafayette: Nathan Engelbert, Tippecanoe Homeblowers Circle, for Sour Ale
from Plymouth: John Raczkowski, Michiana Extract & Grain Association, for Melomel Fruit Mead

Third Place winners:

from LaPorte: Chris Olson & Greg Dadlow for European Amber Lager
from Indianapolis: Brent Mundy for Scottish & Irish Ale
(None belong to a club.)

Martin Brungard, a member of Foam Blowers of Indiana and a member of the AHA Governing committee, is presenting a seminar at the conference: “Why Good Tasting Water Can’t Guarantee You Great Beer.” The conference posting reads: “Martin Brungard is a recognized expert in brewing water chemistry and a professional engineer specializing in water treatment. He is the author of Bru’n Water software for brewing water adjustment and author of the Bru’n Water website, which features extensive brewing water information. He was also a technical editor for Brewing Publication’s book Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by John Palmer and Colin Kaminski.”

Also attending are homebrewers and Master Beer Judges Agatha Feltus and Sandy Cockerham. Cockerham recently joined Brungard as an elected member of the 15-person AHA Governing Committee.

Foam Blowers of Indiana president Ron Smith reports there are still a few spaces on his
Germany Beer Trip coming up in mid to late July. “It is a good group of 14 people, but I still have a couple seats open if any last minute takers,” he offers. “I’m now also promoting the Belgium Beer Trip for 2016, and then we’re back to Germany with a Family-Friendly trip in 2017. More at: Email: RonSmith@MarketWiseSolutions.com or check this site.

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Brewery News

Mad Anthony added a new sales twist at their four locations with an on-draft clearance of Bent Rim Black Lager “to bring Spring to a close” and welcome Summer Daze Wheat in time for the June 21 solstice at 12:38 p.m. EDT.

Then along came a notice from Triton: Batch #666: Demon Chief is on special for $11 a growler while supplies last. Is Brewery Spring clearing on the rise?

Quaff ON! in the midst of building out its newest location in Speedway reports, “Big Woods Village [in Downtown Nashville] is abuzz with activity. Our distillery is under construction and should be up and running by late summer and our Small Batch Brew House located downtown at Big Woods Village is busy developing new recipes and brewing rotating featured beers and seasonals. Look for the Six Foot Berry Blonde series (Strawberry and Black Raspberry), Get Lost Saison, Fell Swoop Belgian Wit, and a new recipe, Kemosabe Session IPA.”

They also report the kitchen at Big Woods Brewing Company (the original brew pub) is getting a makeover so the Nashville brewpub will be closed for a few days. Big Woods Pizza Company and Quaff ON! Bloomington will stay open. Check out closure dates at: www.quaffon.com, and on social media.”

New Brews

Thr3e Wise Men’s new seasonal Agrarian Queen Farmhouse Ale is a refreshing, dry summer ale with layers of taste from the interplay between Saison yeast and excellent malt balance against Saphir hops for a spicy fruity, citrusy experience.

At the Broad Ripple location I noticed something new at the end of the bar —a Crowler dispenser. Last week we mentioned Daredevil was offering a 32 oz carryout can of draft beer along with 32 oz plastic bullets and 64 oz growlers. Same now is true for Thr3e Wise Men. While Crowlers have the ease of a can for take along anywhere, once opened they stay open [unless you can rig up something akin to the plastic lids we used to place over pop cans]. Bullets and growlers can be resealed.

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Crowlers give notice they are redeemable for 10 cents each in Michigan and for a nickel each in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Iowa and Connecticut. Is it time to think of redeeming options in Indiana?

Sun King: Noon, June 11 is the release of Cherry Busey, “a Flanders-style Oud Bruin Ale produced using a complex cocktail of wild yeasts and aged in a bevy of barrels. A multitude of Montmorency cherries were lovingly liberated to give the beer its tart cherry tang,” according to the notice. Also coming up are Jāņi, “a strong but smooth Baltic Porter with hints of herbal hoppiness and a rich and roasty cocoa character” and Big H Hefeweizen, Sun King’s traditional Bavarian-style wheat beer with banana aroma and taste arising from the yeast.

Fountain Square: Hero Hefe Jr. Hefeweizen “named after Hero Jr., embodies all the characteristics of Indy's best rock band. Just like a live Hero Jr. show, our Hefeweizen will entice you, electrify you and leave you wanting more!” enthuse the brewers.

Triton: New seasonals are Wit-or-Wit-Out-You, Sly Boogi Session IPA and Beer Hammock Shandy. Shandy is a style that mixes beer with lemonade, ginger ale or ginger beer. It reportedly first appeared in Great Britain during the mid-19th century as a refreshing summer beverage.

Bloomington Brewing Company: The summer Belgian Blond Lune Blanche [White Moon] “is named in honor of the vitality of the summer night. Whether grilling with friends or pouring from the growler on your patio Lune Blanche breathes life into your glass,” promises the description. The copper color introduces aromas of apricots, honeysuckle and banana. “At first taste this juicy, medium full-bodied ale blends flavors of cotton candy and cereal grain with a slight peppery kick to finish each sip. A very smooth beer leaves with a slight drying finish. Recalling last Summer’s tasting, don’t be fooled by smoothness from the perfect balance between a blend of Belgian Pale, Munich, Caramel and Special Aromatic malt against Mt. Hood, Tettnanger, Liberty and German Select hops—Lune Blanche kicks in at 7.3% ABV with only 16 IBUs.

Half Moon: Amazing Apple Red Ale is a mild and crisp red ale with the refreshing flavor of juicy red apples.

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