FLIX Brewhouse is opening April 30 at 2160 E. 116th St., Carmel (46032) with the premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron!
The unique format of first run films in eight theatres along with a craft brewery and restaurant places Flix Brewhouse in a category of its own within the almost 100 Indiana craft breweries. Texas-based, with their first location in Round Rock, their second in Des Moines, Iowa and Carmel as their third, we’re learning just how different they are from your usual move theatre and brewpub. Even the ‘brewhouse’ designation needs defining because in brewing lingo "brewhouse" means a place that serves beers but doesn’t brew on premises. Not so here; award-winning Indiana brewer Chris Knott is on board brewing a lineup of house beers, seasonals and specialties.
NUVO visited with head brewer Knott to learn about his role in this new enterprise.
NUVO: What should we expect?
We also have a large bar and family dining area for those who want beer and/or food without purchasing a movie ticket.
NUVO: This is a new venture for you. What's the backstory?
KNOTT: I began homebrewing in 2008 in Athens, Georgia, when I was a manufacturing engineer. I had already considered myself a beer geek for a long time, but my obsession became next level in Athens. I became entrenched in the fantastic beer and food scene there, and I was greatly influenced by the beers coming out of Terrapin and all of the wonderful draft beers available at Trappeze Pub and The Brick Store. My job at the time was very stressful, and I saw a Sam Adams commercial where Jim Koch said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I decided right then, my only choice was to be a brewer. A year later I moved to Indy to be closer to family (Columbus is my hometown), and a year after that I was very fortunate to be hired by Andrew Castner as his Assistant Brewer at the RAM downtown. The day after I accepted with RAM for $12/hr and no benefits, I got an offer from Chrysler for $33.50/hr + OT and full benefits, and I didn’t think twice about it. Brewing is very physical and not nearly as glorious as people fantasize it to be, but I love what I do. I was at RAM for a little over three years, which was a great place to learn. Looking back on it, I really couldn’t ask for a better situation for my first brewing gig. I left RAM to become the Head Brewer and help launch Scarlet Lane where I brewed all of the beer and developed all of the recipes while I was there including Dorian Coconut Stout and the Gold Medal winning Vivian Red IPA. I was very surprised and honored to win 3 medals at last year’s Indiana Brewers’ Cup after only 10 weeks into production.
NUVO: What beer style most calls out to you?
KNOTT: I’m a beer geek, first and foremost! I love and respect all styles of beer. I love classic styles, and I love trying all of the weird stuff that all of my favorite breweries are coming up with these days. However, if I had to pick a favorite style, it would be Belgian Saison. They can be as complex and experimental as you want to make them or simple and refreshing like Saison DuPont.
NUVO: What's your philosophy on brewing?
KNOTT: There's no such thing as a crazy idea when it comes to craft beer anymore. The beer revolution in this country is built on experimentation, pushing the envelope, clashing with the status quo light beer, and not being afraid to rub flavor in your face! I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to experiment with nontraditional ingredients and old world styles, but it has to make sense. The flavors have to compliment each other, and I'm not really down with the trend of throwing a kitchen sink of ingredients into a beer. The flavors have to make sense. I’d be lying if I said some of Andrew’s philosophy didn’t rub off on me. He always preached balance. That said, I’d certainly like to think I have my own unique style and approach to brewing. I’m a firm believer in water chemistry. Nailing the water profile turns a decent well-made beer into a great, well executed beer. A local beer judge has a saying about brewers: M-BAG syndrome - my beer’s always great. That’s not me. I am EXTREMELY critical of myself. In fact, I’ve only had a couple of recipes that I was truly satisfied with, and I continue to strive to make the best beer I’ve ever had. Thankfully, I’ve got a pretty exceptional palate, which helps tremendously in refining a beer recipe. I think my palate is my strongest asset as a brewer.
NUVO: How do the FLIX beer names come about?
KNOTT: I didn’t name the FLIX Brewhouse house beers so I’m not sure about their inspiration. Some of my beer names are movie inspired. I’ll be releasing Omniscient Russian Imperial Stout and Omnipresent Belgian Dark Strong Ale for the new Star Wars premier in December. Both of these names are meant to describe “The Force," but most of my beer names take influence from a wide range of topics from music to sports to pop culture to beer ingredients.
NUVO: You're back with a national company. What was the draw?
KNOTT: One of the founders of FLIX Brewhouse was the late Walt Powell, who founded RateBeer.com. I’m grateful for the foundation he laid, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to brew with a tremendous amount of freedom. I’ll be starting a barrel-aging and sour program immediately, which I’m ecstatic about. As a beer geek myself, I really hope to produce quality beer that earns frequent visits from other beer geeks.
NUVO: Who's your assistant brewer?
KNOTT: Spencer Mason from Great Fermentations is joining us. He’s a hard worker and I’m very grateful to have him. I’m really looking forward to being a part of his development.
Learn more about FLIX Brewhouse at: flixbrewhouse.com/carmel/brewery
Triton reports the Beer Garden at the Brewery and the deck at Triton Tap Broad Ripple are open, “as the weather permits and to welcome back many of our “four-legged friends” to our outdoor seating.” (Please note: dogs must be leashed.)
Oaken Barrel wrote us: “Finally, a weekend with beautiful weather. Our Beer Garden is open. Greenwood Park Board annual summer concert series at the Amphitheater at the Craig Park begins May 30, and Oaken Barrel will be selling our beer and Mallow Run Winery will be featuring their wine. The schedule is at: http://www.greenwood.in.gov/department/index.php?structureid=17
From Omar Castrellon former Alcatraz and Thr3e Wise Men brewmaster, via email passed along by mutual friend Bob Ostrander, we learn Castrellon’s new Little Rock, Arkansas-based Lost Forty Brewing won the 2015 Arkansas Beer tournament and had three beers in the final four countdown. Little Rock-based Sync Craft Beer Tournament reported, “More than 1,600 voters signed up to pick their favorites…[starting with 32 beers narrowing weekly to this year’s champion, Lost Forty’s Bare Bones Pilsner.” Described as “crisp, lightly hoppy” Sync mentions Castrellon’s accolades in Indiana. Learn more here.
Tomlinson Tap Room reports, “We just tapped People’s Rover, Chapman’s Rios, Carsons Red Dawn, Powerhouse JackTheBum Alt-style Pale Ale and Ceraline.”
Jon Myers, Power House owner, tells us “Ceraline Cream Ale is a refreshing golden ale inspired by noble German Pilsner and traditional American beer.” The American part links to corn flakes as a brewing ingredient. “Legend has it that the corn flake was invented at Cerealine Mill, just one block from our restaurant in downtown Columbus,” says Myers. “The 19th century mill produced this flaked corn as hot cereal and as an adjunct for brewing. We brew Ceraline Cream Ale with flaked corn similar to what was produced at the mill.” Sweetness permeates the flavor profile, balanced by light hopping.
The annual Craft Brewers Conference April 14-17 brought brewers from nationwide to Portland, Ore. to check out what’s new across the industry and certainly to catch up with friends in the industry. Next week we’ll have specific reports from Indiana brewers who attended.
Cedar Creek Winery & Brew Co. at 3820 Leonard Rd., Martinsville, announced their grand opening is May 23, noon-6 p.m. and May 24, noon-5 p.m. They are bottling four house beers.
When you go also look in on Three Pints’ Martinsville brewery and taproom at 610 Mitchell Ave. where along with cans and growler fillss pints can now be sold. Among their regular lineup is Yoshi’s Nectar, a California Common with a big tasty hop/malt balance. Brew & Darts Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., invites team or solo play.
Switchyard Brewing reports they are opening late 2015 in Bloomington.
On the way to IRT’s opening of “On Golden Pond” Casey Parmerlee and I detoured to The RAM for their new Spring pours. Head brewer Shawn Byrnes walked us through newest seasonals he and assistant Andrew Trefny are developing. While paying attention to what RAM regulars expect, there’s the call of craft to move a bit above and beyond for something special. The misty straw yellow Hefeweizen imparts a lasting earthy aroma and effervescent mouthfeel as the layers of taste move towards banana and clove. Upfront toasty malt richness and a refreshing hop finish make the bright sunbeam yellow Maiboc a harbinger of Spring while the winter-based Oatmeal Stout still calls for drinking. Byrnes talks about the decision to cut the roasted oatmeal bill to 15%, down from the usual 25% in English recipes. The resulting feel of lightness extends seasonal drinking. We’ll have more from Byrnes about his path to The RAM.
New Albanian Brewing Co. Houndmouth Hoppy hazy, “aggressively dry-hopped” American Wheat at 4.5% ABV is out in bottles. We’re told to compare Houndmouth with Three Floyds Gumballhead.
Stopped at Twenty Tap, on a balmy April 18; Kevin Matalucci’s Twenty Below Oatmeal Stout on Nitro pleased, Ruby Lulu Raspberry Sour started a conversation with two patrons at the bar who made room for me. Deferring to Upland’s leadership with Sours we concurred the growth of this tart, refreshing style is a welcome addition and soon could become part of “the usual” for house brews. I got home to find message that Tin Man in Evansville has Damascene Apricot Sour on tap.
Craft beer talk is de regle anyplace, including your neighborhood bank. A chat with Brian Dougherty at Chase at North Illinois led to learning about a neighborhood that bonds through craft beer related activities—and not just the usual cookout or game night gathering or a commercial brewery tour. A self-planned bike tour took a group living around 80th and College into Broad Ripple and southward before looping back around in an easterly homeward swing. A companion car driver stowed the growlers acquired at each stop. “That evening, in a blind tasting we sampled beer from each growler and tried to match the taste from the earlier samplings at each of the breweries.” Aside from the camaraderie the result proved individually and as a group they were developing discerning palates.
April 22: Rock Bottom College Park, Firkin Night, 6-8 p.m., one-of-a-kind brew by Nathan Scruggs
April 22: Rock Bottom Downtown, 7-7 p.m. beer & cheese pairing
April 23: Kahn’s at Keystone, 6-8 p.m. free annual Sour & Funk Beer Tasting featuring nationwide and Indiana brews.
April 23: Upland opens an online lottery at noon for the release of three of its sour ales: Peach, Persimmon, and Pawpaw. Bottles will be limited to two Peach, one Persimmon and one Pawpaw per winner. The lottery closes at noon April 30. To enter visit www.uplandsours.eventbrite.com.
April 23: Triton Tap Takeover at Chatham Tap (719 Mass Ave.), 5-8 p.m. pouring Railsplitter IPA, Hometown Hero, Hatchblower Pepper IPA, Three Tine Tripel.
April 23: Triton Beer Sampling at Rudy's Cigar Bar downtown Fort Wayne at 409 W Brackenridge St, Fort Wayne, IN), 6-9 p.m.
April 24: Flat 12 & Triton joint Tap Takeover at at one of the premier craft beer bars in Da Region — Beer Geeks at 3030 45th Street, Highland, Ind, 5:30-9 p.m.
April 25: inaugural Indy Brew Fest at Victory Field, 1-5 p.m.; more at indybrewfestival.com.
April 27: Spring Tasting at Shallo’s Antique Restaurant, 8811 Hardegan St, Greenwood, 6:30-9:30 p.m. includes a gathering of Indiana breweries.
April 28: The Pint Room Anniversary Party at 110 W. Main, Carmel, 5:30-7:30 p.m. brings on a gathering of local breweries