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Indy brewery ranked among top breweries in the world

Bier Brewery sets new precedent for Indy brewing with two gold medals from 2016 World Beer Cup


Bier's brewers: Woody Greenlee, Darren Connor & Ryan Thomas - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Submitted Photo
  • Bier's brewers: Woody Greenlee, Darren Connor & Ryan Thomas
An Indy brewery just won not one, but two of the biggest accolades in the brewing industry, putting them in the ranks of the top breweries in the world. The Brewers Association 2016 World Beer CupSM, the most prestigious beer competition in the world (I’m not just saying this, it literally is) took place Friday, May 6 and out of the 1,900 breweries and 6,500 beers from 55 countries that entered, Bier Brewery was one of only two breweries to come home with two gold medals.  One of two. Let that sink in. 

“Holy @#$*& shit!” says Jerry Connor, one of the co-owners of Bier, when I ask him how he felt when he saw (via live stream) that they had won the second gold. “It was like hitting a grand slam for the second time in the game to win the final game of the World Series.” Chatting with Jerry I can tell how humble and how proud of his family he is. His son Darren Connor is the head brewer at Bier and so Jerry’s pride is a father’s pride.

“Darren picks the biers that we send”, says Jerry. He knew he could trust his son’s judgement “I am sure he knows which ones are dead on. The Sanitarium won the Gold at GABF [Great American Beer Festival], so this was a no brainer to send. The others have won gold at the Indiana Brewers Cup in the past.” His trust in his son paid off big time; out of the four beers they entered into the competition two came home with golds.

The two biers that pulled in the top prizes were Bier’s Sanitarium Belgian-Style Quadrupel and their ESB, English- Style Extra Special Bitter. This was the brewery’s third time sending biers and though they had come home with a silver medal in the past, this was a first time pulling in a gold. According to Jerry, the reason the biers stood out this year was because of “Darren's and the brewers' attention to details. He never ever compromises. There are no short cuts.”

The crowd at this year's World Beer Cup - PHOTOS © BREWERS ASSOCIATION
  • Photos © Brewers Association
  • The crowd at this year's World Beer Cup
The gold medals are a testament to the vision and drive of the Bier brewers. Sanitarium won gold in Category 61: Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadrupel, beating out 72 other entries including Hertog Jan Brouwerij of the Netherlands and the well-known and highly respected Brewery Ommegang. While Bier ESB took first out of 68 entries (including Mother Earth Brew Co. and Powell Street Craft Brewery) in Category 70: Extra Special Bitter.

It’s an incredible feat for this small brewery to be the Indianapolis brewery (of the 60-plus Central Indianapolis breweries) leading the way with world-renowned beers. Bier runs on a staff of nine full-time employees, three of which are part of the Connor family. Of the 83 Indiana beers entered into the competition, only two other breweries took home any other medals. Crooked Ewe in South Bend took home a bronze medal for their Glasgow Butcher Scotch Ale. The only other brewery in the state to receive a gold medal, a brewery that has been named Best Brewery in The World multiple times, was Three Floyds of Munster, for their Blot Out the Sun American-Style Imperial Stout.

This is a major step for Bier Brewery and for the Indianapolis brewing community. It is a sign that due to the influx of breweries in the city brewers are having to be more precise and consistent in their brews. We are at a point in Indianapolis where, if a brewery isn’t pushing out great beer it won’t last because we have breweries that are releasing world class beers.
Bier Brewery adds two golds to their wall of awards. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Submitted Photo
  • Bier Brewery adds two golds to their wall of awards.
When I ask Jerry what’s next for Bier, other than celebrating of course, he tells me, “We are releasing Chinookalicious (IPA) in cans in about two weeks. The week of the Indianapolis 500 we will have a lite lager, The Track Bier available only on tap in the taproom. Then there is the Belgian Wit the same week. The Wit is one of my favorite. We did this about three years ago and finally we are doing it again.”

It’s a world of never stopping for the Bier Team, and this mindset of hard work is paying off for them. A press release from the brewery points out, “Five years ago, Bier started with barrel-and-a-half fermenters. They immediately wowed customers with a variety of true-to-style, traditional biers. Now, in 2016, Bier has followed their customers’ demands and expanded their production to 40-barrel fermenters. Attention to quality has never waned through their journey. As [their] co-founder states, “OUR QUALITY IS OUR MARKETING; OUR MARKETING IS OUR QUALITY.”

Make sure to congratulate them next time you’re in their taproom off of 65th Street drinking a bier or two, or filling up your growler. They have set a new precedent for Indy brewing and made an already exciting time for the city that much more interesting. Hmm, I think it’s time to for me to go drink a bier.

For a full listing of the 2016 World Beer CupSM Winners click here.


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