Countdown to BRBP at 25
Homage to the pioneering spirit of John Hill came in the form of 25 brewers, representative of the industry he helped spawn, each bringing 25 pounds of malt for brewing a celebratory 25th anniversary beer.
Not until it’s done will Mullins know what the beer grows into. With a mixed bill of grains, BRBP house yeast and by-the-seat-of-their-pants hops choices, this might well be a brand new style. Pretty much brewing from the traditional method of sniffing the boil to determine hops, the clutch of brewers crowding into the brew room were hearing history as much as making it. John spun his stories, particularly recalling the reaction from mayors from two different Bavarian communities to BRBP’s Kolsch-style brew. “It’s nice,” commented one mayor. The second mayor raved, recounted Hill. That every town in Bavaria has nurtured its own traditional profile for a Kolsch led John Hill to build upon local taste and grow from his own roots. For a quarter century BRBP’s authenticity has built a solid patron base.
Expect a taste of the “Homage Brew” on Oct. 21, when BRBP begins its 25-day countdown to their Nov. 14 grand event.
Back to basics: Growing Indiana neighborhood gathering places
From mid-19th to early 20th centuries the easy targets fueling the rush to Prohibition were the people whose plight pushed them to drink to some excess. Blaming the victim was —and is — the easy way out. It didn’t seem to occur to the powers of righteous indignation to ask how the Industrial Revolution was the problem leading workers to perhaps find solace with a shot of whiskey or a mug of beer — or sometimes a combination of both. Doing so would require attention to economic inequity, social injustice and cultural dilemmas. Moguls would be required to take responsibility to provide quality conditions for their workforce migrating from an agricultural base to a manufacturing upswing. Working long hours for low pay, living in blighted, overpriced tenements, denied other recreational opportunities, people gathered at the neighborhood tavern or pub, which in its original intent was as the venue for a social event.
John Hill’s concept of a conversation-centric neighborhood gathering place with fresh beer brewed on the premises, locally sourced ingredients, family and pet friendly, underscored by philanthropy and civic engagement established a business model. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Broad Ripple Brewpub’s legacy, this column will bring attention to the diversity that grew from brewpub to gastropub, brewery and restaurant and production brewery taproom with light fare/food trucks.
First examples: Taxman and Heirloom Acres
DigIN! 2015 prompted leading off with Nathan and Leah Huelsebusch, founders of Taxman Brewing and Gastropub and David Sims, founder of Heirloom Acres.
David Sims loves craft beer and farming. Here’s his story combining two passions:
NUVO: What enticed you into developing Heirloom Acres?
David Sims: I have always loved having a backyard garden and being outside. The local food movement and the growing popularity of farm to table in the restaurant industry started my thought of growing produce on a larger scale. I live in Greenwood, but the farm is located in Gosport, Indiana. We do not sell to the public at this time.
NUVO: What’s special about what you are planting?
Sims: I am planting all heirloom varieties and using organic practices. There are many beautiful fruits and vegetables that are not commonly seen in the supermarket that I wanted to bring to Taxman. I wanted to find varieties that would present beautifully on a plate and taste wonderful at the same time.
The farm also has pawpaw and persimmon trees. I hand pollinated the pawpaws and am looking forward to seeing what Chef Tabor is going to do with them in a couple weeks when they begin to ripen.
NUVO: How did you connect with Taxman Gastropub?
Sims: I met Nathan and Leah about two years ago at another brewery. Our paths crossed a few more times and we became friends. After seeing their emphasis on farm to table and their nightly menu specials, I saw an opportunity to provide a more diverse and unique produce selection to their menu. I approached Nathan and Leah with my idea, they loved it and so Heirloom Acres was birthed.
I wanted to start this endeavor on a small scale to get a feel for expanding the backyard garden to that of providing a higher volume. Taxman’s size and willingness to work with a smaller farm has made for a great relationship and start for Heirloom Acres.
NUVO: What’s been the most fun with your produce becoming a Taxman Gastropub specialty?
Sims: I love seeing how my produce is being used on the menu. The thought of my work and the fruit of my family’s land being presented on a plate in a restaurant are very rewarding. Joe does a great job incorporating the produce in many different ways. It is also fun on delivery day for a customer or two at the bar to see me bring in produce that they have never seen before and ask questions about what is being delivered. There is no doubting Taxman’s farm to table commitment when a customer sees me walk in with a box of beautifully striped heirloom tomatoes.
NUVO: What are your plans for the future?
Sims: My future plans are to grow the farm. The scale in which Heirloom Acres will grow has yet to be determined. I am just trying to get through this growing season, in late fall I will begin to develop my full plan for next year. The room for growth exists, but this is not my full time job, so for the time being a balance of work, family and Heirloom Acres has to exist. The focus and growth of Heirloom Acres will be geared toward the needs and wants of Taxman first and foremost. I will also continue to explore relationships with other chefs and farm to table restaurants.
I really did not know how this first year would go, but it has been fun and very rewarding.
Heirloom Acres is a side business for me. Working the farm has become a family activity. My wife Emily and 4-year-old daughter Samantha make most of the trips with me to the farm and help a great deal. The name heirloom is not just in reference to the varieties in which I plant. The property has been in the family for many years, and the area in which I have cultivated this year is where my great grandparents had their garden.
Taxman opened in 2014 at 13 S. Baldwin St. (Bargersville, 458-0210, taxmanbrewing.com) dedicated to brewing in the Belgian tradition with a complimentary food menu.
The creative staff includes: Nathan Huelsebusch, Owner/CEO; Leah Huelsebusch, Owner/COO; Colin McCloy, Head Brewer; Mitchell Roelecke, Assistant Brewer;
Joseph Tabor, Head Chef; Nick Murray, Chef de Cuisine.
Leah Huelsebusch is sharing a slice of Taxman’s everyday story:
NUVO: How have Taxman Brewing and Gastropub connected with the farm-to-fork concept?
Leah Huelsebush: Taxman sources proteins (chicken, pork, beef, lamb) and seasonal vegetables from local sustainably-focus farms. We even source the sunflower oil we use for cooking from an Indiana producer.
NUVO: How do you and Chef Joseph Tabor work with Heirloom Acres to craft your menu offerings from their farm?
Huelsebusch: Working with small farms requires more coordination and communication [than otherwise]. Chef Tabor and David from Heirloom Acres speak throughout the week. David provides real-time product availability and Chef Tabor creates daily specials to showcase available ingredients. By doing so we are able to have vegetables on our menu that were picked in the field that day.
NUVO: How does Colin as Brewmaster work with Chef Tabor for the beer/food pairing in general; in particular with offerings from Heirloom Acres?
Huelsebusch: Almost every dish on the menu at Taxman has a specific beer that we'd recommend it to be paired with. We go through an evaluation process for each new menu item. As part of that process, our head brewer Colin works with Chef Tabor to recommend a beer pairing for the new menu item. Chef Tabor also works to incorporate our beer into our menu items.
NUVO: What has been the most rewarding part of opening the Gastropub alongside the brewery?
Huelsebusch: The most rewarding part has been the friendships we have been able to build within the brewing community, our local farmers and wineries and the people who visit our gastropub. The local community has been very loyal and is our biggest supporters. It is also amazing how many people are willing to make the trek to Bargersville from all over Indiana. When we built our kitchen we were conservative. We had no idea that we would be so busy, especially on weekends. We already have plans in place to expand our kitchen allowing us to offer a wider variety of menu items and faster ticket times.
NUVO: What are your farm-to-fork future plans?
Huelsebusch: Next year Indy Family Farms is growing a special Dutch variety of potato specifically for Taxman brewing. This variety of potato is the variety traditionally used for Belgian style frites and it is not readily available in the USA. Indy Family Farms did some research and soil sampling and discovered that the soil in Indiana is ideal for growing this variety. We are really excited to have our own propriety potato.
NUVO: What else should NUVO readers know?
Huelsebusch: We just did our first bottle release of La Maison, Deduction, Exemption and Qualified and will be releasing cans this fall.
Grand Junction Brewing brewer Shawn Kessel reports, “While Our Oktoberfest is built on authentic hops, grain and yeast from Germany, it has the color of Autumn in America and our Pumpkin Ale is brewed with 200 lbs of pumpkin and all spices. You can just taste the pie from here.” Both are on tap Sept. 22 at 110 S. Union St. in Westfield.
Triton Brewing’s Pink Ribbon Saison, made with white and pink Peppercorns and Coriander, is sweet and spicy, crisp and refreshing. Brewed annually in honor of the Triton Family whose lives have been touched by cancer; a portion of the proceeds are donated to local and national cancer charities.
Triton’s Nobody’s F’Alt is part Alt, part Oktoberfest and provides a delightfully different profile.
Sept. 18 Firkin Friday at Brixx Pizza, 6-8 p.m. (8594 E. 116th St., Fishers) is the inaugural tapping of Triton’s Jalapeno Lime Hometown Hero. The Hometown Hero series benefits local charities earmarked for veteran, police, fire and emergency services. The base is an American-style Golden Ale to which something new is added for succeeding batches. At 4.4% ABV and 16 IBU it’s an easy drinking session brew with multiple layers of flavor.
Half Moon has a refreshing American-style wheat beer brewed with sweet orange peel and coriander to keep you in a summertime kind of mood with its fresh orange-citrus flavor balanced with the soft spiciness of the coriander.
Oaken Barrel reports the return of Firehouse Lager 125, a Vienna Ale described by brewmaster John Treeter as “light, crispy and refreshing,” made its debut this past June to mark the 125th anniversary of the founding Greenwood’s fire department. Its return honors the efforts of firefighters during events surrounding 9-11 fourteen years ago.
You have to show up at Carmel FLIX Brewhouse on Sept. 17 for a special firkin of Straight Outta Carmel (Black IPA) infused with Ancho Peppers. FLIX Oktoberfest is available anytime starting now and until it lasts.
Wes Martin, GF brewer and customer service specialist reports:
Great Fermentations has teamed up with local Maltster Calb Michalke and his new malting venture, Sugar Creek Malt Company, to be the exclusive distributor of his malts for homebrewers. Great Fermentations held a Cream Ale competition Sept. 10 in which local homebrewers used Sugar Creek Malt's 6-row as 50% of the base of their beer. Tom Stilabower organized five recognized beer judges including Nathan Compton, Tim Palmer, Frank Petrarca, Steve Quimby and Mark Schiess to judge the competition and provide feedback to entrants. A total of sixteen cream ales were judged, with Tyler Clouser winning first place. His beer will be made into a beer kit that Great Fermentations customers can purchase and make themselves.