Scarlet Lane Brewing Company, one of the newest breweries in central Indiana, debuted its beers May 21 at Fire by the Monon (that's a rain date for the party, first mentioned last week in Beer Buzz). I stopped in recently at the brewery, located in McCordsville at 7724 Depot St., to talk with CEO and brewer Eilise Lane and head brewer and production manager Chris Knott.
Scarlet Lane is situated on a 5.3-acre property, in what Lane calls "a nice, big building we can grow into." She hopes it'll become an "adult playground" where patrons can hang out, maybe listen to bands (stages are on the horizon). Scarlet Lane's on-site offerings are presently limited to growlers and samples, but a tap room is due to open within a month, and Lane would love to have a food truck, too. And while they're sticking to their three house beers for now, Knott and Lane hope to offer seasonals and sour beers in the future. Here's more from our talk.
NUVO: How did the whole idea for the brewery come about?
Eilise Lane: It all started about seven years ago. I drank a beer, and I fell in love with it. I asked to speak to the brewer, and she wasn't there that day, and I heard 'she,' and I was just really amazed and excited about hearing a woman brewing. And I decided that I was going to go home and learn how to brew.
NUVO: Do you remember the beer that first sparked your interest?
Lane: I can tell you because it was a very important beer to Scarlet Lane, and Scarlet Lane is paying homage to it. It was a coconut stout, and it absolutely changed my mind. It was such a warm body, and it was this coconut that was so light and toasted that it was just magical how it came together. And I can still remember tasting that one glass so many years ago.
And then when Chris and I came together and started talking about beers, I said, 'I know I'm crazy, but I really, really have to do a coconut stout.'" And Chris was on board right away and was really excited. And so our first beer to market was Dorian, our coconut stout.
NUVO: How did it progress into a women-owned brewery?
Lane: It started out with home brewing, and it moved into more training for me. I'm a bit of a nerd and so it did involve going back to school to learn about beer fermentation specifically. During that time, I was working with my partners to put together a business plan and then eventually asking for investors. It was kind of interesting and amazing that we were able to go to different investors and all but one of our investors are women.
They were excited to support us and see that not only was craft beer making a big bang, but there would also be women working in the industry. We have a lot of strong women that are supporting us, and of course we have our gentlemen that work with us and that are very important as well.
NUVO: What kinds of beer are you brewing?
Chris Knott: When we started talking about our lineup, probably about a year ago, really, we knew we had to come into the market doing something different. There's a lot of breweries popping up around Indiana now. And we try to find places we can fit in, and luckily those were all beers that I love to drink.
So we started out talking about a stout, and we want to keep stouts exciting. We love stouts, we love drinking stouts. But to try to keep it fresh, we're going to do a rotating stout. This spring we're doing a coconut stout, which has had really good reviews so far. We don't really know what the next stout's going to be, but it's going to change.
After that, we knew we had to have a light beer. I kind of brought the idea of a Belgian saison. I wanted it to be a low-alcohol saison, and it's been pretty good so far. And we've got to have an IPA. We love hops, IPAs especially, West Coast, in-your-face hops. And we decided to do a red IPA, something a little different. Something with a little bit more malt flavor with the punch-in-your-face hops flavor. And we're going to be debuting that next week at our tapping.
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