December 23 marked the openings of three of Indiana’s newest breweries. The openings proved truth of an old maxim — “Build it and they will come” — and expanded a newer credo —“Repurpose it and they’ll come and talk about it.”
Though not possible to be at all three diverse locations, reports fill in for the two I missed and the one on-site visit links me back a decade to the city of Kokomo when timing was not as fortuitous as it is now, with a buzz for historic preservation.
Black Circle Brewing Co., Midtown Indianapolis
2201 E. 46th St., 46205
Black Circle Brewery, just west of Keystone St. at 2201 E 46th St, is the smallest with a three-barrel system and open hours limited to weekends. Ten year homebrew veterans Jesse Rice and Dan Gayle envision sharing their spins on classical styles with other beers from other Indiana craft breweries.
Featured with the 12-tap beer bar will be live music and games, particularly a vintage arcade, eager for your quarters. On-site food is catered through a partnership with Elena Ruz Cuban Cuisine
Check Black Circle's Facebook
or call 327-426-0143 to check if it's open and the live music schedule. The re-purposed grocery warehouse is renamed Refinery 46, and houses a co-op working space and other businesses along with the brewery as a neighborhood gathering place.
Riverfront Taproom, Downtown Shelbyville
530 N. Harrison St., Shelbyville, 46176
Riverfront Taproom in downtown Shelbyville’s newly created Riverfront District, is in the former Kiefer’s Furniture Store. The 200-plus seat restaurant and brewpub features 32 taps of craft beer and hard cider, half from 450 North Brewery
and Gnarly Grove Hard Cider
and the other half “showcasing other Indiana craft breweries,” according to the news release. “The restaurant will also include a Simmons Winery Tasting Room
where customers can taste and purchase wine by the glass and bottles to-go.”
Shelbyville business owners Greg Kelsay, Ron Kelsay and Bill Poland partnered with David and Brenda (Kelsay) Simmons, owners of Columbus-based 450 North Brewery and Simmons Winery. Brick oven pizza will be the featured menu item along with gourmet burgers, appetizers, and select entrees, according to the release.
“Fresh, local ingredients including Simmons’ homegrown fresh fruits and vegetables and meats, cheese, and breads from other Indiana producers will be utilized.
“Riverfront Taproom will also include a unique barrel room, lined wall-to-wall in wine barrels, that will be available for larger parties, meetings and events for up to 45 people. An outdoor deck overlooking the Big Blue River will complement the outdoor seating.”
A Pint of History:
Shelbyville is located 26 miles southeast of Indianapolis in Shelby County at the fork of the Little Blue and Big Blue Rivers, on land ceded to the United States in 1818 by the Miami Indians as part of the Treaty of St. Mary. Whetzel Trace, cut through the wilderness by Jacob Whetzel and his son, early on connected the two pioneer locations. In 1830, the first railroad in Indiana connected Shelbyville with Indianapolis, and the line later expanded to Madison and Jeffersonville at the Ohio River.
Shelbyville, platted in 1822 and incorporated as a town in 1850, was named in honor of Kentuckian Isaac Shelby, a veteran of Lord Dunmore’s War, the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. The Shelbyville post office has been in operation since 1823. Seven listings on the National Register of Historic Places makes Shelbyville a cultural destination. The diversity of notable people born here includes basketball star William Garrett, Quarterback Mike Phipps, 21st U.S. Vice-President Thomas Hendricks and rapper Kid Quill among a longer listing.
Tin Man Brewing, Downtown Kokomo
500 N. Buckeye St., Suite A, Kokomo, 46901
Related: Tin Man Brewing Co. makes a move to Kokomo
Walking into the old Kokomo train depot, Tin Man’s iconic robot logo suddenly morphed into a stylized steam engine.
“We noticed the coincidence, too,” laughed Nick Davidson, acknowledging my double take.
[The same kind of logo serendipity hit us when Daredevil moved their brewing operation to Speedway. The helmet transferred dashingly.]
Dec. 23, Tin Man Kokomo
’s ’soft opening’ included members of the Howard County Homebrew Club, bringing the conversation back to May 2007 when Half Moon Restaurant & Brewery
opened as Kokomo’s first craft brewery and a year later when Brass Monkey Brewing Company made its brave entry at the fledgeling Sycamore Marketplace. Half Moon will be celebrating its tenth anniversary, Brass Monkey was a decade ahead ahead of its time for a downtown revival. Now Tin Man Kokomo is surrounded by the kinds of shops and cultural destinations brewer Andrew Lewis “dreamed …of [as] a downtown revival.”
Until all the permits are in hand to rev up the Kokomo brewery, beer will be brought up from Evansville so don’t expect Sunday growler fills at this time. While waiting, Tin Man brewers are ‘retraining’ themselves to brew on the standard system now installed in the old depot. Tin Man’s Evansville distinction since its 2012 opening has been brewing on a mash filter system.
“We’re adapting Evansville recipes for the Kokomo brewery,” said Nick Davidson. He promises the same taste for consistent favorites. “We’re just changing the ingredients’ numbers, not the ingredients.”
Dec. 23 I tasted the Evansville brewed:
Ingot IPA, experiencing the special qualities resulting from brewing an Ale with Lager yeast, notably a frothy head and picturesque lace as the glass empties per my sips. Cafe Leche Cream Coffee, perfectly coffee bean, malt and hops balanced, utilizing Evansville-based TJ Roaster beans.
Grapefruit Gose, an unfiltered wheat with a lemony twang.
Weld Strawberry Sour, everyone’s pick as a full bodied alternative to cranberry sauce with a turkey dinner.