Broad Ripple Brewpub celebrated their 26th birthday on Nov. 13th (even though the actual 1990 opening date was the 14th) with Straight Up Chumps playing in the music tent and a whole host of beers on tap in the beer trailer in the parking lot in addition to the bar lineup. A growing patronage encircled two fire pits in the parking lot. Conversation at the top of the party centered on “what’s next” in the aftermath of Nov. 8. Photo-ops pointed to the moon in its full-phase proximity, a phenomenon last experienced in 1948, when Harry Truman gained the Presidency.
BRBP premiered a newly installed big screen TV that lured football fans. This opened the bar TV for Indy Eleven fans to slug out the two overtimes and deciding shootout placing Cosmos again at the top of the NASL — one point above the Boys in Blue playing their hearts out in their second ascending season.
The concluding toast to John Hill was equally a shoutout for the best parts of community-building. Lifting a pint were long-time patrons, including fellow brewers.
When it comes to head brewers, BRBP is a sterling prototype for “What goes around comes around.” Founder John Hill bolstered his hands-on training alongside craft brewers in the mid 1980s with a course of study at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. Greg Emig began his brewing career at BRBP. Greg opened Lafayette Brewing and gave Chris Johnson his start in craft brewing. Chris opened People’s, and is where Sean Manahan gained his training. After moving on to Flat12 Sean trained Jonathan Mullens. And now Jonathon is BRBP’s head brewer.
Mullens ruminated a bit on BRBP’s role in Indiana craft beer now and what we should be expecting for the future in the familiar brewpub just off The Monon Trail.
“BRBP never really swung too far with the pendulum of IPAs and the hop heads that followed. I think we led the way in sticking to our guns and brewing to the style first and having fun with it second,” is Mullens’ tribute to John Hill’s understanding of knowing who you are in the industry as a whole.
Mullens points to BRBP having from the start a following for drinkable beers to be enjoyed as part of a handcrafted meal — now referred to as a 'scratch kitchen' by newer entities — and simply as a beverage enjoyed in the company of friends.
“Without community there is no beer and without beer there is no community,” cites Mullens. “Leisurely brewed” as a motto spills over to how Hill envisions what the BRBP patron should experience. Kick back and enjoy.
Leading into the 25th anniversary and throughout BRBP’s 26th year of operation, Mullens has widened the historical vista of brewing with the introduction of a few unfamiliar tastes using different sets of ingredients, including juniper twigs instead of hops and different brewing methods.
“Learning what the historical side of beers are, such as the [ancient Scottish herbal-berry-spicy] Gruit or [Finland’s traditional cloudy yeasty-banana flavor] Sahti, is where we started taking a direction.
“Are we late to the punch on this, or right on the cusp of it all,” muses Mullens.
“We are working on new angles each and every day. I love being part of the history that is the Brewpub and would not have it any other way. I am doing everything in my power to improve not only the beer but the community around the brewpub by trying to enhance the beer culture.
“As time goes on, I will brew more and more experimental brews alongside of brewing styles not really heard of [in Indianapolis]. Now, a Roggenbier is on our menu and we’ll have another harvest ale (Bennett's Pale) up again.”
Starting their 27th year, BRBP’s biggest news is Alec Hill’s [BRBP's owner's son] return to Indianapolis from a culinary and brewing career elsewhere to open a Taproom and nano brewery in a historic building on East 10th Street. We’ll keep you posted on the second generation of Hill family craft beer leadership.
Here’s a list of BRBBP-brewed and guest beers that were flowing Nov. 13. Stop in for what’s still on tap.
Premier League Pale (Cask) (English Pale made for Middlesbrough making it into the Premier League this year), ESB (Cask), Monon Porter, IPA, Lawnmower, Blood Weiss (Our Nice Weiss made with Blood Orange), Hopcicle (Double IPA 70IBUs and 8.0%)
Pumpkin Ale, Ministry of Rye (Flat12 Collaboration), Last Day of Camp (25 grains for 25 years made last year and aged for a year. Last keg here until it's out), Ron Swanson's Last Day of Camp (Aged in a bourbon Barrel we will tap a keg until we turn 30), Silent Lucidity (Bohemian Pilsner), UB40 (Farm House Ale aged in a red wine barrel), Arrival of the Angel (English Barley Wine aged in Angel's Envy Barrel), Barrel-Aged Red Bird (our award-winning Mild aged in a bourbon barrel)