Best New Breweries, No. 6: Indiana City Brewing Company

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A peek inside the renovated Home Brewing Company bottling building alone would be worth a trip to this near-eastside newcomer. With the help of $35,000 raised on Kickstarter, owner Ray Kamstra revived the pre-Prohibition beauty—restoring windows, peeling away insulation from wood-beam ceilings, installing plumbing and electricity—to open Indiana City Brewing in early 2013. In the process of paying homage to his forebears of froth, the southside native created one of the handsomest taprooms in town, marking every box on the industrial-chic checklist: Edison bulbs, barn-plank tables, whitewashed brick, and slick branding befitting Kamstra’s past as a graphic designer.

0914-INDIANACITYBREWING1But a brewer cannot live on aesthetics alone. Fortunately, Kamstra’s suds mostly live up to the look. Like many small-batch craftsmen on this list, Kamstra began as a homebrewer, honing recipes and winning awards for what are now Indiana City’s flagship beers: the bestselling Yacht Rock, a light Belgian-style wheat with hints of orange peel and coriander, and Shadow Boxer, a coffee-flavored oatmeal stout. This summer, Tribute pale ale joined the permanent draws after an enthusiastic reception.

Otherwise, a rotating selection of seasonal picks fills out the menu, which this summer included the bubbly, German-style Shine and the excellent Dock 7 IPA. Your best bet? Sample sets of four in miniature fishbowls before settling on a pint. Not all varieties hit the mark, but Kamstra and assistant brewer Nick Shadle collaborate and adjust, often experimenting with bourbon-barrel aging (to wit, a bottled take on Shadow Boxer called Haymaker).

For now, Kamstra’s ambitions for the seven-barrel operation focus on the taproom, filling growlers and glasses as regulars lounge on the newly hewn deck, and on the 14 taps Indiana City claims at local bars. We think Augustus Hook, the Home Brewing founder whose oil portrait now hangs in the taproom—a gift from his descendants—would approve.

24 Shelby St., 317-643-1103, indianacitybeer.com

 

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