Ask Me Anything: John Hill of Broad Ripple Brewpub

Beer-scene pioneer
Broad Ripple Brewpub celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, making its owner the godfather of Indy’s brewery scene. Also on Hill’s resume: founding Corner Wine Bar, the Brewers of Indiana Guild, and the Broad Ripple Farmers Market.

What’s the story behind your bar top? Is it from England?
Actually, I did all the work myself. The front is two doors turned on their sides. You can stick your fingers under there and find the doorknobs.

Where does the Brewpub fit on Indy’s brewery family tree?  
Our very first brewer, Gil Alberding, went on to MillerCoors up in Milwaukee. The second was Greg Emig, who owns Lafayette Brewing Company, and after that was Ted Miller, who owns Brugge. After him was Kevin Matalucci, who owns Twenty Tap, and then John Treeter from Oaken Barrel. Now we have a new guy, Jonathon Mullens, from Flat 12.

You pioneered this state’s beer laws. Is it frustrating to see breweries like Sun King raking in more cash than you do?  
Oh, no. Opening the brewpub was a way for me to create a little bit of England here. I had no intention of becoming a production brewery. I take my hat off to those guys.

Thumbs up or down on new places like HopCat?  
I really don’t understand all those extra taps. It’s supposed to be about the people, the conversation, and the camaraderie, not just drinking beer. But that seems to be the style now.