Black Circle Brewing’s Founder Has A Low-Key New SoBro Hangout

As a biology and finance double major at Purdue, Jesse Rice was jealous of the house parties his friends were going to in Bloomington. “IU has this great basement party scene that West Lafayette doesn’t,” he says. “When I moved to Broad Ripple after school, everyone was talking about it. I knew I wanted to re-create that one day.”

While it took him a few years, with stints in Chicago and Bloomington itself, as well as jobs in banking, Rice finally got the party started. In 2016, he and a former colleague opened Black Circle Brewing, the funky industrial hangout in Midtown known as much for its metal-band bookings as its excellent ales and porters. Along with the hard-rocking music and the beer, Rice started offering weekly drag shows and comedy nights, as well as food from Elena Ruz Cuban Cuisine.

But Rice was always looking for a quieter second space for his brewing operations. So he moved his beer equipment a few blocks down 46th Street and opened his latest project, Loom. “The original idea was to make it feel like my bedroom from the ’90s,” he says. When they brought in local artist and muralist Matthew Aaron, the vibe morphed into more of a funked-up Star Wars theme. Rice lined up food (Hoosier comfort staples) from his brother’s food truck, Log. And with an artisan spirits license in the works, Loom embodies the low-key basement feel Rice was always going for. Most importantly, he promises customers will never have to wear earplugs.