Sun King Nears the Grand Opening of Fishers Tap Room and Small-Batch Brewery

That collective groan you heard coming from Fishers in February was reaction to the news that Sun King Brewing was temporarily putting plans for a 20,000-square-foot brewery and tasting facility on hold. The disappointment was understandable: The proposed expansion of the company leading Central Indiana’s craft-beer boom will bring an important attraction to a community where dine-and-drink destinations have been slow to catch up with population growth. In the meantime, boosters and local-beer enthusiasts will have to make do with a scaled-down Sun King brewery and taproom scheduled to open close by, near 96th Street and Hague Road, on July 1.

When it became clear that planning, site work, and construction on the roughly 12 acres Sun King purchased in Fishers would take longer than anticipated (in addition to questions concerning legislation on barrel limits for Indiana microbreweries), co-owner Clay Robinson and company still wanted “to make good on our promise to the people of Fishers to have a Sun King brewery up and running,” he says. And while it may be smaller, it’s no small consolation: The new 6,400-square-foot space houses a three-and-a-half-barrel system on which head brewer Dave Colt and others can experiment with one-off seasonal and specialty concoctions in small batches. “The more of our core beers we sell, the less of the experimental and fun beers we get to make, because it takes up production space,” Robinson says of Sun King’s downtown production facility. The Fishers brewery, he says, “will be used as kind of a pilot, R&D—basically a fun factory for creating and experimenting with new beers.”

Those niche-appeal brews will find a home in Fishers, brewed onsite and sold there as well, which should make the far-north outpost a beer-geek destination. And unlike Sun King’s chair-free downtown tasting room, where long lingering is not encouraged, the Fishers taproom’s beer hall–style seating invites patrons to hang out for as long as they wish—or until closing time. 7848 E. 96th St., sunkingbrewing.com

Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.