Best New Breweries: Central State
People tend to leave Central State’s tiny taproom, The Koelschip, with a sour taste in their mouths—and that’s a good thing. The brewery makes most of its beers with a wild yeast strain called Brett, imparting a funky flavor that’s unlike anything else in the market. Two flagship varieties pour year-round: the Garden Gose and the Table rustic blonde ale. Both under 4 percent ABV, they’re right at home in a canoe on a hot summer day. Even conventional, seasonal varieties like IPAs and stouts get the sour treatment here. On a recent visit, the Oatsplosion balanced the hoppy taste of a good pale ale with the rustic notes of oats and Brett.
Because most brewers take pains to keep wild yeast away from their tanks, you might wonder why the impossible-to-clean stuff finds a home at The Koelschip. It all began with a beer called La Roja. When Central State cofounders Chris Bly, Josh Hambright, and Jake Koeneman tried the wild ale made by Jolly Pumpkin in Michigan, it grabbed them by their impressive beards and wouldn’t let go. Realizing how flooded the local market was with the same five kinds of beer, the brewers decided to try something different.
The Koelschip itself isn’t as wild as its beers. Named after a traditional brewing tub, the taproom offers no food beyond the state minimum for bars (food trucks are also frequently parked outside), and empty picture frames with painting descriptions such as “Tasteful Nude” act as the only decorations. Trust us: You won’t miss the obligatory soft pretzel or knickknacks. When a place serves suds this original, it can make its own rules. And you can always take home a four-pack of equally unadorned cans.
2505 N. Delaware St., 317-414-9539, thekoelschip.com