Best New Breweries, No. 2: Scarlet Lane Brewing Company
With ales and stouts as artfully crafted as their literary inspirations (the name is a nod to the Gone with the Wind protagonist, and the owners are avid readers), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of Scarlet Lane’s proprietors tells a great story about how craft beer knocked her head-over-heels. Eilise Lane found a beer from Bend Brewing Company in Bend, Oregon, so good that she talked about little else with husband Nick Servies on the two-hour ride back to their home in Eugene. At some point, Servies decided to make an unscheduled stop at a roadside store and buy his wife a homebrewing kit.
After seven years of tinkering, a degree from the American Brewers Guild’s brewing program in Vermont, and a move back to her native Indiana, Lane—along with Servies and two friends—has graduated to a 10,000-square-foot production facility on the outskirts of the city in McCordsville. There, Lane and Chris Knott, an award-winning brewer from RAM’s downtown location, are helping plot another chapter in Indy’s ever-evolving beer history.
Scarlet Lane produces three excellent house brews: Vivian, a red IPA named for Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O’Hara on the silver screen; Saison de Silas, an effervescent farmhouse ale that takes its moniker from George Eliot’s Silas Marner; and Dorian Stout, the brewery’s superstar. Stouts usually put hair on the chest, but this one is manscaped. Dorian (a reference to the lead character of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray) starts off on the tongue as a dainty whiff of German chocolate cake and leaves with a whisper of coconut. The inspiration, of course, came from Lane’s experience with another unusual stout—the Bend brew that launched her career.
Growler fills and tasting glasses are available in the brewery’s taproom, and a growing number of restaurants and bars offer a handle or two from the Scarlet Lane line. Servies says they’ve already exceeded their production expectations, beating a six-month goal to land 50 accounts in only five weeks. The team doesn’t bottle yet, but with beers better than those of almost any of the new breweries, there’s little doubt this story will have a satisfying conclusion.
7724 Depot St., McCordsville, 317-336-1590, scarletlanebrew.com