Indiana is home to 203 craft breweries [16th nationwide for how many], translating to 4.1 breweries per capita [based on 1000,000 21+adults], ranking us as 26th nationally. Julia Whitson, executive director of drinkIN.beer shared the most recent report from The Brewers Association. The growth chart shows momentum forward from 2011 when 50 breweries were operating. There was a slight dip around 2017, with a pickup in 2018 and steady growth since.
Indiana ranks 19th nationwide with its craft brewery economic impact, according to the Brewers Association; 1,6000 Million Economic Impact; and 323.72 Impact per Capita.
Production at 257,688 Barrels of Craft Beer Produced ranks, Indiana, 24th nationwide and 35th with 1.6 Gallons per 21+Adult
See the Brewers Association report here:
See the listing and map of Indiana craft breweries here: https://drinkin.beer/map/#void.
When I moved to Indianapolis in 1983, two college towns, Bloomington and Lafayette/West Lafayette were ‘hotbeds of craft homebrewing’ according to Joan Easley, who made her Indianapolis-based Easley Winery a haven for Indy-based homebrewers. John Hill’s restaurants in Broad Ripple were welcoming sites for homebrewers and for all of us to have access to craft beer from around the US. From these gatherings arose Broad Ripple Brew Pub in 1990 as Indiana’s first modern professional craft brewery. See the statewide list of 31 active clubs here: https://www.beersyndicate.com/app/HomebrewClub?state=Indiana.
In tandem with communicating with Julia Whitson, I had in hand a newly arrived Brewers Association book, “Gluten-Free Brewing: Techniques, Processes, and Ingredients for Crafting Flavorful Beer,” by Robert Keifer. I asked Julia about Indiana’s stats connecting Celiac disease and craft beer. She replied, “Good suggestion. We should delve into this.” She promised to put this Q on the agenda for the upcoming Indiana craft brewers conference. But I needed data pronto, so here is the best listing I could find, starting with an exchange with Wes at Great Fermentations. This homebrew shop followed on the heels of Joan Easley’s initial "brewing supply and learn" alongside her winemaking classes.
As of the moment, I could not find a commercial brewer in Indiana totally dedicated to gluten-free. However, a notice came to my box from Elkharttruth.com, with Eric Strader’s by-line. He describes the beers Chip Lewis is brewing: “Iechyd Da Brewing has come up with a wonderful new solution. They have found an enzyme that breaks down the gluten in both barley and wheat to the point that gluten-intolerant beer drinkers seem not to be affected. They label their beers gluten-reduced, and by using this method, they do not need to alter the existing beer recipes. And by doing this, gluten-intolerant beer drinkers can enjoy and wide range of beers, from Iechyd Da’s lightest offering, Local Blonde (4.8% ABV, IBUs 17) to the bigger beers on their menu, such as Revolution IPA (7.2% ABV, IBUs 74), and Big Pit Porter (5.1% ABV, IBUs 25)."
Strader continues, "Summer Lewis told me that they had offered samples of their gluten-reduced beers to several customers, including some who suffer from Celiac Disease and can be most affected by gluten. At this point, all have had a favorable experience. Because of this, Iechyd Da is now marketing its gluten-reduced beers, and they are designated on the menu with (GR). … Iechyd Da Brewing Co. provides food and beer options for gluten-intolerant people. There are also several other gluten-free options for beer drinkers around the area.”
A stop at Broad Ripple Brew Pub introduced me to “Omission Lager” by Widmer Brothers of Portland, Oregon. Brewmaster Jonathon Mullins reminded me that BRBP is far too small an operation for brewing a safe gluten-free beer on-site.
A trip to Elkhart is on the calendar. That said, with a broad sweep, I learned most brewpubs across Indiana offer options in cans and bottles from other breweries. Research is underway; more to come.
Keifer opens his fine book with a clear definition of the brewing “Terminology”:
Dedicated Gluten-Free: This beer was brewed in a 100% dedicated gluten-free facility, which means no gluten enters the brewery–EVER. This is the safest option for those with Celiac Disease.
Gluten Free: This beer was brewed with gluten-free ingredients and is safe for Celiacs to drink!
Gluten Reduced: This beer is brewed with gluten, but then the gluten content is reduced using an enzyme. These beers DO have trace amounts of gluten, so I would not recommend them for Celiacs or for those with high sensitivities.
“Your beer should never give you a stomach ache,” avers Keifer. “Unfortunately for the estimated 2 million Americans with the rare celiac disease, a.k.a. gluten intolerance (talk to a doctor to determine your status if you’re worried for some reason), beer’s universal building blocks of wheat and barley (and sometimes rye, spelt, oats, and certain other grains) contain gliadin. This pesky gluten protein causes various intestinal health problems cured only by completely avoiding gluten, and thus beer.”
Keifer reminded me, “New Grist is the first gluten-free beer granted label approved by the U.S. Government and remains a staple of the category. This pilsner, brewed with rice and sorghum, is crisp and refreshing with a healthy dose of hops.”
While Keifer’s book is aimed at the homebrewer, it’s a good book for all of us to pay attention to if we want to understand what makes beer, BEER. He stays with the expectations centered on quality Taste, Mouthfeel, Aroma, and Finish, along with an appealing sight with the pour [color, head, lace]. How the beverage came about gains more insight as researchers within the diverse humanities fields uncover more about how we got to be who we are now. Origins of beer ingredients turn our attention away from the current big-four and to a once-upon-a-time available six: corn, rice, sorghum, buckwheat, millet, and quinoa, with alternates including tapioca, amaranth, teff, and flaked corn.
I was glad that I kept turning pages as I perused Keifer’s plentiful modern techniques and recipes because his final chapter gifts a rich historical overview that includes cultures we need to embrace, including these styles: Chicha, Gruits, Umqombothi, Braggots, Heather Scotch Ale, and Semilla.
Learn more here per terminology:
A stop at Broad Ripple Brew Pub introduced me to “Omission Lager” by Widmer Brothers of Portland, Oregon. I was reminded that BRBP is far too small an operation to brew a safe gluten-free beer on site
NUVO Newsweekly ran a column about six years ago and the list then was thin for homebrewers and professional brewers tackling gluten-free.
Because Keifer started as a homebrewer, I turned to Wes at Great Fermentations for his insight.
“ While gluten-free brewing is not one of our strong suits here at Great Fermentations, we do offer some gluten-free brewing supplies,” informed Wes. “Namely, we offer a Sorghum liquid malt extract that can be used as a base for making gluten-free beers. We also offer rice syrup solids and corn sugar that can be used as fermentables, although because of the facilities these are processed in, they are not certified as gluten-free.
“We also offer adjuncts such as corn, rice and oats, but again, because of the facilities that these are processed in, they cannot be certified as gluten-free. These are usually fine for most people who have a low grade gluten sensitivity, but people with an extreme sensitivity or allergy may want to avoid these and stick with ingredients that are certified or labelled as gluten-free.”
Replying to my yeast query, Wes let me know, “The Lallemand dry beer yeast strains are pretty much all certified as gluten-free, unless otherwise noted. There should be no problem using hops in gluten-free brewing. In fact, making a heavily-hopped beer is a good option for hopheads who make gluten-free beers.
“We try to support gluten-free homebrewers as much as we can. It is not a very large part of our customer base, but we do carry what we can for them. Luckily, the gluten-free brewing process is just like the regular brewing process, only using gluten-free ingredients.We do not currently have this book for sale at Great Fermentations, but are going to be bringing in a few copies in the next few weeks.”
You also can catch up with the GF Brewer and Customer Service team here: 5127 East 65th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46220.
Meads and ciders are viable alternatives. The notice from Ash & Elm Cider Co. [1301 East Washington Street, 46202] lets me know they make “complex and balanced ciders that are never from concentrate and are naturally gluten-free. Using regionally-sourced, all-natural ingredients, our award-winning ciders showcase a wide range of modern styles.”
Visit them for open to all programming, starting October 25, 6:30 p.m., to join Books, Booze & Brains [A Quantum Leap Program] discussing “From Here to Eternity” by Caitlin Doughty. RSVP at: https://www.facebook.com/events/529150472298809
Upcoming on November 25, the discussion centers on ”Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet" by Ta-Nehisi Coates and "Black Panther" by Christopher Priest. RSVP at: RSVP https://www.facebook.com/events/1215126522606235
More Fall beers & events
“Triton Brewing Company® [at 5764 Wheeler Road, 46216], just turned 11 and we’re celebrating!” enthuses the email. “Over the next couple of weeks, we will be tapping another special beer, sharing some new weekly food specials and hosting some events to celebrate! This past Wednesday we kicked things off with the Rising Hope White Peach Hazy IPA. This week we continue the celebration with a new weekly food special and a new Pale Ale."
Bier Brewery emailed, “Come to our 5133 East 65th Street, 46220, location on October 28 to celebrate our 12-year anniversary!! We are so excited to celebrate another year with you! This family friendly party will have live music by Oswego, and a food truck dishing up new york slices of pizza.
Halloween costumes are encouraged!”
Westwind Brewery Co., describing itself as “A small batch family run craft brewery” in Elkhart emailed, “Happy 100th Batch Anniversary! WWB dropping our newest beer in celebration of the event! Soldier Of One our DDH NEIPA infused with fresh peaches 7.2%. A juice bomb of Northern IndianaThere's something for everyone!
Mashcraft, in Greenwood emailed: “We have a limited barrel-aged wild ale with spices on tap. Get here quick if you want it,” along with this note from brewer-owner Andrew Castner: “We’re feeling nostalgic today thinking back over the hundreds of the beers that we have released in the last 8+ years. What is your favorite MashCraft beer ever? Maybe we can bring it back.” I am waiting to find out the favs from patrons. See: #somethinggreatisalwaysbrewing.
November 1, Taxman Brewing invites us to a grand opening of the new Pizza and Libations restaurant in Bargersville, at 75 North Baldwin Street . The menu features pizza, homemade pasta, salads, fresh-baked bread and gelato along with craft cocktails, wine and their signature beers. is set for Bargersville’s new Pizza and Libations.
Indiana’s craft beer industry grows forward with a wide ranging spectrum of support services:
From Caleb Michalke at Sugar Creek Malt in Boone County, we learn: “Up Next on our specialty corn harvest is the one and only Bloody Butcher. This is the variety that got us into growing specialty corns. Bred in the 1840’s in Virginia this was a very popular variety in the southern states. This will be our 3rd harvest of Bloody Butcher. Maybe we will get to harvest it on Halloween! In beer and whiskey I get a peppery red fruit character. It also makes wonderful cornbread and grits.”
From Isaac Arthur, co-founder of CODO Design, we learn: “We promised to post some of the behind the scenes process work for our Beverage Extension Assessment Tool (B.E.A.T.). [Go here to see the image: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:share:6989206907467051008/?midToken=AQEMJCnbjdvegg&midSig=2AuQBgh2nOSqs1&trk=eml-email_network_conversations_01-hero-1-check_update_cta&trkEmail=eml-email_network_conversations_01-hero-1-check_update_cta-null-psgk7%7El9ncm2or%7E4c-null-neptune%2Ffeed%2Eupdate]
See ’The Beyond Beer Handbook' for the easiest process tool here: https://lnkd.in/gFZQ8hxh