Brewery & Taproom
• Pints & Growlers •
Indiana City Brewing Co. opened in the summer of 2013, in the historic “Bottling House” on the East side of Downtown Indy. Since then, we’ve released 26 different beers from a wide range of styles. Our seasonal beers come out on draft and in limited release bottles all the time and they go fast. Indiana City beer can be found on tap and on shelves at select locations around Indy. We take great pride in Indianapolis and work hard every day to add to the growing beer scene found here.
“one of the handsomest taprooms in town”
- Indianapolis Monthly Magazine
Kickstarting the Dream
Our story begins with the home brewing obsession of our founder and his dream of taking his award-winning ales to the masses. After a great deal of research and numerous revisions to business plans, Ray Kamstra launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign in the summer of 2012. The campaign raised enough money to secure an amazing historic building and begin building Indiana City Brewing Co.
Building the Brewery
We had the vision, next it was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. The building had been vacant for over six years, so we had to clean the inches of dust away and open up long boarded-up windows. It was important to us that we keep the rustic character of the building–exposed brick walls, scarred concrete floor and weathered wood and steel beams. The building had no plumbing and all the electrical work was outdated, so we hired our good friends who specialize in those areas to make it into a functional space. We did all the work we could ourselves along with amazing volunteers who soon became some of our best friends. It was a six month project to build Indiana City from the ground up. By the end of the build-out, we not only had the best brewing space in the city, we also built the solid team of hard working craft beer lovers we needed to begin making our beer.
Kickstarter was key in getting Indiana City off the ground. To the original backers and everyone who has come to enjoy our beer since then, thanks for your support.
Small Batch, Handcrafted Beer
Our brewing process is close to our homebrewing roots. Indiana City beer is brewed 7 barrels at a time utilizing a four-vessel 3.5-barrel Brewhouse, a Cold Liquor Tank, five 7-barrel Fermentation Vessels, two Brite Tanks, a 4-head bottle filler, and an arsenal of stainless steel kegs.
Indiana City beer is made from fresh-cracked malted barley, premium specialty grains, fresh hops and the purest healthy yeast. Great beer starts with great water, so we strip down local water to pure H2O through reverse osmosis and add all of the mineral content needed to make great beer back into it. Many of the ingredients we use – hops, malt, honey and specialty spices come from local sources.
• Full Flavor & Aroma •
Indiana City brought beer back to the pre-prohibition era brewery located at 24 Shelby Street near downtown. Besides being a great location, we love the space and there’s so much beer history in the building. It was the bottling house of The Home Brewing Company, 1880–1920.
Ryan Hamlett describes the history of the building in his article A Room with a View–Indiana City Brewery (Home Brewing Company Bottling Building):
The men behind one of Indianapolis’ first major breweries spread far and wide throughout the history of the city. Organized in 1891, Home Brewing Company’s first brewmaster and principal organizers was a German immigrant named August Hook, father of the John Hook who founded Hook’s Drugstores in 1910. Among the brewery’s early leaders was Albert Leiber, grandfather of Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.. One of HBC’s principal owners was William P. Jungclaus, founder of Indianapolis’ oldest general contractor (responsible for the construction of the Circle Tower, Columbia Club and IRT to name a few) though the brewery was designed by architect Hermann Gaul (one time apprentice to Louis Sullivan) who designed the Saint Mary Church at 317 N. New Jersey St.
At its height production HBC was brewing 35,000 barrels a year, but that came to a sudden end as the increasing powerful temperance movement led to the prohibition of alcohol in Indiana on January 1st, 1918, nearly two years before the 18th Amendment took effect, banning alcohol nationally. Said the head of the brewery on December 29th, 1917, as HBC stopped production “the day will dawn again in Indiana, when a man can drink what he wants, when personal liberty will again be a citizen’s right.” Though HBC tried to hang on, producing a low alcohol “near beer” in the years after the institution of prohibition, they officially closed up shop in 1922, selling off their buildings and equipment eleven years before seeing their prophetic words come true with the passing of the 21st Amendment. Hoosiers could once again legally take a drink, however it would be 91 years until they would taste one from 24 South Shelby St.