09 September 2010

The Hoosier Beer Geek Six Pack: Tom Hynes of Three Pints Brewpub, Plainfield, IN

Indiana's brewery and brewpub renaissance is spreading to areas wider than just Indianapolis - Plainfield is next in line with not just one, but two brewpubs opening soon. Today we'll focus on Three Pints Brewpub and head brewer Tom Hynes.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Tom Hynes, and I was born and raised on the west side (Ben Davis area), got married to my high school sweetheart, Pam, while we were at Purdue, and returned to the west side (Avon) following a six year stint in the Navy. Pam and I have raised three wonderful children, and are due to be grandparents in January. We currently live in Monrovia.

Pam is a senior vice president at Interactive Intelligence, a local software company. Although she will participate in the business side of the brewpub, she plans on keeping her full-time position at Interactive.

I also work at Interactive Intelligence, though I will be resigning my position there in mid October to assume full-time brewing responsibilities at Three Pints. I have been home brewing for a about 20 years, and although the last 21 years have been spent as a software engineer, previous occupations include: a reactor operator on a nuclear submarine (USS Ulysses S. Grant), a control room operator at a polymer plant (Cablec), and an industrial electronic control technician (Bridgeport Brass). I am currently enrolled in a professional brewing course from the Siebel Institute of Technology, and plan on continuing my formal brewing education after the brewpub opens.

2. What inspired you to start brewing? How did you get your start?

I have always loved to tinker with things, and had often thought about brewing my own beer. One evening at a Mexican restaurant I remarked to Pam just how much I liked the malty flavor of Dos Equis Amber, and if I ever started home brewing, a clone of that would be the first thing I would try. Pam remembered that and bought me a basic home brewing kit a few months later for Father's Day.

BTW, my first attempt at Dos Equis was a disaster, as were my first dozen or so attempts at other beers (even dark ales). I had all but given up on home brewing when I visited the newly-opened Broad Ripple Brewpub and had my first taste of heaven, in the form of their incredibly delicious ESB. I kept thinking: 1) This is like liquid candy, and 2) I have GOT to keep trying until I get something approaching this good! It took quite a few years, and a switch to all-grain brewing, but eventually I achieved that (or so I've been told by friends...unless they were just humoring me :-).

3. What is the philosophy of the brewing operations/restaurant operations?

We are excited to have recently hired Jackie Stebbeds as the General Manager. Jackie comes with over 10 years of restaurant management experience, including management positions at Bob Evans, Max and Ermas, Chilis, and The Library Restaurant & Pub. Jackie will have complete control over all restaurant operations, including hiring of the assistant manager and kitchen manager.

I will be running the brewing side, though Jackie and I will be working together on many common goals.

Since we are small brewpub (approx. 140 seats), we are going to focus on a smaller menu with higher-quality items. The menu will feature contemporary American cuisine, along with some traditional English pub foods such as Sheppard's Pie and Fish 'N' Chips.

Although approximately 75% of the dining area is technically family dining (in order to qualify for a needed zoning variance), we will be promoting the beer in a big way. In fact, beer and brewing is the theme of the brewpub. Because of the emphasis on beer, we will have a lot of appetizer-type foods that go well with beer, such as chicken wings (in multiple flavors and heat levels), a variety of pizzas, chips and home-made salsa (in multiple heat levels), etc. We do plan on integrating beer and some spent grains into the menu, but the extent of that is yet to be determined.

4. What styles do you plan on brewing for the brewpub? Seasonals?

In the first year we will be brewing four different beers. We have room to expand - hopefully in the second year - to five in-house beers. So, we will be augmenting our beers with other Indiana craft beers; the goal is to have a minimum of six beers on tap at any time, with seven or eight being the usual.

Although this is subject to change, the tentative list of the beers we intend to brew is:
a blueberry wheat
an amber ale
a steam beer (err, a California Common beer :-)
a pretty unusual IPA (unusual due to unique grain bill, not hops)
an Oatmeal Stout (for year 2+)
For the local craft beers that will be augmenting our beers, that list will almost certainly change over time as we rotate beers in and out, but is likely to include some of the following:
an all-malt German lager
an American lite lager (or possibly a Kolsch or Cream Ale)
an Oktoberfest
either a Belgium White or a Hefe-Weizen
a Porter
I would love to brew seasonals at some point, but for the first couple of years we will probably only offer seasonals from local microbreweries.

5. Plainfield is going to go from having zero brewpubs to two brewpubs instantly. How do you feel about that?

That is a great question. Admittedly I was at first little bummed when I found out about The Black Swan opening up. But, now I think the best thing will be for both of us be very successful - which will drive more people to the area (instead of towards the mall area). Competition really can be good. One thing is for certain: we will have to break out our "A Game" from the start!

6. Any insights on the menu yet? When is the projected open date?

The menu is still being worked on, though my answer to question #3 gives an idea of what it will be like. Our projected opening date is November 1st, 2010. At that time we will be serving local (Indiana) craft beers on tap; we hope to be serving our own beers by mid-to-late December, though admittedly things have to fall in place just right for that to happen (January is probably the better bet).



We wish the best of luck to Tom and everyone else involved in the Three Pints effort. Look for a HBG follow-up as things get up and running.


  1. I am excited for this. Since moving from Carmel to Avon I've found very few places that even sell craft beer around here. This will be a big stop for me.

  2. I'm glad to see a Porter on your list. I'm sad there are so few good Porters to choose from around here.

  3. I would love for an Indiana brewer to make a porter every bit as good as Founders porter. That is my personal favorite.

    I do really enjoy FFF's Alpha Klaus porter they make as well.

  4. YES!! I've never found a Craft Beer at any bar in Plainfield. Ever. Good thing I work a mile from Sun King.

    But anyway, not 1, but 2 brewpubs opening up in town........ SHI—

  5. I sure hope there will be a hand-drawn real ale on the west side!