Hoosier Beer Geek worked with Metromix to create their 2010 Local Brewing Guide. It was published in the November 18th issue and we are republishing the interviews we conducted. Enjoy!
Alcatraz Brewing Company, est. 1995
49 W. Maryland Street, Indianapolis
An original Circle Centre Mall tenant, Alcatraz Brewing Company is the third longest operating microbrewery in the Indianapolis area. They are owned by California-based Tavastock Restaurants, which owns over 50 restaurant locations. But despite being a corporate brewery, the beers are the result of local creativity. “To be honest with you, I have pretty much full rein on what I want to do,” says Skip Duvall, head brewer. “I do have to have certain beers on tap, but how they are brewed is up to me. “
Duvall became Alcatraz’s new head brewer in September. But he’s not just new to Alcatraz, but also new to professional brewing. “A little over a year ago, I was sitting at my desk in a corporate sales setting and realized that I hated it. I started talking to Omar [Castrellon, the previous brewmaster at Alcatraz]. After I gave my two week notice, I had an assistant job [with Omar]. I learned from him for about eight months. I moved over to [the Ram] as an assistant for four months. Then Omar’s position opened up.”
A lot has changed at Alcatraz recently. Not only is there a new brewmaster, but also a new general manager, chef, and sous chef. The changes are noticeable with a new menu and a sprucing up of the restaurant. There will be a change to some of the beers, like the Pelican. “We’ll keep the name, but I want to put my stamp on it. [Make it] a hoppier beer that I like, that I want to do. After that, I want to get into the seasonals.”
Other standard beers will remain, like the Rock Bock. “At first, I thought I was going to do away with it,” says Duvall, “but I’ve had too much feedback and I’ve seen how it’s moved; I need to keep the Bock.” Alcatraz is one of the few breweries in Indiana to feature a bock on their regular lineup of beers. Bocks originated in Einbeck, Germany, and are usually a dark lager beer that can have an ABV around 6.5% with a complex, malty flavor and very little hop spice.
Regular Beers (styles in parenthesis): Searchlight Golden Ale (American Light Ale); Weiss Guy Wheat (American Wheat); Pelican Ale (Pale Ale); the Rock Bock; rotating styles of stouts
Seasonals: To be determined; will likely include an amber ale, an India Pale Ale, and winter-style brews.
Events: Quarterly brewers dinners; tapping events.