We are continuing to add breweries to our Hoosier Beer Geek Indiana Brewing Guide. This time, it is Bier Brewery. Parts of this article previously appeared in the December 16th issue of Metromix.
Darren Connor started home brewing while attending college at Indiana University. “I made beer because I couldn’t buy it.”
While in college, he would spend some time at the Bloomington Brewing Company helping Floyd Rosenbaum brew. After graduation, he returned to his hometown of Indianapolis where he found a job working at homebrewing supply store Great Fermentations. That was almost ten years ago.
He had become a fixture at Great Fermentations, helping new homebrewers learn how to brew beer. But the time had come for Connor to move on. “I had more fun making (beer),” he said, “than teaching other.,” But he hasn’t moved that far; he’s just a few doors east. This is where he opened Bier Brewery and Taproom on November 24th.
Bier is different from most breweries in Indianapolis. They are operating a small 1.5 barrel system, which means he’s brewing more often to meet demands, but he is also brewing a greater variety. The opening week lineup of beers included kolsch, German wheat, Belgian blonde, pale ale, brown, porter, and oatmeal stout.
But don’t expect to see the same beers every week. “Each beer has a place or time. As the seasons change, the beers are going to keep changing.” A pumpkin beer, a dunkelweiss, a chocolate mint stout, and a Belgian dubbel were recently on tap.
Another difference with his brewery is that it is neither a brewpub, serving food and pints to patrons, nor a production brewery, selling their beer to a store or restaurant to then sell to the consumer. To purchase a Bier brew, you have to visit the brewery. At the taproom, visitors can sample the beers before purchasing them in 64 ounce refillable glass containers called growlers. Refills for most beers will cost $12; a new growler is $4. How has the drinking public responded to this setup? “On the first day, we had a line out the door for two hours,” says Connor.
The demand for Bier’s beer continues to ride high. Some beer styles have sold out within a day of release. The chocolate mint stout was a highly sought after beer (I personally arrived a day too late to sample and purchase; based on tweeted reviews, I’m missing out).
While the beers are small and varied, there is a common element that can be found among them: quality. “We’re going to brew clean, balanced, easy drinking beers. Each batch has its own unique water profile. Each style has its own yeast strain.”
Quality is of such importance to Connor that he has page on the Bier Brewery website dedicated to his promise to produce quality beers. And he says he will not sell an inferior product. To prove his point, he tweeted yesterday that he had dumped batch #40 down the drain for not meeting quality expectations.
Connor believes that if he sticks to his high standards, he will be successful. Not just in the amount of beer sold, but also the number of awards won: “We’re going to be gunning for the (Indiana State Fair Brewer’s Cup) beer competition this year.”
If you haven’t made it yet to Bier Brewery, they will be at the upcoming Winterfest on Jan. 29th. Connor plans on bring a wide variety of beers, so be sure to visit early and often.
Bier Brewery and Taproom
5133 East 65th Street, Indianapolis
Hours: Thursday & Friday 3-7p; Saturday 1-7p; Sunday Noon-4p