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!
Rock Bottom Brewery - College Park, est. 2005
2801 Lake Circle Drive, Indianapolis
"Dedication, persistence, and a little bit of good luck" is how Liz Laughlin describes making the jump from hobbyist to professional brewer. Liz moved from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Eugene, Oregon, to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies. While attending school and living with her brother, she found his brewing equipment and a worn copy of Charlie Papazian's Complete Joy of Homebrewing while digging around in his garage.
"I read that whole book and literally went to the homebrew store the next day and I'm like, sign me up." After brewing a couple batches, curiosity led her to an assistant position at Steelhead Brewing Company in Eugene for two years and then on to an assistant position at Rock Bottom in Portland, Oregon.
As an artist and builder with an obsession for cleaning, she realized that a position in the brewing industry was a perfect fit. After training, she achieved her goal of becoming a head brewer before the age of 30 when she came to Rock Bottom’s College Park location almost four years ago.
Liz typically brews the types of beers she likes to drink - clean, consistent, and sessionable. She also brews “to style”, meaning that she aims to brew so that the specifics of the brew (alcohol by volume (ABV), International Bitterness Units (IBU), gravity, etc.) fall within the ranges set by the Brewers Association.
Many competitions are judged based on these guidelines, including the Great American Beer Festival held in Denver every September. Liz took home a silver medal from this competition this year for her Naked Oatmeal Stout (one of only four medals won by Indiana brewers).
Regular Beers (styles in parenthesis): Circle City Light (Kölsch), Seasonal Wheat, Double Barrel Pale Ale, Heartland Red, Brickway Brown, Hoosier Ma Stout
Seasonals: Usually two or three additional beers on draft, and one on cask
Events: Monthly tapping events (next one on 11/17), seasonal beer dinners, "Yappy Hours"