Breweries New and Old Come Together at Winterfest 2017

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February 6, 2017 Casey Kenworthy

Over 100 Hoosier breweries, both new and old, gathered together to give spectators a taste of their signature brews during Saturday’s ninth annual Winterfest.

Centerpoint Brewing, located in the Circle City Industrial Complex, was the newest of all the breweries present. Founded in October of 2016 (and celebrating theirgrand opening Feb. 11), Centerpoint took part in this year’s Winterfest as a way to deepen their connection with the Indiana craft beer movement.

Jon Robinson, owner of Centerpoint Brewing, explained the style of beers Centerpoint specializes in.

“We try to brew well balanced, easy drinking, clean ales and lagers,” he said.

When it comes to their brewing style, Robinson said Centerpoint avoids trying to make their beers “too hoppy” or “too malty.”

“We want to just be right down the middle,” he said. “That’s where our name [Centerpoint] comes from.”

Of all the beers Centerpoint offers, Robinson said their signature brew is the “Centerpoint Black”.

“It’s an American porter, and we serve that with a marshmallow and call it ‘King Arthur Style,’” he said. “It gives it a nice little vanilla flavor.”

Aside from newer breweries making first time appearances at Winterfest 2017, many veteran breweries made returning visits as well.

Broad Ripple Brewpub, a restaurant brewhouse located in Broad Ripple,  has represented itself at every Winterfest since 2008. Known for being Indiana’s oldest operating brewery, the Brewpub prides itself on its English style ales.

Broad Ripple Brewpub's booth at Wintefest

Billy Hannan, the Broad Ripple Brewpub’s general manager, explained what sets aside an English style beer from that of an American style.

“Typically [English ales are] more naturally carbonated, and also [served at a] slightly warmer temperature than American style beer,” he said.

When asked what the most popular beer the Brewpub is known for, Hannan gestured towards a tap labeled “Ron Swanson’s Last Day of Camp.” Created in celebration of the Brewpub’s 25-year anniversary, this beer was made from a bourbon barrel mixture of 25 different grains contributed by other breweries.

“It’s an incredibly complex beer,” Hannan said. “People ask what style [it] is, and it really isn’t a style.”

Final Gravity's booth at Winterfest

While breweries use Winterfest as a chance to share their craft beer products with consumers, businesses like Final Gravity Homebrew Supply use the event to show beer drinkers that breweries aren’t necessarily needed to enjoy specialized craft beers.

Founded in 2015 on the south side of Indianapolis, Final Gravity sells home brewing equipment for making beer and wine, they also offering home brewing classes. If that’s not enough, they also make home equipment to make cheese and sausage.

While he was serving beer samples from Final Gravity equipment, employee Justin Kloer explained the details over what home brewing is like for individuals who take part in it.

“I started as a home brewer, most brewers have started as home brewers, they make whatever style they’re interested in,” he said. “This allows people to explore and experiment on their own with what they like.”

While it was their first year taking part in Winterfest, Kloer says Final Gravity hopes to show spectators that it’s possible for them to make and enjoy their own craft beer creations.

“We want get the word out, let people know there’s opportunities to learn how to do this on their own,” he said.

With more breweries than ever competing for Hoosier growlers it was clear that all participating breweries want to be active in the beer community, and to try beer from other breweries. The beer community in Indiana continues to grow. In 2008 there were only about 30 breweries in the state, now there are nearly 150 breweries to choose from.


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