John Hill's Broad Ripple Brewpub is, if not the first of the Modern Era breweries in Indiana, at least the spiritual granddaddy of most of them and the actual granddaddy of many.
The Modern Era started in 1989 when the Indianapolis Brewing Co. name was revived after 41 years by Rick Harris and Tom Peters. This first micro lasted until 2003 (the last 6 years under control of Oaken Barrel. (Right: Brook Belli oversaw the carting off of the vats on March 5, 2003)
John was right behind. He'd moved his emphasis from the Corner Wine Bar and Wellington's to the auto shop which was to become Indiana's most successful brewpub and opened for business in 1990.
John's legacy already includes a family tree that stretches now three generations.
Greg Emig, John Hill, Gil Alberding, Kevin Matalucci, Ted Miller
- Gil Alberding was the first brewer. He's now the Brewing Business Unit Leader for MillerCoors in Eden, NC.
- Greg Emig replaced him in in 1992. He went on to found the Lafayette Brewing Co. His father Joe then started Aberdeen in Valparaiso where Sam Strupeck brewed before starting Shoreline Brewery in 2005. Greg's brewer for nine years, Chris Johnson, just opened People's Brewing Co. in Lafayette.
- Ted Miller replaced Greg and went on to start a couple of overseas breweries and then in 2005, the Brugge Brasserie just across the canal from the BRBP.
- Kevin Matalucci is now the "old head" has been brewing at "the brewpub" ever since.
- Dave Chichura (right) was a waiter at BRBP before going on to be the second brewer at the downtown Indy Rock Bottom. He went on to Mountain Sun in Boulder and now the head brewer at Oskar Blues.
- Russ Levitt was also a waiter at BRBP before he set up and was the first brewer at Bloomington Brewing and also at Upland.
So twenty years later, it's gone from Two Week Ale through Wee Alec Heavy, ESB, IPA, Big Boy, to Bigger Boy and a heckova 2-tent party.
Here's some pictures of the night (click to biggify). Lots of old-timers were there, don't you wish you were?