Writer / Andi Robinson
Photographer / Brian Brosmer & Andi Robinson
MashCraft Head Brewer Andrew Castner has been brewing beer at several Indy-area breweries since 2006, just after he and his wife moved to the south side from Bloomington. He became the Head Brewer at the RAM Restaurant in downtown Indianapolis in 2010, which is also when he first started developing business plans to venture out on his own.
Castner and business partner John Lee met at RAM in 2012 and started talking about how to finance and make MashCraft Brewery and Taproom a reality. Lee had the financial knowledge and Castner had the brewing and operations knowledge that allowed them to open MashCraft in 2014. Their Taproom manager, Rachel Thompson, joined just before they opened. Last year, Joe Janik joined as a third partner. Janik has a background in engineering, which was invaluable as they opened their Delaware Street location in mid-December.
Located on State Road 135 just south of County Line Road, MashCraft has a local bar feel.
According to Castner, “The community is fantastic. And there was a vacuum on the west side of Greenwood, which had no breweries.”
The partners believe that the future of MashCraft is in local neighborhoods. They find a location to “adopt” and hope the community adopts them back. This is why they chose their second location at 22nd and Delaware streets, which also boasts a brewery and taproom.
Castner’s love for brewing, along with great ideas from his staff and customers, has led to some interesting flavors being introduced. The most popular is their house MashCraft IPA. Not far behind are their Last Light (a blood orange IPA) and their Oktoberfest brew. They have 12 to 15 of their own brews on tap at any given time and occasionally mix in a guest tap. They decide what to brew each week based on customer requests, seasonality and rotation of popular flavors.
MashCraft has something new going on nearly every day of the week. They generally introduce new flavors each Tuesday when they do their tappings. One Wednesday a month they feature their new peppered brews, one of Thompson’s ideas that has become a fan favorite. On Thursday’s you can find featured food items during their Rock and Chow events, when they bring in either food trucks or other eateries as well as live bands. Fast Friday’s showcase new, unique and limited flavors. The last Sunday of each month is their Kegs and Eggs event, when they introduce five new coffee beers.
Their Greenwood location also has event space which can be reserved for parties. There is no rental fee, but instead they simply ask for a minimum of $100 in sales. They have hosted everything from baby showers to surprise birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners and Ugly Sweater parties.
“Anything that you can think of that you want to throw a party for, we can host,” Thompson says.
She says room reservations fill up quickly, so plan ahead.
Just a few months after they opened, they began distributing beers to local restaurants. They currently distribute kegs of their signature brews to almost 40 different establishments in the Indianapolis area.
While they don’t serve traditional food items at their Southside location, patrons are welcome to bring in food or order in from nearby restaurants. MashCraft does serve homemade chips from the Broad Ripple Chip Company; beef sticks and fried peanuts from Tommy’s Jerky; and handcrafted dips, stuffed peppadew shooters, as well as meat and cheese boxes from Hoagies & Hops. They are currently experimenting with offering food options at their Delaware Street location, so the menu may be expanding at their Greenwood location in the future. Also in the future for MashCraft is the addition of outdoor seating and several unique events, including a homebrew competition.
They host two large events each year: an IPA competition and a Stout competition. The Stout competition is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Greenwood location. Tickets will be available on their website. Featured during this event are 16 Stout beers from around the world. A blind judging panel pairs down the taps, all the while letting customers try those that do not make it to the next level of judging. MashCraft is also active on the festival circuit.
You can follow MashCraft on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @MashCraftBrews or visit their website at www.mashcraft.com