Muncie is undergoing a craft beer renaissance! The city now boasts four different microbreweries, several brewpubs, and an assortment of bars and restaurants that all serve localÂ MuncieÂ beer. While cities like South Bend, Fort Wayne, and Indianapolis have long had a brewing tradition, the growth in Muncie is new and unique. Unlike other regional beer brewing cities, most of Muncieâ€™s breweries and brewpubs are located in the downtown corridor, which makes sampling an easy endeavor for those wanting to escape the winter chill in a single afternoon.
Muncieâ€™s craft beer renaissance began with Wolvesâ€™ Head Brewing Company in November of 2012, operating on the third floor of one of Muncieâ€™s oldest downtown pubs, the Heorot Pub and Draught House. Although a small operation, Wolvesâ€™ Head sells a variety of beers in house, downstairs at the Heorot.
Muncieâ€™s second brewery to come into existence in recent years is the New Corner Brewing Company. Beginning as a home brewing project for owner Sean Brady, New Corner expanded to become the first production brewery in Muncie since prohibition. Named in honor of the pre-gas boom name for the Delaware County village of Gaston, New Corner boasts several unique beers including the Liberty Street IPA, Brauerâ€™s Blonde, and the Cardinal Red.
As a production brewery, New Corner offers their beer at area restaurants like Olive
Garden, but also at Muncie pubs Twin Archer, the Fickle Peach, and Savageâ€™s Ale House. In winter months, beer enthusiasts can fill growlers at the production facility on Mt. Pleasant Boulevard. In warmer months, New Corner sets up a tasting room at the Liberty Street ROC architectural salvage shop.
New Cornerâ€™s owner Sean Brady welcomes the new breweries in town and doesnâ€™t feel as though they are competition. â€œEveryone collaborates together and we all brew different stuff,â€ Brady said. â€œA rising tide lifts all boats in our case and Iâ€™m happy to see this kind of growth in Muncie.â€
Brewery/Winter Tasting Room Location: 1900 West Mount Pleasant Boulevard, Suite G – Muncie, IN 47302
Spring/Summer Tasting Room: 800 South Liberty Street – Muncie, IN 47302
Hours: Monday – Saturday from 2pm-6pm & Closed on Sunday
The Guardian Brewing Company, Muncieâ€™s third post-prohibition brewery, opened in November of 2015. Guardian is owned and operated by Jason Phillips (CFO) and Bill Kerr (COO) – both head brewers. Guardian offers 12-14 beers on tap daily at the current location on White River Boulevard, while offering select beers at the Twin Archer Brewpub. Guardian will be moving to MADJAX – Muncieâ€™s innovation and design makerâ€™s space – later this year. The Guardian has seventeen employees and has offered about 40 different beers since theÂ opening.
Like New Cornerâ€™s Sean Brady, the Guardian doesnâ€™t see the other Muncie breweries as competition. When asked about the â€˜competitorsâ€™ – Guardianâ€™s bartender Emily Bradway said that with the different breweries â€œwe have great opportunities for collaboration. With the four of us working together and all of our pub support, we have an opportunity here to make Muncie a local, if not regional destination for craft beer.â€ Assistant brewer and bartender Dave Bradway concurred – â€œMost of the brewers in Muncie are natives. Everyone sees this as a way to start an industry right in our home towns.â€
Current Location: 2100 West White River Boulevard – Muncie, IN 47303
Future Location: MADJAX Muncie – 514 East Jackson Street – Muncie, IN 47305
Hours: Monday – Thursday from 5-10pm, Friday from 5-11pm, Saturday from 1pm-12am, and Sunday, 12pm-8pm
Muncieâ€™s newest brewery opened in November 2016 under the partnership of Bill Lett, Eric Jones, and Tyler Hutchinson. Operating in a renovated 1890â€™s Muncie ice house, Elm Street offers 13 different beers and 5 guest beers from other area brewers.
Later this year, Elm Street will expand to include food (pizza, sandwiches, salad, and soup), a large outdoor seating area, and will begin to distribute to area pubs and restaurants. Owner Bill Lett agreed with the collaborative sentiments from New Corner and Guardian, â€œIf you want to make Muncie a destination city for craft beer, you definitely need more than one brewery,â€ Lett said. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to seeing us all do well together.â€
Muncie is also home to several pubs and restaurants that strongly advocate for the local breweries. The newest is the Twin Archer Brewpub in downtown Muncie on Charles Street. Twin Archer is a collaboration between Jake Baldwin, Scott Limbird, Matt Burns, and Shane Roberts. Twin Archer offers traditional Midwestern pub fare like wings and fried pickles, but also salads, panini, sandwiches, and pasta. They have an excellent brunch on Sundays from 10:30am – 3:00pm.
Twin Archer sources most of their food and beer locally. Co-owner Scott Limbird emphasized that Twin Archer sees itself as an important part ofÂ the local and regional craft beer landscape. â€œWe source locally as much as possibleâ€ Limbird said. â€œWe love getting stuff from New Corner and Guardian. Itâ€™s fantastic to work with local brewers. I can call them and get product the same day! New Corner and Guardian are always eager to fill our orders, even at the last minute.â€
In the not-too-distant future, Twin Archer plans to brew their own small batch beer. For now, they offer select New Corner and Guardian beers, along with brews from other Indiana breweries. On January 26, Twin Archer and the Guardian Brewing Company are teaming up for a beer dinner at 7pm. Patrons will get five beers, with specific food pairings. Tickets are limited, but are available online: https://goo.gl/MIjTDX
One of the strongest and longest advocates for local beer, both Muncie craft beers as well as Indiana brews, is Chris Piche. Piche is the owner of the Fickle Peach in downtown Muncie. Opening in the old Muncie Banking Company building in 2005, the Fickle Peach brings in a diverse crowd of Munsonians, coming together for Fickle Peachâ€™s wide selection of regional craft beer. Chris Piche protects his customerâ€™s preferences, â€œWe usually see what our customers want and discuss that with the reps that come in,â€ Piche said. â€œThe beer we offer needs to be good or great and it needs to be consistent.â€
The Fickle Peach often offers New Corner and will help them launch their new Rubicon IPA and Liberty Street brews on January 13, 2017.
While not brewed on-site at their Muncie location, the Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company opened a brewpub at the new Courtyard Marriott hotel in downtown Muncie. Brewed in Broad Ripple, patrons can purchase the breweryâ€™s beer on tap, or in growlers to take home, shipped from their Broad Ripple brewing facility.
At the edge of downtown, off the courthouse square, Savages Ale House sits at the crossroads between the downtown Muncie corridor and Ball State’s off campus housing. Savages is known for offering many unique local beers – both from Muncie brewers and other regional operations. Their food is fantastic and they have great hours all year round.
With Wolfâ€™s Head Brewing Company operating on the third floor, the Heorot Pub and Draught House sits on the first. The Heorot has been the longest downtown Muncie pub featuringÂ craft beer and a mainstay for Munsonians with refined beer palettes.
Named as one of the top 100 beer bars in America, the Heorot offers a massive selection of specialty beers, local and regional craft brews, as well as their own Wolveâ€™s Head batches from the third floor.
Finally, for those visiting the campus of Ball State University, nearby Scottyâ€™s Brewhouse has long been a staple for Ball State students, faculty, and area residents. Scottyâ€™s offers an assortment of local and regional beer on tap, including beer brewed at Thr3e Wise Men (their sister operation) in Broad Ripple.
History of brewing in Indiana