Monday, July 28, 2014

Scarlet Lane Brewing Co. is Catching Fire!

Yes I did just make a Hunger Games reference... my bad, but it's hard to describe what Scarlet Lane Brewing Company is doing any other way. These guys hit the streets running about three months ago and have already started taking the Indy market by storm with taps in tons of bars and restaurants throughout the marketplace. They've brought innovative and delicious beers right from the start without messing around with a blond, or a cream ale just to be approachable. They are daring Indiana to try craft beers that are more outside the box than what they're use to.

It seems like the creativity and skill have paid off. In their first appearance at the Brewers Cup earlier this month, Scarlet Lane came home with a gold medal for their Vivian Red IPA. Although not traditional in color, it has a big hoppy flavor that demands it be qualified as an IPA, and now we have proof that it's one of the best IPAs in town. They also brought home medals for their Coffee Dorian Stout and Paeonia Farmhouse Ale. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the coffee stout before it the Brewers Cup and it was outstanding; it was like mixing beer with a mocha latte. It's exciting to see a brewery that's so new do so well early on. We were fortunate enough to talk to Eilise about their success and what has made them a standout in the Indianapolis marketplace.

For those of you who haven't gotten to get to know Scarlet Lane yet, I'd like to introduce Eilise: owner, brewer, and Indiana's very own girl on fire!

Q. How did you determine your core lineup of beers for Scarlet Lane?

A. f you’re talking about Scarlet Lane in general, it was fairly simple. A Coconut Stout in Bend, Oregon is the beer that got me excited about brewing. Tonya Cornett, at the time with Bend Brewing Company, brewed a nitro coconut stout that was amazing! This beer was critical to my beer development and HAD to be a part of our launch. The Red IPA comes from both the significance with our name, Scarlet Lane, and the influence the Northwest has had on the brewery. We wanted to bring a nicely balanced IPA to our portfolio, but also wanted it to fit our image, so the Red IPA was born. We had different plans for our third beer, but after hiring and speaking with Chris Knott our Head Brewer, he expressed his passion for Saisons. Similar to my Coconut Stout obsession, Chris was really excited to put a Saison on the map as a flagship beer….that brings us to Silas. Our newest seasonal, Humble Peach started off as a joke when our partner and other owner Doug Sheets brought back a peach beer from the East Coast. We joked with him, made fun of him… and then all of sudden we are making a peach beer AND WE ALL LOVE IT. Doug is owed an apology and a big hug for that one. Our beers we entered for Brewers’ Cup were all along the lines of what makes us excited about beers: IPAs, Stouts, and Saisons. 

Q. You've done some great specialty beers for festivals and tap takeovers. How important are these unique options to you guys?

A. We think it’s important to always have fun with it. People get “flagship fatigue” and don’t want to always see the same line-up, especially at festivals. We think it’s extremely important to keep offering fun and engaging beers…even if it's just at festivals 

Q. Could they ever make it to the standard line up?

A. Yes. Humble Peach is one of them. We did it one time for a Tomlinson Tap event and it was so popular we are now going to do it full time. We gave a little sample of it at Fat Dan’s Deli and had such a great response we went back to the brewery to prepare a large batch of it for our summer seasonal.

Q. Vivian, your gold medal IPA is actually a Red IPA. What are the differences both in the brewing process and the final product that made it stand out from a traditional IPA?

A. We use a different malt bill to create the caramel backbone and color difference that sets it apart from a traditional IPA color. The difference of the final product is more of a balance between the malt and the hop that creates a little bit of a malty and toasty background to the IPA. However, it’s still an IPA so there is a big robust hop presence in the nose and bitterness. 

Q. As the craft beer scene in Indiana continues to evolve, what do you hope to see more of?

A. That’s a two fold answer. 1. We hope to see confidence from local establishments that they don’t always have to keep rotating tap handles. That in itself is not only exhausting at some point, but it detracts from the brand loyalty a local craft beer market can create. Quality is getting better throughout Indiana and there should be no reason why bars and restaurants should be scared to always offer high quality local beers instead of offering it for a week only to remove it for something else. 2. We hope to see a lot more of collaboration and camaraderie among local breweries. 

You have seen their beers at bars and restaurants, now their beers are available for growler fills at their brewery in McCordsville, IN. They just opened the tap room last weekend (on the 20th). If you haven't checked out this exciting new brewery, do so as soon as possible. May the beers be ever in your favor... last one I promise.

Scarlet Lane is getting ready to do a Winning Beers Tap Takeover at Chatham Tap on August 7 where you will be able to try all the awesome beers.

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