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Tap into the Indiana craft beer scene with a new documentary

March 27, 2018
Hoosier Brew beer pour

Get the bottle opener, pour yourself a pint and get comfy: “Hoosier Brew” is an hour-long special that goes all across the state for a sample flight of history and culture in Indiana’s craft beer industry.

Filmmakers Jonathan Hoyt and Mike Wolanin, both Indiana University alums, sat down with historians, brewers and beer fans to trace Indiana’s craft beer scene back to its humble beginnings in 1990.

The concept for the film came about after Hoyt decided to shift gears from his work in sports journalism to filmmaking. From his past experiences in the field, he knew it would be tough to find partners who would commit to a project; after coming to terms with having to make the movie mostly on his own, he settled on doing a documentary.

Hoyt said he wanted to center his film on Indiana and eventually landed on the topic of beer. Hoyt, who spent some time home brewing himself, said, “I began to notice the craft beer movement taking off here in Indiana, and it was something I could get excited about.”

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From there, he developed a short video with Wolanin’s help to give people an idea of what he wanted to make on a larger scale. He then met up with the Brewers of Indiana Guild, who put Hoyt in contact with many of the film’s subjects.

“Once I interviewed Rita [Kohn],” Hoyt said, “I began to see an overarching story. The movie really is an account of my own discovery of our state’s history and culture in regards to beer – the audience is really learning about it as I did.”

Hoosier Brew still - history Photo: Hoosier Brew / PBS Video

The film traces Indiana’s history with beer back to a time where there were only four brewers in the state. Flash forward to today, and there are more than 150 craft breweries in Indiana, according to the Brewers of Indiana Guild.

Hoyt said everyone involved jumped at the opportunity to cooperate. John Holl, the editor in chief of All About Beer Magazine, flew out to Indiana just to be interviewed for the film.

“Hoosier Brew” chronicles that growth and showcases why Indiana’s love of beer is stronger than ever. Featured in the documentary, Indiana on Tap runs down beer events and festivals across the state, and Girls Pint Out brings together women who love craft beer for tastings and hang-outs. These are just a couple of the groups that have sprung up in the wake of Indiana beer’s meteoric rise.

And the scene is only getting bigger. IndyStar reports that two new breweries in the Indianapolis area just opened up over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Moontown Brewing Company is the first in Whitestown, and Traders Brewing Company is a family team taking their home brewing hobby full-time.

If you want to hop into the Indiana craft beer world, you can check out “Hoosier Brew” in its entirety for free on PBS Video. And for more information on the film, you can head to the documentary’s website.

WATCH: "Hoosier Hospitality: Craft Beer" (via WTIU / PBS Passport)