FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – It may not be common knowledge, but the city of Fort Wayne has a long, rich history of beer brewing which dates back as far as 1853. And that popularity is still relevant today with the latest trend in beer making – home brews.
The first commercial brewery in town was opened by Herman Hartman, a fire fighter by trade, back in 1853. Then a few years later in 1862 the French Brewery was opened by brothers Charles and Frank Centlivre, but would later change its name to the Centlivre Brewing Company.
That brewery was built on the banks of the St. Joseph River near the State Street Bridge across from North Side High School. In 1961 they would again rename the company to Old Crown, but operations would ultimately cease by December 1973.
A local presence of that brewery can still be seen however, as a statue of C.L. Centlivre still stands atop Don Hall’s Guesthouse on East Superior Street.
To learn more about the history of beer making across Indiana, visit IndianaBeer.com
But what good is it to talk about beer making in Fort Wayne without talking about the Mad Anthony Brewing Company. Since 1998 they have been offering delicious food and beer across Northeastern Indiana.
The brewery and restaurant carries more than 50 varieties of beer throughout the year, brewing more than 2,000 gallons of its finest brews annually. Their success and popularity in the area has allowed them to expand to four locations. One in Fort Wayne at Taylor and Broadway, more in Warsaw and Auburn, as well as an alehouse in Angola.
Like any business, Mad Anthony had to get its start somewhere, and as far as the beer goes, that was up to Co-Founder Todd Grantham. Like hundreds of brewers in the Fort Wayne area, Grantham got his start as a home brewer.
When it comes to home brewing, one local brewer thinks of it as a great hobby.
“In the long run (it is) definitely cost effective,” home brewer Josh Peebles says, “I'm not spending a bunch of money on beer all the time, and it lasts me a lot longer than a regular case of beer would."
Joe Martin, the manager at Brewers Art Supply describes his love for beer making as fun, adding “I get to be artistic and I get to be creative, and that's kind of the beauty of the whole hobby is it gives you the freedom to really do and create whatever you want. And when you're done you get beer to drink!"
So just how easy is brewing your own beer? According to Martin, there are only four ingredients to make beer – a good quality water source, malted barley, hops, and yeast.
For a crash course on brewing up your own beer, click on the video link.
Not only is it tasty, home brewing can be cost-efficient as well.
"Generally the kits I make, make about 50 beers per pack, so if I've got one in the fridge already I can start making another one and it'll be done by the time the next one is gone."
With initial costs running between $90 and $120, home brewing kits are easy to get your hands on. Most places that sell the home brew kits have everything already packaged together in a box.
"Your possibilities are limitless with home brewing,” Martin says. “Once you get the equipment and the necessary supplies, and the knowledge, I mean it pretty much opens you up to about any beer style that you could possibly ever want to make or brew."
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