Many people believe the St. John Malt Brother’s story began on February 1st, 2015, when we opened the doors of our taproom to a small crowd who braved the blizzard and joined us on a Super Bowl Sunday. But the real story began years before with three neighbors drinking craft beer around the fire pit in their connecting backyards. Malt Brothers Jim Estry, a retired businessman, Dan Cox and Dave Witt, both engineers, quickly bonded over their love of great beer, and the first attempts at brewing quickly ensued. The Brothers honed their craft on single-barrel batches, and they were ready when the high-end computerized European brewing equipment and a 15-barrel brewhouse finally arrived.
A few beer batches later and we arrived at that cold, snowy Sunday in February of 2015, when the cozy 36-person taproom opened. On tap, you could only find 3 original Malt Brothers beers, Hesperidium, MBA and Triple Threat (renamed to “Triple Dog Dare”) and several guest beers. Soon after, by providing top-notch friendly service, we had a loyal and enthusiastic following, allowing us to rapidly grow. It wasn’t long before all 12 taps were pouring Malt Brothers originals, and we even add taps to serve the wide variety of beers we were brewing. To keep up with the demand, in the second summer we added fermentation tanks to boost our production capacity to 1,500 barrels annually.
Of course, hiding behind the scenes in this story is our head brewer and newest Malt Brother, Len Bergonia. Originally hired as an associate for our old brewing supplies store, Len quickly proved his brewing prowess when asked to help in the brewery. With a combination of traditional styles, beers with a Malt Brothers twist, some more esoteric pilot batches, and barrel-aged special releases, Len will create over 40 unique beers this year.
Much like our brewery, our distribution has grown ever since opening. You can now find St. John Malt Brothers in bars, restaurants, and stores in Northwest Indiana, Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Illinois. Packaging of our beer is done on-site including cans and hand-bottled, limited release bombers. Cold carry-out beer is always available, and our 64 oz. growlers are a customer favorite to take home and enjoy fresh beer with friends and family. Kegs are available for your personal kegerator or celebration.
Almost 3 years after opening our taproom, the neighboring Malt Brothers Brewery & Eatery opened its doors on January 2, 2018 expanding our facilities with enough room for over 220 guests. But we always knew these locations would one day be demolished to make way for the Shops on 96th, and so we continued to look for a permanent home for Malt Brothers Brewing. We found our answer less than a quarter of a mile away on Industrial Drive.
Sporting one of the largest kitchens in northwest Indiana, an excellent food menu and their own unique beers, 95ate5, the inconveniently located brewpub by Comforts Catering, officially became our home on June 11th, 2019.
We are looking forward to the next chapters in our story and hope to see growth in our involvement in the local community and in the number of people who enjoy our beers.
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