Apples & Beer
Nothing goes better with autumn than apples. Last week, I wrote about Stroh’s Orchard, but this week I want to concentrate on another kind of apple. Johnny Appleseed. As many of you know his real name was John Chapman. He dedicated his life to planting nurseries throughout the upper Midwest. While legend says he sprinkled apple seeds everywhere, he actually carefully planted orchards and put up well-engineered fences to ensure quality harvests.
Today that same spirit of quality lives on in Chapman’s Brewery on Industrial Drive in Angola, Indiana. The company opened its doors in 2012. Though the tasting room and brewery is new, they are quick to point out that local beer crafting is an old tradition. Just a century ago, most towns of substantial size had at least one local brewery.
There are a few perks and updates to the old way of doing things. For instance, precise measuring devices and stainless steel equipment, as well as a quality supply of steady ingredients makes for richly flavored and consistently drinkable beer. It’s their hope that customers will find the beer fresh and smooth, so that they’ll always want another.
They keep the menu simple with just six main beers. Valiant, is an American stout with hints of chocolate and espresso. Enlighten, my favorite, is a Kolsch ale. It’s light and crisp. Undaunted is Chapman’s IPA. It has a more hoppy spice and pine flavor. (As a disclaimer: I make soap using these three beers as base ingredients. They are incredibly popular with customers.) Englishman, their most popular variety, is a southern brown ale. It’s a traditional pub beer, malty with a sweet caramel flavor. Wry American is a red rye and one of the brewery’s newer beers. Brighten Pale Ale, is a lighter beverage with a perfect combination of malty and hoppiness. Finally there’s the Rolette Series. These are small limited release beers. The idea is that it allows the brewery to work on new flavors while getting customer feedback. Sometimes the new brew work out so well, they become regulars like Wry American—which was originally called Red Ryeding Hood. (Cute. You should have kept it.)
The simple menu has worked so well, it’s allowed Chapman’s to open additional tasting rooms in Ft. Wayne, Columbia City, and soon Wabash. They’re also in hundreds of retailer and many restaurants throughout Indiana.
During Indiana’s Bicentennial, hoosier breweries were asked to make beer using Indiana products. Chapman’s came up with BicentenniALE. Unfortunately, the batch was only big enough for one tasting room—which went to Columbia City. But not to fear, more great holiday and celebration flavors are on the way. This season they hope to have a Russian Imperial Oatmeal and possibly a barley wine ready for the holidays. They’re also working on a light fizzy blond ale, which they call Harvester.
John Chapman became a legend in his own time for his important nursery work and for always giving thanks as the song goes for the sun, the rain, and the apple seed. Now his namesake is well in it’s way to become a living legend too and all those who pass through its doors have one more thing to be grateful for too.
For more information on Chapman’s visit www.chapmansbrewing.com