Hoosier Brewing Company Opens With Unique Taproom & Ax-Throwing Concept

Photographer / Amy Counts

What do you get when you combine a distillery, a taproom and an ax-throwing arena? You get Greenwood’s newest attraction: Hoosier Brewing Company featuring Tap & Axe — a taproom and ax-throwing area.

Headed by the founder of Hoosier Brewing Company, Brian Nentrup, and partners Matt Crawford, Mike Crowder and Mike Hollcraft, this new brewery sits at 147 S. Madison Ave. The space has been under major renovations for almost two years and the job isn’t done quite yet.

“The interior was a priority,” Nentrup says. “We’re producing beer and it’s going out. So, we needed a space that was immediate for us to keep the production and get it kick-started, again. So, we focused on the interior and the exterior is coming.”

With more than 6,000-square feet of space, the new brewery features a production space on the north end with glass windows for onlookers to view the brewing action. The dining section of the space features vaulted ceilings, exposed metal and wooden beams original to the building that can be dated as far back as 1912, bar top seating as well as traditional dining tables and a deli-style line operation for food and beverage orders. On the south end you’ll find eight ax-throwing targets lanes surrounded by metal cages and more bar-high tabletops. 

Designated for the 21-and-older crowd, Hoosier Brewing Company will have 30 taps flowing with Hoosier beer products, and some will even feature in-house batches of kombucha. Plans for producing in-house bourbons are also in the works. But for now, hungry patrons can chow down on pizza-by-the-slice and wings or grab their favorite brew from the bar before heading over to an ax-throwing lane. 

While reservations for ax-throwing are strongly encouraged, Hollcraft says walk-ins will be welcomed. Each lane will be hosted by a guide with a 15-minute training session on how to properly throw the ax and hit the target. 

As a safety precaution, ax-throwers will be limited to two drinks during playtime and consumption will be tracked by hole punches on a wristband. 

“It’s about having fun and letting your hair down,” Crawford says. “It’s just about getting away from the busy and the hustle and bustle and just coming in here and throwing an ax.”

Crawford even jokes that he’s never missed the target, not even once. 

By combining a distillery, brewery and with entertainment such as ax-throwing, Nentrup and Crawford say their goal is to bring more attention to Old Town Greenwood and become an attraction for beer-drinkers around the area. They even hope their brewery will inspire others to move in next door.

“We want to see other people sprouting up and producing the same type of entertainment and opportunity for folks from Indianapolis, Columbus and surrounding areas to pay patronage,” Nentrup says. 

Crawford, Crowder and Hollcraft are all three real estate investors, while Nentrup is the only one with brewing experience. According to Hollcraft, it was a mutual associate between him and Nentrup, and his own personal connection to Crowder, that brought the four together to take on this new business venture. 

“Brian and I kind of hit it off,” Hollcraft says. “Mike [Crowder] and I graduated from Southport together in the same class, and we’ve been talking for 30-some years about going into business together. So, I contacted Mike, and Mike and Matt [Crawford] are business partners, and so that’s how it kind of all came together.”

Motivated for not only Hoosier Brewing Company and Tap & Axe to succeed, but for other businesses in the surrounding blocks to as well, Hollcraft says these partners want to “play their part in Greenwood being a destination.” The other three partners echo the same feeling. 

“We’re trying to change the culture,” Crowder says. “People are going from this area and they’re going to Fountain Square, they’re going to Irvington or Broad Ripple. We need something down here.”

Eventually, Hoosier Brewing Company hopes its branches spread to nearby communities. Open to affiliate partnerships, this group would like to see their flag flown in places such as Anderson, Bloomington, Muncie and other surrounding cities. 

“We will be supplying these locations that we’re a partner with featuring our beer and spirits,” Nentrup says. “It’s just the opportunity for us to collaborate with others to provide this same atmosphere in other communities.”

Hollcraft says they even envision hosting an ax-throwing league and hope to give people another activity to enjoy in Old Town Greenwood. But for now, these partners are just focused on providing the best possible experience they can in the heart of Greenwood.

Hoosier Brewing Company is located at 147 S. Madison Ave. in Greenwood. Parking is free with the closet lot on the north side of the building off Madison. For more information, visit them online at hoosier.beer or give them a call at 317-835-9705. 

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