Midtown residents who’ve been curious about what would happen at the commercial space on Broad Ripple Avenue near Guilford formerly occupied by Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. didn’t have to wonder for long.
Sun King Brewing officially took over the space on August 1 and wasted no time building out its fourth Indy location, which consists of a family-friendly tasting room with 24 beer taps and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as Offshore by Pier 48, a restaurant concept that co-owner Clay Robinson says is a unique culinary addition to the Village.
“We wanted this to be different than anything that’s available in Broad Ripple,” he says. “We didn’t want to be another burger or pizza joint. The food complements our beer and cocktail menu, and some things on the menu like the dough are actually made using our Sun King products.”
Sun King purchased the former Thr3e Wise Men brewing implements, kitchen equipment and furnishings at an auction on August 1 and underwent an eight-week renovation and building preparation process at the 1021 Broad Ripple Avenue location, which Robinson says mostly consisted of cleaning, painting and some light cosmetic changes. Sun King Broad Ripple officially opened to the public in mid-October.
“I originally thought we wouldn’t have the capacity for this space, but my business partner and co-owner Dave (Colt) took a deeper look into it and saw the potential,” Robinson says. “Dave did some calculations on costs and figured that with the great parking space this could really work for us.”
The tap room serves up handcrafted cocktails, spirits from the company’s Carmel distillery and 24 beer selections that include a few Sun King staples like the Sunlight Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish-Style Ale and Osiris Pale Ale, as well as seasonal and small-batch offerings.
Offshore Owner Fred Knipscheer says his company had been looking to partner with Sun King throughout 2019 and when word of the brewery’s decision to move forward with the new midtown location reached his offices, he and his team worked quickly to put together a menu proposal for Robinson and Colt.
“It was a fast process. We made up a menu in about five days and did a food tasting for the Sun King people, and then got the nod a few weeks later,” says Knipscheer, who also owns Pier 48 Fish House & Oyster Bar on Pennsylvania Street. “We wanted to do something that was cost-effective and a little conceptually different. For example, we have house-made chips and coleslaw and no French fries and really good flatbread instead of pizza.”
Knipscheer describes the menu as farm-to-table with some sea-to-table options in the mix as well, including soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts and several “Shareables” like sliders, stuffed calamari and a cheese and charcuterie board.
“There’s been a little bit of a misconception that we’re bringing a seafood restaurant to Sun King, but that’s not really what it is,” he explains. “About 20 to 25% of the menu is seafood, with our lobster roll and fish sandwich from Pier 48, and our clam chowder and a tuna dish. It’s all made from scratch daily.”
Robinson says Sun King’s products have had a long-time presence at Broad Ripple stores and eateries, and establishing a standalone physical location in the heart of the Village was a logical next step for the company.
“With Broad Ripple being a cultural center of our city with a great neighborhood population, we’re excited to have a location here,” Robinson says. “As we’ve grown from downtown into Carmel and Fishers now, it made sense to tie in Broad Ripple. We feel like the area is in a great resurgence right now with new businesses, new housing and the Red Line.”
Sun King is not currently brewing products at the Broad Ripple facility but hopes to begin doing so later this winter, with an eye toward selling products brewed at the location by springtime.
“Brewing licensing is a months-long process, so we’re going through all the federal paperwork right now to be able to produce alcohol at this spot,” Robinson says.
Sun King plans to host special events and tapping parties once brewing is operational at the new location and eventually offer space near the back of the facility for private and corporate functions.
“After getting it open in eight weeks, we’ve moved into the tweaking and adjusting phase to make the place even better based on feedback from customers and friends,” Robinson adds. “It’s a great spot that I think will only get better because we want each of our locations to always get better and stand on their own as unique.”
Robinson and Colt founded Sun King Brewing back in 2009 after the two garnered experience at several local breweries and restaurants including Circle V Brewing, Rock Bottom and The RAM Restaurant & Brewery. The company is now the second-largest beer brewery in the state, with canned and on-tap products at more than 1,000 locations throughout Indiana.
In addition to its downtown Indy brewing headquarters, Sun King also operates an all-ages tap room and 6,000-square-foot, small-batch brewery in Fishers, as well as an all-ages distillery location in Carmel that offers beer, spirits and food from several local food vendors.