A taste of Belgium is planned for the heart of Bargersville.
Local beer lovers can try samples of authentic abbey-style blonde ale or a malty dubbel. They will be able to sit outside on a full patio and enjoy a fruity-tart saison.
At the wooden bar running the length of the room, people can experience one of the heartiest beers in the world — a rich, dark quadrupel.
That’s the dream of Nathan and Leah Huelsebusch, who envision turning a vacant building in downtown Bargersville into a full-service brewpub and entertainment hub.
Taxman Brewing Co.
Where: Downtown Bargersville
What: A craft brewery and brewpub, specializing in Belgian-style beers
When: Construction is expected to start in November, with the brewpub to open in March 2014.
WHAT'S ON TAP
Current and future beers:
Belgian pale ale
A dark straw beer made with Belgian-origin yeast, with moderate bitterness and low alcohol content.
A less bitter light-colored beer also made with traditional Belgian-origin yeast, giving it notes of clover and fruit.
A very fruity, dark red beer with heavy raspberry notes and little bitterness.
A light colored beer that retains the fruity aroma and flavor with mild to moderate bitterness.
A rich, malty beer of dark amber or copper color with a heavier concentration of alcohol.
Takes the typical dark, malty porter and adds a Belgian twist with the use of the region’s traditional yeast. Mild bitterness, and enhance alcohol content.
Bright yellow to gold in color, with low bitterness and a 9 percent alcohol concentration.
The most powerful beer in Taxman’s collection, this dark straw-colored brew carries a 9.5 alcohol content and hoppy bitterness near the top of the scale.
Taxman Brewing Co. will serve Belgian-style and inspired beers, with a tasting room and patio allowing people to pick from a list of beers. At the same facility, the company will be able to produce up to 600 gallons of beer at a time.
The Huelsebusches hope to fill a void that exists in the Indianapolis beer market, as well as bring new business to Bargersville’s downtown.
“We wanted to bring that Belgian sense of community, that European open pub feel to a small town,” Nathan Huelsebusch said. “You don’t have a lot of breweries in the Midwest focusing on those styles. We felt, to penetrate the Indianapolis market, we might try it. American beers are so hoppy, and I don’t think that appeals to the broad spectrum of Indiana consumers.”
The former Tri-State Bolt building has sat vacant at Harriman and Baldwin streets at the center of Bargersville for years. The white-painted stone block exterior had faded, weeds had choked the back parking lot, and windows were broken and boarded up. Inside, fluorescent lights illuminate a plain cement floor and warped wooden paneling.
As Nathan Huelsebusch walked through the empty space, though, he laid out a grand vision.
The plan is to rip out the existing pole barn section of the building on the back, replacing it with a new warehouse that will measure 112 feet by 42 feet. That will house the 20-barrel brewing system — fermenters, brightening tanks and other equipment.
With that capability, Taxman Brewing would be on par with similar small-batch producers in central Indiana, such as Flat 12 Brewing in Indianapolis, Huelsebusch said.
The brewpub section will be built toward the front of existing structure, with seating for about 85 people. A full-length bar will run along the north side, where customers can pull up for a pint, fill up a growler or taste new creations.
A large patio is being planned for the back of the building, with doors that can be raised or lowered to let people wander in and out.
An open loft space will provide additional seating, though that could be years in the future, Huelsebusch said.
“I don’t know if we can get 100 people in here a night. You never know,” he said with a laugh. “Who knows, it might happen.”
The inspiration for Taxman Brewing came while the Huelsebusches lived in Belgium for 2½ years. Nathan Huelsebusch had dabbled in craft brewing on his own, but living in Belgium they were able to extensively tour the small brewers that country is famous for.
He became enamored with the unique style, hops characteristics and flavors that Belgian beer featured. He also liked the look, feel and sense of community that he found in some of the small tasting rooms.
“We’d drive into a town like this, and there’d be a barn where you’d have no idea it was a brewery until you walked in the door. But inside, it was so warm and inviting, it’s a unique experience. If we can recreate that here, that’s our goal,” Nathan Huelsebusch said.
The couple have lived in Center Grove area for about two years and have been playing with their beer recipes since starting planning on the brewery. They already have settled on an abbey series of beers, including a blonde, dubbel and tripel.
“We’ll probably have a quadrupel, a big, big brown beer with a lot of plum, lot of raisin characteristics,” Nathan Huelsebusch said.
They also have ideas to put their own spin on the style, fusing American and Belgian aspects of brewing into single beers. Borrowing from the U.S. love for hops, they also want to create some porters and darker style beers.
All will be brewed with the traditional Belgian yeast that gives it its unique taste.
“It all depends on how big the beer is, if that clove and banana flavor that it’s known for comes through. With some of the darker beers, you’re not going to get a lot of that, because there’s so much more going on,” Nathan Heulsebusch said.
Nathan and Leah Huelsebusch have spent the past year doing market research and trying to find the best place for their business. They found that very few places in central Indiana made local brews, as well as featuring suitable seating to let people relax and enjoy the beer. Around the growing Center Grove area, that type of business is almost nonexistent.
“It was close, and the demographics are right. There’s not a lot of really local places that people can go here,” Nathan Huelsebusch said. “If we’re in downtown Indianapolis, we’re competing against five different breweries. Here, there’s no one that’s too close.”
Nathan Huelsebusch is an international tax director for Cummins, which is where the Taxman Brewing name came from. Leah Huelsebusch is a pharmaceutical sales representative. Both are working full time and doing brewery-related business on the side.
So far, the variance for the brewery has been passed by the Town of Bargersville.
“We think it’s going to be a good catalyst for things to happen downtown,” said Brian Pohl, director of development for Bargersville. “People are excited to bring something like this to the area.”
Financing should be finished by the end of September; their liquor license permit hearing was Monday; and after that, the process of starting up should begin.
The idea is to start construction by November. That would put a potential opening in March.
“There’s a lot of paperwork. Nobody really knows how to do a lot of these things. Even our architects and people we’re working with haven’t done breweries a lot, so it’s totally different for them,” Leah Huelsebusch said.
The brewery will distribute its beers to bars and restaurants throughout central Indiana. Taxman Brewing’s distribution licenses are being reviewed, and Nathan Huelsebusch expects to be selling its beer by November.
Currently, the Huelsebusches have started brewing their beer on a small system at Cutter’s Brewing in Avon. They are still playing with recipes and techniques, but once they have all of the details of the beers ironed out, they’ll use the 30-barrel system at Cutter’s to start churning out its product, Nathan Huelsebusch said.
“We won’t have our own brewing equipment in here until the end of 2014. But by then, our product will already be tested on the market, people will know who we are,” he said. “It makes that next investment much more feasible.”
Already, Taxman Brewing is carving out new fans in its future home. At the Bargersville Summer Stages in August, they served selections of their Signature Pale Ale and Abbey Blonde to guests 21 and older. They explained their plans and met some of the residents who they hope will support them.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been fun. Bargersville is an area that needs something like this, and people seem excited,” Leah Huelsebusch said.