Guggman Haus Brewing is a 5+ year labor of love. It all started here, where the remains of the historic Boyle Racing Headquarters was saved. Over the following year, a search began to find a microbrewery to fill the space. All the while two close families were planning on starting one, they just needed a location! The two groups finally met each other and a match made in heaven ensued. While it’s taken awhile to get to where the brewery is today, the beer is ready to flow. This weekend, May 25th and 26th, the owners will have a soft opening. Look for grand opening announcements closer to June 15th. I was given the opportunity to sit down and talk to one of the owners, Courtney. She’s fired up and ready to show the craft beer crowd of Indianapolis what they can do.
Derek and Courtney Guggenberger plus Ryan and Abby Gorman formed Guggman Haus (pronounced Goog-man) in 2015 after the Guggenberger’s returned to the United States after living for a year in Germany. They learned about beer and developed a love for it. After looking for a location to turn into their future brewery, they were approached by the Boyle Racing Foundation about using their historic facility to fill their vast, empty space.
The facility though, is not quite ready for operation. It currently only has 3 standing walls, rubble flooring and no roof. It will be an ongoing project while they pour beer out of the house that sits adjacent to the property. The plans for the main facility though are incredible. They consist of a museum/memorial to showcase the history of the Boyle Racing days of the past, there will be a much larger brewhouse equipped with a 5 BBL system, an event center, and a large taproom. It’s going to be a major undertaking, but Guggman is up to the task. One piece of the old building does find it’s way inside of the house taproom though, the bricks that were once in the Boyle HQ, make up the front of the bar. It’s a nice touch.
The house has been what Courtney has been sharing the most of on their Instagram page. It’s completely transformed from what it was just a couple years ago. Originally built in 1916, the building had fallen into disarray and housed some not-so-welcome tenants. Now, thanks in large part to Guggman and Mr. Jeff Congdon, the President of Boyle Racing Foundation, it’s been restored and has a very cozy atmosphere. It truly reminds me of a family cottage on the inside. The only thing you can’t do at this house, is bring your full family. Currently, children and animals are not allowed. So please leave them at home before you visit.
Entering through the front door, you immediately see a set of stairs and couches on your right. While the upstairs is off limits to customers, you will see a picture of a former 3-time Indy 500 winner, and driver for Boyle Racing, Wilbur Shaw. Mr. Shaw’s son, Wilbur Shaw Jr. has even visited the place and tasted the beer that will pay homage to the past of the location.
Passing the stairs, you will see the rest of the taproom along with the bar itself. There are currently 9 installed taps with room to expand as more beers are brewed. The tables are all hand made by the owners and their family/friends, and there are historical photos on some of the walls. The piece that draws your eyes the most though would have to be the large Guggman logo hanging along the furthest wall. This logo has some hidden symbolism, as explained to me by one of the owners. The two foreground trees are mirror images, representing Courtney and Abby who are twin sisters. The door is also a pint glass. Yeah, I had no idea until it was pointed out. CAN NOT UNSEE. It’s super creative and I like it.
The bar is something to definitely check out. They have a live edge wooden counter top. A very nice touch. The bar taps sit right next to an incredibly tempting Tinker Coffee container. Tinker is right down the road and yes, that is actual Tinker in there. So grab a cup o’ Joe.
After you grab your drink, you’ll have a warmed pretzel or sandwich as your food choice then you can sit outside at a picnic table and enjoy the fresh air or you can go downstairs and potentially catch some brewing action. Your call. The house overall is small but it’s potential is huge.
Finally, your favorite part, the beer! The current brewhouse boasts a small but mighty 2 BBL system. It stays busy pumping out the 7 house beers is located in the basement. Guggman plans to have two beer series, the Haus series and the Boyle Beer series. Names are still being worked out but the beer is absolutely good to go. The beers available during the opening are an IPA, Pilsner, NEIPA, Milk Stout, Brown Ale and, if we’re lucky, Hefeweizen.
I tried a sample flight and managed to talk them into their first official beer purchase. Here’s what I had:
Great Day IPA – This is Guggman’s mainstay IPA. It’s medium bodied with very low bitterness. It’s a bit fruity on the backend but otherwise very pleasant to drink. I dig it.
Pilsner – Packed full of flavor and medium to full bodied, this pilsner puts on a show. It is much heavier than some of the others that I’ve had but because of that it’s able to bring out some flavors that I’ve only been able to touch on with other pilsners. It’s a very solid beer.
New England IPA – Citrusy and light. It’s an easy drinking beer that could also be used as a great introduction to the craft beer world. This beer taps into the haze craze that the craft beer community has driven to popularity, they did a good job brewing it.
Milk State – My far my favorite. This beer is the perfect consistency, its sweet but not overwhelming. It’s also low on ABV so I can happily keep drinking it and walk away after. I’ll absolutely be back for this one.
What I didn’t get to try was the Hefeweizen, I love a good Hef, I’ll have to go back and try it at the grand opening.
Guggman Haus is going to be a great spot on the west side of downtown Indy just a couple blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s tucked inside of the historic Riverside neighborhood and will be closely tied to the community. The brewery will quickly become a tourist location especially with the anticipated expansion into the actual Boyle HQ.
This weekend, May 25th and 26th, will be the soft opening of the business. They’ll have 14 kegs of their great beer ready to go and they want you to come out and drink it! If you’re in the area for the race, IMS is right down the road, or looking for something to do, go check out Guggman. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for hours and additional details and look for their grand opening celebration closer to June 15th!