By Rich Warren
For its 10th anniversary this year, Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis received a very nice present: in July, the brewery was named Grand National Champion in the U.S. Open Beer Championship, winning three gold medals and three silver medals. More than 7,000 beers representing 130 different styles of beer from around the world were submitted in that competition.
“We are super honored to have six of the eight beers we entered win medals,” says Clay Robinson, who along with Dave Colt is co-owner and co-founder of Sun King. “It’s nice to feel validated (that) we’re making good beers.”
When it opened in 2009, Sun King was the first full-scale production brewery in Indianapolis since 1948. At the time, there were fewer than 30 breweries in all of Indiana. Now there are more than 150, 50 in Indianapolis alone. Production is expected to reach 32,000 barrels, or nearly 1 million gallons, this year.
Sun King produces five core beers along with a number of rotating seasonal, specialty, or limited-release beers in a variety of styles, including sours and barrel-aged. Like many other craft breweries, Sun King’s beers have whimsical names, including “Hoppiness Jones” and “Diddly Muckle.”
Those beers can be enjoyed at three locations: the original taphouse, in a spacious former warehouse near downtown Indianapolis; a tap room and small-batch brewery in suburban Fishers; and its newest location in suburban Carmel, which also has four food vendors and doubles as a distillery, producing rum, agave spirits, and unaged “white whiskey.”
Sun King’s craft vodka and gin came online in August. A tap room at the Indianapolis airport is in the works.
Of his brewery’s rapid growth, Robinson said, “we like to remind ourselves that when you’re green, you grow, and when you’re ripe, you rot.”