Raise a glass and make a toast to Indianapolis’s booming craft beer scene. When it comes to beer, the Circle City more than holds its own against much bigger power players like Denver, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. Whether your preferences run more toward crisp lagers and hoppy IPAs or rich stouts and funky sours, there are plenty of options worth sipping and savoring at bars and taprooms all over town. Even better, each brewery has a distinctive personality, backstory, and product lineup all its own. It’s hard to narrow down the list to just ten, but these are a few of the best breweries in town to discover.
Sun King Brewing
The first full-scale production brewery to open in Indianapolis since 1948, Sun King co-founders Clay Robinson and Dave Colt launched their business July 2009, debuting their products to rave reviews at the annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival. Ten years down the road, the company has since expanded the modest downtown tasting room into a three-building, all ages, brewery campus. There is also a sleek, small-batch taproom in Fishers, a bustling Carmel food hall and distillery, and a new Broad Ripple outpost to keep customers comfortably supplied with the brewery’s Sunlight Cream Ale, Wee Mac Scottish Ale, and Osiris Pale Ale flagship. A continually evolving selection of whimsical specialty and seasonal offerings keeps fans intrigued and wondering what the company’s going to do next.
Metazoa Brewing Company
If you’re an animal lover who loves craft beer, Metazoa is your kind of place. This downtown brewery has a big heart, donating 5 percent of all its profits to organizations that support animal welfare and wildlife since it opened in 2016. Well-behaved four-legged friends are always welcome in the 21-and-up taproom—there’s also an on-site dog park, and the facility hosts bunny yoga classes on the first Saturday of each month. The beers here fall into malty, light, and hoppy categories.
A perennial award-winner in statewide and national craft beer competitions, humble Bier brews consistently high-quality batches of German-style Weizengoot hefeweizen, PDG Pale Ale, and Special Kolsch, along with a rotating variety of IPAs, APAs, porters, and ales (the pumpkin ale is one of the seasonal favorites locals look forward to every year). The operation started out small in 2010 as a nanobrewery, expanding in 2015 to a 20-barrel system in order to keep pace with growing demand for its product. Bier opened a second all-ages taproom location with full food service in Carmel in 2018.
Broad Ripple Brewpub
This Monon Trail-adjacent landmark in Broad Ripple Village has been pulling pints since 1990, making it the first brewpub establishment and the oldest operating brewery in Indiana. The authentic English pub-style atmosphere features dark wood paneling, stained glass windows, and a cozy fireplace, catering to a devoted crowd of regulars who congregate at the family-friendly facility to chat over glasses of the house favorites—IPA, Lawn Mower Pale Ale, Monon Porter, and Extra Special Bitter. The sizeable menu of pub grub cuisine is another big incentive to visit, heavy on vegan and vegetarian options along with English classics like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and ploughman’s platters.
Big Lug Canteen
The Big Lug brewing arm of the Sahm's Tavern central Indiana restaurant empire cooks up batches of Kristofferson American pale ale, Kings Jive brown ale, a Flying Horse hybrid, and other experimental recipes for service across a whole family of popular local eateries that includes Sahm’s Place, Liter House, and Sahm’s Ale House. Creatively themed food specials appear each week at Big Lug to accompany tasty menu mainstays like poutine, Nashville hot chicken, sliders, nachos, and hoagie sandwiches. When the weather’s nice, the Monon Trail-facing patio makes a great perch for al fresco drinking and dining.
Centerpoint Brewing Company
Part of the Circle City Industrial Complex just northeast of downtown, Centerpoint Brewing appeared on the scene in 2016 with the goal of making approachable craft beers that would appeal to a widespread audience and they have certainly accomplished that mission. Centerpoint Gold Kolsch, Centerpoint Black American Porter, and Blood Orange IPA stay on tap all year long. The more experimental Empirical, Precision, Turbocharged, and Elemental Series beers you might catch at any given time include offerings like Rick’s Brown Rye, El Gato Mexican Lager, and Key Lime Gose. Monthly First Friday events are an ideal time to stop by for tasting and live music.
St. Joseph Brewery & Public House
Nestled within a handsome former Catholic church that dates back to the 1870s, airy St. Joseph earns top marks for ambiance, ideal for date night dinners, happy hours after work, and of course, Sunday brunch. Pints of Confessional IPA, Benevolent Belgian Blond, and Cornerstone Kolsch serve as the perfect foil for lunch and dinner menus of elevated gastropub fare along the lines of mussels, schnitzel, pastas, and fondue. Live music Wednesdays showcase performances by local singers and songwriters to provide an appealing soundtrack for your drinking sessions.
Daredevil Brewing Co.
With locations in Speedway and at the western end of the Ironworks Hotel building on Indy’s northeast side, Daredevil delivers a solid list of craft beer selections including its signature Lift Off IPA, Vacation Kolsch, Dunkel, Marzen, and Maibock. The food selections focus on shareable appetizers and entrees featuring locally sourced ingredients that pair well with the beers—think German currywurst, cheeses, charcuterie, soft pretzels with dipping sauces, nachos, and smash burgers. The Speedway taproom is 21 and up only, but the boisterous Ironworks location is family-friendly for all ages.
Guggman Haus Brewing Co.
Making its comfortable new home on the storied site of Boyle Racing Headquarters, Guggman Haus fits right into Indy’s Speedway culture by honoring its terroir with memorabilia and beer names that boast auto racing connotations. The structure that houses the microbrewery dates back to 1916 and served as a hub for notable Indianapolis 500 drivers, teams and mechanics through the 1930s and 1940s. Now, customers can visit to enjoy pints of Wilbur’s Prize Pils, Great Day IPA, and Winner’s Milk Jug stout in the taproom or beer garden.
Books & Brews
A self-proclaimed “place for people without a place,” Books and Brews maintains a number of locations throughout Central Indiana to placate and please cerebrally minded beer drinkers. Customers are welcome to browse the shelves of gently used books, borrow from the collection of board games for a mean Scrabble session, or enjoy live music during open mic nights. The house brews go by clever literary-themed call signs like the Nancy citra-hopped pale ale, the Clifford Irish-style red ale, and the Charlie chocolate milk stout to wash down grilled cheese sandwiches, wings, and tacos.