There is no doubt that visitors to the circle city would have noticed the conspicuous orange circular logo depicting a large toothed man bordered by the sun. I was rather perplexed upon my first visit and failed to understand why this logo had been placed on every flat surface of downtown. For Indy natives, however, there is no mystery surrounding the image; the orange man (AKA the Sun King) has come to signify Fresh Local Beer.
Sun King is a craft brewery in Indianapolis, IN. It was the first full-scale brewery downtown since the Indianapolis Brewing Company ceased production in 1948. The brewery was born out the partnership and hard work of its founders, Clay Robinson and Dave Colt. Prior to founding Sun King in 2008, both Robinson and Colt had worked to brew house beers and seasonal variants for two prominent downtown Indy brewpubs: The Ram and Rock Bottom. Production and distribution for Sun King began in 2009. At its genesis, Sun King was only distributed to the metropolitan Indianapolis area. In recent years, the company has expanded their distribution range to encompass all of Indiana, Chicago, and Louisville. Sun King has been the recipient of numerous awards including bringing home two medals from the 2017 Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
Sun King currently features five standard beers, referred to as the “Core” series, that are available year-round. These include the “Sunlight” Cream Ale, “Wee Mac” Scottish-Style Ale, “Osiris” Pale Ale, the “Pachanga” Mexican-Style Lager, and new for 2018,“SKB IPA” India Pale Ale. There are also Seasonal specialties that are released throughout the year. New beers are released every month, ensuring that there is always a unique brew for customers to enjoy.“When the Lights Go Out,” a coffee Porter, the “Lupulin Astronaut” Mosaic-Focused IPA are in season until February and April, respectively. Outside of the Core and Seasonal beers, Sun King will be brewing beers for special events. There will be a special release for Gen Con 2018 in August and for the Canvitational Canlaboration event in September. Sun King’s website has a full release schedule for 2018, here’s what we can expect to see…
Beyond brewing distinctive and interesting beers, the brewery has also committed to using innovative and fresh packaging for their customers. Rather than using bottles, Sun King distributes their beer in only cans and kegs. Bottles are subject to light and air contamination, leaving the beer in a state that has degraded by the time it reaches the consumer. In order to preserve the freshness, Sun King uses a can that is lined to prevent aluminum’s effect on the beer. As another safeguard, the brewery uses a canning system that limits the amount of oxygen that is picked up during production and produces a very effective seal on each beer. When Sun King Brewery says “Fresh Local Beer,” they mean it.
Although the brewery began and is headquartered downtown, Sun King actually boasts two tap room locations. The original downtown Indianapolis brewery is located on College Avenue in the Cole Noble Commercial Arts District while the other tap room is located in Fishers. The brewery has expressed intent to expand the Fishers tap room facility into a full production brewery that would serve alongside its counterpart downtown. Although Sun King is currently only offering beer, the company is currently in the process of building a distillery located in the Carmel area. Full distillery details have yet to be released, but if the current facilities and beverages are any clue, the product and the location will not disappoint.
Images courtesy of Sun King Brewery website.