A new brewery and restaurant is taking a new approach to the Franklin food scene.
Hoosier Brewhouse — located just off Interstate-65 — features a menu of smoked foods and a variety of its own brewed beers, including one made from 100 percent Indiana barley.
Owner Brian Nentrup said he has been smoking meat in his backyard for 20 years, so it just made sense to bring that expertise into the restaurant.
“That smoke flavor is so unique,” he said. “No one else that I can find is doing that.”
Some of Nentrup’s favorite menu items include his smoked tenderloin and brisket, which he almost didn’t include.
“I’m always so unpleased with brisket at other locations because it’s usually dry,” he said. “But our brisket has never been dry. It’s the choice of the meat, it’s how we’re cooking it — slow cooked, but not overcooked. Our seasoning is simple, but it’s just spot on.”
Hoosier Brewhouse has been offering its hand-crafted beers since the doors opened on Oct. 18, but the brewhouse is not yet at the Franklin location.
The production facility is located in Fairland, Indiana, a small town about 30 minutes outside of Franklin.
Nentrup said he couldn’t logistically move the system over right away.
“Technically, I think its going to be three, four months before we start to get some of that equipment over here,” Nentrup said. “So that’s kind of the goal — to kind of get through the winter time and brew at our current location. It’s a simple method. We trust it.”
Nentrup looked at several locations before deciding to move into the 8,000-square-feet space. But Franklin’s demographics ultimately sealed the deal.
“The area itself is very supportive of craft beer, and so it made more sense than some of the other communities,” he said.
A hub for new businesses, the city of Franklin was welcoming to Hoosier Brewhouse Company, Nentrup said.
“The town itself embraced us,” he said. “They see this area — right off the interstate — as a gateway to the entire town of Franklin. So it was instrumental in just bringing us in and making it work for us.”
After looking to transform his strictly brewery into both a brewery and a restaurant for more than five years, Nentrup said he is enjoying the transition.
“There’s a huge difference between brewing the beer and sending it out there having no connection or personal touch with people, and having the ability to say, ‘We brew this beer. These are our beers,’” he said. “There’s one-on-one interaction, where we can talk about the process of brewing it and talk about the unique elements that we incorporate, such as hand-picking grain.”
As the business grows, Nentrup said he is in need of Franklin College students as restaurant staff and interns for graphic design, marketing and website administration.
“Right now we’re barely at enough staff,” he said. “It’d be nice to have some additional faces in here.”
Hoosier Brewhouse is located at 157 Holiday Place off of the Franklin I-65 exit. It is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. each day,
A full menu can be found online at facebook.com/hoosierbrewhouse.