Hunter's Brewing: How This Small Midwest Brewery Maintains a Loyal Following
There certainly is no shortage of brewery choices in the Midwest; well over 500 between Chicago and surrounding areas, Indiana, and Michigan! Whew! When did that happen?
I'm pleased that we have so many to choose from because I've developed a true love for craft beer! I don't know when or exactly how this happened because I didn't care for beer in the past. Maybe I just wasn't drinking good beer! Oh well, I like the beer drinking me!
Hunter's Brewery, located in Chesterton, IN continues to be one of my favorites. They have an ever changing selection of beers on tap and there's always something that I like. Right now I'm into porters.
Owners Justin and Amy opened their doors in 2013 with six taps and no chairs. Today they’ve grown to 8-9 of their beers on tap and 9-10 guest brew taps. It’s still the smallest brewery in Northwest Indiana though. That doesn't bother them; their focus is always quality over quantity.
Possessing an extremely manual approach to their handcrafted beer, they develop and generate their recipes and do most of the brewing by hand. The small batches turn over fast, therefore, your beer is always fresh.
"Our number 1 thing here is quality. A beer doesn’t go on tap if it doesn’t meet our standards. If it’s not right and not ready, it doesn’t get served. First impressions are important to us" -Justin and Amy
They scrutinize everything from production down to the glass the beer's served in. “It’s critical that we check the glasses that our beer is served in to make certain they’re clean and free from smudges and lipstick. We work hard to make good beer, and we want it served right.” -Owners, Justin & Amy
I can appreciate that…how often have you been at a restaurant and immediately turned off by your drink because there’s lipstick on your glass?
Ok, I’m not that dramatic, but I appreciate that even the smallest details matter and they take care to ensure that my experience is a good one. One of many reasons why Hunter's has a loyal group of customers.
The bar has communal seating with an atmosphere that is friendly and welcoming. Numerous friendships have been created as patrons genuinely get to know each other over time and the consensus is everyone's there to unwind and enjoy the moment. You may be surprised to learn that many women frequent the brewery, either alone or in groups, sometimes outnumbering the guys.
The easy, open, comfortable, environment is something that Justin and Amy are proud of. The laid back atmosphere is conducive for having great conversations about beer and learning a thing or two. The more I absorb, the more I appreciate the product I'm drinking. I haven't absorbed much, lol, it'll take a while! Good thing that questions are encouraged here and oftentimes customers are prompted to try different things and experiment a bit.
Hunter's only serves vegetarian/vegan fare, setting them apart from others. Yep, I said ONLY vegetarian/vegan fair….. No MEAT! How many vegan, vegetarian Breweries are there I wonder? How do the meat loving beer drinkers feel about this? Well, let me just say that I’ve gone with groups of meat-loving guys (they’ve threatened to bring meat flasks to taco Tuesday, hahaha). Fortunately, that hasn't been necessary since the food passes their test. We had the cauliflower tacos on one occasion, and they were amazing! We didn’t miss the meat at all; the cauliflower tasted like ground beef to all of us…hmmmmm, how did they do that? Their Black Bean Burger and Kentucky Moon sandwich (served warm with Swiss cheese, spinach, and red pepper jam) is also a winner.
Everything, the bread, black bean burgers, dips, and condiments are handmade prepared from scratch. Great care has been taken to ensure that the flavor profiles balance with the beer. Your meal may take a bit longer to reach you because everything is cooked to order using quality, fresh ingredients without preservatives. There are no fryers or freezers in the brewery; nothing is pre-cooked. Good quality takes a while. Just relax and enjoy your beer while you wait, there’s no rush.
I was curious as to the style of beer that Justin and Amy preferred so I asked:
What’s your favorite beer at the moment?
Beer is like food; you’re not going to be in the mood for the same thing every day. At the moment, Justin is a Hop Head; IPA would be his go to. For me, in the past, I’d prefer the browns, porters, and stouts. Currently, I’m on a kick where I’m interested in the lightest beer that a brewery can produce. Believe it or not, one of the most difficult beers to produce is a light lager because there’s zero room for error and there’s nowhere to hide anything. There are some amazing craft lagers and pilsners out there. We also love sours.-Amy
How are guest taps selected?
We appreciate the quality of other breweries and select those that balance our list. Our desire is to have something for everyone between our drafts and bottles. We may get things from Austria, Denmark, and Norway…Our list is quite eclectic.
For those that don't drink beer.......
They’ve recently expanded the wine list to include choices by the glass or bottle. There's also cider and Mead wine.
The brewery features live music every three weeks on Friday and once a month on Sundays. All sets are acoustic with everything from classic rock, folk, 80’s 90’s, Blues, covers, and original music. Yes! I love music with my beer; I especially enjoy a sing-along.
Producing 180-200 barrels (31 gallons per barrel) this past year, Hunter's continues to experience a slow but steady growth, no doubt due to the personable owners and their passion for delivering a quality product that their patrons will enjoy.
If you're in the Indiana Dunes area, make sure that you check them out. You may just become a regular! Be sure to tell me what you enjoyed about your visit in the comments.
Hunter's is a nonsmoking brewery for 21 and over.
Beer Fun Facts
- There's a beer brewed from bananas in Africa
- Norway's first aircraft hijacking was resolved after the hijacker surrendered his own weapon in exchange for more beer
- Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty beer glass