A lawyer, geologist, and advertiser walk into a bar...
No...this isn’t the start of a bad joke. It's the story of breaking from the pack. It's the story of Indie Brewing Company’s conception.
While I’m definitely no stranger to enjoying a casual beer (or three) at one of our local DTLA breweries, I’ll be the first to admit my beer knowledge has room to grow. But it doesn’t take a beer savant to recognize and appreciate a brewery’s greatness and unique (indie)pendence from the rest.
For me, that’s Indie Brewing Company.
A few weeks ago, I toured the spacious brewery and taproom, located in the ever-gentrifying and evolving Boyle Heights neighborhood of East LA. The lofty warehouse accommodated long wooden picnic tables and high exposed ceilings. When I entered the industrial style building, the crew approached me with the warmest greeting. And by crew, I mean five of the friendliest dogs; each a different breed, size and color. Not too far behind them was Morgan Keller, another friendly face and one of the three owners of Indie.
After a sufficient amount of petting (is there even such a thing?) and initial small talk, we posted up at a high-top table and began discussing the origin of Indie Brewing Company.
Morgan explained to me that he and his two business partners, Connor and Kevin, met by six degrees of separation. He met them prior to working at Indie when he was in the advertising and marketing industry. With a home brewing background and an innate passion for the craft, Morgan decided to make the career jump from the corporate world – a decision his business partners both had previously made. Going independent from “the man” was the impetus to quit their jobs and form Indie.
To scale the business and operation, the founders recruited their Master Brewer James to join the team and lead the brewing process. The next step was finding a permanent home. It was crucial for them to find a physical space that put them on the map both literally and figuratively. They decided to plant roots close to Downtown because they wanted a close connection to the city as opposed to being on the outskirts. Their “great big love for the city,” as Morgan mentioned, is subtly reflected in their logo. The LA skyline frames a single hop.
Indie Brewing Company's philosophy about making beer is a simple, but brilliant concept. They pride themselves on brewing the type of beers they want to drink every day, which focuses on lower alcohol styles and with a greater balance of flavor. Simply put, they brew with balance. These aren’t your traditional, palette crushing West Coast IPAs. In fact, their IPA Del Rey is a great example of this. Morgan describes it as their bread and butter because one can still taste the hops and malty backbone without wrecking his or her palette. Once again, they prove their independence from both commercial breweries but also within the craft beer scene as well with nuanced flavors and well-balanced brews.
As an infant in the beer world, my biggest takeaway from being at Indie with Morgan was not only the diversity they bring to a traditional style, but also the quality in which they deliver. It’s evident their team has a breadth of knowledge and passion, exploding from every inch of the space. From the handcrafted tables to the stylized beers, their investment, time, and effort is clearly apparent. When I asked Morgan what his favorite part about owning a brewery is, he smiled, "being able to make others happy, makes me happy."
It’s as simple as pouring a beer for someone else in hopes that it brings them joy. When what you've built plays a greater role into affecting another individual, you've done you're job. Because if there's anything I've learned myself, you should love what you do each and every day.
"Being able to make others happy makes me happy."
If I learned anything from my time at Indie Brewing Company, it's that you'll be hard pressed not to smile. The energy, vibes, and delicious beer will undoubtedly take you to a happy place.
If you haven’t yet stopped by their tasting room, you definitely should check it out. They offer 8+ beers on draft with tasters, half and full pints, not to mention beer to-go. (Different collections of 4-pack cans and glass growlers for sale.) Spend a relaxing evening hanging on their couch or challenge a buddy to corn hole while sipping on some tasty beers. Family and dog-friendly (yes!) so bring them both!