Chesterton brewery creating a buzz
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent April 13, 2013 11:00PM
Amy Gentry of Hunter's Brewing in Chesterton chats with customers on Saturday, April 13, 2013. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media
If you go
1535 S. Calumet Road, Chesterton,
Open 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 2 to 9 p.m. Saturdays
Owner Justin Reisetter expects to be open an extra day and for longer hours during the coming summer months.
Updated: May 15, 2013 6:42AM
Justin Reisetter was working on clearing the heat exchanger of hops residue so he could pump his latest brew into the fermenter. There the yeast will work its magic and transform the liquid into “Mirror Image,” an American amber ale that will be ready to serve in early May at Hunter’s Brewing in Chesterton.
Reisetter and his partner, Amy Gentry, have opened the region’s newest brewery, what they call a nano brewery because they brew in smaller 31-gallon batches. “With small batches, our focus is on quality rather than quantity,” said Reisetter.
Both Reisetter and Gentry are home brewers and thought it logical to step up their hobby a notch and go commercial. One element that separates the hobbyist home brewer from the professional is that Reisetter has attended brewing seminars at the renowned Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, where brewing has been taught as a science for over 100 years. Combining the expertise of the professional with the enthusiasm of the hobbyist allows Reisetter to make a product that has already been generating a lot of buzz in Chesterton.
“We love brewing, love trying different brews,” said Reisetter. “We’ve worked with the ingredients enough that we know what to expect.” Reisetter even grows the hops in his backyard that he has used in a sold-out brew “Chesterton Kind.”
The brewery has four fermenters filled at any given time, giving Reisetter the ability to produce about four 31-gallon batches per week. With eight taps on hand in the tasting room, keeping up with demand hasn’t been a problem, yet, but word of mouth has definitely been keeping the brewpub hopping.
“Right now our focus is keeping the tasting room supplied. We’re only open on weekends to start and we’re trying to limit our hours to avoid running out,” said Reisetter.
Dave Hall, of Chesterton, is already a regular. “I really like it. It’s just started out and it’s been really good,” he said,“It’s nice to see Chesterton have a business like this. Every time I come in there are two or three new ones to try.”
First timer Mark Ennes of Valparaiso is also happy to see the new brewery. “Porter County is becoming a mecca for brewpubs. Pretty soon we’ll have enough for a pub crawl.”
Randy Richardson and daughter Shelby, of Chesterton, were both enjoying a glass of “Mild Child,” an English style brown ale. “We’re hooked on it,” they said, though they also enjoy the Belgium style Freeze Frame.
“This is a great concept. It’s a great place to relax,” said Randy.
The Richardsons like the local homegrown aspect of the brewpub and proudly note the local names given some of the brews — Exit 26, Porter County, and Meridian.
The large tasting room, which was filled to near capacity on a rainy Thursday evening, has several stand-up tables, couches and a ten-stool custom built bar. A window in the tasting room looks out onto the brewery and fermenting room. “Our vision with the place is so people can see what happens. We have nothing to hide,” said Reisetter.
“Opening has been gratifying for both of us,” said Reisetter. “It’s been a long road but it’s exciting to share this with everyone. We’re happy to be doing our thing and share with everyone what we have to offer.”