A nanobrewery that’s already won state awards for its brews officially opens its doors Aug. 9.
Fortlandia has five owners, four of whom are involved in the day-to-day operations, including Sam Snyder.
“We were trying to celebrate Fort Wayne,” Snyder said of the name.
Ken Daly is “a fantastic brewer, great businessman,” Snyder, 30, said.
Jerry Glass, a quality engineer who is great with his hands and built the fermenters and the bar.
“Pretty much anything you see in here and are like, ‘Oh, that’s cool craftsmanship.’ That’s Jerry.”
Dan Voors is on the research and development side crafting interesting brews.
All four will be involved in brewing, with Daly in most of the time and area members of Mad Anthony Serious Homebrewers (MASH).
Ed Whipp has helped get the business going with the legal aspects such as the trademark.
The brewery seats 29 inside and has three picnic tables outside with a total occupancy of 35 customers.
Its Grandma’s Strawberry Pie, a Strawberry Berliner Weisse, just won a bronze at the Indiana Brewers’ Cup, held at the Indiana State Fair.
“It’s a strawberry beer that you get hints of rhubarb in it but there’s no rhubarb in it. ...The goal is to kind of introduce people who are not necessarily beer drinkers. It’s something to help them transition into kind of exploring different styles.”
It currently has 10 beers on tap, including Maple Scottish ale, Spring Street IPA and Udderly Awesome milk stout, but has room for five more.
“We have a concern that we’re going to run out of beer in the long haul because we’re operating on a 1-barrel system,” he said. “So we’re only producing 31 gallons per batch. And that’s something that we’ll have to feel out.”
The lower amount was intentional so they could have greater control over the quality, he said.
A nanobrewery is accepted to mean a brewery that produces less than 3 barrels of beer in one batch. A New Hampshire law defines it as one that produces less than 2,000 barrels a year.
Snyder, a real estate agent by profession, has a culinary background that he uses with his homebrewing.
“To me it’s a lot like cooking,” he said. “You get all the ingredients, put them in, and you create this food product.”
He’s a fan of the hefeweizen, which has notes of banana and clover, but includes neither. “It’s all yeast-driven,” he said.
Big Apple Pizza will be providing the food, including burgers, meatballs and french fries. They use Jamison Meats, which is important to the Fortlandia owners, who want to support other local businesses.
“I think that this area of town is going to really start going on the up and up,” Snyder said. “We have Promenade Park coming in (also opening Aug. 9), Hop River (Brewing Company)’s just down the street. ... We want to make the area a better place to live.”
The group plans to have a rotation of brews on tap to find out what appeals to customers.
Has craft beer run its course yet?
“Fort Wayne does have a history of breweries and I don’t think we’re anywhere near what we could be,” he said. “With the Northern Indiana Beer Trail we’re kind of becoming a destination for people.”
Grand Rapids, Michigan, has been a craft beer destination, and breweries continue to open there, he said.
“It sounds like from what I’ve been hearing over the years is that more people are drinking craft beer and less of macro beer. ... The market’s there. It’s just slowly converting into people who want local and a little bit more of a flavor to their beer.”