Sun King Brewing Company Brew Reviews
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|Sun King Brewing Company
135 North College Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: (317) 602-3702
The idea for Sun King was born during their years brewing together at a large, corporate brew pub in Downtown
Indianapolis, but the roots of Sun King go back even further through friendships formed and the close-knit nature of the
Indiana Brewing Community.
Both brewers began their careers over a decade ago by happenstance, while working in the restaurant side of things at
two local brew pubs. From the moment each of them was given the opportunity to craft beer, they both knew they had
stumbled upon something very unique and special.
Dave spent several years as the Bar Manager/Assistant Brewer at Circle V on the North Side of Indy, which is actually
where Dave and Clay first met when Dave helped Clay load kegs into his car on several occasions. They wouldn't cross
paths again until a few years later when Clay was brewing for Rock Bottom in Downtown Indianapolis. By that time
Dave had begun his career brewing for the Ram as the assistant to John (Johan) Hanley and Clay had taken over
brewing operations at The Rock. They would often get together at the end of the week to enjoy beers and talk about life
and the art of brewing...
Through a series of circumstances that would take more time to explain than you care to read: Clay passed up a transfer
to Denver with Rock Bottom and pointed them in the direction of John Hanley. John took the job and moved to Denver,
which allowed Dave the opportunity to become the Head Brewer at the Ram in the summer of 2002. By the close of that
year, Clay had ended his career at Rock Bottom and began a three year sabbatical that was filled with travel, fun and
booze which eventually lead to the creation of BeerJuggs, the home-brewing instructional DVD.
In the fall of 2005, Dave was in need of an assistant brewer to Replace Jerry Sutherlin, who was leaving to become the
Head Brewer down the Street at the afore mentioned Rock Bottom, so he called Clay to get the phone number of a friend
and fellow brewer... To which Clay inquired, “Why?” When Dave said, “I need someone who could operated a brewery.”
Clay expressed his interest and made plans to drop by and discuss the details. Within a few days, Clay was hired and the
two began brewing together.
Over the next three years, Dave and Clay spent an average of 50 hours a week together, locked in a small brewery
cranking out as many seasonal beers as possible while keeping up with the expansive line up of house beers. During their
time together, Dave and Clay managed to create a reputation for themselves in the Beer Community and rack up a nice
collection of accolades that includes 3 GABF Medals, 2 Festival of Barrel Aged Beer Medals, Dozens of Indiana Brewer’s
Cup Medals and the award for 2007 Indiana Brewery of the Year. It was during this time that Sun King began to take
shape. The two spent long hours brewing, scrubbing and polishing copper while discussing what they would do if they
had the opportunity to open their own brewery. The first of which was that they would have no copper on any of their
tanks, an idea they stuck with when sourcing equipment for Sun King. The rest of which have made their way into the
overall concept of Sun King.
Clay left the Ram in July of 2008 with the intention of dedicating himself to making Sun King a reality. After a two
month hiatus in Alaska, Clay returned to Indianapolis where he holed up in his home for a month and drafted the Sun
King business plan. He enlisted the help and consultation of his father, Omar, a highly motivated, self starting
individual who has started and run more than his fair share of businesses over the last 50 years. The two of them got to
work revising the business plan and pouring over budgets while consulting with their new attorney and soon to be
business partner, Steve, who Dave and Clay had become friends with over the past several years because of his love of
Upon Completion, Omar and Clay took the plan to one of Dave’s long time friends, Andy, who used to frequently have
lunch at Circle V all those years ago. Dave had been discussing the idea with Andy occasionally and Andy had always
expressed interest in helping make those dreams a reality. Needless to say, Andy loved the plan and agreed to take up
the cause of coordinating investors for the project. In the Fall of 2008 Sun King was officially born!
It has taken a lot of time, effort and perseverance to get the job done, but most of all it has taken the help and support of a
lot of good people who believed in what we were trying to do. After nearly 6 months of searching by our realtor, Richard
King, we finally found a home downtown at 135 N. College Ave. With the help of our project planner, John Bennet and a
host of talented contractors and friends, our industrial warehouse space has been transformed into the first full scale
production brewery since Indianapolis Brewing Company closed it’s doors in 1948.
On July 1, 2009 Dave and Clay brewed their first batch of beer at Sun King, an English-style Barley Wine aptly named
Johan. Sun King began distributing Craft Beer to the Indianapolis Metropolitan area at the end of July and have been
gaining momentum ever since.
In 2010, Sun King Brewing Company won two awards at the World Beer Cup: A Silver for Sunlight Cream Ale in the
Blonde or Golden Ale category and a Bronze for Dominator Dopplebock in the German-Style Doppelbock or eisbock
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