Chapman’s expands to Huntington

June 11th, 2019

By Andrew Maciejewski | The Herald-Press

A brewery that began in Angola is spreading their craft across northern Indiana, adding Huntington to their operations this year.

Chapman’s Brewing Company moved into 435 Cherry St. and opened shop April 26, taking over the building where the Berg Ale Haus used to hang it’s sign. Although the beer offerings and signs have changed, Huntington citizens will find familiarity in the new taproom.

Eli Gearhart, the mastermind behind the Berg, is still holding down the kitchen in the building, and Chapman’s taproom manager Daniel Hildebrandt and Gearhart agree that the change has allowed both partners to showcase their craft.

“The menu has been really vamped up to show off their skills in there,” Hildebrandt said. “A lot of the same stuff that was on the Berg menu has made it past the cut, and I think they’ve really honed in, dialed in.”

Gearhart helped the Chapman’s taproom in Wabash start up by serving food to guests, so when Chapman’s began looking at expanding to Huntington, Gearhart said the partnership made sense.

“Taprooms are a new growing business for breweries,” Gearhart said. “Chapman’s being one of the fastest growing, we wanted to partner with them and take care of the food part. It’s working well as two businesses together.”

Hildebrandt said Chapman’s is gaining traction since it opened and people become aware that they serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and he said they’re serving brunch on Sundays now from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eleven of the 14 taps at the bar feature Chapman’s beer, and the few guest taps are featuring other area breweries to showcase Indiana’s rising beer scene.

“We want to keep it local, keeping that Indiana pride going with well-made craft beers,” Hildebrandt said.

Chapman’s began in 2012 out of Steuben County but has opened two new taprooms in Fort Wayne and Columbia City in 2016. The company opened the Wabash taproom in 2017, adding Huntington to the list this year.

Hildebrandt said even customers gain from the company’s expansion.

“The benefit of having so many taprooms right now is that we sell out of a lot of the beer really fast, so the brewers get the opportunity to be creative and come up with stuff people don’t see everywhere,” he said.

Each summer, the brewery offers seasonal and specialty beers, like the Red, White and Blueberry blonde ale, which will be released at an event unveiling summer beers on June 21.

Hildebrandt said he discovered Chapman’s after he began to discover the culture behind craft beer, outgrowing the taste of international brands.

“I am a big fan of craft beer,” he said. “I think it can enhance a community because it’s something that a person puts a lot of time and passion into and you can tell. Well made beer is so much better than domestics.”

He admitted that the diversity of beer styles can seem daunting to someone new to the craft beer scene, but he said beer drinkers of any kind can feel welcome at the bar.

He said the transition from domestic beer to craft beer is kind of like trying your first cup of coffee at a gas station. He said once you’ve had a good cup of coffee, you realize what you’ve been missing out on. Plus, he said it’s a good way to strike up conversation with a stranger.

“It’s a classic thing to facilitate conversation and grow a sense of community,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. All of the people that I’ve met while working at Chapman’s are awesome. There’s a lot of 260 pride. I think craft beer is its own universe of family.”

Chapman’s Huntington taproom is not updated on the brewery’s website yet, but Hildebrand said people can stay up to date on things by searching Chapman’s Huntington taproom on Facebook.