Dustin Brown was born and raised in Bloomington, IN. He attended Indiana University studying marketing and communication. At the age of 16 he started working at Pizza Express which was owned by the same man who owned the Bloomington Brewing Company (BBC). He took a job in the marketing department for his internship at school exposing him to the brewing and restaurant sides of the business. When he tired of delivering pizzas, Brown agreed to work in the brewing end of the business where he learned his craft.
Although Brown started brewing in 2005, he did not attempt his first home brew until a year later. He had been at BBC for seven years when Cutters Brewing Company approached him to run their new brewery. However, he had planned to open his own brewery in South Carolina. He and his brother had already taken a motorcycle trip to SC to meet the locals and get a feel for the business climate. The laws were too restrictive to suit him. So, he returned his focus to Indiana and reconnected with the people at Cutters. Their plan was to start their brewery in Avon which was unknown territory for our brewer from Bloomington. It was to be a straight production facility. A bare boned warehouse. This 30 barrel brewing system was his first head brewer position.
The new job exposed Brown to new challenges. All brewing set ups are a bit different and the new system was very different from the BBC equipment. He used his connections back home in Bloomington to help accelerate his learning curve. Having the extra tank space allowed Cutters to do some contract brews for other breweries. In the course of his work at Cutters, he became acquainted with the owner of the Brockway Public House who was just beginning construction of the Danny Boy Beer Works in Carmel. Here was another new horizon for the man from Bloomington.
Brown came to check out the new venue. At that time it was a giant “box” with no fixtures, equipment, or even windows yet installed. The owner suggested that he hire Brown as a consultant to train whoever was hired to set up and operate the new works. Brown countered with the proposal that he take the job himself. A handshake led to some paperwork. Now, after two and a half years, a successful arrangement has blossomed.
Brown has completed over 250 brews at Danny Boy and is still learning tricks to the process. Over the years, he has brewed on more than half a dozen systems all of which were significantly different. With his extensive experience, he received numerous solicitations for brewing jobs. He seems to have made the right decision to wind up at
Danny Boy at this point in his career. When asked about Danny Boy’s bestselling brew, he says there are actually a handful that compete from month to month. One is the Rock N’ Rolla which originated as a one off that uses all mosaic hops. Others include Training Day, Mexicali, Mac Daddy, and Ginger Wit which is a Danny Boy original combining both wit and spice styles. New brews and innovation at Danny Boy are a collaboratory effort primarily involving the owner and the brewer. They are currently accumulating bourbon barrels in which to age a yet to be determined recipe.
Brown talks enthusiastically about the friendship among brewers in the area. They all know one another and are always ready to help with technical assistance and supplies. For example, if he is out of a certain ingredient for a brew that he needs today, he can invariably find it at another brewery. Likewise, if another brewer needs something he has on the shelf, he is always willing to give it up, asking only that it be replaced rather than selling with a markup.
Danny Boy Beer Works has brought a modern brew pub to the Village of West Clay in west Carmel. With a solid lineup of house brews and several guest taps, there is something to please the palate of any beer lover. Dustin Brown keeps the house brews consistent and has the occasional surprise for the more adventurous of us.