Dan Gayle was born very close to the banks of the Ohio River in Madison Indiana. After graduating from Madison Consolidated Schools, he moved to Bloomington where he took
a degree in business management at Indiana University. His next move was to Indianapolis where he and his wife settled down. He enrolled in a guitar building class at the Indianapolis Art Center but was disappointed to find that the instructor was unable to teach the class due to family issues. Knowing how much he likes beer, Gayle’s wife suggested that he take up home brewing since he wanted a hobby. Off he went to Great Fermentations where he bought a malt extract kit. His first stove top brew was an IPA that took eight hours to complete. The beer was great.
After around three years of kit brews, Gayle moved to full grain brews eventually cooking up around one hundred home brews. He then took a big step up when he and his partner got the system they now use at Black Circle. They brewed on it in his partner’s garage for several months before installing it at the Black Circle location. The smell of the mash-in is Gayle’s favorite step in the brewing process while he sits for an hour or so. He calls this time, “the clam before the storm.”
Gayle’s all-time favorite brew is an American pale ale that they brew with mosaic hops. There was some of this Pixel Punk, as they have named it, fermenting at Black Circle as we were speaking. Pixel is a shout out to the mosaic hops. Another great brew he recalls is a breakfast ale that he did as a home brew several years ago. Look for it to be reborn in the Black Circle taps in the future. All of the Black Circle recipes are Gayle’s.
Black Circle’s best sellers are, “anything hoppy,” according to Gayle. Most of the hoppy brews that he makes are more floral than bitter although he is not averse to making a bitter brew from time to time. His personal favorite brew currently on tap is a rye IPA. The first brew out of the pipeline at Black Circle was a hoppy amber that was dubbed No Host as a salute to the pub’s receipt printer that frequently flashed NO HOST AVAILABLE as an error message.
Gayle has had no formal training in the brewer’s arts. He says he has relied heavily on others in the brewing community recalling the assistance he got from Brent Sanquist out at Wooden Bear in Greenfield who helped him with the process of filling kegs. He also took a trip to Wooden Bear on one of their brew days to watch and learn.
Volunteering at a brewery is Gayle’s suggestion for the aspiring novice brewer. Scaling up recipes from a home brew system to any commercial system requires some experimentation and patience. He confesses to having had to dump at least two brews that just did not meet his standards.
Dan Gayle went from having time on his hands and looking for a hobby to working a full time day job and spending Thursday and Friday evenings as well as all day Saturdays and Sundays brewing. He is not making beautiful guitar music. Instead, he is making beautiful beer.