Born in Glendale, Arizona, Bryan Suter moved to Fishers with his family when he was in the eighth grade. Ultimately, he graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High School. After school, he worked in the student loan business for several years until he grew weary of life in a cubicle. His last cubicle job was in downtown Indianapolis where he discovered Sun King Brewery, purchased many growlers and started pestering the staff about getting hired there. The pestering worked. He was hired for a part time gig in the tap room. When an opening came up for a tap room manager, he took it, staying in that job for nearly four years.
Suter then met the owner of Books & Brews. They meshed well and he took the job of assistant brewer at B & B. The head brewer at that time was a former employee of Suter’s from Sun King who was looking to make a move to Canada. Suter learned the ropes from him and succeeded him when the time came.
While working at Sun King, Suter met several people who were home brewing and started brewing with them. They had a couple of years under their belt and had progressed to all grain brews which is what Suter first learned. As a manager at Sun King, he was required to participate in all the phases of the business. When it came time to help brew, he assisted with a batch of Wee Mac.
The smell of mashing in makes that step Suter’s favorite in the brewing process. His favorite brew at Books & Brews is the Belgian Tripel, the Prisoner of Ale-zkaban. He recalls a tasty home brew that was a Belgian quad. It came out hot (too high in alcohol). So, they aged it two years then added oak chips soaked in bourbon before aging it another year. This 14% monster brew was dubbed Jean Quad Van Damme.
Most of the recipes at Book & Brews are those of the owner, Jason Wuerfel, although some, like the tripel, are Suter’s. Books & Brews’ bestsellers are Clifford the Big Red ale and Nancy Brew and the Hoppy Boys. He brews one of these every other week in a steady rotation. Suter is excited that his tripel aged in a bourbon barrel and currently carbonating at B & B will be ready soon.
The brewing equipment at B & B is a two-and-a-half-barrel system. Suter brews five days a week to keep up with demand. He uses a mash tun with an extender to mash in, then does two 40 gallon boils which are blended at the end.
When he is not brewing at B & B, Suter still home brews once a month. In the warm weather, he likes to sit at the pool. He also enjoys hanging out with his dog, a Corgi, named Wrigley (after Wrigley Field).
If you are tired of spending your days in a cubicle, and want to get into brewing Suter suggests that you be prepared to do, “a lot of hard work, a lot of bitch work.” He further warns that it is not a lucrative field of endeavor. Brewing at B & B is a collaborative effort. All involved do everything from weighing the grain to cleaning the equipment. As Suter puts it, “from the sack to the tap.” He goes on to say, “it’s an amazing feeling to wake up in the morning and not dread coming to work.”