Born in Huntington, Pennsylvania, Jarrod May soon moved to Greencastle, Pennsylvania where he grew up and graduated from Greencastle-Antrim High School. He then attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating, he moved to Florida and worked as a sous chef and got some corporate restaurant training. Subsequently, he returned to Pennsylvania winding up in Philadelphia.
While taking a break from the restaurant game for a bit, May took a management job in retail and continued his education studying nutritional dietetics. It was around this time that he and a friend ordered a Keystone home brew kit that wound up being a one off. He got the bug again listening to The Brewing Network (an online radio program) where he heard a guest suggest that your home brew is only as good as the brewer who makes your extract. This motivated him to build his own mash tun and started doing all grain brews.
May was taking his home brewing seriously enough that he interviewed for a couple of brewing jobs. He wound up getting on in the front of the house and the kitchen with Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant in Philly and volunteered in the brewery. Eventually, he was offered a job there as assistant brewer. His curiosity about the industry led him to look around to see what other breweries were looking for in a head brewer. His looking turned into finding when he ran across the founders of The Tap. He accepted their offer of the head brewer job and found himself at the site of what would become the brewery in June of 2014 as demolition and renovation was taking place. He assisted with the identification and acquisition of the equipment and supplies that were needed. His brewing equipment consists of a ten-barrel system with 14 ten-barrel fermenters and 10 ten-barrel serving tanks that also function as his bright tanks.
As a culinary school graduate, May has a chef’s feel for the artistic side of brewing. However, he emphasizes the science aspect of the craft especially the knowledge of microbiology. He melds these two together to produce a wide array of tasty brews. The first batch that he brewed at the Tap was the milk stout that they now call the Tipsy Cow. He followed that up with the Local Lager which is their American light lager. Right now he offers six core beers and a variety of seasonals.
The run-off is May’s favorite step in the brewing process because that is where he can get a really good idea what the finished base beer is going to taste like. It also allows him to see where his gravity is going to end up and how much sugar he is extracting which can guide him on the tweaks he wants employ in the speed of transfer and how he wants to control the sugar. All of the recipes at The Tap are his. He is very fond of the Taptoberfest which is his current Oktoberfest offering. However, the Tap-O-Lantern (pumpkin ale) is currently his best seller in the restaurant. May’s current personal favorites are the Taptoberfest and the Burning Hands, an American IPA that is spiced up with lemongrass, blue basil, and fiery Thai chilies. May’s assistant brewer put together a recipe for an Altbier (The Wesley) that they have just tapped and is now available.
Jarrod May’s beer can be found upstairs above the brewhouse in Bloomington and also at The Tap location in the Mass Ave district in Indianapolis. Beer lovers should put these spots on the itinerary.