Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Keely Thomlinson moved with her Navy parents to Bay City, Texas as a child. When she was a teenager, they moved to Indiana where she graduated from Center Grove High School. She went on to Richmond, Indiana and took a degree in Japanese Studies at Earlham College. After finishing school, she worked in the creamery at Traders Point Creamery because she was unsure of what she wanted to do, but knew that it was not a desk job. While still at the creamery, she started working part time at the now defunct Alcatraz Brewing Company. When the Alcatraz head brewer, Omar Castrellon, moved on to Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company, Thomlinson came along as assistant brewer. She stepped up to the head brewer job when Castrellon moved out of state to take another job. In November 2010 Thomlinson was involved in brewing the first beers at Thr3e Wise Men.
Recipe development is Thomlinson’s favorite part of the brewing process. She especially enjoys adjusting the temperature of mashing in and the level of carbonation she wants, not just the ingredients alone. Although she does not have a full lab, she does have a microscope that allows her to do yeast cell counts. Having taken a specialized microbiology course aimed at brewers, she is well qualified for lab work. Upon reflection, she believes that she leans more toward the science side of the art/science duality of the brewing craft.
The Rocky Ripple Pale Ale and the Antonius 1742 Oktoberfest (a recipe collaboration with Alan Simons now of St. Joseph Brewery and Public House) are the only two beers in the Thr3e Wise Men line up right now that are entirely Thomlinson’s. However, the other brews in the house have all been tweaked over the years and have her fingerprints on them. She also has a number of her own seasonals.
When talking about her top brewing experiences, Thomlinson describes the Oktoberfest and the Hot for Teacher Ms. Doppelbock both of which they nailed on the first brew. The Golden Zoe IPA is the bestselling beer in the restaurant as well as in distribution. As far as personal favorites on tap, she mentions the Trail Runner Session IPA and the Oktoberfest when it is available. She is very enthusiastic about the recently released Graveheart Harvest IPA with its malty backbone and combination of several hops.
Having worked at the Game Preserve while in school Thomlinson developed an affinity for board games and plays regularly in her spare time. She and her friends recently finished Risk Legacy and have moved on to Pandemic Legacy where she has apparently dominated fellow brewer Alex Petersen (Blind Owl Brewery). She and a friend also host a gaming event at Scotty’s Brewhouse downtown during GenCon, the huge gaming convention that is held in Indianapolis every year.
In addition to the gaming, Thomlinson also enjoys rock climbing, playing rugby, and especially riding her touring bike. Alan Simons helped her pick out the bike and she often rides with him and his wife. She has frequently done rides of thirty miles and has recently completed a fifty mile tour.
Keely Thomlinson’s brews can be found on tap at the Thr3e Wise Men locations in Indianapolis and Muncie, as well as all the Scotty’s Brewhouse locations and discerning purveyors of fine brews all around central Indiana. Try them. You won’t be disappointed.