A lifelong Indianapolis resident, Bobby Yates attended Chatard High School and ultimately graduated from Broad Ripple High School. During and after high school, he worked at various restaurants mostly in back of the house jobs. This work allowed him to learn Spanish from co-workers over the years which gave rise to him taking a job as an interpreter. He worked doing this for Methodist Hospital (now IU Health) for several years until the frequent situations involving bad medical news soured him on the job. Back to the back of the house he went, getting on at Twenty Tap washing dishes and then doing prep work. Subsequently, he has done just about everything there is to do at this well-known Broad Ripple spot.
A homebrew kit was Yates’ first effort at making beer. It was horrible but it was all consumed. Some years later he teamed up with a friend to start home brewing seriously. They moved quickly from five gallon to ten gallon to fifteen gallon batches building a three tier system in their garage and brewing whenever they got the opportunity. Washing dishes at Twenty Tap gave Yates the opportunity to volunteer to wash the mash tun and do other low level tasks in the brewhouse. While doing that, he was able to learn a good deal about brewing beer professionally. Twenty Tap owner and original head brewer at Twenty Below, Kevin Matalucci, was very helpful in showing Yates the ropes.
Yates felt the need to get away from the restaurant business for a while and took a job at a hop farm for a year. Having a bit of a green thumb, he enjoyed that hard work. Eventually Matalucci called him and asked him to return to Twenty Below as the brewer. Yates jumped on the opportunity and after a while, he was doing all the brewing using his own recipes.
Yates does not have any “core” brews that are always available. However, there are a couple that recur fairly often. Two of those are the Decoder Ring (a Sweet Stout) and the Teddy Pendergass Kisses (a 10% Russian Imperial Stout with chocolate). As Yates says of the latter, “it makes you weak in the knees just like Teddy Pendergrass kisses would. Pendergrass, of course, was a wildly successful R & B performer in the 70’s who was described as the top male sex symbol in music at one time. Yates considers this Pendergrass his most satisfying all time brew in terms of both the process and the result.
With over twenty-five recipes, Yates can keep the taps mixed up with a wide variety of tasty brews. He is working on a series of seasonal pepper beers. Being fluent in Spanish, these beers are all named in Spanish. His most recent offering in this line is a Stout based brew dubbed Guaracha Por Nieve.
Motorcycles are a passion of Yates’. He has a Honda Shadow 600 that he is always working on while his girlfriend has a Yamaha V Star 250. They also have a Suzuki Savage 650 in the garage where he is fixing up a Rebel 250 for a friend who is out of the country. Yates is also hoping to acquire a Honda CB 750. He is not a trained as a mechanic, but he loves to tinker. He also really loves to ride. He rides to work when weather permits and enjoys taking road trips around the state.
With his culinary background, Yates definitely leans toward the artistic side of the brewing craft. As he develops recipes and turns those into brews, he is very selective in his choice of ingredients. His unique brewing equipment (much of which is repurposed dairy equipment) really lends itself to an artisan brewer. Craft beer lovers should stop in to Twenty Tap and see what is currently available from the basement, Twenty Below. Bobby Yates will not disappoint.