Living in Indianapolis and graduating from Broad Ripple High School, Ted Miller took a long, long journey just to wind up back in Broad Ripple. Right out of high school, he attended IUPUI where he studied liberal arts in order to play soccer. After two years of school, he left and started brewing beer at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub for about four years. He then moved on to Hart Brewing in Seattle working at their lager only facility and then moved over to their newly built Pyramid Brewing Company location just southwest of the since demolished King dome. His next stop was Hong Kong where he brewed at the South China Brewing Company, the first craft brewery in Asia. During his time in Hong Kong, he renewed his soccer game, playing in the third, second, and first division leagues. After around two years there, it just seemed natural to make a move to Turks & Caicos where he played soccer for the national team as the goalie.
A couple of years later it was back to Asia where Miller worked for the brewing equipment manufacturer, San Diego Stainless. He opened brew pubs in Taipei, Tainan & Kaohsiung in Taiwan, and Hong Kong, & Cheng Du – Sichuan Province in China. His job involved getting the equipment installed and producing beer. He would train the brewers and frequently, would be asked to stay on for several months to ensure that everything went well. He recalls the brewpub in Cheng Du as the largest he has ever been aware of. This four story brewpub, with seating for 600, employed around 50 people. The first floor was a coffee and sandwich focused café. The second floor was a restaurant with all the Sichuan food, but also served western fare such a burgers, tacos, and pasta. The third floor was a sports bar. The whole thing was topped off with the fourth floor night club that rocked out with the loud, rhythmic music that one would expect.
When Miller’s time in Asia came to a close, he made the trip back home where he opened the now iconic Brugge Brasserie in the heart of Broad Ripple. While still in China, the decision was made to brew Belgian style beers. This was clearly an excellent move as his legendary Tripel de Ripple has been a consistent favorite in the pub from day one.
When asked whether he considerers himself to be more of an artist or a scientist, Miller uses the word “craftsman.” Unlike his time in China, he has no lab and says, “I don’t follow a whole lot of rules.” So, it seems that his craft is more artisan focused.
Miller remembers one of his Chinese colleagues, coming into his office in Taiwan and insisting that he needed to brew a “beach dog penis” beer. Needless to say, our well-traveled brewer was a bit nonplussed. It turns out that a beach dog translated from the Chinese means seal, which his colleague managed to communicate by imitating a seal. So, Miller learned a new Chinese word but also declined to make the beer having his reputation at stake, in spite of that fact that his colleague believed it would sell very well to their male customers. This same fellow subsequently convinced Miller to brew a pineapple brew. This was at the time of the SARS outbreak in China that eventually killed nearly 800 people worldwide. It was thought by some that vitamin C was a good agent of prevention of the disease. At any rate, they sold quite a bit of the brew.
With over twenty years of brewing experience around the world, Ted Miller is one of the leading brewers in Indiana who have put the state at the top of the craft brewing world. If you have not experienced the Tripel de Ripple, you should make the trip to Brugge and have a taste.