After an afternoon of aiming at airborne pieces of clay at the Oakwood Gun Club, I found myself craving something cold and refreshing. Since the Gun Club is located in the middle of nowhere, I had to travel an hour and twenty minutes south to find the sort of satisfaction I was looking for. Fortunately, I was headed that way anyway to camp for the night.
Located in an obscure industrial park in Lafayette, Indiana lies a magical place called People’s Brewing Company. By and large, some of the best breweries I’ve ever stumbled upon have been tucked away in shady warehouse districts that practically beg you not to step foot in them.
You’d better but the address in your GPS because People’s doesn’t really have a legit sign – just a plastic banner, which reads “Making Beer for the People.”
Saunter up the stairs like you know what you’re doing and make your way to the small bar in the back. A big friendly guy will greet you and quickly pour out whatever you’re thirsting for. When I visited on a late Saturday afternoon, this Vermont native was the only bartender on staff, but he was quick, efficient, and full of no-nonsense.
After some not-so-strategic pondering, I tried a small sample of everything People’s had on tap. A sampler of six beers runs you $6, and additional samples are just a buck each.
After a not-so-scientific evaluation, I settled on People’s coffee-esque Irish Rover Stout (5.5 IBU @ 6.5%) to fill up the lonely growler rolling around in the back of my Jeep. Honorable mentions go out to The Abbott Belgian Dark Strong (IBU 2.0 @ 8.2%) and Agent Oats Oatmeal Stout (3.0 IBU @ 5.2%).
Nothing was so unique that I instantly had to write home about, but what was done was done well. Filling a growler was a no-brainer, the cost of most growler fills is just $8 and $11 for strongs. As a frame of reference, Revolution Brewing, the closest brewery to my apartment back home in Chicago, charges between $14 and $22 for a growler fill.
This place has a total local vibe to it, with plenty of regulars coming and going to fill their growlers or grab an afternoon pint. Everyone seemed to kinda know everyone else, yet I never felt out of place. Although this is a college town, the crowd seemed to be mostly 30s and 40s. Unfortunately, there’s no outdoor seating, but it’s not too difficult to inch your way up to the open garage door to take in the aromatic waves of tractor-trailer fumes wafting by.
Inside its 6,000-square-foot facility, the brewery has offered tours and a 1,000-square-foot tasting room since 2010. The brewers here specialize in small batch recipes and have about six beers on tap at any given time.
If you find yourself passing through Indiana for whatever weird reason someday, do yourself a favor and stop by People’s Brewing. It’s unpretentious enough to show up in whatever you’re wearing, yet friendly enough to make you remember it each time you’re passing through the “Crossroads of America.”
People’s Brewing is open from 2 pm to 8 pm on weekdays and noon to 8 pm on weekends.