Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // JJ Kaplan
The holiday celebrations are in full force, and local residents have received a gift of a Brew Pub and Tasting Room. Moontown Brewing Company (MBC), who we featured in our coverage of the Whitestown Brew Fest in late summer, will be officially opening its Tasting Room in early January and its Brew Pub in March 2018. The 1915 Room is the brewery’s special event space that is located onsite in the former Whitestown High School gymnasium. While the 1915 Room is already booking and hosting events, the owners of MBC are thrilled to soon be catering to craft beer aficionados and “foodies” from all over the county and surrounding areas with their impending grand opening of the entire facility.
Pete Mattingly, the “advisor” and patriarch of the Mattingly family, co-founded MBC, along with his sons and family friends: Robert (Bobby) Mattingly, Patrick (Pat) Mattingly and Cody Peczkowski. The group recently brought in David (Dave) Slama and Georgia Rheinhardt as part of MBC’s management team.
Pete and his sons first became interested in craft beer brewing as a hobby. After they won the inaugural Whitestown Brew Fest’s Home Brew Competition, their hobby escalated into a more focused endeavor and led to the creation of MBC.
The genesis of MBC began over a decade ago with Pete and four of his brothers’ home brewing hobby. “This all began approximately in 2003 with a little system in my home in Zionsville,” Pete recalled. “It started with five gallons and progressed to 30 gallons over a period of time. It started with five brothers making the first batch. After that, it was down to two brothers, and for the third through the 200th batch, it was down to one, me. Bobby was too young to homebrew at that time. Pat and Cody were roommates and buddies attending Purdue together, so they came down and homebrewed with me.”
“I give credit to Pat for bringing [home brewing] up,” Cody expressed. “I was like, ‘Hey, that sounds awesome.’ We made our first batch of craft beer, and it was a success, so we decided to keep doing it. We made several batches before graduating from Purdue.”
After graduation, the two gentlemen went along their separate paths, only to be reunited a handful of years later along with Bobby who, at this point, was legally of age to brew along with his family and friends.
Bobby was learning the craft from his dad, Pete, during his college years, and then three years ago, he decided that he wanted to learn all that there was about home brewing from Pete.
“I grew up in my teenage years with my dad home brewing, so I got an early thirst for craft beer, which I took with me to college,” Bobby said. “I would help my dad every once in a while. I approached him and told him that I wanted to learn everything about brewing and take it to the next level. We expanded our production to a 30-gallon system, and in 2015, we entered and won the first Whitestown Brew Fest Home Brew Competition. We destroyed our competition. We more than doubled the votes that the second place competitors got. Afterwards, we were approached by Dax Norton, Town Manager for Whitestown. He asked if we’d be interested in opening a brewery in Whitestown. We’d been throwing the idea around of starting one, so we thought about it and said, ‘Sure.’”
Upon touring the old Whitestown High School and Gymnasium, Pete, whose background is in commercial construction, was immediately inspired and knew that this was the right location and the right time.
“It blew us away when we first saw the location and when we realized what the potential was,” Pete said. “We had designers come in and look at how we should build out the space. We were struggling to get the design just right. Then a good friend of mine from Auburn [University] who’s a great architect and artist from Nashville, Tennessee, came up last Christmas. We sat on the gymnasium floor and talked for over an hour about how we wanted to use the space. Then he literally sat and sketched it all out on a piece of paper that is now hanging in the brewery as part of the archives.”
The design of the 1915 Room pays homage to the roots of any true Hoosier, basketball, complete with the MBC logo at center court, a scuffed-up look to the flooring and appointments throughout the room that include repurposed wooden bleachers. The exposed brick of the original walls reminds guests of the elementary and high school that once were institutions of education that are now supporting a place for people and families to come together and build memories.
Pat works for his father’s construction company, MattCon, and played a major role in overseeing the construction of the brewery. “I have been heavily involved in the construction of the brewery and am a partner in the business as well,” Pat said. “I am very excited about this group: Bobby, Cody, Dave and Georgia and refer to them as the ‘Core Fore.’”
Bobby brought in his childhood friend and fellow Zionsville graduate, Dave Slama, who is a professionally-trained chef who worked in local area restaurants such as the former Plum’s Upper Room in Zionsville and was the sous chef at Bluebeard in Indianapolis. Dave recently resigned from Bluebeard to come on board as MBC’s executive chef.
Dave described the menu as a work-in-progress as they roll out the openings of the brewery. The menu should delight guests with a focus on local ingredients and in-house preparations of all of the menu items, including house made sauces, etc.
“We will have the same high scale of quality for the food that we have for the beer here,” Dave said. “We will base the menu around smoked meats, BBQ and pizzas. We will be testing and rotating the menu for the first three months before the grand opening in March when we roll out the full menu. Until then, we will offer a limited item menu using the feedback that we get on what people like and want more of.”
Another familiar face to local residents is Georgia Rheinhardt, who recently worked at Traders Point Creamery. Bobby met Georgia while attending IU Bloomington. Georgia studied business with a focus on marketing and will be overseeing the marketing and event planning for MBC.
“We already have our first wedding booked,” she exclaimed. “We have a capacity of up to 180 people, depending on if they are seated or standing. We have already hosted events in the 1915 Room and will be hosting a concert here December 15. We breathed some life back into the old gymnasium stage and will use that for different events. The space is available for multiple uses, including family parties, corporate parties, class reunions, concerts and any other type of event that we can realistically accommodate here.”
The MBC group also discussed using the space as a year-round beer garden or space for winter farmers’ markets. There are endless possibilities, and the group is eager for the opportunities.
“We want to make this space diverse and open to small and large groups,” Cody emphasized. “We want to work with the local and surrounding communities and the businesses and, at the same time, let families know that they’re welcome to use this space too. Everybody’s welcome.”
The actual brewing system is housed in the event room and adds to the ambiance of the space. The system is Canadian-built and is a 15-barrel brew house, meaning it can produce 30 full-size kegs of beer at a time. MBC will have a total of 40 taps in place. The current lineup includes Bright Side of the Moon Breakfast Stout, Happy Pilsmore, Bam Bam Wheat Pale Ale, King of Troy Lager, Mosimquinox IPA and a Moonlight Cream Ale. Seasonal offerings will be served as well.
For more information on the upcoming December 15 concert and for updates on the grand openings, visit moontownbeer.com or follow Moontown Brewing Company on Facebook.