Amber Waves is getting to know the brewers who will be in attendance in a series called Who’s the Brew. As we get ready for the second annual Amber Waves Brewfest, Jim Estry of Saint John Malt Brothers (center in photo) was nice enough to let us steal some time. Their motto is “Great Beer, Great Food & Great Service” and we have yet to meet someone who says otherwise!
Picture from Left to Right – Dave Witt (Co-Founder), Jim Estry (President and co-founder), Dan Cox – (Co-Founder and VP)
Thanks for taking the time to do this Jim. Tell us a little bit about the St. John Malt Brothers & how long SJMB has been a part of the Northwest Indiana craft beer scene.
SJMB has been in business a little over 4 years now and began with 3 neighbors sitting around a fire pit drinking craft beer and thinking, “We should get involved with this business”
How many taps in your tasting room? Any guest taps or are they all yours?
Currently 20 taps, all ours.
Any particular beer your currently very happy with? Any favoritism towards a specific batch?
Tripel Dog Dare (Belgian Tripel), 400ft east IPA, Game Over Man, Kolsch. Our Oktoberfest is by far the best Oktoberfest brewed in the region.
For more information and a complete list of SJMB’s beer click here.
I have memories of when Kennywood was run out of a basement before the shop on the Crown Point square. Then it moved again to St. John. How was St. John Malt Brothers connected to Kennywood Brew Supply?
Shortly before we opened our Brewery, Bob Heinlein came to me and offered to sell Kennywood to us as he was relocating, it was a nice little business for us, but it took up way too much of our time and pulled us away from perfecting our craft as a brewery. Subsequently, we made the decision to liquidate our inventory and focus on the brewery.
Do you have any advice for home brewers?
Spend all the time you would have used in brewing to visit the local breweries in this area. Northwest Indiana is producing some outstanding brews and is rapidly becoming a destination area for craft brew enthusiast.
You now offer a full menu in the eatery, what seems to be the local favorite? Any signature dishes?
Instead of a breadbasket we provide hushpuppies that are rapidly becoming iconic to the area. We also offer several eclectic dishes that can be found nowhere else, including our “Pint of Bacon”, Savory chicken and waffles, Smoked prime rib cheesesteak sandwiches, fried catfish, as well as several others.
Have you brewed any collaborations? Is there a specific craft brewer you’d jump at the chance to collaborate with?
We have collabed with Crown Brewing and would like to team up with several others but just don’t have the time.
What does the future hold for St. John Malt Brothers?
We are currently moving our brewery to a new much larger location, so we can ad more fermentation capacity. Our restaurant will also be moving to a different location here in SJ in the new development. We have applied for a second brewers permit so we can set up a pilot system in the new restaurant.
We’re looking forward to the new space & definitely looking forward to having you out at Amber Waves this August.