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BLOG: Taproom of Route 2 Brews, known for controversial labels, closes in Lowell

Route 2 Brews owner Chris Fast, right, tests the temperature of an India Pale Ale brewing at Lowell brewery.

Jonathan Miano, The Times

Route 2 Brews owner Christopher Fast told The Times in 2014 when he and his wife, Gwendolyn Fast, opened their craft brewery and taproom, "I figure Lowell is ready for something like this."

But less than four years after Route 2 Brews opened, the Fasts are closing the 3,000-square-foot steampunk-themed taproom at 141 Harding Dr. in Lowell.

"Thank you for all the support over the last three years," they posted on Facebook. "Our taproom doors are closed. All open gift certificates will be honored. Please message the brewery for a gift certificate resolution."

Route 2 had distributed its beers in bottles at a growing number of retailers in Northwest Indiana, including Lowell Liquors, Holiday Liquors in Cedar Lake, Kennan Liquors in St. John and Dyer, Lake Liquors in Cedar Lake, Liquor Stop in Highland, and Liq Go in Crown Point.

The Fasts told customers on Facebook their beer would still be available at liquor stores, but it was unclear whether they would continue production. They have removed most of the information about the brewery and its beers from their website.

Route 2 Brews had often come under fire for labels and beer names many described as sexist, objectifying to women, in bad taste, and off-putting to female customers, such as the Leg Spreader Extra Special Bitter, Stacked Double India Pale Ale, Horny Hefer German hefeweizen and Psychotic Blonde blonde ale. Critics said the labels promoted sexual harassment and were "awful."

"Their artwork is raunchy," one online reviewer wrote on Yelp. "It's not that I'm a prude but I feel like they are trying to be hip and cool like Three Floyds in their art but it just comes off as nasty."

Route 2 Brews is only the second craft brewery after Twisted K-8 in downtown LaPorte to close in Northwest Indiana after the explosion in new breweries between 2013-2016. Before craft brewing became nearly ubiquitous and took over many taps at local bars in the last few years, Valparaiso's Aberdeen Brewing Co., Michigan City's Duneland Brewhouse, and Hobart's Brickworks Brewing Co. all opened and closed.


Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.