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Off Square Brewing opened a brewpub in Crown Point away from the courthouse square downtown, and hopes to soon start bottling and distributing its beers throughout Northwest Indiana.

Owners Phil Logan and Dave Hellwege, both longtime home brewers, opened a 20-barrel production brewery with a 120-seat brewpub at 1100 Delaware Parkway in Crown Point, about half a mile west of Interstate 65. Hellwege said they aspire to create a destination for beer and food that will grow into a regional brewery over the next few years.

"We hope to distribute to Indiana, and jump into Illinois and then the Midwest," he said. "We're looking at slow but steady growth. Our first priority is here."

The brewpub, which employs around 50 workers, has about a dozen beers on tap, including its flagship Long Day IPA, Angry Betty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and Tropik Thunder East Coast-style hazy IPA that's brewed with 120 pineapples per batch.

The brewery will frequently rotate through seasonal beers, such as heavy, high-ABV imperial stouts and barley wines in the winter. Off Square also frequently experiments, brewing a new small batch every year such as raspberry IPA and blood orange wit.

"If it hits, we'll brew a big batch," Hellwege said. "What I like about craft breweries is you don't have to see the same thing every time."

Craft beer continues to grow with 12.3 percent of the market share in 2016, up from 5.7 percent in 2011, according to the Brewers Association. More than 5,300 breweries now operate in the United States, and craft brewers produced 24.5 million barrels last year.

Off Square has beer on tap which can also be taken home in 32-ounce growler cans. It seeks to distribute kegs to other area bars and restaurants, and start doing bottling limited releases, including of barrel-aged beers. The first bottle release should take place around the holiday season, according to Hellwege.

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"We started on a one-barrel system when we honed our recipes," he said. "Now we're brewing on a 20-barrel system, and it's pretty much the same."

The brewery seats about 120 in a newly constructed industrial-looking space with a high ceiling and exposed ducts. The taproom includes a patio area that's mainly utilized as an outdoor beer garden where diners imbibe while waiting for a table. Off Square has a wood-fired oven with a focus on pizza.

The menu also includes burgers, chicken wings and macaroni and cheese. The chef incorporates Off Square beer into several dishes by using it to carmelize onions for a steak sandwich and to saute short ribs. It's included in the batter for cheese curbs, fried pickles or anything else that's deep-fried. 

The brewery, the second in Crown Point after Crown Brewing, plans to do beer-pairing dinners, host acoustic acts and have bands perform there.

"The name Off Square is a combination of how we're not on the square and we're not stuck to any style," he said. "We brew what we want."

The brewery is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

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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.