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WATCH NOW: 3 Floyds brewpub had lasting impact and influence on the Region

WATCH NOW: 3 Floyds brewpub had lasting impact and influence on the Region

WATCH NOW: 3 Floyds brewpub had lasting impact and influence on the Region

Beer enthusiasts flock to 3 Floyds in Munster for Dark Lord Day in 2016 in this file photo.

3 Floyds will continue brewing the craft beer that's so celebrated it's not only won countless awards from Beer Advocate, the American Homebrewers Association, the Chicago Brewpub Shootout and many others, but there's even an award named after its flagship Alpha King Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

After closing its brewpub in Munster at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, though, the craft brewery has now closed the door on any possibility of reopening the acclaimed brewpub, which was featured on the Travel Channel and was named a finalist for USA Today's Best Brewpub in 2016 and a semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Awards three years in a row.

But the "happening pub with an edgy vibe and inventive small plates," hidden away in an industrial park at 9750 Indiana Parkway in Munster, had a lasting impact and influence on the Region. Long, boisterous nights in the brewpub inspired many brewers who went on to start their own craft breweries in Northwest Indiana. 

Justin Case, who is now working to open the new Viking Artisan Ales taproom in Merrillville has the 3 Floyds logo — the skull with a crown, gold tooth, mash paddle and shovel — tattooed prominently on his right forearm.

Many, if not most, of the owners of the 20-some craft breweries that have popped up across Northwest Indiana since 3 Floyds started brewing its innovative, creative and "not normal" beers in 1996 and opened its brewpub in 2005 cite the pub as a big influence.

"So many great memories there from the food — scotch eggs, schnitzel sandwich, the jerky — to the beer," Windmill Brewing owner and brewer Justin Verburg said. "I started going there regularly with friends after night classes while I was completing my master's degree at Purdue Cal. Three of us actually rented the whole place out for our graduation party when we finished the degrees. A love of their beer, particularly seasonal ones I wanted to be able to drink more often like Brian Boru, led me to start homebrewing, which eventually led to the creation of Windmill Brewing."

3 Floyds was a major inspiration for starting up his Dutch-themed craft brewery in Dyer.

"When we signed our partnership agreement officially forming Windmill Brewing, LLC, we did it intentionally at the brew pub as we felt that was the birthplace of the idea for its formation, so naturally it should be the birthplace of it as a legal entity," Verburg said. "The brewpub was a huge influence and draw for the area, it will be sorely missed."

3 Floyds' influence on the Region extends beyond just craft beer. One alumnus, Gabe Mauch, went on to launch Grindhouse Cafe in Griffith and Whiting with his sister Kate.

He worked at the 3 Floyds brewpub for three years, going from intern to head chef.

"I started there about a week after they opened in 2005. It's really where I cut my culinary teeth," Mauch said. "I learned so much there about managing a kitchen. In so many ways, my time at Floyds has shaped how I built and now run Grindhouse. It's a huge blow to the Region, but I'm sure that something new will someday be in the works. I have nothing but love and respect for their decision to keep people safe."

A destination that drew visitors from across the country and a must-stop for many people passing through Northwest Indiana, the brewpub's reputation extended far beyond the Region.

"That is a great brewpub," former Northwest Indiana resident Pat Piper said. "Having worked at WWCA radio back in the day it did news and talk and music shows, I always enjoy making a return to the area — and have carried cases of 3 Floyds back to D.C. numerous times as requested by friends."

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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.

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