Host Nick Johnson discusses the importance of being local and creating unique experiences with Jacob Joyce, Associate conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Dave Colt and Clay Robinson, co-owners of Sun King Brewing.
Nick Johnson (00:00:00):
Hello, and welcome to Classical Pairings, a podcast exploring interactions between music and all things, food and drink. I’m your host, Nick Johnson.
Clay Robinson (00:00:07):
Dave’s a bit of a savant on, at times, and there are there are, but there are-
Dave Colt (00:00:12):
You left out the idiot part, which is nice! Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Clay Robinson (00:00:12):
Nick Johnson (00:00:16):
In each episode, we pair a leader in music with a leader in the food and drink industry, and we talk connections, similarities, and differences. What drives a person to become a musician or open a brewery or start a restaurant? Are they passionate, dreamers or just crazy? I’m a musicology professor, but I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of cocktails and beer. So I’m always excited to talk with people that share my combined passions. And as our name suggests, we’ll spend some time eating and drinking samples selected just for us. And I’ll try to pick classical music I think pairs well with whatever we’re sampling. You can tell me what you think of my choices by following me on Twitter at musicology, Nick, my guests for this episode included Jacob Joyce, Assistant Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Clay Robinson and Dave Colt, co-owners of Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis. We recorded this episode at Sun King’s downtown location in one of their barrel aging rooms. Later in this episode, we’ll pick music to pair with two extremely different beers from Sun King’s lineup.
Nick Johnson (00:01:20):
All right, welcome to the final episode of season one of Classical Pairings. Uh, this is a very exciting episode. We’re currently sitting in the best smelling room that we have been in this entire season. We’re at Sun King Brewery surrounded by the aromas of wood and beers. We’re sitting in a backroom here, uh, with the kegs. I’m just going to go ahead and let the guests introduce themselves and then we will get started. So Jacob, you wanna go first?
Jacob Joyce (00:01:41):
Sure. Uh, my name is Jacob Joyce. I am pretty new to Indianapolis. I’m going into my second season as the Associate Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony. So I’m a classical musician like yourself and, uh, I also love beer, so I’m very excited to be here. Yeah.
Dave Colt (00:01:59):
Hey, I’m Dave Colt. I’m one of the co-founders of Sun King Brewing Company and to my left…
Clay Robinson (00:02:06):
Clay Robinson, uh, also co-founder of Sun King Brewing Company. Beer enthusiasts… Practically made a life out of it.
Nick Johnson (00:02:15):
Almost, almost there.
Dave Colt (00:02:18):
We’re trying to make our parents proud, one day.
Nick Johnson (00:02:21):
No, I can see I’m making my parents proud, classical music, that’s the way to make parents happy. When you tell a parent, “I think I really want to study the clarinet,” that worked for me. Anyway, let’s go ahead and dive in here. Thank you so much for hosting us here at Sun King. We’ll drink some beer here in a minute, but we can chat a little bit first here. Um, so this, uh, we’re going to talk about some similarities between the beer world and the music world. Um, we’ll have a little fun as we go. So one of the things that struck me, while I was thinking about the Indianapolis Symphony and Sun King is that both of these organizations have done an amazing job, uh, in this city of bringing people to sort of a, what you might call craft experience. That might be kind of a lame way to that. But so the, you know, different than sort of mass produced entertainment or mass produced, uh, beer products. Um, so why are customers drawn to the sort of craft experience that the symphony or Sun King is offering? I’ll let, whoever has an idea first to take this one.
Dave Colt (00:03:15):
I think authenticity really, it starts there.
Clay Robinson (00:03:18):
Yeah. Authenticity experience. Um, you know, most everything in our world is been homogenized or can be very bland. So I think that the opportunity to give people new experiences and to branch out and to have new, new experiences again for their ears or their eyes or their palates, you know, there’s a great opportunity to do something experienced something new,
Dave Colt (00:03:41):
Depending on your personal philosophy experiences are really one of the only true things that we can take with us.
Jacob Joyce (00:03:49):
Yeah. And I, I, I feel like, um… with, uh, the world of the symphony and classical music in general, it’s, it’s a similar phenomenon that so many forms of entertainment that we have are, as you said, so homogenized and feel slightly devoid of meaning to people after they get so repeated. You know, if you watch Netflix every single day, it, it becomes less of a thought provoking exp- it’s less of an experience that you’ll take with yourself. And I think that’s one of the things about the concert hall that hopefully the ISO does, that, that makes it somewhat of a craft experience is that it’s, it’s a live performance that, that will never occur again. It’s, it’s not the same, even as a recording of classical music. It’s, it’s a moment in time that you can’t recapture even from one night to the next. And so that’s in a way I find that, that makes it… Interesting, regardless of, of when you go, it’s always going to be something a little bit.
Nick Johnson (00:04:54):
Yeah. But what are some of the challenges of trying to deliver more of a craft experience to customers?
Dave Colt (00:05:01):
Well, to your point, I mean, it’s live right. This is, this is what we’ve done.. Here It is. And it’s judged on its merit for that particular moment in time. So that puts a little bit of pressure on you, I think, to kind of, okay, gosh, I want to make sure that this is like nailed every single time.
Clay Robinson (00:05:17):
I mean, on our end, we try to do the things that we love and create something that is unique. You know, I know from, I’ve been brewing for almost 20 years, Dave for 22 or so now…
Dave Colt (00:05:31):
Three 23 years, but if you’re keeping score at home. I’m just saying.
Clay Robinson (00:05:34):
But, you know, even now we’ll do things, put together events, open new spaces, make beers, and you still have that like weird visceral feeling in your gut. Like, are people gonna like it? Is it gonna work? And so, you know, there’s that excitement that comes with being creative and putting yourself out there in that way to say, Hey, here it is. And you know, I think we all know, sometimes some people don’t like it. Some people love it. We’re not for everyone, but we do our best to do- create the best product and, you know.
Jacob Joyce (00:06:08):
Mm. And it’s true. I’m, I’m curious, um, what you guys think about this, but I, I think in the, in the world of classical music with the advent of recordings, which in the last hundred years, since the recordings have existed, have drastically changed that the world of classical music. And now it’s something that everyone, if they want to hear, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, they can go on YouTube and listen to a hundred recordings of that piece that exists. If you want to hear a rendition of that, you can, you can do that at the touch of a button. Um, so what we’ve started to value more and more in this kind of live experience is… Innovation, change, something different, something that we haven’t tasted before. And I wonder if that’s, I’m not nearly, I don’t have nearly enough of an advanced beer palate to tell small imperfections or small differences, or, but I’m curious if you guys almost value that over producing yet another, this style of beer that tastes good. If you guys are really trying to turn out stuff that’s different and pushes the boundaries.
Dave Colt (00:07:24):
Yeah. I mean, I think all the above it’s like, you want to recreate the guest experience as best as you can, knowing that it’s an agricultural product. So that every year, the alpha acids in, you know, the cascade hops that we put in a cyrus are going to change slightly, and the flavor profile will change. It’ll be somewhere on a mark. Um, but you want to kind of, you want to kind of get there and lead them toward that. And then they can judge like, Hey, this is a better, this, I like this better this year. And next year I hopefully will like it even more. Um, I think of the live recording or the recordings as sort of an advertisement to go see live music. Like this will satiate a need, I can’t go today, but I have the ability now. And it should be sort of like, I can’t recreate the experience that I had, but here we go. And that’s where I feel beer is the same. There are going to be imperfections, especially in this room. Um, gosh, we’ve got crazy microbes doing their, their fun stuff a year to two to three years later. So when it comes out in the other end and we want it to be representative of what we said, this is the style, here’s say Cherry Bucey, for example, which is a Flanders, um, ode, uh, Brown ale that we’ve put a bunch of Montmorency cherries in. So… Is one year going to have a slight variation in it. Yeah, that’s awesome. But that’s what makes that live experience as well with music, I would say.
Nick Johnson (00:08:50):
Yeah. So when you guys, um, are designing new beers, do you have the vision of the final product in mind when you come up with like the name and the vision for the beer, or do you experiment with the batch, make it, and then see what comes out however many months later, and then see what you got do do both of those. Like, are you occasionally surprised that, Oh, wow, this is different than we thought it was going to be.
Clay Robinson (00:09:16):
Dave’s a bit of a savant on, at times, and there are there are, but there are-
Dave Colt (00:09:16):
You left out the idiot part, which is nice! Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Clay Robinson (00:09:16):
New Speaker (00:09:16):
Um, but, but there are literally beers in our, in our arsenal or repertoire that came to Dave in like moments of mowing the lawn or, you know, on trips or whatever that were kind of these visions, Grapefruit Jungle, being our most popular IPA, but is one of them where like, he comes in with this like story and thought process of all of these things and like what he wanted it to become. And it became that thing. And other times we make beers because we have new ingredients or new processes or new other things. And a lot of times we’ll make beers, particularly with, with Dave working up in the Fishers small batch brewery. I mean, they’ll make things that they’re like, well, we’re making this beer and then they’ll do it. And then it’s kind of a race at that point in time. Like, well, we have to come up with a name and we have to do all of these things. And you’re like, well, what is it? So.
Dave Colt (00:10:11):
I would say the best expressions have been ones that were, um, mostly fully formed. Like here’s an, here’s a reason why we’re doing it. Here’s what I think the end outcome is. Um, one of those beers, uh, was a beer that we produced still called The Velvet Fog. And so I was actually, um, vacuuming in our grain area and, uh, Biggie Smalls was playing, but it wasn’t working. It wasn’t jiving with, uh, you know, the noise of the vacuum cleaner, shopvac. So I started to do some scat singing in my head and I went, Oh, Mel Tormé, The Velvet Fog. Holy crap, what will that be if it were a beer,? What color should it be? Gosh, it should have that color of like old, you know, crushed velvet, right. Like red velvet, but then it’s got a patina on it. So it has a brownish tint to it. Okay. So then what’s the complexity. I mean, we know about Mel Tormé that he has all of these layers of sound. It should just wash over you like a velvet fog. So that means it’s gotta be a Belgian beer. Cool. Um, has to be a quad. It’s gotta be big and rich and fulfilling… Check, check, check. Um, and finally the complexity, like let’s not just use a single yeast strain, let’s use seven different Belgium yeast strains, and really just build this fruit cocktail of deliciousness. So that’s, those are the best expressions when we’re talking about just taking in a specific ingredient. I mean, that’s kicking the tires on a future recipe. Let’s put it to a test and see what it does, how it performs in a particular way. And then we can do a variation.
Nick Johnson (00:11:57):
Yeah. I’m wondering if there’s any similarities… So in the music world with, as a conductor, putting together like seasons and programs, I mean, it’s, you’re trying to think about how is this composition going to pair with this composition in the program? Because I mean, obviously over the course of an evening, the piece that came right before it will inform how you hear the next one and vice versa, that sort thing.
Jacob Joyce (00:12:17):
Certainly I, what, what this actually, what this made me think of more than anything in, in the job of a conductor, is that when you just take one specific piece, um, clearly there’s a huge amount of knowledge that you have to have to construct a vision of a beer in your, like, I, you know, I wouldn’t have known 12 of the words that you just said that, that resulted in this, this vision of, you know, um, but it’s the same when we, I think, uh, maybe the, the analog is a, we don’t have these kinds of beer profiles that we deal with. We have a score that as a conductor, you, you take the score and you kind of have to come up with the ideal picture of how that’s going to sound in your mind. Um, which takes any enormous amount of knowledge and, um, decision-making and inspiration a lot of the time. But then it’s, it’s a very interesting process because you were, you were mentioning that you, I mean, to a certain extent, this is a process not entirely under your control, right? You, you leave it to nature and the yeast does its job and all this stuff. And the same is true of a symphony orchestra. When you get into a first rehearsal, there are 200 things that don’t sound like your conception of the piece. And then as the conductor, you, you have to be very, uh, careful and considerate about what is, what needs to be changed. What’s good. What actually you didn’t expect, but it’s better, you leave that. Um, and so a lot of it gets taken care of by, in this case, humans, but, but, uh, other artistic minds that are contributing to the final product, and it’s not necessarily going to be exactly what you envisioned, but that could be just as good.
Nick Johnson (00:14:23):
Yeah. When, when people go to attend any, any type of concert, there’s just so much planning and work that has gone on for months or years before someone has that hour and a half experience or something.
Jacob Joyce (00:14:35):
Yeah. The hope is that, I mean, we were setting our season for 2021, 2022 right now. Um, so people are working two, three years in advance. And as you said, um, it’s people’s jobs, including the conductor, but the artistic administrators, all these people too, to develop programs and seasons that really, um, where, when you come to the concert hall, you get a kind of full experience, whatever that might be, the more opportunity there is for people of every kind of background level and experience to be able to appreciate it. Because I think, um, I think it’s, it’s a slight, I think some people think classical music is scary. It’s too, um… Cerebral, cerebral, it’s too uh… And there are certain things about the environment that I think feel very stuffy to a lot of people and stuff like that. But there’s actually, I’ll make a shameless plug for my own podcast, which is–
Dave Colt (00:15:42):
Dangit, we don’t have a podcast.
Clay Robinson (00:15:42):
We gotta get one.
Jacob Joyce (00:15:42):
I’m sorry, guys, you should. Uh, but I have an entire podcast about, which is for, um… Newcomers to the concert hall on things that you can do to listen immediately and have a meaningful experience in ways to make it less scary. And I think that the beauty of something that’s so well-crafted, is that someone who’s there for the first time can really appreciate it. Yeah.
Clay Robinson (00:16:09):
I think a lot of what you said about classical music, right there can be, and has been said about craft beer. So often we meet people who are intimidated by craft beer, or, you know, a lot of times we’ll talk with people and you kind of have to talk them through like, no, no, it’s okay. Like, what do you like? Oh, you like that? Well, how about we try this? And then all of a sudden they’re like, well, this is pretty good. And they’re like, yes, that is pretty good. So we kind of have to break down because it’s, it’s stuffy, or, you know, only hipsters drink craft beer. And it’s not for everybody. I mean, we make beers for everybody.
Nick Johnson (00:16:40):
Yeah. Yeah. So I’m thinking why we’re talking about beer, how about we drink a little bit?
Clay Robinson (00:16:45):
I heard that crack and I was like huh?
Dave Colt (00:16:49):
I think, to respond to something that you said, uh, as well, is that, um, let’s see, well, huh… Get him in here… Is that, you know, I mean, preparation is everything, but you want it to feel effortless to the consumer, whether it’s through their ears, eyes or taste buds. Um, so we practice all the time. We’re practicing our craft every day and trying to get better at it. And it’s not an unattainable goal, perfection. Um, but one must try.
Jacob Joyce (00:17:25):
I hope that that’s something that is present in any craft experience that people can appreciate is just that pursuit of perfection, that the realization that, um, you’re going to see, or to taste something that experts and people who have devoted their life to this have really, you know, like you said, they’re when they’re vacuuming, they’re thinking it when they’re, and um, they’re trying to get us close. It’s a kind of human endeavor to try to get as close to the, this perfection as possible.
Nick Johnson (00:17:58):
Yeah. Well, speaking of perfection, why don’t you tell us a little about this Osiris? Would you tell us a little bit about the beer that we’re about to enjoy here?
Dave Colt (00:18:05):
You want to start it off?
Clay Robinson (00:18:07):
Sure. So, well, Osiris is an American style pale ale. Um, it is literally the beer that Dave and I designed and brew at Sun King because it’s the beer that we decided we would want to have every day if we own our own brewery. So it’s…
Jacob Joyce (00:18:20):
Clay Robinson (00:18:21):
Jacob Joyce (00:18:22):
What’s the, um… What’s the, what’s the breakdown of how it’s made, I’m curious.
Dave Colt (00:18:28):
Thank you for that, appreciate that, as if we scripted this, but we didn’t, this is completely off the cuff. Um, yeah, so it’s a, it’s a West coast style IPA, meaning that it’s more dry, it’s more hop forward and we’re showcasing the hops here. Uh, the grain sort of takes up backseat. It’s a supportive, you know, narrative that runs through it, but really the hops are the star in the sky. So we’re using classical or quintessential American hops. Um, in this cascade and nugget, cascade is bringing a beautiful sort of citrus punch to the party. Um, lots of like orange zest and, you know, a little grapefruit and things of that nature. And then the nugget is sort of there. It’s sort of like, uh… Oh gosh, when there’s the soprano’s singing above, uh, all the other stuff she has that, what the heck is that called…
Nick Johnson (00:19:23):
The coloratura, is that what you’re talking about?
Dave Colt (00:19:23):
Yeah. Yeah. And so, the nuggets there, and it’s adding an extra flourish, so it’s effecting the cascade in a sense, um, and creating a different sort of hop experience. The nugget is bringing a little bit of spiciness to the party and a little bit of sort of like funky earthiness.
Nick Johnson (00:19:42):
Yeah. In the mix, I’ve definitely had an Osiris several times in the past. And as you described it, I’m noticing things I haven’t noticed before. I think maybe just because we were talking about certainly enjoy beer, but I don’t know a lot about it. So it’s hard for me to, um, pay attention maybe to the right things within the, the taste and the, um, and the smell and the after taste.
Dave Colt (00:20:05):
Sometimes all that matters is: this tastes good.
Nick Johnson (00:20:07):
I certainly had that feeling before.
Jacob Joyce (00:20:10):
It’s really delicious one way or the other it’s. Yeah. Um, really… Yeah.
Clay Robinson (00:20:17):
So yeah, it’s one of the original beers that we’ve brewed in and we literally, again, created it because it’s what we wanted to drink. We both love hops and, um, it’s become been one of our mainstays for the past 10 years.
Nick Johnson (00:20:28):
Well, I think compared to a lot of… There’s a lot of IPA’s that strike me as too bitter. Um, just my own personal palate. I don’t tend to like too much bitterness, whereas this, it feels more like a crispness maybe.
Dave Colt (00:20:40):
We wanted that to influence like bitterness is fine, but it needs to be, it needs to be tempered. It’s not something that somebody goes, Hey, you know what? I just like a whole pile of bitter in my face right now. So the bitterness and the dryness sort of, you know, clean your palate as it’s going past, it leaves you with a little something to remember the taste by, and then your palate is dried out and you go, you know, I’m thirsty for another sip. In fact, I am.
Nick Johnson (00:21:06):
Nick Johnson (00:21:09):
All right. So Jacob, we have to come up with a piece of music for this.
Jacob Joyce (00:21:12):
Nick Johnson (00:21:12):
What are we going to listen to, what, what should people at home- they can stop by a lot of places in Indiana to pickup, and around other States, which we’ll talk about in a minute, to pickup some Osiris, what should they, if they’re going to listen to classical music?
Jacob Joyce (00:21:24):
So what, I’m, what I’m thinking in your description just off the top of my head is, um, ’cause this, I have the very similar experience to what you said, which is that this is something that I would just drink every day. And it tastes very, in a way, um… Practical and, uh, usable on an everyday- It’s not like a, it doesn’t feel like it’s really going in one direction and you’re in a specific mood. And at the same time, it has a, as you described, there’s a ton of subtlety to it. And it’s, it’s not, um, one note in any way. And the fact that it’s an everyday type of thing, doesn’t make it any less… Um, there’s a huge amount of substance behind it too. And so I’m, I’m trying to think of…
Dave Colt (00:22:19):
Jacob Joyce (00:22:21):
Well, I’m, I’m, I’m trying to think of, of, of the composers that I think, um, people like to listen to every day and, and consistently, they have a breadth of style that, that people can show up to and listen to every day. And at the same time, there’s a huge amount of substance there. And I think, um, maybe the mood is not quite appropriate for this, this beer, but, uh, a composer actually, I think it works okay. A composer that I find that I can listen to every day and feels like has an immediate resonance with people, but also has a huge amount of detail is, is Dvořák.
Nick Johnson (00:23:06):
Jacob Joyce (00:23:07):
Who also has, um, what I think of in Dvořák, is this kind of slightly rustic, slightly folk, slightly earthy undertone.
Nick Johnson (00:23:19):
Jacob Joyce (00:23:19):
And so this made me think the piece I’m gravitating towards, since I’m a conductor, is Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, which is something that I think someone could listen to every day and has a huge amount of, uh, depth.
Nick Johnson (00:23:38):
Do you have a movement to it? Do you have a movement for us to listen to real quick?
Jacob Joyce (00:23:41):
Let’s do the, um, let’s do the First Movement. I think it’s, uh, and maybe, uh, maybe if we want to skip the introduction, we can go from about a minute in the first movement. That’s what I think of.
Nick Johnson (00:23:54):
I think Dvořák, while we’re pulling it up, I think that’s… Dvořák’s also very approachable. We’re gonna, um, we’re going to go ahead and listen now to Dvořák, you said the Eighth?
Jacob Joyce (00:24:05):
Nick Johnson (00:24:05):
Listen to a little bit of the first movement here.
Music Plays (00:24:09):
[Antonín Dvořák’s “Symphony No. 8: I Allegro con brio” ]
Nick Johnson (00:24:51):
Jacob, this is such a fun piece.
Jacob Joyce (00:24:52):
Good, I’m glad.
Nick Johnson (00:24:52):
I’m really enjoying the selection. We were just listening to a little bit, all of us were dancing and cheersing, that sort of thing. But what are the beer experts thinking? Do you think this one pairs, well with the Osiris?
Clay Robinson (00:25:04):
It was fun.
Dave Colt (00:25:06):
I agree with you. It had a familiarity, it was something that was consumable. It seemed like something you knew. And then yet there was such complexity. So, so many layers in it, and it’s lively.
Clay Robinson (00:25:17):
Jacob Joyce (00:25:17):
And I find that, um, there are some classical composers, maybe it’s a personal thing, but, uh, I won’t say that because people will be mad at me for it, but, but there are some classical composers that are widely consumed that are considered, you know, really popular composers that I don’t find have an enormous amount of substance. And I don’t find that true for Dvořák. I think even in the stuff that we listened to it’s, it’s immediately listenable, and you can also listen to it a hundred times and there’s a lot there to digest and dissect. And, and, uh, like I said, because this, uh, to my very uneducated beer palate, although I do drink a fair amount of beer, this is delicious, but yeah, exactly.
Clay Robinson (00:26:07):
We will accept tasty.
Jacob Joyce (00:26:07):
Nick Johnson (00:26:10):
What I loved about the piece and with this beer is if you haven’t been to a classical concert and you go, and that’s the first piece-
Jacob Joyce (00:26:17):
Nick Johnson (00:26:17):
You’re going to be having fun ten out of ten.
Jacob Joyce (00:26:18):
Nick Johnson (00:26:19):
And if you’re pretty new to the craft beer world and you drink this and you’ve been drinking, I don’t want to like insult any beers, but a mass produced beer your whole life, and then you have something like this… I think it, it’s a very different experience. It’s immediately approachable.
New Speaker (00:26:33):
We’ve got a lot of people over the years who say, you know, I don’t like craft beer and they’re, even some are like, I don’t like beer.
Dave Colt (00:26:38):
Clay Robinson (00:26:39):
And if you talk to them a little bit, or even hops, will be like, Oh, I don’t like beers. And they’re like hops, I don’t like none of this. And then you kind of talk, and this has kind of a ruby red grapefruit, or a spicy citrus characteristic. And you might ask somebody that and they’re like, Oh yeah, well, I love grapefruit. And was like, we’ll try this. And then like, when you think about it like that, and instead of just like, Oh, this thing you’re giving me is an IPA and it’s bitter. They’re like, Oh, well, I get that citrus. And I really liked this. This is really delightful. So we’ve actually, not always can you get somebody onto craft beer with a hoppier style of beer, but with, if you take a minute to kind of listen to what they’re saying–
Nick Johnson (00:27:12):
Like a super thick stout, like certain people or something.
Clay Robinson (00:27:12):
So yeah. And a lot of people, you know, people are scared of beer or craft beer because they either think it’s darker, it’s heavier, it’s bitter, it’s all of these things. And they’re all just these misconceptions and oftentimes have never tried. So, you know, you give them something and, you know, there’s things that you tasted based on Dave’s conversation. You’ll never drink this beer the same again, because you’ll catch a lot of these subtleties.
Nick Johnson (00:27:31):
Yeah, for sure.
Clay Robinson (00:27:31):
And when you point someone in that right direction and they come at it trying to explore it and listen, or, or taste for things. And all of a sudden you’re like, Ooh, well, I really love citrus fruit. And this was a really bright, delicious thing. And I didn’t know that beer could taste like this. And then all of a sudden they’re like, wow, I love craft beer.
Nick Johnson (00:27:50):
Yeah. It’s sort of, I know you were talking to me earlier, Jacob, that the Indianapolis Symphony does a lot to try to kind of educate the listener there’s program notes, there’s concert talks, um, to try to make it approachable. ‘Cause yeah, when you learn just a little bit more about it, your experience is totally different.
Jacob Joyce (00:28:04):
Nick Johnson (00:28:04):
I definitely tasted things I didn’t- I drank this beer many times. Truth be told, Wee Mac is my favorite of your products, by the way. Um, but I’ve had this one several times because this is my brother’s favorite. So he, he always, he always gets this one. Um, I’ll probably get this one more now, ’cause I’m definitely, you know, tasting more things. So I don’t know, like as a listener, like I think just being more educated just makes the experience so much richer.
Jacob Joyce (00:28:28):
I think so. And I think often, I dunno if you guys feel this way, but, um, this is again the premise of my own podcast, but, but the, the, the thought process behind that entire thing is that if you just give people a couple tools for generally tasting, their eyes will be wide open to all the possibilities. And I’m sure you guys hear, um, even the stuff that you’ve said already, it, it strikes me as similar to this. Some of the things I hear about classical music where, I’m sure I’ve probably said some things, even that, um, as a educated beer drinker, you kind of go well. Yeah. I mean, if you just knew like a little better, I could tell you one quick thing and it would make your entire drinking experience different and you’d understand a little more. And it feels that way often when people, for example, say to me like, you know, modern music is, um, too dissonant and complex and hard to listen to. Um, you want to take those people and just give them two minutes of your time and say, here’s a couple of things that you could listen for. And I think it would really change the experience.
Nick Johnson (00:29:44):
Clay Robinson (00:29:44):
This is from, uh, what is called our Kings Reserve Series. Wow, we each get one? Oh, so we can each drink straight from the bottle.
Nick Johnson (00:29:53):
Oh, I see, I see.
Jacob Joyce (00:29:53):
Dave Colt (00:29:53):
Nick Johnson (00:29:58):
This is like, um, so this is a beautiful bottle.
Clay Robinson (00:29:59):
This is part of our King’s Reserve Series. And the King’s Reserve, uh, line all comes from this building that we’re in, which is our barrel aged and souring production. So these are beers that take upwards of a year to produce. Um, we chose this one today, um, and this is called Lyrical Poet. Um, so, um, and they all have their own unique names and artwork. And, uh, and so again, they either come out of here, almost every beer in this thing has touched a spirit barrel or a wine barrel of some sorts.
Nick Johnson (00:30:32):
Jacob Joyce (00:30:32):
Nick Johnson (00:30:32):
But the art is very beautiful on this, we’ll make sure that people can see it, um, if they want to get online, if you’re, if you’re listening online. Um, so I see bourbon barrel aged stout with chocolate and raspberries.
Dave Colt (00:30:43):
That’s 100% sure.
Nick Johnson (00:30:45):
My heart is: duh-do, duh-do. Ha ha.
Dave Colt (00:30:45):
I believe it came out of a Woodford? I think this is a blend. So it was like Woodford and stag and a couple of other barrels. But with some age on it, not just like, Hey, here’s a four year bourbon. Like we selected a 12 year old stag for this, plus some Woodford. We wanted to bring in some complexity of the toast and char matching the beer with the barrel, you know, and honoring the spirit that was in it before. So this actually would be and, I, we’re drinking it out of the, out of the can, which is actually my preferred method.
Nick Johnson (00:31:21):
Dave Colt (00:31:21):
Because I, I dig it a bunch. This would really warm up and become so incredibly rich and complex. Right now, as we started, um, you know, it’s going to seem, not one dimensional… You’re going to get that. It’s a stout and you’re going to get barrel character, but when it opens up, when it warms up, then the wood opens up with it that it was aged in.
Nick Johnson (00:31:45):
And so you’re saying it’s just a little too cold right now to pick that up?
Dave Colt (00:31:48):
I’m saying that it’s going to be, yeah, it has- you can pick it up, but the intensity and the richness of the character will increase as it warms up to say about 50 degrees.
Nick Johnson (00:31:58):
Clay Robinson (00:31:59):
As we talk and as you sip, it will warm up and the flavors will open up and it becomes kind of a whole new and more… A broader experience.
Jacob Joyce (00:32:09):
It is delicious.
Nick Johnson (00:32:10):
This is amazing, guys.
Jacob Joyce (00:32:10):
It’s unbelievably good. Um, and I don’t like, I mean, generally I don’t like stouts, um, and this is amazing. Yeah.
Dave Colt (00:32:21):
Well, I’m glad you like it. There’s some nuttiness, there’s a little bit of earthiness, some, um, vanilla of course, and there are chocolate, ’cause we added it, but the barrel also had a little bit of chocolate notes to it. Um, but our scotch treacle, uh, the raspberry sort of brightens the whole thing up.
Jacob Joyce (00:32:41):
And did you add the raspberries?
Dave Colt (00:32:43):
Yeah. Added raspberries. Yeah.
Jacob Joyce (00:32:45):
‘Cause it does have a, to my uneducated palate, it does have a less, um… One dimensional character than a lot of the stouts that I feel like I’m used to. And it feels, yeah, there’s, there’s… Tons of complexity in the taste that I, I’m not always used to.
Dave Colt (00:33:06):
There’s a creaminess- it’s a really big beer.
Clay Robinson (00:33:09):
Nick Johnson (00:33:09):
Yeah. What’s the, um, ABV on it, do you happen to know?
Clay Robinson (00:33:13):
I believe it is around 10-11%.
Jacob Joyce (00:33:16):
Nick Johnson (00:33:16):
So it’s pretty high.
Dave Colt (00:33:16):
But that’s the cool part about it too, I think, is that you didn’t detect like that at all.
Nick Johnson (00:33:24):
Jacob Joyce (00:33:24):
I didn’t detect that at all.
Dave Colt (00:33:24):
So it took a, it took about a year’s worth of aging in, in Oak and, you know, bourbon barrels to really pull out the richness and the complexity that we’ve got going on.
Nick Johnson (00:33:35):
Yeah. It has such a velvety mouth feel kind of thing. And so my, um… When I’m not drinking Sun King, my favorite of the mass produced is Guinness. Um, and so this sort of beer just hugs me and keeps me warm, at the same time compared to the Osiris… I don’t know if I would drink this one every day, whereas the Osiris is maybe an everyday, to me, this is, uh, maybe it’s because of the bigger alcohol content or something more…
Clay Robinson (00:34:03):
Yeah. And everybody has different, different tastes. And there are people who are like, I want that all the time.
Nick Johnson (00:34:07):
Yeah, I can see that.
Clay Robinson (00:34:07):
This for us is not a beer that’s designed in that it’s bar- the reserve program, the King’s Reserve, that these come out, we’ve got a yearly calendar. And so monthly, we do a new release of them. They’re all very small releases. So people get them relative-
Nick Johnson (00:34:20):
Do people get them here at the taproom or?
Clay Robinson (00:34:20):
Here at the, so we sell them at our taproom-
Dave Colt (00:34:23):
Clay Robinson (00:34:23):
Shameless plug, we have a taproom in downtown Indy, Fishers and Carmel. And as soon to open facility in Broadripple on 62nd Street.
Nick Johnson (00:34:29):
Clay Robinson (00:34:31):
Yeah, the old Three Wisemen location is becoming a Sun King.
Nick Johnson (00:34:34):
Oh okay, great! I live in the Broadripple neighborhood. Will you be selling the reserve ones there as well?
Clay Robinson (00:34:39):
Uh huh, yep. So, um, these are all, uh, this little can bottle, uh, is a very unique package that, actually, only about five breweries in the country have the capacity to can beer, package beer into them. It’s got some unique equipment to it. It originally was the Coors Light aluminum bottle. So Miller and Coors have it. And then us and Oscar Blues and a brewery in Montana called Phillipsburg Brewing. Um, but, um, it is a very small hand package. It actually takes five people to can six cans per minute.
Nick Johnson (00:35:10):
Jacob Joyce (00:35:10):
Clay Robinson (00:35:10):
In retrospect, our main canning line- it puts the hand in handcrafting.
Clay Robinson (00:35:12):
The line that does the Osiris does about 90 cans a minute, um, and takes the same amount of people to run, so the same crew runs both lines, but this is really slow. Again, everything comes out of barrels, so it’s all, it’s all blended. And so we’ll do a mix of, and we don’t have enough of it really ever to release to liquor stores and grocery stores and all the places that we do. So we’ll do some kegs and specialty craft beer bars, we’ll end up carrying it and we do it for beer dinners and festivals, but there’s kind of enough that we just released them in our taproom and we do a monthly release and we actually have an annual program called the Royal Order where people can, uh, at the end of the year sign up and they get access to, or they get a release of each one of the releases. All they have to do is come and pick it up. So they get all of them.
Dave Colt (00:35:58):
So, so tasting this beer and thinking about music.
Nick Johnson (00:36:03):
Yeah. Oh, thank you for remembering, I’m distracted by the beer! What are we doing here?
Clay Robinson (00:36:02):
Is this the beer podcast now?
Dave Colt (00:36:09):
Uh, we’re heavily influenced by music. We have a wide, uh, collectic uh, taste and lyrical poet actually comes from a line in, uh… Oh gosh, um, it’s escaping me. Oh, Vanilla Ice.
Nick Johnson (00:36:25):
Clay Robinson (00:36:26):
All the suspense!
Dave Colt (00:36:32):
And it goes on and on to say, so there’s usually like, there’s usually a lot of meaning and a lot of thought and complexity, same as it is for composing, for playing and for conducting. And we look at, you know, painting, uh, an image in someone’s mind through their taste buds while you’re doing it through their ears and eyes.
Jacob Joyce (00:36:54):
Yeah. It’s amazing. Yeah.
Nick Johnson (00:36:58):
All right. Are you having any music ideas?
Jacob Joyce (00:37:01):
Uh, yeah. So…
Nick Johnson (00:37:03):
The conductor has always got music ideas.
Jacob Joyce (00:37:04):
[Laughter] Well, I’m thinking of a, um… It’s obviously a very dark beer and it has a, uh… Slightly sort of pensive, uh, feeling to me of, of it’s something that, uh, is very deep, dark, but I was also struck by the, I don’t know if it’s the raspberry or if it’s, um, it also has, somehow at the same time, I can, I feel like I can taste that kind of barrel age, the bourbon barrel, woody, smokiness that you were talking about. But it also has this light, citrusy lightness that I was not expecting. And I think that’s, what’s making it so complex.
Nick Johnson (00:37:59):
Yeah, there’s a little note there at the top. That’s really nice.
Jacob Joyce (00:38:02):
Yeah. And so I’m thinking about, um, Russian composers, right. Very intense, dark music. Um, and this time actually, uh, for some reason what’s occurring to me is, uh, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, um, which has both-
Nick Johnson (00:38:28):
I’m already excited, I’m sorry.
Jacob Joyce (00:38:29):
It’s, it’s a fantastic piece, but it has, um, uh, kind of in, uh, it has both the tragic element of the story and, uh, intense deepness in the piece and also moments of like, it ends in the major mode, something that you wouldn’t expect from such a tragic piece. And the entire finale is very bright.
Nick Johnson (00:38:56):
Jacob Joyce (00:38:56):
And, um, and that’s what I thought of, because a lot of Tchaikovsky, the Sixth Symphony for example, would, would strike me as a, uh, something that didn’t have this like Rasp- the brightness it’s very dark. It’s very painful. It’s um, but this seems to have both elements a little bit more to me and I, I’m not a huge Tchaikovsky fan, but I love this specific piece because it has both of those elements. So I’m curious…Yeah.
Nick Johnson (00:39:25):
Are you thinking maybe the Overture or what do you want to listen to?
Jacob Joyce (00:39:29):
Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. Um, um, and I, uh, am thinking maybe we can, maybe we should listen towards the end where we get this, the kind of death, but then this apotheosis that’s a little bright, and a little, I’m curious.
Nick Johnson (00:39:46):
Okay. All right. So we’ll listen to, uh, yeah, the Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Overture. We’ll come in maybe a little bit towards the end. We’re not gonna start right at the beginning…
Music Plays (00:40:36):
[Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet: Fantasy Overture”]
Nick Johnson (00:40:36):
There’s so much beauty and emotion in this piece. And to be totally honest, now that I’ve drank a fair amount of this high ABV beer, I’m feeling it even more.
Nick Johnson (00:40:46):
But it’s, it’s, it’s actually a real, it’s, it’s really perfect. ‘Cause you kinda need some help to get through this piece because there’s a lot, as you were talking about, there’s a lot of brooding and there’s a lot of dark in this piece, but then there’s this moment of bright, um, which we kind of get with this beer as well. And, um, what did, what did our beer experts think of this, this, this pairing here Tchaikovsky with your lyrical, was Tchaikovsky a lyrical poet?
Dave Colt (00:41:09):
Well, I think everyone is, right, in their own special way. Um, when we were picking this, selecting this beer earlier, I thought, gosh, romantics, maybe something, you know, deep and emotional and you know, a current to it. Um, and so I was thinking, Tchaikovsky… Can’t say it very well right now because this beer is so delicious!
Dave Colt (00:41:31):
Tchaikovsky. So I was thinking that, but then I thought, oh, maybe Mahler?
Nick Johnson (00:41:35):
Yeah, I can hear the Mahler, too.
Dave Colt (00:41:36):
But I think it’s spot on.
Nick Johnson (00:41:37):
And sometimes Mahler does a lot of those emotional swoons. And so having a beer along, like with this, a beer for the journey can be helpful.
Jacob Joyce (00:41:48):
Nick Johnson (00:41:48):
I don’t know. What do you think?
Clay Robinson (00:41:50):
Well, I, I enjoyed the, the brightness that kind of came in after death moments.
Clay Robinson (00:41:55):
So you got the, you have the brooding and the kind of dark depth of the, of the stout, but as you were kind of describing the beer earlier and kind of trying to get to that brightness, like, it’s one of the things that I love about the spirits, you’ve got the backbone of the stout and the barrel and all of those characters, but the raspberry just kind of pops in over the top and is like, Hey!
Jacob Joyce (00:42:14):
Yeah. And I have to say, I think I just, it, this is one of the best beers I’ve ever had. It’s really, and I said, again, I really don’t like stout generally. And I think it’s the same in music. The thing that really distinguishes, uh, greatness great composing is the ability to, to kind of, you mentioned Mahler and Mahler’s famous quote about symphonies, ’cause he wrote almost exclusively symphonies, was that symphony must be like the world, it must contain everything. And, um, what I get from this beer, but also Mahler is an excellent example. I, when you mentioned him, I think for example of his Fourth Symphony, which is a, uh, very uncharacteristically bright piece that, um, is almost all major and seemingly happy and it ends in the most… Tragic way you can imagine in major, and it’s, it’s a real profound, like the Tchaikovsky, too. I think the real profoundness comes from the ability to wed kind of tragedy with happiness or, or vice versa. And so I think that’s, that’s what I’m so struck in this beer is that, to take, to take something like a, like a stout and add this lightness, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted that before. And it’s really, it’s very delicious.
Nick Johnson (00:43:55):
And so this specific one has come and gone, but the, but the series, the Kings Reserve, you’re always coming out with, or not, maybe not always how often are these coming out?
Clay Robinson (00:44:05):
We have a monthly release of the Kings Reserve. So it rotates throughout the year, um, you know, much like building your seasons ahead. We’ve got a calendar that we’ll probably release in the next month or so that kind of has next year’s releases from our core beers, to seasonals, all the way to the Kings Reserve side. And it, the King’s Reserve encompasses spirit, barrel aged beers, sour beers. And we kind of play with the essence of Sun King for us. When we started the brewery with seasonality, we wanted to make as many seasonal specialty beers and continue to be creative and unique. And so we kind of blend beers throughout the year. So we’ve got some bigger, darker, heavier beers that come in through the winter and then lighten up into a livelier kind of sour and fruited palate throughout the summer. Um, and, and go through. So, um, like next month, uh, or actually, I guess September is almost here.
Nick Johnson (00:44:53):
Yeah, although this won’t air for a little while after that.
Clay Robinson (00:44:55):
Okay. But, uh, but in September, our release is a beer called Magpie Muckle, which is a, which is a medal winning beer, a great American beer festival medal winning beer.
Nick Johnson (00:45:04):
Clay Robinson (00:45:04):
Um, and it is, it is a Wee Muckle, which is a double version of Wee Mac.
Nick Johnson (00:45:09):
Clay Robinson (00:45:09):
So it’s a strong scotch ale, and it is a Wee Heavy. It is aged in a breakfast magpie or magpie barrels for Noonday Meadery. So it has this sort of raspberry Mead character that rumbles in.
Nick Johnson (00:45:22):
Okay… So people, so that one, again, by the time this airs, that one would probably be, have come and gone, but so people want to find out online, they can follow you.
Clay Robinson (00:45:32):
Yeah, SunKingBrewing.com. And we’ve got our, we’ve got a list of all our beers. You can find descriptions and information, and obviously for the Kings Reserve stuff, our locations downtown Broadripple, Carmel, Fishers are the spots where you can come in and get these. We often have many of these on tap. So even though this might not be available in cans anymore, it might rotate through, so our website also has a taplist for each of our locations. So you can go on and be like, Hmm, I wonder what’s on tap here today. Oh, that looks really good. I want to go.
Nick Johnson (00:46:01):
So, um, one other issue or not really issue, ha, area I want to discuss-
Clay Robinson (00:46:06):
Put a little beer in you, and you got issues!
Nick Johnson (00:46:07):
Um, an area was sort of the city and so, okay. I was very excited for this episode, and now that I’ve just listened to this gorgeous Tchaikovsky and I’m drinking this high alcohol beer, I’m feeling all sentimental. Um, I moved, so I moved to Indianapolis, uh, seven years ago from Columbus, Ohio, uh, where I had done my doctorate at, uh, well, The, The Ohio State, yeah. But anyway, I moved to Indianapolis and I, I had loved Columbus. Uh, I still do. Columbus is a great city. Indianapolis is very similar in some ways, uh, but it took me… Anytime you move to a new city, it takes a while to find some things. And actually, um, when I moved here, I was trying to find some just fun things to do downtown. And the first two things I found that I really enjoyed was going to the ISO and then going to the Sun King taproom. Um, and so I remember coming and getting a growler filled with a friend of mine that worked at Butler with me. And, um, I think so both of you, uh, both of your organizations have done a lot to just really make this city feel alive. And there’s so much, you’re talking about taprooms now all throughout the city, not just downtown, I was specifically at the downtown taproom, which is where we are now.
Clay Robinson (00:47:17):
Back then, that’s all we had!
Nick Johnson (00:47:17):
Yeah. Um, so I’m wondering if, if so I think that that both organizations have done a lot to just really enliven in this city. And I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how you guys envision your partnerships in Indianapolis, how you try to think about your relationship with this city as a whole, how you relate to the people, um, organizations. This is, that’s a kind of a big, broad question, but both of these are organizations. That’s kind of what we wanted to do with this episode is put some, some of these really great organizations together to talk about like making the city a better place to live really honestly, for everybody.
Dave Colt (00:47:52):
Do you want to start?
Jacob Joyce (00:47:53):
Sure. Well, I think, um, as you, as you mentioned, uh, the, the, I, my sense is that the thing that really makes cities unique and have their own character and have, uh, when you move to a new city and you find these things to do, the thing that sets it apart is institutions that provide people experiences, like, like we’ve been talking about really impact the life blood of the city, more than almost anything else in a way when people think about what, what makes this city unique. And so at least from the, from the ISO’s perspective, I think that, um, we really, uh, it’s, it’s something that is required of American symphony orchestras, and specifically, um, in Indianapolis, you know, the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony and stuff, they are organizations that exist in cities, um, where there is a kind of cultural elite that will come to, uh, a concert of all new music, and you can sell out the hall and you can do these. And, uh, that’s not, that’s not Indianapolis, I don’t think. I think Indianapolis is a, that’s not to say that Indianapolis doesn’t have a cultural elite, we have a fantastic audience, but people are looking for slightly different things here. And I think… Organizations that are really in touch with what the community is looking for and what the community wants, and they, they can provide that to them are doing the best job for their people. And so what we try to do at the ISO is to have, I think Indianapolis is a place that can really sustain and, um, push for a premier symphony orchestra. I think one thing that people don’t quite realize is that the ISO is a, budget-wise, certainly sound-wise, I’ve, I’ve conducted and seen almost every American orchestra in concert, or I’ve conducted several myself. And the ISO is, is in the top 15, top 20 orchestras in the country, undoubtedly.
Nick Johnson (00:50:31):
I would agree.
Jacob Joyce (00:50:31):
And I think, yeah, and I think people in Indianapolis don’t always realize that I don’t think they know how premier of a symphony orchestra exists here, but I think it’s a city that can really sustain that. And that has a lot of, a lot of young people moving here. A lot of talented people moving here who are looking for these craft experiences like we’ve been talking about. And so that’s what we try to do is really to match that enthusiasm from Indianapolis and provide really high level performances that Indy can be proud of. And that will motivate more people to move here, more people to invest in the city and that kind of thing. Yeah.
Dave Colt (00:51:13):
I feel the value add as well. Um, you can move to Minneapolis, right? And you have Surly there, and they are a wonderful brewery, in fact friends of ours, and we’ve done collaborations together, but they’re different inherently. And whatever their symphony is and whatever they’re playing to to their audience is different. So this is a, this is, uh, you know, mixing with a different color palette and painting a different picture. Although familiar, it may be, um, our thoughts when we are coming up with Sun King, uh, our three-year conversation that led into the, Oh my gosh, we should probably do this for ourselves, was giving back to the community. And that was before we even had a name, even thought about a beer or anything like that. So that was baked into our DNA from the beginning.
Clay Robinson (00:51:59):
Yeah. I mean, we, we talked a lot, one of the things that for, for Dave and I in conversations is that, you know, we have this all shucks kind of, Hoosier hospitality, Hoosier modesty thing. And there are so many great things from Indianapolis and from Indiana that oftentimes we’re, we’re not willing to say, Hey, we have one of the best symphony orchestras in the country. And we’re like, it’s pretty good. It’s all right.
Clay Robinson (00:52:20):
So, you know, we kind of wanted to, we, we wanted to with Sun King be a part of the fabric of Indianapolis. That was really kind of one of our main goals. And we actually never had grand visions or ideas that we would be throughout the entire state. Maybe if we were really successful, sell beer other places, we really wanted to be a part of Indianapolis. It’s why we chose our location, we spent six months looking for a building that would do what we need and fit our needs. And in those conversations early on were definitely a large part of it philosophically, like, how do we give back to the community? How do we, um, create partnerships and how do we support local organizations? And, you know, I think we’ve, we built a really great model, um, in what, and how we do in our community development community partnership program. We work with over 500 organizations throughout Central Indiana, um, to help, you know, I always say, we always say, we’re, we’re long on beer and short on cash. So we’re not the kind of organization like Lilly, that’s going to go out and write you a check, but we’re gonna sit down with the symphony or with the Boys and Girls Clubs or with, uh, Second Helpings. And we’re saying, okay, what are we trying to accomplish here and what do need? And if it’s, we want to bring what to bring a new crowd of people here. Okay, well, how can we do that through beer tastings or other programming? Um, you know, how can we draw attention to what’s going on around the city? Um, great organizations, um, how can we draw more people into those things and how can we help those organizations fulfill their missions of sharing and broadening a cultural, uh, you know, a broader cultural palette for those things. So I feel incredibly honored, and I know Dave does, too, that we’ve been able to kind of be part of a synergy, when you really look at Indianapolis over the last decade, um, and how much we have grown and changed as a city. And then when I look at what we’ve done at Sun King and the organizations that we work with, it kind of gives me chills because we’re involved in so many things.
Nick Johnson (00:54:08):
Clay Robinson (00:54:08):
And I feel like we’ve been, we try to do our best. And when Dave said earlier, you know, authenticity, it’s part of what we do. It’s who we are. It runs through our blood and it runs through the blood of the people who are here. It’s actually our giving and working with the community is what attracts a lot of our staff to work here because they want to be involved in a company that does that. So, you know, and then we’ve just had so many rich experiences working with organizations over the years. You know, this whole time we’ve been having this conversation has just been kind of bringing me back to the point in time. Like one of the first projects that we took on with the symphony was when Time For Three was their artist in residency. And we had these similar conversations and meeting them, talking about creating a piece of music and creating beer and really jived and ended up doing this project called The Eternal Promise of Spring, where, you know, they toured and tasted the ingredients and talked with us and then went back and created a piece of music while we created a beer out of the ingredients. And then we kind of debuted them all together in the City Market Catacombs. And when we did that project, you’re like, Oh, it’s really cool. How did we do this? But it was just another one of those things. And then all of a sudden there are more people who are like, Oh wow, the symphony has got a lot of cool stuff going on over there. Like, how do we, how do we do a little bit more with that? So…
Nick Johnson (00:55:22):
Yeah, I came to an event here last year with the, is the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, did a sing along in your, in your taproom. And that was so much fun. I brought sheet music to your taproom and I ordered a beer. And then I sang Haydn for an hour. That was just such a cool event. Not every city has events like that!
Clay Robinson (00:55:40):
I live nearby and Holy cross and some friends of mine would have happened just to be here. And they were like, and then this happened. And I was like, Oh yeah, I forgot that was happening tonight. And like, it was awesome. Like I’ve never liked just a total random experience like that.
Nick Johnson (00:55:54):
Yeah. And I, I think people didn’t maybe, um, cause there was some… Humbleness that we have here, but I think, yeah, there’s a lot of very unique things in the city. And uh, both of your organizations offer things like that to the city that, um, is really exciting. Um, so just sort of some final thoughts of what, what what’s the, are some of the future, where’s the ISO going where’s Sun King going? That’s a big question.
Dave Colt (00:56:24):
We can go if you wanna…
Jacob Joyce (00:56:24):
Sure, sure, sure.
Dave Colt (00:56:27):
I mean, our number one goal is to be awesome. Absolutely.
Nick Johnson (00:56:32):
Well, I think you’ve achieved that!
Dave Colt (00:56:32):
We were talking to an investment banker and we were sort of, you know, doing SWOT analysis and all this kind of stuff. And he goes, so what do you guys want to be when you grow up? And we’re like, awesome. Who doesn’t want to be right as a kid or an adult? Like, I’d like to be awesome today. Let’s elect, let’s choose that. And so, you know, he goes, yeah, but what the heck does that mean?
Clay Robinson (00:56:53):
He’s like, I can’t quantify that!
Clay Robinson (00:56:54):
Like I’m an investor. I don’t want to invest in your company because you want to be awesome. I’m an investment banker. My goal is to make the most profit possible. Like that’s not our goal here. We really, we want to be great. We want to be a great company that takes great care of our employees. I mean, we continue to be growing after 10 years in business and we feel really fortunate to have made it to 10 years and to run a really financially responsible business that has a great group of people who work for us.
Dave Colt (00:57:20):
Clay Robinson (00:57:20):
Yeah. We have an excellent team. We try to take great care of our team with great benefits and packages surrounding that. And you know, we’ve got our new location opening up in Broadripple and it’s not the last, probably new location that we’ll do. We just kinda, we, we continue to grow and look for new opportunities. Um, partly they always have to fit, but you know, a while, years ago, our staff at one point in time when we announced a project or like, why do we, why are we doing this? Like, why do we have to keep growing? And, you know, Dave has this analogy that, you know, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And so, you know, there, if you’re when you’re green, you’re right, or when you’re green, you grow when you’re green, you grow and when you’re ripe, you rot. And so, yeah, and so we very much try not to rest on our laurels and you know, we don’t have to, we don’t have to grow big and we don’t have to sell beer in 50 States, but we do have to continue to do more and be better.
Dave Colt (00:58:16):
Clay Robinson (00:58:17):
And challenge ourselves. And we need to take on new opportunities because those new opportunities, as we told our people is just because you’re making beer today and in production doesn’t mean you might not want to be in sales or in a taproom or in art in a few years. And if we don’t continue to grow and make new opportunities, then you’re going to be in your job and you’re going to leave us because there isn’t an opportunity to grow or change. So for us, growth is about responsible growth and about creating a great company and a great culture and, and a great team and family here at Sun King. So yeah.
Jacob Joyce (00:58:49):
I think very similarly at the ISO I, I, um, one thing we talk about a lot is that, you know, the people- musicians from across the country internationally don’t necessarily think to themselves, I’m going to move to Indianapolis for my career. And then they end up doing it because we have such a good symphony orchestra. And so we have musicians from all over the world who live here, play here, are part of the community and, uh, play in the ISO. And, and it’s, it’s an important thing for us to always be growing to, to keep them and to, uh, as you said, I mean, it’s, it’s, uh, what I try to do in my own life as a musician. And I think what the organization tries to do is that if you’re not growing, you’re receding. And so, and I think we’re, we’re maybe slightly entering a, a new era at the ISO where we kind of have this, um, new sense of, uh, how involved we need to be in the community. And really, um, we, we just rolled out this huge new season at Conner Prairie, which is the outdoor season that we do. But I think, um, what’s coming for us is also, uh, what, what I envision for, for the organization is, is more new people in the concert hall, more young people and everything in between, um, coming to the ISO and it being yet another one of these things like Sun King, like anything else in Indianapolis that people think, you know, this is something that I can do on a, on a Thursday night. And, and that’s, I think one great thing about a place like this, which is, which is a big city, but also feels small in a way, is that unlike if you live in New York, I think you don’t feel this as much. If you’re, if you’re here, you can go to Sun King on a Thursday and go to the ISO on a Friday and then go to, uh, sing-a-long because it’s really a community feel. We can see these guys at a concert at some point. And I’m certainly coming back here to drink a lot of beer at some point. But, but I think that’s, that’s where we’re, we’re, we’re moving. Yeah.
Nick Johnson (01:01:27):
That’s great. All right. Well, I really can’t thank all of you enough. This has been such a pleasure. Thank you so much for opening your, your, your beer home to us here and giving us some fantastic brews. Thank you so much, Jacob, for joining us. I’m speaking for the Indianapolis Symphony. Um, so make sure to check out, um, uh, we’ll have links on our website for all of the offerings. We’ll have links you can check out this it’s the King’s Reserve. You’ll be able to check out the, all these fantastic beers. You can see all the upcoming programs for the ISO, um. Let’s do, let’s do one final cheers, guys. Thank you so much. Fantastic. Thank you.
Nick Johnson (01:02:06):
I’d like to thank my guests, Clay Robinson and Dave Holt, Co-owners of Sun King Brewing, and Jacob Joyce, Assistant Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. To learn more about Sun King’s many beers and taprooms, check out SunKingBrewery.com. And to find out more about schedules and information for the ISO, check out IndianapolisSymphony.org. We’d also like to thank our sponsor, Matinee Creative, for supporting this podcast. If you liked what you heard and want to hear more great classical music, you can tune into Classical Music Indy’s syndicated broadcasts on your favorite local radio station. Just check out ClassicalMusicIndy.org, And click “On-Air” for schedules. You can find more Classical Pairings in NOTE magazine along with features on other great local artists. Check out ClassicalMusicIndy.org to subscribe. Our executive producer is Anna Pranger Sleppy, and the production team comes from WFYI. I’m your host, Nick Johnson, and be sure to catch all our episodes by subscribing.
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