BY SARA SHEIKH
Like a lot of craft beer lovers, Drew Schradder and James Robinson tried their hand at home brewing, and while they were making some good brew, they realized it wasn’t anything special. So they started experimenting with ciders, meads, and even wine before honing in on something different: cyser, a variety of mead made with apple juice and honey. They liked it, and so did their friends.
“We started getting a lot of positive feedback, and we really started to wonder what it would take to sell this to the public,” Schradder says. They decided to find out.
In November 2014, Schradder, Robinson, and a friend, Jason Krothe, initiated a Kickstarter campaign to get Oddball Fermentables off the ground. One batch of Oddball’s cyser yields about 60 gallons and needs an average of six months before it’s ready for consumption. So far, they’ve produced seven batches since they produced their first on-site run in September 2015. The Oddball Fermentables tasting room at 1211 S. Walnut opened a year later.
Those who venture in may be surprised by the dryness of Oddball’s product, says Robinson. It has an ABV (alcohol by volume) average of around 12.5 percent, about the same as wine. “Most people have either not tried meads or have only tried meads that are sweeter than ours,” says Robinson.
Oddball began accumulating awards even before it was officially in business. First Date, a cyser made with (what else?) dates, won a gold at the Indy International Wine Competition in 2013 and was designated Amateur Honey Wine Blend of the Year; Hopberry Red (raspberries layered with centennial hops) took home a silver in the 2014 Mazer Cup and a bronze in the 2014 Indy International Wine Competition; and Cyser Punk (with cinnamon and ginger flavors) won a bronze medal at the 2013 Indy International Wine Competition.
For now, Oddball’s cysers are only available in the tasting room or to take out via 16– or 26–ounce growlers, though they hope to expand to other Bloomington establishments.
The tasting room is open Friday 5–10 p.m., Saturday 3–10 p.m., and Sunday 2–5 p.m. For more information, visit oddballcyser.com or call 812-302-6818.