by CRAIG COLEY
Cedar Creek Brewing Company in Martinsville, Indiana, has taken a product usually served in pint glasses and growlers and put it in a cone. A proprietary additive—a gel called nitrogen ingredient additive—allows any of the brewery’s beers or hard seltzers to be run through a soft-serve ice cream machine and come out in a near-solid state without freezing or crystallizing.
“I was absolutely surprised by how consistent the flavor was from what went in to what came out,” says Brandon Fry, assistant brewer at Cedar Creek. “If anything, the additive adds a slight, slight touch of sweetness.”
The $6 “brew cone” debuted in June and has been evolving since. Fry says the process is so faithful to the flavor of the beverage put into the machine that the result can be a bit disorienting, especially if it is a beer with a pronounced hoppy flavor. Sweeter drinks such as dessert stouts better fit the format. But the possibilities extend beyond beer. This summer the brewery began mixing their hard seltzer with purees of fruits such as mango and raspberry.
“There’s a ton of experimentation to do,” Fry says. “We’re starting to look at the concept of brewing small-batch products specifically for usage in the machine. I’m looking at making more dessert-style stouts, more fruit- forward IPAs.”
The brew cone’s novelty has generated a lot of publicity for Cedar Creek Brewery, which distributes from Indianapolis to Evansville, Indiana. The brewery is one in a suite of family- owned businesses at 3820 Leonard Road in Martinsville that includes Cedar Creek Winery and Cedar Creek Distillery. In 2019, a friend opened Cedar Creek Cigars with their own line of cigars made in Honduras, and now work is under way on a restaurant that may be completed in early 2022.
Bryce Elsner, who owns the brewery with his wife, Jamie, says it all started when the Great Recession pinched the custom-home business he ran with his father, Larry, who had been making wine at home for years. They thought it would be a business that would thrive in any economy.
Brewpub hours are noon to 6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Cedar Creek’s outdoor concert series, Drink at the Creek, continues through the fall on Saturdays. Learn more at drinkatthecreek.com and the brewery’s Facebook page.