October 14th, 2013

Food, Culture and Community – Flat 12 Bierwerks

by Bryan Enas


Five years ago, Indianapolis had little association with microbreweries. In recent years however, this has changed dramatically with the emergence of local craft beer producers like Sun King, Triton, and Fountain Square Brewing Co. In addition to these, one microbrewery has quickly made its mark within the local scene: Flat 12 Bierwerks.

At one point in history, the flathead 12-cylinder engine changed the way people thought about engines. With Indianapolis’ rich history within the automotive sport and industry, Flat 12 seemed like a fitting name for brewmaster Rob Caputo’s Indy-based brewery. After years of tinkering with beer recipes at home, Rob rolled out the first keg of Flat 12 beer onto their tasting room floor on New Years Eve,  2010. Along with CEO Shaun O’Connor and Vice President of Marketing Bob Weaver, the brewery began draft-only distribution shortly following their grand opening. Within a year, Flat 12 began to bottle their beers and now distributes throughout Indiana as well as to parts of Tennessee.


Although Flat 12 is a production brewery rather than a brewpub focused on food and beer, their tasting room, located at the brewery on Dorman Street in Holy Cross neighborhood, is an important part of their operation. Bob says since craft beer is so “grass roots,” it is vital for the brewery to be able to communicate with the people who drink their beer. Sharing what they know about all the components of each individual beer helps Flat 12 build community not only with the people of Indianapolis, but with all lovers of great tasting beer.

The key thing about craft beer, Bob says, is not only the conversation people have while drinking the beer, but the conversation it inspires. For those who are passionate about taste and quality, every beer is a new experience and something worth discussing. This is one of the many factors that drives Flat 12 to keep brewing not only a handful of house beers but an ever-changing list of seasonal brews.

Along with providing the community with tasty beer, Flat 12 also enjoys sponsoring festivals and events within the city. This provides them with an outlet to share their beer and further connects them to people both from near and far. Maintaining relationships and partnerships, says Bob, is one of Flat 12’s biggest priorities. It is clear to see how the same passion and intimacy used to brew their beer translates into the desire to create relationships with members of the community in hope of fostering an appreciation for fine beer.