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INDIANAPOLIS– What’s a pre-race tailgate without beer?

Just in time for this year’s race, we are exploring a local microbrewery with deep roots in Indianapolis 500 history.

Guggman Haus Brewing Company, located on Gent Avenue (just off W. 16th Street), got its start after identical twin sisters Courtney Guggenberger and Abby Gorman, alongside their husbands, decided to take their home brewing operation to the next level.

In the process, they helped preserve an important part of Indianapolis and Indy 500 history.

We’re making a pit stop in the Riverside neighborhood on this trip In Your Neighborhood.   

“We wanted to create a space that felt like an extension of our homes,” said co-owner Courtney Guggenberger of their plan for the brewery.

Then, about six years ago, it took a major labor of love to bring back to life the historic structures that now house Guggman Haus Brewing Company.

“Back in the 1930s and 1940s, the property we’re on was home to the Boyle Racing Team… So it was home to Wilbur Shaw, 3-time winner of the Indy 500,” she noted.

Front of Boyle Racing Team Headquarters, circa 1930’s-1940’s

“We met up with a group of racing enthusiasts that had formed a foundation to save the Boyle Racing Headquarters from a complete city demolition,” explained Guggenberger.

In the process of becoming the anchor business to save the old headquarters, Guggenberger said she gained a greater understanding of racing history and its relevance on a larger scale.

“We’re from Indiana so I think having an appreciation for the race has always been there. When we lived in Germany, people knew Indiana for the Speedway which is really cool,” she said. “And [through this process] we’ve gained a much deeper appreciation for the history of racing and how it has contributed to what Indianapolis is today.”

Now, the microbrewery is in the process of expanding into the old Boyle Racing Team headquarters.

Once completed, it will feature a larger taproom, full kitchen, event space, as well as a memorabilia garage showcasing a major piece of race history.

Photo credit: Guggman Haus Brewing Company

“[It will] house the rebuilt racer hauler that used to haul around Wilbur Shaw’s Maserati that he drove in the race along with other memorabilia telling the history and the story of the Boyle Racing Team and how they contributed to racing as it is today in Indianapolis,” Guggenberger said.

The owners also honor the 3-time Indy 500 winner with his very own brew: Wilbur’s Prized Pilsner.

“Wilbur’s son, Bill Shaw, came in and approved the beer so we make sure he gets some cans dropped off at his house sometimes,” she said with a smile. “He’s the sweetest man… I”m proud to say he’s a friend now too.”

Wilbur Shaw’s son, Bill Shaw, at the Guggman Haus Grand Opening in 2019 (Photo credit: Guggman Haus Brewing Company Facebook page)

That’s not the only beer with a racing tie-in.

“We have Winner’s Milk Jug which is our milk stout and then we have our Boyle Brown which is our brown ale. And that’s brewed more seasonally…. All three of those beers are ones we home brewed for 5-plus years before we opened this business so we wanted to open with some strong core beers that had an appreciation for the race.”

Some of their other popular brews include the Great Day IPA and a traditional German wheat beer called the Guggenweitzen.

“It’s kind of where it all started,” Guggenberger said of the beer. “When my husband and I lived in Germany, the Hefeweizen is a traditional German wheat beer.”

Photo credit: Guggman Haus Brewing Company

 Another beer with a local touch is the Riverside New England IPA.

“It’s named for the neighborhood that we’re in,” she said. “Actually, on the can it has the Taggart Memorial, which is actually being restored right now over at Riverside Park.”

And you can enjoy them all on their pet-friendly outdoor beer garden, which often plays hosts to live music and food trucks—which made it a big hit over the last year, despite the challenge of COVID-restrictions.

“We made it through winter with only outdoor seating our in our beer garden so we have over 30 tables out there all spaced more than 6 feet apart,” she said. “On a nice day… it’s just a great place to be outside and enjoy a drink with some friends.”

Four Things You Need to Know About Guggman Haus Brewing Company:

  • Guggman Haus Brewing Company (located at 1701 Gent Avenue) is a locally-owned microbrewery that was started by two identical twin sisters, who are also the namesakes for the business. “Me and my husband’s last name is Guggenberger, my twin sister and her husband’s [last name] is Gorman so… we combined them together and you get Guggman,” said Courtney Guggenberger, who previously lived in Germany, hence the German spelling of “Haus” in the business’ name.
  • Guggman Haus officially opened its doors in May 2019, utilizing the “house” portion of the grounds. But they are currently in the process of expanding into the former Boyle Racing Headquarters, which was once home to 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner Wilbur Shaw.
  • Some of their popular core beers include Wilbur’s Prized Pilsner (named in honor of Wilbur Shaw), Winner’s Milk Jug, Boyle Brown, Great Day IPA, Riverside New England IPA and a traditional German wheat beer called the Guggenweitzen. They also offer seasonal brews like their fruity lineup of Into the Wild: Sour Berry Duo, Raspberry Lemon and Stonefruits.  
  • Right now, Guggman Haus is only offering outdoor seating in their beer garden. However, in the next several weeks they say they expect to officially open the doors of their new facility in the old Boyle Racing Team headquarters. During our visit, we got a sneak peek of the work in progress and it was impressive! The new space will feature a larger taproom with indoor seating, full kitchen, event space and a memorabilia garage.

For more information about Guggman Haus Brewing Company, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. And for the latest info about the official opening of the new space, as well as their lineup of live music, food trucks and experimental beers, follow the brewery on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

While in the Riverside neighborhood, check out these other local hot-spots nearby: