Richmond IN

Indiana, Richmond IN, Craft

New Boswell

This is (right)Rod Landess, owner, and (left)Shawn Davis, head brewer, of the New Boswell Brewing Company.

How did you start New Boswell’s?

Rod: "Basically I wanted to start a business. My senior year in college I had to do a project for a business class I was taking. I did a business plan for a brewery. [At the time] I was home brewing with my friends…up at Ball State. That’s where this idea for a brewery [came from.]"

Where did the name New Boswell come from?

Rod: "Ezra Boswell started a brewery here [in Richmond, Indiana] in 1816… We were reading about the history of beer in eastern Indiana. It turns out the first brewery here [in Richmond] was started by a Quaker, Ezra Boswell. He was the first town clerk, he was a school teacher, and he was a brewer…

"There was one physical description we found of him. He had one eye. So everyone in our pictures has an eye-patch. [Points to posters and t-shirts hanging on the wall. The drawn characters all sport an eye-patch.]" 

Shawn, how did you get started brewing beer?

Shawn: “I got started brewing as a hobby. My friend and I started making home brew beer in his garage. [Starting out] it was all extract brewing. Which is basically a bunch of sugars. We just kept advancing our equipment and moving up. We moved [up from extracts] to what’s called a partial mash. It still uses some extracts, but going towards more grain… As we put more money into it, we went to all grain brewing. Which is what all the brewing is here [at New Boswell]. 

“From there, we joined a home brew group that meets here [at New Boswell] every month. Started talking to other people that are home brewing. It’s such a wonderful pish-posh of people. We’ve got people who are chemists, professors, and the laymen, like me. Everyone has their own style and [different ways] of breaking down brewing. Some people break down the whole thing in a scientific way. For them it’s really neat, the chemistry and the biology of it. 

“For me, I was a cook for 20 years… [Then] this became more and more of a passion. Every night I was brewing beers. I was giving them out to everyone I could. Just to have people taste them…I still home brew… It gives me a chance to experiment on a smaller scale...

“Cooking is a wonderful passion. You get to take a whole bunch of things from everywhere in the world, and you get to make this delicious melting pot… When I make beer, I incorporate everything I know from cooking into it… I sit and eat the grains, tasting the different maltinesses to them. I just start throwing things together as if I was making a gazpacho. That’s how I make beer.”

  "We are a small brewery. I’m sure you’ve seen the larger breweries where they’ve got the huge brewing tanks. Those are seven to 15 barrel tanks. We’re only two and half barrel tanks.   I like that about us. We’re sticking with the concept of being ‘craft’. Small batch. We’re not mass-producing these beers. " --Shawn

"We are a small brewery. I’m sure you’ve seen the larger breweries where they’ve got the huge brewing tanks. Those are seven to 15 barrel tanks. We’re only two and half barrel tanks. I like that about us. We’re sticking with the concept of being ‘craft’. Small batch. We’re not mass-producing these beers. " --Shawn

What’s the best non-traditional or craziest beer you’ve come up with?

Shawn: “I took a recipe that Rod had. We were trying to make a Christmastime beer. He was focusing more on a gingersnap cookie taste. For me that wasn’t really a traditional wintertime/Christmas taste. In the wintertime our bodies know that we’re supposed to bulk up and [we seek out heavier foods and beverages.] Things that make us feel warm and comfortable. With this [Christmas] beer, all I kept thinking about was my late grandmother’s gingerbread. The nice dark, thick, and gingery bread, but also the nutmeg, mace, and bit of clove. I ended up re-doing his recipe. So many people said to me, “Man, that tastes just like cake.” It was boozy, malty, and a lot of flavor in it. 

“My other crazy one is my bergamot beer. Rod pretty much threw a challenge at me. He ordered a bunch of bergamot fruit. He said, “I want you to make a beer out of these.” For three weeks I was taking little pieces of the peel and going over the flavor in my head. What flavors go together with it? Bergamot has a really peppery, basil-y flavor to it. I kept thinking it was like a bruschetta flavor. But what do I want to put that bruschetta on? I’m not going to incorporate the balsamic sauce that most people would associate with a bruschetta, especially in a beer. But I do want something that will highlight the peppery, the citrusy, and the little basil-y of it. So I started thinking of those little rye toasts. I can put the bruschetta on that and contrast the flavors with the rye. I ended up making a bergamot and light malted rye beer. It sold out so fast. The thing about bergamot is it’s so seasonal. It’s going to be next winter before we can get more.” 

above: "Grains. Different styles of grains from different regions… You get different maltiness-es, sweetnesses and flavors when you use different types of grain."

right: "We’ll throw together our grain blend, then mill them in our homemade hopper... We’re milling that down to a consistency like chicken feed."
You can see part of the homemade hopper behind Shawn.

 

left: "A brewer never makes beer. He just makes really good wort. Wort is what beer is called before it’s been brewed. Yeast makes beer...This is where all the chemistry plays into it."

Shawn: “When I joined up with Rod a year ago…I started volunteering with him. He’s always liked the beers that I’ve made as a home brewer. I would bring them in [to the home brew meet-up group] and everybody would like them. Part of what we do in this beer club is bring in our beers and everybody tries them. [We] critique one another’s beers. I was volunteering for him and he asked me if I would mind working three days out of the week. Eventually, he asked me if I would like to come on full time. I get paid to do a hobby, I don’t work. I haven’t worked for over a year. It’s great! 

 

Find New Boswell online:
newboswell.com
facebook.com/newboswell
instagram.com/newboswell

Find New Boswell in person:
410 N. 10th St.
Richmond, IN 47374

 

Special thanks to Scott Alexander for all your help!

Richmond IN, Indiana, Service, Craft

George Marinakes Shoe Repair: Shoes Expertly Rebuilt

George Marinakes is a second generation shoe repair man. His son, Ted, works part-time in the busy shop. Ted has a full-time job but helps his dad out in the evenings and on Saturdays. Both father and son are quick to laughter and very helpful. During my two hours in the shop, every customer left with a smile on their face.

George-
“I’ve had the shop since … 1952. My dad started it in 1928, September the 1st…
When I started working here 70 years ago, there were 20 shoe repair shops in Richmond. Now we’re the only one. We’re ‘the last of the Mohicans’. We’ve always had a good business here.”

Ted-
“I think Dad’s had me down here [since] I was about 6 or 7 years old. Shining shoes, starting out.”

  In the 1930’s and 40’s, the shop was open on Sundays. People would stop in before church to get their shoes shined. This bench used to be twice the size and seat 6. The shop used to employ two shoe shine boys. Now, customers drop off their shoes to be shined.

In the 1930’s and 40’s, the shop was open on Sundays. People would stop in before church to get their shoes shined. This bench used to be twice the size and seat 6. The shop used to employ two shoe shine boys. Now, customers drop off their shoes to be shined.

Has business been affected by mass produced and cheaper shoes?
Ted-
“Things are getting harder to fix because there’s a lot of plastics. Glues don’t stick to the plastics. A lot of stuff is molded instead of built.”

 

George later introduces me to the only glue that works on molded soles. He was re-glueing the sole of a sneaker. The glue is from Germany and very expensive. He kept asking me if I could smell it. It is very strong. His doctor has told him to stop using it: George has asthma. George’s doctor has also told him to retire.

 

George-
“The old saying is:

‘If you’re happy with your work, then the customer is happy with your work, also.’  

So if you’re not satisfied with your work, if your work didn’t come out like you wanted, the customer will know it and will not be satisfied with your work, either. So as long as you’re pleased with it and your work looks good … then you know you’ve accomplished something and that works out to please both parties. That’s the main thing. Anything that you do. Your work or anybody else’s. If you look at it and say ‘Well I’ve accomplished something here, it’s amazing and something I appreciate,’ [then] the customer will appreciate it also. That’s what brings them back.

It’s not how much advertising you do. It’s satisfaction between the two parties that brings a better result.”

So you’ve never advertised?

“No, I’ve never advertised. It’s been mouth to ear and that’s about it. It’s been good.”

You seem to have plenty of work!

“Always. Too much work. I want to retire! I’m 85 years old and I don’t have a chance to retire yet because I gotta wait for Ted to retire [from his day job]… I’ll be 93 years old, I’ll be an old man then! [laughter] I know I’ll want to retire then. Oh well, that’s the way life goes.”

George’s parting advice:
“[Another] old saying is:

‘There’s no easy sailing when the sky is clear and blue,
There’s no merit in doing things that anyone can do,
Satisfaction which is mighty sweet to take,
When you reach something you never thought you’d make.’

There’s a lot of truth in that. That’s what I’ve always looked at and thought about. That’s what keeps you going. An old watchmaker told me that about 60 some years ago.”