Matt Chappel is the owner and brewmaster at Indigo Imp Brewery, a small production brewery in Cleveland. Indigo Imp is unique in Ohio because it uses the old-school way of brewing with open fermentation, which provides a different flavor profile for its beers.
Question: Why did you become a brewer?
Answer: The most basic of reasons I became a brewer is because I love to create things from start to finish. I also enjoy woodworking, cooking and baking for this reason however brewing beer is by far the most rewarding to me.
Q: Where did the name Indigo Imp come from?
A: Indigo Imp is a reference to the Blue Devil mascot from the high school that my wife and I attended. It is also a mischievous minor devil who likes to quaff delicious ales.
Q: Indigo Imp uses an unusual fermentation process -- when the soon-to-be beer is exposed to the air and wild yeast. Most brewers are very careful to keep out wild yeast. Talk a little bit about the benefits and challenges of using open fermentation.
A: We decided from the beginning that we would like to brew some different beers than were currently being brewed in the area. Partially influenced by the wonderful variety of flavors and aromas in Belgian beers and also by the desire to offer some unique creations to local beer lovers, we settled on open fermentation as the best way to accomplish this goal. We have been pleased with the results we are getting and are happy to be fermenting all the Indigo Imp beers in our open fermentation tanks. The biggest challenge has simply been getting the word out on exactly what we are doing and how the seasons play a part in what wild yeast is present in the air. For example, Blonde Bombshell is smooth and malt focused in the winter months and has a bit of a tart citrus flavor in the summer months.
Q: What’s your best-selling beer and why do you think it’s so popular?
A: Indigo Imp's Best selling beer is definitely Blonde Bombshell. I think Blonde Bombshell has a unique balance of light bitterness and unique fruit/citrus flavors that make it very flavorful but not overpowering.
Q: Which beer -- any beer in the world -- do you wish that you created/invented/brewed and why?
A: I wish I could take credit for inventing a beer as wonderfully complex and delicious as the Belgian double as first brewed by the Trappist Monks.