Senior staff writer
Oaken Barrel Brewing Co. is brewing a new lager in honor of the Greenwood Fire Department’s 125th anniversary.
Fire Chief James Sipes broke open a keg June 3 that contained the brewery’s latest concoction, Firehouse Lager, a Vienna ale that is described by brew master John Treeter as “light, crispy and refreshing,” particularly during summer days.
Firefighters, their families and guests were on hand last week for the special tapping of the lager, which has been added to the popular ales and lagers at the 21-year-old restaurant and brewery, one of the first in central Indiana.
Realizing that this year is a special anniversary for the Fire Department, Oaken Barrel owner Kwang Casey wanted to do something to honor the founding of Greenwood fire fighting in 1890.
At that time, according to Sipes, also a historian, the community had one person who would light outdoor street lanterns at night and extinguish the lanterns each morning. The same person was responsible for proper ash disposal, obtaining equipment and putting together a volunteer group.
Sipes pointed out that the department makes 6,000 runs annually and has more than 100 firefighters and EMTs to protect citizens’ property.
Casey said the department is revered by Oaken Barrel because of its brave service to the city. He also recalled that the first dinner his restaurant catered was for the department.
Casey called Sipes late last year and said he wanted to honor the department’s legacy with a lager yet to be developed. Several names were kicked around, but Firehouse Lager stuck.
“The lager is an exciting addition because it honors the Greenwood firefighters, and they are definitely blue collar guys,” Casey said.
Guests at the outdoor ceremony at Oaken Barrel’s courtyard, 50 W. Airport Parkway, off Main Street near I-65 in Greenwood, were treated to bagpipe solos, including “Amazing Grace,” which was played as firefighters and guests raised a toast in honor of all firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty, especially those who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.