Based on a city of its size, Fort Wayne has one of the nation’s fewest breweries per capita. David Tomaszewski wanted to help fix that.
Last year, he and his business partner, Will Long, opened Summit City Brewerks. The long-time friends—they used to play Little League together—brewed beer together and soon realized the city was ready for another brewery.
Tomaszewski graduated from DeKalb High School in 2002 and started at Indiana University Bloomington to study psychology. He eventually transitioned into public health but soon realized cooking was more than a hobby; he turned to Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s Hospitality Administration program because he loved to cook, and he completed an associate degree in 2006.
“A big part of it was the affordability, and the culinary program was the big determination,” he says. “I was just ready to get in the kitchen.
“Will and I started brewing together about five years ago. We’d started getting deep into craft beer a couple years earlier. Craft beer is more about the flavor than picking up a 12-pack every few days and drinking it. It’s more about flavor components, which went very well with being a chef.”
Long says the two balance each other out well: Tomaszewski is more detail-oriented, while Long thinks more conceptually.
“My mind just kind of runs all the time,” Long says. “He sort of grounds some of the ideas that come up. I think it’s a good balance. He’s more cautious.”
Though the brewery won’t celebrate its first anniversary until October, Tomaszewski is already looking to the future: He’d like to see the brewery bottling or canning its beers and selling kegs around town.
Summit City Brewerks is in a large, no-nonsense red brick building in a manufacturing area of Berry Street near Anthony Boulevard. There isn’t much around—a video production company upstairs, parking lots for semis across the street. Food trucks park in front of the brewery during business hours, giving patrons a rotating sample of fare.
Tomaszewski recently added a small bar menu, too, with salads, sandwiches, appetizers, and specialty pizzas made on French bread with a panini press.
Inside the brewery is all exposed brick, tin ceilings, and funky décor. Couples have used the space for engagement photos and wedding party pics, Tomaszewski says—of course, with a pint.
Then there are the drinks—37 taps where “variety” is the mantra. One house staple is a favorite, Carl’s Cream Ale, which is lighter and, yes, creamier than some of the more hoppy house beers with creative names like Weesoheavy (a Scottish wee heavy), T & Crumpets (ale with coffee and tea), and Fuzzy Slippers (a porter). Guest taps feature craft beers from breweries including Chicago’s Two Brothers Brewing Company, Delaware’s Dogfish Head, and California’s Sierra Nevada.
Beers run $3.75 for 12 ounces and $5 a pint—or guests can get a flight to sample four 5-ounce pours. As Tomaszewski discusses the brewery an hour or two before it opens, an employee comes in with a woman looking for a growler fill.
The employee, Sarah Alpert, says the growler can hold 64 ounces, and 32-ounce bottles are available, too.
“Disgruntled Kiwi?” Alpert checks with the customer before filling the container. It’s a hoppy wheat ale.
The woman asks how long her beer will hold.
“If you don’t open it, it’ll last several days,” Tomaszewski says. “If you open it … ”
The customer finished for him: “ … you have to drink the whole thing.”