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Writer / Diane Harrington

It’s not unusual to assume runners are health nuts — and that beer would be the last thing on their postrun go-to list. Indeed, the folks at Flat12 Bierwerks, a craft beer company on North Dorman Street, were a bit perplexed when they were approached about creating a co-branded beer for runners.

But it all makes perfect sense to Ashley Johnson and his wife, Andrea, who are both big craft-beer lovers as well as owners of the BlueMile specialty running stores in Carmel, Fishers, Broad Ripple and other locations in Indiana and Kentucky.

The Johnsons approached Flat12 about coming up with a beer geared toward runners “that people who exercise would like to drink after they run,” Ashley said. “They said, ‘Why would anyone want that?’ [and I said], ‘Well, they’re drinking something, aren’t they?’ … That was when it all started.”

“When we first moved here in 2000, there wasn’t a lot of craft beer in Indianapolis,” said Andrea, who is thrilled that craft beers have gradually taken hold in the area. “We have this BlueMile [running] series in the summertime, and we started coming to Flat12 [afterward]. Runners and walkers and fitness enthusiasts tend to be very active, outgoing and like to try new things. . . . So they were joining us at the different breweries, and we thought, We should have a beer for Blue Mile.

“We started pestering the Flat12 people about it, and they finally agreed. It kind of blossomed from hanging out at Flat12,” she said.

Once the folks at Flat12 were on board, it was just a matter of coming up with the right beer, which has been dubbed Brew Mile. “It’s an accessible, light, easy-drinking beer,” said Flat12 sales representative Derreck Ramsey of the extra-pale ale. It “drinks clean and has a finishing hop kick.” And the beer’s look meshes nicely with Blue Mile.

“They’ve got a sleek truck. They’ve got cool stores where everything feels like it’s very well thought out,” said Flat12’s vice president of marketing, Bob Weaver. Flat12 has been in the area for three years, and the owners were happy to connect with an established business like Blue Mile.

Once the team came up with the name for the beer and the idea for the label, they started thinking about what the bottle would look like.

“Then we started doing some canning with our Half Cycle IPA, and that’s when we started thinking about runners and the scenarios about where they’re enjoying their beer — whether it’s the finishers’ tent or on vacation or on the beach somewhere or just home. Maybe a can would be preferable?” Weaver said. “So we started going in that direction. That actually provided a really cool look and feel that fell in line with the way Blue Mile does things. This can feels nice and trim and just put together. It felt like it fit a lot better [than a bottle].”

Ramsey is excited about Brew Mile’s potential, given the great sense of community that’s built into running. “Typically, you’ll get a bunch of people that will meet up on the weekends and go for a run, do impromptu 2- or 3-mile runs, and then they’ll all go out together,” he said. His goal is to get Brew Mile into all the pubs and restaurants these runners already head to.

“Even people that aren’t runners [will like it]. It’s a great beer,” Ramsey said.

“It took a while for us to get there, but when we got there, it was like, That’s it!” Weaver said, punctuating his comment with a clap.

Brew Mile, “the official beer of the finishers’ tent,” is available on draft right now and will be available in cans this summer. Ask for it around town, or check it out at Flat12 Bierwerk’s taproom at 414 N. Dorman St. Thursdays through Sundays. For more information, call Flat12 at 317-635-BEER. Learn more about BlueMile at BlueMile.com.

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