Barley Island in Noblesville, one of Indiana's first craft brewers, closing after 23 years

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Barley Island Brewery, one of the of the earliest craft brewers in Indiana, is closing at the end of July after 23 years.

The bar and restaurant at 639 Conner St. announced in a Facebook post its last day would be July 23 when its lease nears expiration. The bar opened in 1999 but the building was sold a year ago.

“We have been through really good times and really bad times together,” the post by long-time bartender Michael Smith reads. “But the one thing I could always count on was that we would always be there for each other.”

The bar serves food, hosts musical performances and has a devoted clientele of regulars. The pub's craft beers are distributed throughout Indiana, including its signature brew, Barfly IPA. Other beers include Flat Top American Wheat and Brass Knuckles Oatmeal Stout.

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Barley Island was serving craft beer long before the industry exploded in Central Indiana around 2014 and well before the area’s best known brewer, Sun King, launched in 2009.

When Barley Island opened, there were only a few local brewers, including Broad Ripple Brew Pub in Indianapolis, which claimed to be the state’s first in 1992.

More than 140 Barley Island customers left comments of sorrow at the closing on Facebook.

“I've met so many people there. Many of who I hope to continue to see in the future, more than a few for whom I can't remember due to the fabulous over serving,” wrote one.

“Gonna miss the first place I had a beer at when I moved here in 2004,” wrote another.

Owner Jeff Eaton still owns Deer Creek Pub and Bistro in Cicero, which opened in 2015. Eaton could not be reached immediately for comment.

A developer plans to build a 219-unit mixed use apartment building, called East Bank, on the next block west of Barley Island but that project has nothing to do with the decision to buy the building, said Mike Partin, who purchased it with wife, Tawni Partin.

Partin, owner of Parker Mortgage in Noblesville, and said he would have liked to have struck a deal with Barley Island to stay and now has plans to renovate the building.

Partin described himself a preservationist and hopes to attract another restaurant.

“We are local people and we are going to fix the building it up and make it something that Noblesville can be proud of,” Partin said.

Call IndyStar reporter John Tuohy at 317-444-6418. Email at john.tuohy@indystar.com and follow on Twitter and Facebook.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Barley Island craft brewer in Noblesville closing after 23 years