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Beer Haul

Area microbreweries
meet demand for varied tastes

Interest growing for craft beer,
giving rise to new ‘fundraisers’

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

November 2012 Edition Cover

November 2012
Edition Cover

(November 2012) – Roger Baylor knows his beer. He knows the perfect combination of water, yeast, grain and hops to brew an appealing batch of craft beer that has made his microbrewery successful for over a decade.
He said science and an art go hand in hand when crafting good beer. “Without the science, the art suffers and vice versa. I believe one must know the rules and then break them with impunity.”
Baylor began the New Albanian Brewing Co. in 2002 in New Albany, Ind. By that time, he had already been in business as a pizzeria and public house for 15 years. “We were renowned for our draft and bottled beer lists, all of which came from elsewhere.”
He said that “as good as you are at selling other people’s beers, there’s still a glass ceiling: They’re not your ideas. To brew your own beers is to have and implement your own vision.”
His vision has not dimmed after all this time. He credits his microbrewery’s success to “that whole inspiration-perspiration thing,” he said. Baylor has always had good luck in finding good people, retaining many key players and replacing those who moved on with good new people.
“We work a lot, stay true to the ideals and reinvent ourselves often without compromising what folks already like: 25 years for the pizzeria, 20 for the public house, 10 for the brewer and almost four for Bank Street Brewhouse.”
Baylor is among a growing number of beer meisters who have tapped the tastes of beer lovers throughout the region, both in Indiana and Kentucky. In fact, there are 10 breweries in the Louisville metro area and many more across the two states. Brew houses and microbrewery restaurants are drawing crowds and attracting many fans. Statewide associations also have formed to help grow the industry, both legislatively and educationally to cultivate even more brewers.
For instance, Baylor sits on the board of directors for the Brewers of Indiana Guild and is a member of the national Brewers Association. “Both are great sources of information and assistance,” he said.

Microbreweries in the Region

A microbrewery is a brewery that produces a limited amount of year annually. In the United States, the American Brewers Association defines microbreweries as those that produce less than 15,000 gallons a year. A brewpub brews and sells beer on the premises. In recent years, the term “microbrewery” has come to reflect an alternative attitude and approach to brewery flexibility, adaptation and experimentation.

Area Microbreweries

Madison, Ind.
• The Pub,
719 W. Main St. (812) 274-2794

Louisville Area Breweries
• Against the Grain Brewery,
401 E. Main St. (502) 515-0174
• Apocalypse Brew Works, 1612 Mellwood Ave. (502) 589-4843
• BBC Brewpub, 3929 Shelbyville Rd. (502) 899-7070
• BBC on Theater Square, 660 S. Fourth St. (502) 568-2224
• BBC Brewpub, 330 W. Main St. (502) 562-0007
• BBC Main Production Brewery, 636 E. Main St. (502) 584-2739
• Cumberland Brews, 1576 Bardstown Rd. (502) 458-8727
• Falls City Beer, 545 Barret Ave.

Regional Kentucky Breweries
• Beer Engine
, 107 Larrimore Lane, Danville, Ky. (859) 209-4211
• Country Boy Brewing, 436 Chair Ave., Lexington, Ky. (859) 554-6200
• Kentucky Ale, 401 Cross St., Lexington, Ky.
• Lore Brewing, 471 Whirlaway Dr., Danville, KY. (859) 209-4288
• West Sixth Brewing Co., 501 W. Sixth St., Lexington, Ky.

Regional Indiana Breweries
• New Albanian Brewing Co.,
3312 Plaza Dr., New Albany, Ind. (812) 944-2577
• New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse, 415 Bank St., New Albany, Ind. (812) 725-9585
• Upland Brewing Co., 350 W. 11th St., Bloomington, Ind. (812) 336-2337
• Bloomington Brewing Co., 1795 E. 10th St., Bloomington, Ind

Regional Craft Beer Resources

• www.LouisvilleBeer.com
• www.CraftBeer.com
• www.MyOldKentuckyHomebrew.com
• www.LagersClub.com
www.BockBrew.com
• www.IndianaCraftBeer.com
• www.IndianaBrew.com
• www.BrewersGuildofIndiana.com
• www.BluegrassTrail.com
• www.BrewersAssociation.org

Even in towns as small as Madison and Bloomington in Indiana, microbreweries are taking hold. Upland Brewery Co. in Bloomington has been making and selling its beer since 1998. Just last year, Madison home brewer Scott Stoner opened The Pub, where he makes several beers on site in the former Trolley Barn on Main Street.
“Madison needed something different. And I had a lot of fun making beer,” Stoner said, whose business also include a sushi restaurant called Sakka Blue.
Many of the larger breweries not only sell their beers on site at restaurants but also vend at festivals throughout the region. In fact, Upland and New Albanian have sold their beers at Madison’s RiverRoots Festival, held on the riverfront each May.
Last year, festival organizers added a new element by holding craft beer workshop to help educate others on the art of beer making. At the “Halfway to RiverRoots Festival,” set for Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Livery Stable in Madison, several microbrewery will be represented to help promote their beers as a way of promoting the folk music event, said Don Clapham, a festival committee member and himself a home brew hobbyist.
Other established organizations and nonprofit entities are taking note of the craft beer craze. Just this past August the Louisville Zoo sold out its ninth annual “Brew at the Zoo” microbrew beer festival at $40 per person.
“The event has proven to be successful at numerous zoos across the country, and we began hosting Brew at the Zoo in 2003,” said Kyle Shepherd, Media Relations Manager for the zoo. Featured were more than 30 craft breweries, 40 restaurants, live music, a selection of local wines for guests to enjoy, interactive animal encounters and two art activity areas.
“Every year the crowd really enjoys Brew at the Zoo,” said Shepherd. “Some brewers tap signature pours at various times throughout the event and those are always a big draw.”
This year’s event drew more than 3,000 attendees and raised nearly $100,000 to support the mission of the Louisville Zoo, Shepherd said. Tickets were sold out a record 10 days before the event.
And the Louisville Science Center on Oct. 11 held its inaugural beer tasting event “exBEERiment” that focused on home brewing. This event featured local and eclectic beer tastings and information about home brewing from microbreweries in Kentucky and southern Indiana.
“We found a lot of interest in local home breweries,” said Mark Sieckman, spokesperson for the Kentucky Science Center. “We wanted to dive deeper into the science behind it.”

Beer Fest

Photo provided

The inaugural
“exBEERiment”
event at the
Louisville Science
Center on Oct. 11
drew a large
crowd of craft
beer “tasters.”

About 200 people attended to listen and speak with those in the craft beer industry, he said. “We had a ton of local interest in it, especially from young professionals.”
Sieckman said “people are clamoring for something outside of the norm.” Beer is an old concept, but the Kentucky Science Center “is taking a new look at it.”
While festivals offer beer makers a chance to introduce their products to new markets, it is the mass production for restaurants that represent the bulk of the profits by generating repeat business and a fan base among beer lovers. For beer makers, it offers a chance for immediate feedback from beer lovers as they try to find the next beer concoction to meet the season or the taste buds.
New Albany’s Baylor says being in the “good beer bar business for so long before brewing gave me a wide grounding in styles and traditions.” It gave him the opportunity to observe what people liked and how they enjoyed beers.
Baylor said he invested very little in start up expenses on the original, small brewery in 2002. By 2009, the business had expanded to include a second location in the Bank Street Brewhouse. He had also acquired a brand new brewing system that was roughly four times larger than the old system.
“Between that and rehabbing the building and getting up and started, we have a bit shy of $1 million in Bank Street Brewhouse,” he said.
For anyone seeking advice in beginning their own microbrewery, Baylor said that one of the most important things is the simplest thing: have good beer. “You don’t need to make many beers. Just a few good ones and you can grow from there.”
Baylor has always employed a head brewer. The current head brewer is David Pierce, who has been brewing beer professionally for almost 20 years. Pierce is “well-trained, compulsive and relentless in terms of commitment to consistency and quality,” said Baylor.

Scott Stoner

Photo by Patti Watson

Home beer brewing hobbyist
Scott Stoner of Hanover, Ind., last
year opened The Pub microbrewery
and restaurant in the former Trolley
Barn on Madison, Ind.’s Main Street.
He makes several varieties of beer
there and also operates a sushi
restaurant across the hallway.

Piece is able to brew new recipes, while embracing many of Baylor’s older ones. Baylor often consults with the brew team, therefore playing a major role in the process as well. “The artistic process is a lot like bands writing music, performing, learning and refining songs.”
Adam Watson is president of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers and one of four owners of Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse. Other owners include Jerry Gnagy, Sam Cruz and Andrew Ott. The microbrewery restaurant is located at Slugger Field in downtown Louisville in the same building that previously housed Brownings Brewery.
Watson said the goal of the guild is to provide a unified voice for its members. The organization has “definitely been very active,” he said. Watson was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on the Study of Kentucky’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Laws.
A University of Louisville law school graduate, Watson chose to learn the beer making business rather than practice law upon graduation. As a beer-making lawyer, he is well versed in the legal process, which comes in handy for representing beer makers in the state Legislature.

Adam Watson

Photo by Don Ward

Against the Grain Brewery opened
last year in the former location
of Brownings Brewery at Louisville’s
Slugger Field. The owners,
including Adam Watson,
previously worked across town
at Bluegrass Brewing Co.

He said the guild helps aid in cross promotion of microbreweries through advertising where “all can benefit.” Economic capabilities also exist when being a member of the guild, which he hopes will tap into educational seminars and share information such as new hop strains and brewing techniques.
The Brewers of Indiana Guild reports there are 49 breweries in the state with another 12 on tap. Watson said there are 16 licensed breweries in the state of Kentucky.
Watson and the other owners of Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse brewed at other businesses, including the BBC Brewery in Louisville, before opening their own microbrewery. “We were proud of what we did,” said Watson, 29.
Start up costs were expensive for the group. “It was very capital-intensive,” said Watson. “We needed a great deal of equipment.” Between the brewery and the restaurant, Watson said Against the Grain employs about 45 people.
Since the microbrewery began in October 2011, it has produced up to 75 varieties of beer. The business has a lot of what Watson termed “creative leeway” because it is Louisville’s only brewer-owned pub.

Brew at Zoo

Photo provided

More than 3,000 people attended
the ninth annual “Brew at the Zoo”
microbrew and wine festival at the
Louisville Zoo in August. The fundraiser
benefitted the Friends of the Zoo.

Watson said the business keeps a broad flavor of categories and rotates the beer in those categories-malt, dark, hop, smoke, session and whip. Many flavors are seasonal which guarantees something “new and interesting on tap.”
Unlike the larger beer companies, microbreweries are flexible in their ingredients, he said. “We don’t have to roll out hundreds of gallons of the same beer. We’re versatile in that we respect the customer’s needs.”
Like Baylor, Watson “doesn’t view the relationship between breweries as a competitive one. Most craft beer drinkers don’t drink just one beer; they go around and test others.”
Watson likes to attend events that promote the craft beer industry and gets information out to the public. “We try to go around to as many events as we can. This also gives us an advantage over the big brewers.”

Cumberland Brewery

Photo by Don Ward

Cumberland Brewery on
Bardstown Road in Louisville has
been serving up microbrew
beer since 2000.

Watson learned his techniques by trial and error. So far he has been successful even though “I’m as small as I can be as far as breweries go.”
In his concoctions, Watson has tried to stay as true to homebrewing as possible and the basics of beer, he said. “I’ve done a lot of test batches.”
Watson advises anyone getting into the business to “do a lot of research. It’s as much a process as the legal and accounting ends of it.”
He urges those interested in learning the beer-making trade to pay a visit to My Old Kentucky Homebrew beer and wine making equipment supply store at 1437 Story Ave. in Louisville. Store owner Paul Young not only sells the equipment but promotes education of it through workshops and classes. In fact, free home brewing classes are held each Wednesday evening.
Watson said he sees a combination of competition and cooperation among microbreweries in the area. “We support each other. If we didn’t, we’d die out.”
As far as growing his business at the Against the Grain Brewery, “We’re not looking at getting large,” said Watson.
“If you’re not enjoying brewing, then you don’t need to be brewing.”

• Editor Don Ward contributed to this report.

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