Traveling Tuesday: Carillon Brewing, Dayton, OH

When I was an undergraduate I went to a college in East Texas. We used to joke that it was three hours from Houston, three hours from Dallas, and fifty years from anywhere. Going to Carillon Brewing Company in Dayton is a little like that. It’s only an hour or so from Cincinnati, but the whole idea of the place is to take you back to the middle of the 19th-century so you can have a beer.

Carillon exterior
It rained the day we were there. This photo courtesy of Carillon Brewing Co.

Carillon Brewing  is a fully-licensed brewery and restarurant located on the grounds of the Carillon Historical Park. The park itself is an open-air living museum with 30 or so buildings. The idea is to give people a real sense of what it was like to live in Dayton in the 1850s rather than sticking artifacts behind glass in display cases. There’s a modest admission fee to the historical park area, but it’s free to visit the brewery and restarurant.

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The brewing area. Everything is gravity-fed and heated by wood fires. Racking between brewing vessels is via open half-pipes.

The building looks old, but it was actually completed in 2014. Construction techniques from the 1850s were used everywhere modern building codes allowed.

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It’s clear a lot of care was taken to blend education into the experience of being at the brewery. This is one of a series of diagrams on barrel heads that explains what you’re looking at as well as the brewing process itself.

One of the implications of both the building’s construction and open wooden brewing vessels is that wild yeasts and other bacteria have taken hold in the brewery. Think sour beers are a modern thing?  Think again. The day we were there we had a sour Porter that was really quite good — as long as you like sours. Not every beer there is a sour, but there are flavors you’re going to encounter that are quite different from today. There’s a Coriander ale with peppers, a beer containing beets and another containing squash.

Barrels
Barrels are constructed in an on-site cooperage.

If you’ve had enough historical exploration for one day, the brewery also serves beers from other local breweries. The food features locally grown and processed ingredients. When we were leaving from our visit we saw a young lady churning butter on the back porch. You don’t see that at Applebee’s. Spent-grain bread is baked in the ovens and is delicious. The non-alcoholic root beer is really, really good.

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All-in-all you owe it to yourself to make the trip to Dayton and spend a little time at Carillon. You’ll learn something and you’ll have a good beer. Pretty hard to go wrong with that.

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The employees are all in period dress, but there are modern conveniences. You don’t need to bring chickens to barter. They take credit cards.

Schramm’s Mead Coming to Ohio

Schramm’s Mead, the winner of the 2015 RateBeer “#1 Meadery in the World,” has signed a distribution agreement with Cavalier Distributing. The agreement will allow Cavalier to sell Schramm’s meads to retailers throughout the entire state of Ohio immediately. This is Schramm’s Mead’s first distribution agreement outside their home state of Michigan.

Schramm’s Mead owner and head meadmaker Ken Schramm is excited about the partnership. “Cavalier has an outstanding reputation in the craft beverage industry. Their focus on small, high-quality producers aligns with us beautifully,” he stated. “A number of retailers and chains in Ohio have expressed interest, and we are excited to get our mead onto their shelves.”

The meadery was the logical next step following the success of “The Compleat Meadmaker,” Schramm’s best-selling book on mead making, which was published by Brewers Publications in 2003. “The book really helped the mead industry’s train get rolling, Schramm said. “I figured we probably ought to get on board. People really like this stuff.”

The small, family-run mead maker has been crafting extremely high-quality meads from top-notch honey, local fruits, and carefully selected spices since September of 2013. The result: a barrage of awards from the prestigious RateBeer Best Awards, held January 30 in Santa Rosa, California. Schramms’s Mead captured six of the top 11 places in the Mead category, winning two gold medals, three silver and one bronze medal. It was also named to Ratebeer’s “Top 100 Brewers in the World” list for the second straight year.

The operation is truly a family business. Schramm’s daughter, Alyson Schramm Naeger, is Director of Operations. Her husband, James Naeger, is meadmaker and VP of Sales. James Naeger notes, “Cavalier represents some of our favorite brands, including Jolly Pumpkin, Short’s, Dogfish Head, The Bruery, Stone, Cantillon, and the list goes on. We are excited to be represented by such a qualified and knowledgeable team of people.”

Established in 1992 by Founder/President George Fisher, Cavalier Distributing is one of the only distributors in the country with a portfolio that is exclusively American craft and imports. Cavalier is dedicated to bringing great beverages to increasingly discerning, appreciative, and educated consumers in Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. Cavalier employs more than 360 employees throughout the three states and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Lakeland, Florida.

Traveling Tuesday: Carillon Brewing – Dayton, OH

We had hoped to stop by Carillon last month when we made a quick trip to Dayton, but we ran out of time. You can check them out tomorrow (November 4th) as they celebrate their first anniversary.

Carillon Brewing Co. Brewster

Join us on Wednesday, November 4 at the Carillon Brewing Co. as we celebrate one year of brewing with:
• New Brews
• A Preview of Our New Menu
• Live Music
• Autumn Fun and Festivities for the Whole Family
As the nation’s only production brewery in a museum, Carillon Brewing Co.’s singular nature has garnered it great success, earning the historic brewery many accolades, including:
• Ohio Magazine: Best History Lesson of 2014
• Ohio Museums Association: 2014 Institution of the Year
• Association of Midwest Museums: Best Practices Institution
Official Press Release Below
Carillon Brewing Co. offers visitors a glimpse into 1850s-era Dayton through the authentically prepared food and drink of the times. It’s the nation’s only brewery in a museum.

Gas copper lanterns light the walkway outside, and beyond the large white oak corridor doors — sash-sawn in period fashion with blacksmith-forged hinges and handles — the smell of charcoal and wood fire, sugary wort and timber fill the air.

Dressed in an intricate flounced skirt, on a brick furnace 14 feet above a bustling crowd, head brewster Tanya Brock draws water from a handmade copper kettle before beginning the process of mashing and lautering. Welcome to Carillon Brewing Co. — an 1850s-style brewery, restaurant and museum that opened at Dayton History’s Carillon Park last August. Using replica equipment and traditional recipes, some original to Dayton, Brock brews in mid-19th-century fashion.

Cooper-crafted wooden barrels line the lower floor of the brewery, each one capped by an artful and educational panel detailing the history and science of brewing. In sourcing city directories, canal records, farmers’ reports and the like, Brock carefully analyzed the influences of breweries on the city’s evolution during the latter half of the 1800s.

“As brewing industries grew, so too did the agricultural support,” she explains. “So too did the transportation support, and other industries. Everything was growing at the same time.”

At the foot of the furnace, wearing white canvas braces and a billowing white bishop-sleeved shirt, assistant brewer Kyle Spears tends the fire. Nearby, malt is milled by hand; oven-fresh spent grain bread is baked; a man mends his trousers with thread and needle; a growler of ale is filled; and a costumed wait-staff presents Wiener schnitzel, herb-roasted split chicken and more. The historical German, Irish and English offerings are in homage to Dayton’s early settlers.

“Carillon Brewing Co. is the only museum with a licensed production brewery, and the only brewery in the U.S. replicating the historical process,” says Brock. “On the physical construction of the building, it was a matter of, ‘If we’re going to do this right, well, let’s truly be a museum and replicate everything.’ ”

Carillon Brewing did this by re-creating 1850s Dayton life via presentations, brewing production, exhibits and a full-service restaurant. Theirs is a story of a developing Midwestern city in a growing nation. It’s a tale that spans agriculture, industry, science, immigration, civilization, progress, culture and more. And all of it is told through beer and food. Plans for the brewing complex began in 2007 and Carillon Brewing Co. marked its grand opening in August 2014.

“We wanted to be the first museum in the country to actually have a full-scale production brewery where everybody’s in costume,” says Dayton History president and CEO Brady Kress. “It’s an educational experience. You see it from grinding the grain to filling your glass — a production brewery. People can taste it, people can buy it, people can take it home.”

With every grain of hand-milled malt, with every batch of boiled wort, not only is history replicated, but Carillon Brewing Co. tells Dayton’s story in a new, fun and fascinating way — a tale that its creators hope to expound upon in the future.

“An addition to the building, out among the beer garden, will be a wine pressing house,” explains Kress. “We have the infrastructure to make distilled spirits as well, so that would bring us full circle. When we have a facility that is able to teach these historic processes of distilling, brewing and winemaking, the project will be complete.”

Beers We Love Right Now: August 19, 2015

Once a week (or so), we post a beer (or two) that we are loving right now. These aren’t be long reviews analyzing the beers, just the name of the beer and a sentence or two about why it’s one of the beers we love right now.

Tom – I, for one, welcome our new session pale ale overlords. Bell’s Boiling Pot is more proof — if you needed it — that a Pale Ale can have a lot of flavor and still come in below 5% ABV. Great for the waning days of summer.

Carla – Braxton Twisted Bit Dortmunder Lager. We had a Cincinnati Pink Boots Society meeting at Braxton last night and that was my go-to beer. Paired great with the carne asada tacos I picked up at Tacqueria San Miguel just around the corner.

Jared

Damn Pumpkin Beer

John – Blank Slate’s Mother Lover is just what I need to scratch my sour itch. Super, super tart – almost with some nice saltiness. He uses a vinegar mother, to get a complex sourness faster – very innovative. A polarizing beer for sure, but I love it.

Chris – I just tried the Dead Blow Starter at Braxton. Very tasty coffee forward version of Dead Blow, tropical stout with coffee deliciousness.

Jason – Rounding Third. Much like myself, it’s hoppy, malty, complex, and sporting facial hair. I’m smitten.

HoperativesBeersWeLoveSquare

Sierra Nevada: Craft Beer Walt Disney World

The meaning of the word ‘craft’ in ‘craft beer’ is a never-ending discussion among beer folk. That’s partly due to the fact it’s most often discussed when people are drinking. No one knows when to shut up. It’s also because it’s something people are willing to believe is real without the parallel need to know exactly why one beer is “craft” and another isn’t. “I know it when I see it” is as much as anyone can really argue. Yes, there’s the Brewers Association (BA) definition, but that’s the outcome of a political process, not a statement of objective reality. And that’s not a criticism of BA. I don’t think they claim otherwise. If you’re going to form a club where you don’t want some folks joining, you’re going to have to have criteria. Otherwise, why have a group?

I had occasion to think about this during the 2015 Beer Bloggers & Writer’s Conference in Asheville, NC last month1. One of our activities was to go to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s brewery just south of town in Mills River. It’s gorgeous; there’s no other word to describe it. It’s difficult to avoid a comparison to an attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida as you drive in. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

It’s not a theme park attraction, of course, it’s a working factory. And yes, breweries are factories. It’s not the way we like to think of them, but it’s what they are. It’s a place where raw materials are processed using semi- or fully-mechanized means that result in a packaged product suitable for mass distribution. Any beer that’s sold is the outcome of an industrial process that’s been refined and perfected over generations. There’s not much romance in that, but there it is.

It’s pretty clear that Sierra Nevada made the decision to build a brewery that could also be a showcase. Everything is labeled. All the production areas are visible behind glass or accessible by large groups of people (or both). It’s a working brewery, but it’s also meant to be seen. I had the opportunity to have an informal conversation with an employee who was involved in the process of bringing the facility to life. The conversation was interesting, but it really was informal and I don’t feel right quoting her directly because we weren’t explicitly on the record. Two things stand out in my mind, though. First, the company was very excited to be able to build a new facility from scratch. The original brewery in Chico, CA grew in bits and pieces as demand required. You can always plan for the future, but it’s always harder to expand an existing facility than build one from the ground up. The second thing is that a tremendous amount of work went into the planning. I don’t know this for a fact, but I have a feeling that somewhere there are storyboards that mapped out how the building and grounds were to tell the story Sierra Nevada wants to tell. That story includes beer, the company itself and its commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of a large industrial operation. It tells that story well.

Carla and I spend a lot of time giving money to the Walt Disney Corporation, so when I say there’s a Disney quality to the Mills River brewery, I mean that as a compliment. When a Disney property is really clicking for me, you experience the outcome of an excessive obsession to detail in both facilities and customer service. That’s what I saw at Sierra Nevada. I know, however, that calling something “Disney-like” can be considered a pejorative for some people. “It’s fake,” goes the thinking, “it’s the imitation of a thing and not the thing itself. Shock Top or Blue Moon or any of the other ‘crafty’ beers are the real beer Disneys.” That’s a discussion that goes beyond what I’m trying to write about here, but sufficed to say I know the mansion isn’t really haunted and it’s all fake, but I love the Haunted Mansion anyway. That’s how I can use Disney-like as a compliment.

So we’re on the busses heading down to Mills River from Oskar Blues in Brevard and I happen to be in the front seat of the lead bus. We arrive in front of the brewery and I get off the bus. There are a dozen or so folks on either side of the door inside and they’re clearly a welcoming line. A guy in blue jeans walks up to me and sticks out his hand and says, ‘Hi, I’m Ken Grossman. Welcome to Sierra Nevada”

I never really understood what it meant to “nearly plotz” until that moment. The founder of Sierra Nevada. Brewing legend. KEN frickin’ GROSSMAN is introducing himself to me! So of course my only response was to gurgle incoherently. I have a way with words. A really, really bad way. After everyone else on our bus had a similar opportunity to be star-struck, he proceeded to take us on a tour of the brewery. Then we went down to the river for a pig roast and a little oompah music. Sierra Nevada collaborated with Germany’s Brauhaus Riegele to produce a memorable Oktoberfest beer and the brewing team from Germany was there. A camera crew was also there. Here’s one of the things they put together from the footage. A disturbing number of the people in this spot are beer bloggers. 15-seconds of fame, baby:

I recommend the Oktoberfest, by the way. Marzens aren’t my absolute favorite style, but I enjoy them when the season rolls around. Brauhaus Rieglele’s recipe relies heavily on Steffi Malt which gives the beer a slightly lighter, sweeter character while still having good body and mouth feel. Steffi has been used in German brewing for decades, but it’s not as popular as it once was. Grossman said that they bought as much as they could get their hands on in order to make the beer for the US market, and that meant buying some of the malt from Riegele’s stock.

I like the video in that it shows Grossman’s easy-going demeanor. The quip about taking off the coat is a good example. They don’t explain it in the piece, but the day we were there was warm for Asheville, reaching the the mid to upper 80’s. The jacket is a German jacket that he’d admired when visiting the brewers in Germany when the collaboration was in the planning stages. It turns out that the Riegele brewmaster’s wife makes them, so Grossman and his son both ordered one. They were wearing them when we showed up to the brewery, but these are definitely cold-weather jackets. I’m surprised they lasted in them as long as they did. For the record, the Riegele brewmaster didn’t stay in his the whole time either.

Ken Grossman fixes door

So the Friday trip was great, but that’s not where my meditation on what puts the craft in craft brewing started. That had to wait until Sunday. We decided to go back to the brewery before coming back to Cincinnati. We wanted to try out the taproom and it’s less than five hours from Asheville to home, so it was a no-brainer. We get there, park and get in line to get a table. Our name is put in, and I’m sitting on a bench in the waiting area. I’m messing with my phone and suddenly I realize there’s someone standing in front of me. “Hey,” says Ken Grossman, “Did you have a good conference?” I think I was a little more coherent this time, but I still think of it as “Meeting Ken Grossman II: The Re-Plotzing.” Luckily, Carla came over and saved me socially, as she tends to do pretty much all the time. We make small-talk for a minute, then he heads to the front door to do what I’m pretty sure he walked that way to do in the first place. The front door was sticking and he noticed that people were having trouble getting in and out. So he went over to work on it. That’s him leaning over and holding the door as they try to figure out what’s binding things up.

And that’s when the light bulb went on. I have no idea how much money Ken Grossman is worth.  Lots. Probably more than lots. But he owns a brewery and when he saw something wrong, his first thought was to go over and fix it. Because the brewery is something that matters to him. I’m not saying that it’s the complete and total definition of what makes a beer a craft beer, but a good part of it is that at the top there’s someone there for whom the brewery is the thing. Throw a rock at any of the breweries in Cincinnati — and I’m definitely including Sam Adams in this — and you’ll find a focus on making great beer that starts at the very top. I vaguely know who the AB-Inbev CEO is.  I’m sure he knows something about beer and I’m sure he’s nice to his family and pets. I have no idea how long it’s been since he’s been in a brew house on two consecutive days from more than an hour each. In my mind, cluttered as it is, that’s what makes craft beer to me.  Do I know something about who is responsible for it being here? Is there an actual person behind it all? That’s important to me. That’s the craft.

And when we left the brewery that Sunday, the door worked perfectly.


1DISCLAIMER: To receive a discounted rate to the 2015 Beer Blogger and Writer’s Conference in Asheville, NC, we agreed to write two posts about the conference. This is one of them.

This Week in Beer: August 10-16, 2015

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled specials on better beer. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. As always, any edited listing will have UPDATE at the beginning of the listing.

Monday, August 10th at 5:00 pm – Rare Keg Monday at Ei8ht Ball Brewing
This week, it’s Omnipollo Bourbon Barrel-Aged Agamemnon. Cost is $12 for a ten ounce snifter.

Tuesday, August 11th at 4:00 pm – Pumpkin Ale Tapping at Rivertown Brewing

Tuesday, August 11th from 4:00-8:00 pm – West Sixth Tap Takeover at Righteous Room
Half off all drafts included West Sixth Lemongrass American Wheat Ale, Amber Ale, West Sixth IPA and more.

Wednesday, August 12th at 6:00 pm – West Sixth Beer Dinner at Moerlein Lager House
MENU — Beer Reception – West 6th Carolina Rye; First Course – Dead Heat American Pale Wheat paried with Charcuterie of Cured Lamb, Red Dragon Ale Cheddar, King Ludwig Beer Cheese, Strawberry Beer Jelly, Banana Leaf; Second Course – Lemongrass American Wheat paired with Veal Sweetbreads, Lemongrass Buffalo Sauce, Rhubarb Celery Salad, Smoked Kentucky Blue Cheese; Third Course – West 6th IPA paired with Red Chili Corn Crusted Snapper, Lemon Ginger Sweet Potato Mash,Popcorn Sauce, Chipotle Pickled Haricot Verts Salad; Fourth Course – Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter paired with Bitter Chocolate Flank Steak, Miso Bacon Brussels Sprout Slaw, Raspberry BBQ Demi, Porter Jelly; Dessert – Heller Heaven DIPA paired with Caramelized Pineapple, Blood Orange Glaze, Honey Sriracha Peanuts.
Cost is $55 plus tax and gratuity. Make reservations in advance by contacting Jeff Geckle at privatedining@moerleinlh.com

Wednesday, August 12th at 6:00 pm – Blue Point and Goose Island Tasting at Marty’s Hops & Vines
Beers include Blue Point Toasted Lager (on draft), Blue Point Blueberry ale, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat, Goose Island Goose IPA and Goose Island The Illinois Imperial IPA.

Thursday, August 13th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Burgers and Beers at the Party Source
Beers: Evil Twin – Even More Jesus, Aun Mas A Jesus, Biscotti Break, Molotov Cocktail and Citra Sunshine Slacker
Burger: Greek
Music: Chris Cusentino

Thursday, August 13th at 7:00 pm – Braxton Beer Dinner at Izzy’s
Beers include Trophy, Storm and Dead Blow. Food pairings are Goetta Balls, Pastrami Reuben and Key Lime Pie. For reservations, call Brian Ramey at (859) 331-4999 or go to http://izzys.com/reservations.php

Thursday, August 13th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night Thursdays at Cock & Bull (all three locations)
The beers for this week’s Pint Night Thursdays are: Main Strasse Covington – Dogfish Head Night with Randall, Glendale – Widmer Upheaval and Hyde Park – Revolution Rosa.

Friday, August 14th from 5:00-8:00 pm – Ohio River Foundation Fundraiser at Rivertown Brewing
$1 from every pint sold at the Barrel House will go directly back to Ohio River Foundation. Representatives from ORF will be available to answer questions.

Saturday, August 15th at 12:00 noon – Saber Tooth Tiger Release at Rhinegeist
Draft and limited edition 22 ounce bombers available. Only two bombers per person while supplies last.

This Week in Beer: August 3-9, 2015

Check out our Better Beer Happy Hours, Etc. page for regularly scheduled specials on better beer. We are only list events here that are unique for this coming week in beer. As always, any edited listing will have UPDATE at the beginning of the listing.

Monday, August 3rd at 5:00 pm – Rare Keg Monday at Ei8ht Ball Brewing
This week, it’s Jester King / Amager Danish Metal Imperial Stout. The cost is $10 for ten ounce snifter.

Monday, August 3rd at 6:00 pm – August Beer of the Month at Moerlein Lager House
This month, the beer is their Bay of Bengal Double IPA and the proceeds benefit the Marvin Lewis Community Fund. A dollar from every Beer of the Month sold will be donated along with 100% of the proceeds from the ceremonial keg.

Thursday, August 6th-Saturday, August 8th – Cappy’s Wine & Spirits Bellsfest
They will be featuring six specialty kegs throughout the event and $1 from each Bell’s pint or growler will be donated to the Lauren Hill Foundation. Rare keg tappings scheduled for 4:00 pm each day. Also, 23 ounce Oberons for $6 and you get to keep the glass. See their web site for more information.

Thursday, August 6th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Burgers and Beers at the Party Source
Beers: Bell’s – Quinannan Falls, Hopsolution, Two Hearted, Oarsmen and Porter.
Burger: Chili Cheese
Music: Chris Cusentino

Thursday, August 6th at 6:00-10:00 pm – Pint Night Thursdays at Cock & Bull (all three locations)
The beers for this week’s Pint Night Thursdays are: Main Strasse Covington – Stone Go To IPA, Glendale – New Belgium Hop Tart and Hyde Park – 5 Rabbit Tamarindo Paletas.

Friday, August 7th at 5:00 pm – Wiedemann 3rd Anniversary Party at Pompilios

Saturday, August 8th at 12:00 pm – Big Joe Duskin Memorial Plaque Dedication at Taft’s Ale House
While not technically a beer event, this is an event that many believers in better beer attending past Cincy Beerfests helped to make happen. Check out their Facebook event page for more information.

Saturday, August 8th at 4:00 pm – Westwood Works Pop-Up Beer Garden at Saint James Episcopal Church
This month, the beers are from Tap & Screw and Listermann.

Hoperatives This Week in Beer

Alltech Acquires Two European Breweries

With the announcement last week of Duvel and Firestone Walker combining plus the purchase of Boulevard by Duvel in 2013, this news is rather interesting. Will more U.S. breweries consider buying breweries outside of the country? Be sure to check out the last sentence of the press release.

In a major expansion of its international alcohol division, Alltech, the animal nutrition multinational and producer of award-winning beers and spirits including Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale® and Town Branch® Bourbon, has acquired a craft brewery in Northern Ireland and also one in mainland United Kingdom. ­Dr. Pearse Lyons, the Irish-born entrepreneur and founder of Alltech, purchased the breweries from the family of the late Northern Irish businessman Lord Ballyedmond.

Alltech’s acquisition of The Station Works Brewery in Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, and Cumberland Breweries Ltd. in Great Corby, Cumbria, England, represents the first major expansion outside the United States for its brewing division. Already one of the fastest growing craft brewers in the United States, these purchases represent a significant investment by Lyons in the future of the rapidly expanding craft brewing sector in Europe. Alltech’s core animal nutrition business has achieved annual sales greater than $1.6 billion and recently spent approximately $400 million acquiring Ridley, Inc., with operations in the U.S. and Canada.

With a capacity to produce 40,000 hectolitres, the two new breweries add several new brands, including Finn Lager and Foxes Rock Ale, to the growing Alltech portfolio.

“These new purchases will allow us develop already established European brands while at the same time introducing our Kentucky Ale range to new markets,” said Lyons, who achieved his doctorate in brewing and distilling before founding Alltech.

“We are dedicated to offering the consumer real choice in the beer sector. Since our first investment in the Alltech Craft Brews & Foods Fair in Dublin three years ago, the sector has mushroomed and our Fair is now the largest in Ireland, attracting more than 10,000 visitors annually,” said Lyons.

With three new breweries under construction in the United States, and a major investment in a new distillery in the heart of the liberties at the former St James Church, where his grandfather is buried, Lyons is set to continue the family history.

“We want to be one of the top 50 craft brewers in the world,” said Lyons.

Traveling THURSDAY: Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest

With all the craziness I’ve been dealing with earlier this week, I forgot to get this information out for a Traveling Tuesday so instead here’s our first ever Traveling Thursday. We went to last year’s inaugural Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest and really enjoyed it. A previous commitment is preventing us from attending this year, but if you are looking for a weekend getaway, we highly recommend Lexington.

Grab your sampling glass and get ready – 180 beers brewed by 51 breweries from across the nation will be on tap at the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest this Saturday, May 16, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Lexington Center’s Heritage Hall. The beerfest is one of the largest in the region and is even doubling its floor space this year, boasting local food, craft distillers, live entertainment and sensory sessions. The Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest will serve as one of the culminating events for the third Annual Lexington Craft Beer Week May 9-17, a celebration of Lexington’s craft beer culture.

The day will kick off early for go-getters with the inaugural Horse Capital Marathon and Half-Marathon, the only marathon in the state of Kentucky. Alltech just signed on as the title sponsor of the race, which starts at Fasig-Tipton thoroughbred auction firm in Lexington and winds its way through horse country. It is the first full sanctioned marathon in Lexington since 1980 and a Boston Marathon qualifying event. Kentucky Ale® brews will be served at the finish line.

The fun continues at the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest downtown, with a total of 52 special tappings occurring every 15 minutes from each brewery for specialty and collaboration brews, including brews such as Country Boy Brewing’s Warehouse Experiment 3, Sweetwater Brewing Company’s 18th Anniversary Cork and Cage Belgian Tripel, and a barrel-aged collaboration between Dogfish Head Brewing Co. and Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. A full list of special tappings is available at http://us.alltechbrewsandfood.com/breweries.

Rare brews, including some not yet distributed in Kentucky, like Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing and Cigar City Cider & Mead, will also be on tap – including the company’s highly regarded Jai Alai IPA and Cowboy Dan’s Holiday Extravaganza, a cider that tastes like caramel apples.

Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. will feature multiple rare brews from the brewers’ warehouse including a limited edition Kentucky Kölsch aged in apple brandy barrels; Kentucky Blue Ale, a Belgian ale accented with blueberries; and Kentucky Honey Barrel Brown Ale, a popular past winter seasonal. The brewery’s new summer seasonal, Kentucky Old Fashioned Barrel Ale, modeled after an Old Fashioned bourbon cocktail, will also be on tap.

For the first time, the festival will also include craft distillers from across Kentucky, including Limestone Branch Distillery, Lebanon; Barrel House Distillery, Lexington; Copper and Kings, Louisville; Willett Distillery, Bardstown; The Gentleman Distillery, Paris; and Town Branch Distillery, Lexington. Distillers will offer spirits samples for tasting.

Onsite food vendors offering samples and meals for purchase include Claw Daddy’s, The Village Idiot, Enoteca, JDI, Noodles & Co., The Cheezy Mac, Dupree Catering, Popcorn Paradise, COVAP Ham and The Sweet Spot.

Keeping the environment lively throughout the day will be a range of live music from The Bohannons, Willie Eames, Patrick McNeese Band, Josh Nolan, and The Marble Creek Rangers.

The recipient of the Alltech Commonwealth Cup, will be announced at the festival, and staff from the Alltech Brewing & Distilling Academy will be onsite offering sensory sessions. The Alltech Commonwealth Cup, now in its second year, is the only professional craft beer competition in Kentucky and is open to both local and global entrants.

The Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest serves as a kickoff for the Alltech REBELation, an international event exploring innovation, inspiration and world-changing ideas in Lexington, Ky., USA, from May 17-20. The conference features a Brewing and Distilling symposium, which begins on May 18 and will feature Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. and Bill Samuels, Jr. of Maker’s Mark. Registration is open to the public and available at rebel.alltech.com.

Brewfest tickets can be purchased online for $30 until Friday, May 15 at midnight, EDT or can be purchased at the door for $35. All tickets include 20 beer samples, three food samples, a commemorative glass and free entertainment. Designated driver tickets without beer sampling privileges will be available online and at the door for $10. Attendees must be 21 to enter.

Join the conversation on Twitter about the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest using @alltechbrews and the hashtag #AlltechBrews, or on Facebook at facebook.com/alltechbrewsandfood.

Alltech Lexington Brewing

Tastings and Tappings Report: April 10, 2015

We frequently get updates for our Tastings and Tappings Report after our regular publishing time. Any edited listing will have UPDATE at the beginning of the listing. Don’t forget to check out our This Week in Beer post from Monday for other better beer events happening this weekend.

TASTINGS

Everything’s d’ Vine – Tasting is at 5:30 pm each week and costs $10 for beer and wine tastings. You can get just beer or just wine for $5.00. For this week’s tasting (4/10), it’s TBA.

Jungle Jim’s Eastgate – Friday night tasting from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. For this week’s tasting (4/10), it’s Founders. Pints are usually $3.

Jungle Jim’s Fairfield – Friday night tasting from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. For this week’s tasting (4/10), it’s Goose Island. Pints are usually $3.

Ludlow Wines – Saturday beer tasting is from 5:00-8:00 pm. The cost to taste four beers is $6.00 per person.

Party Town – For Friday Night Flights this week (4/10), it’s Founders. On tap for 9 oz. pours will be Curmudgeon, Imperial Stout, Blushing Monk and KBS. Prices will be posted at the event. They will also be opening Founders’ entire lineup in bottles. Cost is $2.00 per person. Only adults age 21 or more are admitted for Friday Night Flights.

Whole Foods Cincinnati – Cask & Cork: Beer and Wine every Friday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. For $5, you get five sips and six delicious bites. Tickets sold until 6:30 pm.

TAPPINGS

Ei8ht Ball Brewing – Tonight (4/10) is Free Bacon Night. They are also tapping Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break.

– Saturday’s Randall/Infusion Saturday starts at 12:00 noon and will feature Founders Porter through a Randall of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The cost is $5 for a 16 ounce pint.

– For next week’s Rare Keg Monday (4/13), it’s Moody Tongue Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter and Sliced Nectarine IPA.

Have a better beer weekend, everyone!

— Carla and Tom