Brittney Donohue (New Belgium Area Manager for KY & Southern Ohio) joins John and Michael in this David-less episode of Kentucky Commons! We chat about Brittney's beginnings in beer, food pairings, the Bell's acquisition, the *new* Fat Tire, and all things New Belgium.
Brittney has been a lover of beer since her first sip of Chimay Grande Reserve almost 20 years ago. As a fine dining restaurant manager in Chicago, her passion for pairing dishes with beer instead of wine led her to The Publican, a restaurant inspired by a European Beer Hall, where she could hone in on the craft. Ready to immerse herself completely in the three-tier system of the beer world, she joined Beer House Distributing in her hometown of Louisville, KY. She was able to connect with beer makers all over the world before setting her sights on an employee-owned company using their business as a force for good. She helped launch New Belgium in Kentucky and currently serves as the Area Manager for KY and Southern Ohio, focusing on distribution management, profitability, and all the warm fuzzies that drinking a beautifully crafted, world-class beer can offer.
Pairing the Kentucky Common with Food
The Kentucky Common, a uniquely American beer style with roots dating back to the late 19th century, has experienced a resurgence in popularity due in part to the ever-growing craft beer movement. Known for its versatile flavor profile, the Kentucky Common is an excellent choice for pairing with various cuisines. Let’s get to it!
A Flavor Profile to Remember
Before we dive into the world of food pairings, it's essential to understand the distinctive characteristics of the Kentucky Common. This beer style is characterized by its malty backbone, often exhibiting flavors of caramel, toffee, and toasted bread, along with subtle fruity esters. The use of corn in the brewing process adds a hint of sweetness, while a moderate hop bitterness provides balance. The result is a highly drinkable, medium-bodied brew with a slightly dry finish.
Appetizers and Small Plates
The versatile flavor profile of the Kentucky Common makes it an excellent choice for pairing with appetizers and small plates. When selecting a starter, consider dishes that feature smoky, salty, or slightly sweet flavors. Some options include:
When pairing the Kentucky Common with main courses, think of hearty, flavorful dishes that can stand up to the beer's robust malt profile. Some suggestions include the following:
The Kentucky Common's versatility extends to dessert pairings as well. Look for desserts with flavors that stand up to the beer's maltiness without overpowering it. Some options include:
The Kentucky Common is a versatile beer that can enhance a variety of culinary experiences. From appetizers to desserts, its unique flavor profile offers an array of pairing possibilities. By considering each dish's complementary flavors and textures, you can create a memorable dining experience that highlights the best qualities of this classic American beer style. So, grab a glass of Kentucky Common and let your taste buds embark on a culinary adventure.
- Michael Moeller
Schnitzelberg Brewery Honors Late Head BreweR
March 15th, 2023 (Louisville, KY) -- Louisville-based Monnik Beer Co. is set to celebrate the second annual Scott Hand Day on Monday, March 20th, at their Burnett Avenue taproom in Schnitzelberg. The event will honor the life and legacy of the brewery's late founding brewer, Scott Hand, with the release of special beers, such as a Copper & Kings brandy barrel-aged Barleywine and the return of Scruffy Outlier, a Belgian Strong Ale made in collaboration with Gallant Fox Brewing and Bardstown-based Scout & Scholar Brewing.
“March 20th will forever be Scott Hand Day here at Monnik,” said Brian Holton, Monnik Beer co-owner. “His birthday will be a day set aside to celebrate the man and share in reminiscence over what he means to us all. We hope to see some friendly faces come in from open to close to share a toast to the man we refer to as our ‘scruffy outlier.’”
One of the beers being released is Scruffy Outlier, a Belgian Strong Ale made in collaboration with Gallant Fox Brewing and Bardstown-based Scout & Scholar Brewing. Proceeds from the beer will benefit The HOP Foundation, a Kentucky-based 501(c)(3) that provides temporary, limited financial relief to brewery industry workers experiencing financial distress. Monnik will also donate $1 of every pint sold for all beers on Scott Hand Day to the non-profit.
“In addition to Scruffy Outlier, we’re excited to release Never Be Gold, a Copper & Kings brandy barrel-aged Barleywine,” said Buddy McHagan, Head Brewer at Monnik. “At its center, this classic English-style barleywine showcases flavors of rich malt, caramel toffee apple, and dark fruit. The finish is pleasantly dry with hints of orange marmalade from the heavy use of English hops in the recipe. Its time spent in barrels from our friends at Copper & Kings Distillery further accentuates the fruity malt character.”
Alongside Never Be Gold, Monnik will release limited quantities of two variants of the original barrel-aged beer - Never Be Gold conditioned on blueberries and Never Be Gold conditioned on figs (locally grown in the neighborhood). Fifty bottles of each variant will be made available.
For more information or to stay up-to-date on the celebration, visit www.monnikbeer.com or their social media channels @monniklouisville.
About Monnik Beer Co.
Founded in 2015, Monnik Beer Co. and restaurant is located in the heart of the Schnitzelburg neighborhood. Monnik, the Dutch word for monk, embodies the intense focus and diligence they bring to their craft. Try their curated selection of twenty draft beers featuring a mix of flagships, seasonals, and one-off brews. For more information, visit www.monnikbeer.com.
Sam Cruz, Co-Founder + THE Visionary at Against the Grain Brewery, joins the show. We discuss Sam’s first beer, his early days in the industry, ATG’s brewery in Japan, consumer trends and what “craft beer” really means. Plus we play “Cruz Reviews!”
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Have you ever noticed those historical marker signs scattered throughout the city?
Since 1949, the Kentucky Historical Marker program has provided an avenue for communities throughout Kentucky to acknowledge and commemorate significant local, regional, state, or national sites, events, and personalities. With over 2,400 markers installed, the program has contributed to a better understanding of Kentucky's rich and multifaceted history.
We're thrilled to announce that we're in the process of applying for one of our own to commemorate Louisville's rich brewing history.
As passionate members of the beer community, we believe this marker would be a fitting tribute to the significant contributions that brewing has made to Louisville's cultural and economic heritage. It would also recognize the thriving craft beer scene that exists in the city today.
To catch you up - the history of brewing in Louisville dates all the way back to 1808 when the Elisha Applegate Brewery first opened its doors. Before Prohibition, over fifty breweries operated in the area, including some major players like Frank Fehr's, Schaffer-Meyer, Frank Senn’s, and Falls City. And, of course, we can't forget about the Kentucky Common beer style, a dark cream ale created here in Louisville and recognized as one of only a few indigenous beer styles with origins in the United States.
Unfortunately, brewing in Louisville went dormant for several decades after Prohibition. It wasn't until 1989/1990 when local homebrewer David Pierce was hired to brew a house beer for Charlie's Restaurant (a now-closed Downtown restaurant), that our brewing scene was revived. Since then, nearly thirty brewery taprooms have opened throughout the city with many more on the horizon.
If our application is successful, the marker would be placed where Charlie’s Restaurant stood - at 530 W. Main Street - commemorating not only the pre-Prohibition brewing history of the city and the unique Kentucky Common beer style, but also the resurgence of Louisville brewing that has taken place over the past few decades.
To make this happen, we’ve been collecting letters of support from the community - and we've been blown away by the response so far. We're thrilled to take this next step and can't wait to see this project come to fruition.
- Michael Moeller
Louisville’s own Sara Havens (aka The Bar Belle) joins the podcast. We talk about whiskey, beverage journalism, CaskX Whisky Investment Company, Zima, and more.
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If you like what you hear, you can tip us a few bucks over on our Patreon.
About Sara Havens
Sara Havens, aka The Bar Belle, is an award-winning journalist and author who has championed for Louisville's nightlife scene for more than 20 years. Her work first appeared in LEO Weekly for 15 years and then Insider Louisville for five years. She now writes for national publications like Bourbon+, The Bourbon Review and Alcohol Professor, and in her spare time she’s the Director of Whiskey for CaskX, a bourbon investment company. The Kentucky Colonel enjoys short walks to the bar and now prefers day drinking over late-night shenanigans.
Chances are you've heard of the Irish Red Ale. This classic beer style is known for its smooth, malty flavor and reddish-brown color (which just so happens to, kind of, match the color of the Irish flag). But have you ever wondered how this beer came to be? Well, grab a pint and let's take a trip back in time.
Legend has it that the Irish Red Ale was first created in the 18th century as a way to please Irish beer drinkers who had a sweet tooth. The English Pale Ale, which was popular at the time, just wasn't cutting it for these folks. So, Irish brewers decided to take matters into their own hands and create a beer that was a bit sweeter and maltier. And thus, the Irish Red Ale was born.
Fast forward a few centuries, and the Irish Red Ale made its way to America. Craft breweries like Boston Beer Company and Killian's Irish Red began brewing their own versions of the style, which quickly gained popularity among beer lovers. It's not hard to see why – the beer was a refreshing departure from the light, fizzy lagers that had dominated the American beer market for years.
Now, you might be wondering what the Irish Red Ale has to do with St. Patrick's Day. After all, it's not a beer that is necessarily widely consumed in Ireland on the holiday. But here's a little-known fact: the Irish Red Ale's association with St. Patrick's Day in America actually has nothing to do with its flavor or color. It's all about marketing, baby!
See, in the 1990s, the folks at Anheuser-Busch decided to launch a St. Patrick's Day marketing campaign for their Killian's Irish Red beer. The campaign was a huge success, and it helped to cement the Irish Red Ale's place in the pantheon of St. Patrick's Day beers.
Whether you're celebrating St. Patrick's Day or just enjoying a pint with friends, take a moment to appreciate the sweet, malty goodness of this classic brew. And hey, if you happen to be wearing a green shirt, even better! Sláinte!
- John Ronayne
PS: In Louisville and need a new Irish Red to try? Stop by Noble Funk Brewing or Molly Malone's and try King of The Celts, our most recent collaboration beer.
PODCAST: Austin BeerworksRead Now
In Austin, Michael visits with Michael Graham (Austin Beerworks, Co-Founder) and Kindsey Bernhard (ABW Taproom Manager, Boys Are From Marzen co-host). We chat about:
This episode was originally recorded in September 2022.
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If you're a fan of great beer and live music, then you won't want to miss the celebration taking place this weekend at Holsopple Brewery in Lyndon, Kentucky. The brewery is marking its 6th anniversary with a weekend full of festivities, including live music from local artists, the release of its annual Big Hand Imperial Stout and variants, and plenty of beer and pizza from the local pizzeria Twin Spires Pizza.
Holsopple Brewing has been a staple in the Lyndon community for the past six years and co-owner and head brewer Sam Gambill is thrilled to celebrate the occasion with the community. "We're honored to have been Lyndon's neighborhood brewery for the last six years," Gambill said. "We're inviting the community to join us this weekend to celebrate everything we've done together while also looking forward to the next six years."
The celebration will kick off on Thursday, February 16th with on-draft tastings of previous years' Big Hand Imperial Stout, Holsopple's annual bourbon barrel-aged birthday release, from 2021, 2022, and 2023. On Friday, February 17th, the Americana Trio, The Feral Mountain Men, will take the stage from 7-10 PM, and attendees can sample featured variants of the Big Hand Imperial Stout, including Big Hand Peanut Butter, Big Hand Toasted Coconut, and Big Hand Chocolate Covered Cherry. The celebration will continue on Saturday, February 18th, with live music from Andrew Lee from 2:30-5:30 PM and The Misty Mountain String Band from 7-10 PM.
Todd Pharris (Beer Manager, Liquor Barn) joins the show this week. We chat about:
Royal Oil (Bull & Bush)
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
New Belgium Fat Tire “Amber” Ale
Sam Adams Boston Lager
Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout
Support the podcast by giving us a rating and a review. If you like what you hear, you can tip us a few bucks over on our Patreon. www.patreon.com/kycommons
CLASSIC BEER TIER LIST
If you want to play along with our Tier List of Classic American beers, then create your own ranking below! (And be sure to share a screen cap with us on social!)