Flagship February, traditionally known as a time to refocus on the offerings that probably made you a craft beer fan to begin with. Where would John Cena be if there was no Stone Cold? As many devout Dry January patrons exit their imbibing hibernation February emerges, quite literally when you consider Groundhog Day, into a newly energized enthusiast. Do they go straight for the barrel aged stouts and barleywine or ease into a few crisp pilsners? Is the most comfortable, most approachable, beer the one you’ve been drinking all along? The familiarity that comes with the tried and true core offerings from a brewery acts as an anchor to a deep sea ship that’s filled with recreational seafarers.
A flagship will always be your starting point, home base, for a brewery. If we do one thing exceptionally well it’s this beer and we’re going to produce it in mass so you can enjoy it as much as we do. Ideally the flagship(s) help a consumer new or old evaluate the identity of a brand along with some of their values and distinct theming. Any brand in any industry models their core products in this way. It may not be the Maybach of beers but if it’s a Buick and it gets you from A to B every damn day then it’s a damn fine car, and you’ll Be damn proud of that Buick.
The shift beer at the end of a hard days work the flagship provides a respite. Yet is it a best seller? As diversity continues to dominate the market, a craft brewery, with a few exceptions (cough cough Cohesion), is expected to produce a wide variety of styles and flavors pushing well beyond the boundaries of traditional style guidelines. What then do you perma-label your flagship? Does it standout more because it’s in line and consistent or does it become muddled amongst your other 16 gourmet cheesecake offerings?
To those who have a deep love and appreciation for the craft I believe a flagship does standout and always will. Yet we are seeing brands such as New Belgium Fat Tire and Sam Adams Boston Lager deviate from age old recipes produced alongside the inception of their respective brands morph into more “consumer friendly” beers. While personally I can empathize with a brand needing to adapt and survive, demonstrated no more clearly than the last 3 years, it’s a tough egg to swallow when you see a flagship beer from your core memories being re-envisioned. The old heads shake their fists in the air shouting it’s not what it used to be and the average consumer notices a flashy label of a beer they saw at a Jewel Osco once and skipped over. It’s all a part of the progress of man.
For my own sake, here are five Flagship beers from Kentucky I personally hope never change.
- David Satterly
Bock beer has a rich history that spans centuries and continents, and it all started in the city of Einbeck, Germany in the 13th century. This delicious brew has been quenching the thirsts of beer lovers for generations, and it has an interesting connection to the monastic communities of Europe. The word "bock" means "goat" in German, and it's said that the beer was named after the goat symbol on the brewery's sign.
As bock beer gained popularity, it made its way to Munich, where the brewers added their own twist to the recipe, making it smoother and more flavorful. This new version of bock beer became so popular that it quickly spread throughout Germany and beyond. But, why is bock beer so special? It's brewed with extra malt, which gives it a rich, toasty flavor. And, with a higher alcohol content than most beers, it's sure to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It's a beer that's perfect for those chilly winter nights when all you want is to curl up by the fireplace with a good book (or a good friend).
Interestingly, bock beer was also popular among monastic communities in Europe. Monks would brew and drink bock beer as a source of sustenance during times of fasting. They believed that the beer provided the necessary nutrients to keep them going during these periods. This connection to the monastic communities only adds to the rich history and tradition of bock beer.
The popularity of bock beer reached new heights in the 20th century, with bock festivals becoming a staple in many German cities and even in Louisville, Kentucky. In Louisville, the Bock Fest has become a beloved annual tradition, bringing together beer lovers from all over to sample the city's finest bock beers, enjoy live music, and take part in various bock-themed activities. The festival is a celebration of Louisville's rich brewing history and the city's passion for good beer.
So, next time you raise a glass of bock beer, take a moment to reflect on its rich history and the generations of beer lovers who have enjoyed this delicious brew. From its origins in Einbeck, to its popularity among monastic communities, to its place in today's world of beer, bock beer has a story to tell. And, with festivals like the Bock Fest in Louisville, that story continues to be written and celebrated. Prost!
PODCAST: PREGAME COFFEERead Now
Rob Arnold (Owner, Pregame Coffee) joins the show this week to talk coffee, coffee beers, coffee cocktails and wrestling. We also talk about:
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We love a good cold beer as much as anyone (especially if it's local!)
But on those chilly evenings, or at your special holiday gatherings, sometimes you need something a little more fortifying to warm your heart and your soul.
Wassail is a traditional winter punch that is typically made with apples, spices, and a spirit, such as brandy. It is often associated with the Christmas season and is traditionally served hot in a punch bowl. The word "wassail" comes from the Old English phrase "waes hael," which means "good health." In addition to being a popular drink, wassail also has a long history as a ceremony in which people would go door-to-door singing and offering a cup of wassail to their neighbors as a symbol of good will and celebration.
(If you want to learn more about Louisville Beer releases, events, and personalities, as well as the other projects ongoing at the Louisville Ale Trail, you can find our podcast here!)
With a bit of the history out of the way, here is our recipe. Take this as a place to start and then get as creative as you would like experimenting with new flavors! If you find any new favorite concoctions, drop us a line and let us know. Or bring some by in a steaming kettle during your next caroling jaunt!
Happy holidays from your friends at Louisville Ale Trail!
-David, Michael, John
(makes approx. 2.5 gallons)
In a large crockpot of kettle, combine:
Tip: to really let the flavors mingle you can also let the simmered Wassail sit covered overnight, then warm again when ready to serve.
NEED THAT LAST HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOUR BEER LOVER?
We got you covered.
Butchertown Brewing Relocates Taproom To Mellwood Art Center Courtyard
Relocation includes new hours and increase in production
December 15, 2022 (Louisville, KY) -- On the heels of celebrating its first anniversary, Butchertown Brewing is relocating its taproom and bar to the first-floor courtyard in Suite 187 at Mellwood Art Center (1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville, KY 40206). The new 1,200 sq. ft. taproom will begin serving its barrel-aged stouts, distinctive sours, and other small-batch beers to patrons and members beginning Friday, December 16th.
“Over the last year, we’ve created a lot of memories in our little second-story corner in Mellwood Art Center,” said Andy Cobb, Butchertown Brewing Founder and Head Brewer. “But as we continued to expand our brewing operations and grow our following, it was clear we needed a larger taproom for our customers. When space opened up downstairs, we knew we had to take the opportunity. We’re excited to be able to serve more of our unique beers to our bottle members and regulars, tourists that seek us out, and new craft beer fans. The new location has us sharing the courtyard seating area with our friends at Danny Mac’s Pizza and Soul Hi Vegan Soul Food.”
The new taproom will be able to host 80 customers, with expanded week and weekend hours, and will feature work from resident Mellwood Art Center artists, games, local music, and other events. Butchertown Brewing plans to convert the current second-story taproom into a larger barrel-aging and production space, increasing brewery operations over the next six months.
About Butchertown Brewing
Nestled in the Courtyard at the eclectic Mellwood Art Center, Butchertown Brewing focuses on one-of-a-kind barrel-aged beers while also honoring traditional styles. To learn more, follow @butchertownbrewing on Facebook or Instagram or visit www.butchertownbrewingco.com.
Gallant Fox Brewing will open its Mt. Washington location on 12/20.
“Being Bullitt County’s first-ever brewery is something that we’re humbled by. We’ve fallen in love with the people here, and we’ve all worked really hard on preparing a space that we know the Mount Washington community will love,” said Roger Huff, Gallant Fox co-owner. “We’re excited to bring the same great atmosphere and small-batch recipes we created at our original Clifton neighborhood location to Bullitt County - in addition to a full bourbon bar and food menu from our new kitchen concept.”
The new brewery and taproom will be located in downtown Mount Washington at 155 N Bardstown Road. Once open, Patrick Workman, brewer and co-owner, plans to continue a weekly rotation of different beers, such as The Golden Bullitt, a Golden Lager named in honor of the brewery’s new location, and Straight Outta Clifton, the flagship West Coast IPA from the brewery’s Clifton location.
Gallant Fox Brewing - Mount Washington will seat approximately eighty-five beer drinkers inside and an additional eighty-five in the outdoor beer garden. The 10-barrel brewery will feature a full bourbon bar that will include vintage variants and Gallant Fox whiskey barrel picks, as well as a full kitchen program lead by Chef Matt Trimmer, focusing on elevated pub grub menu items from gourmet smash burgers and hot dogs to southern comfort food like fried bologna sandwiches.
Going to Railbird Music Festival in Lexington, KY? We’ve paired six beers from West 6th and six performances you won’t want to miss.
1. Margo Price - FrontRunner Festival Ale
Margo Price can put a hurtin’ on the bottle and drinks whiskey like it’s water, but we suggest you take it easy and enjoy a Frontrunner Festival Ale. Light and refreshing, you’ll be ready for a full day of fun on the festival grounds with a nice light hoppy ale.
2. Band of Horses - IPA
West Sixth IPA is a beer loved by so many across the Commonwealth of Kentucky as an absolute staple, always available and always consistent. For fans of Band of Horses and their Sophomore album, Cease To Begin, the song “No One’s Gonna Love You” has a special meaning remarking on the resilience of a relationship that always is held close to the heart. We love W6 IPA for a beer that is a little bitter and a lot of crushable, one true love.
3. My Morning Jacket - Amber
Whether they’re playing deep cuts from Z or Evil Urges debuting over ten years ago or playing melodic anthems from Waterfalls in 2015, you’re going to want to pause and enjoy the richness of the MMJ sound. A West Sixth Amber perfectly compliments these sounds to enjoy a malt-forward balanced ale accompanied by forward-hop notes. It’s gonna be a great journey, so strap in, get comfortable and ride the wave.
4. Leon Bridges - Pennyrile Pale Ale
The smooth sounds of Leon Bridges transcend traditional feelings as he so eloquently delivers some of the most descript situations of love, humility, and loneliness, all while looking forward to better times. Pennyrile Pale Ale boasts a bold, fruity hop aroma that is loud and bold - just like that of Leon’s voice all while being fulfilling and delicious enough to keep listening.
5. Khruangbin - Meadoweisse
Khruangbin, a band that's known for serving up a rich, genre-blurring combination of Thai funk, bass-stepped Tarantino soundtracks, and surf-rock cool, will adorn the Elkhorn stage on Saturday. The atmospheric and eccentric group, who has been on countless global tours and graced nearly every major festival stage in the world - likewise the Berliner Weisse has been adopted by countries worldwide. Meadoweisse is a crisp and refreshing German ale that is light in body and very tart with flavors reminiscent of sourdough bread.
6. Dave Matthews Band - Cerveza
Where are you going? Railbird’s not over yet. We have still have so much to say about West Sixth Cerveza and Dave Matthews Band. This quenching 4.6% Mexican Lager will be the perfect nightcap for a fantastic two-day festival while we listen to Dave and friends. Tune out and get away from the world. Enter into the space between and feel the euphoric energy of Railbird crash into you.
As the fall colors and chilly evenings arrive, it’s time once again to gather with family and friends (even if it’s virtually this year) to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for, and relive all the ways that you’ve disappointed them, yet again, this year.
Without a doubt their biggest disappointment will be your continued obsession with this thing you call “Craft” beer.
YOUR MOM: “You spent HOW much on that 4 pack of fruit juice, Jimothy? But you sleep on a futon!”
With this list of 7 great, Louisville-made gateway beers (almost all of which can be found at your local grocery store -- we recommend ValuMarket, Mid City Mall) you’ll remind them of the crisp lagers they're used to, but also show them that there’s so much more great beer out there... and that maybe... just maybe... you’re not a complete degenerate.
With each beer, we’ll also provided recommendations for other Louisville made gateway beers we think they’ll love!
New to Louisville Ale Trail? Our passport packages make great holiday gifts.
1. Sprockets (German Lager) - Gravely Brewing Co.
Who It's For: Uncle Phil
“Thanks, but I only drink award-winning German Lagers.” says your snooty Uncle Phil as you hand him a cold can of Gravely's Sprockets Pilsner.
It’s hard to argue with him because his sweater-vest game is strong, but this year you’ve got a secret weapon.
“Well, that’s funny, Uncle Phil 'cause this German Lager is so drinkable and true-to-style, that it just won a First Place at the Great American Beer Festival.”
He takes a sip and glances down his nose at you, as if really seeing you for the first time,
“Listen Son,” he says with a gleam in his eye, “why don’t you come down to the club with me some time and hit a few balls around?”
MAY WE ALSO RECOMMEND:
SWOOLY (Tropical, Jalapeno Kolsch) - 3rd Turn Brewing
FALLOUT DUST (Black Peppercorn Infused Pale Ale) - Apocalypse Brew Works
2. Fehr's X/L - (PreProhibition Lager) - Akasha
Who It's For: Old Grand-Dad
“It’s not just a craft beer, grand-dad. It’s Louisville history in a can!”
Now that he sees you’re getting emotional he becomes even more laconic and crosses his arms. Time to hit him where it hurts:
“You know, Frank Fehr was a German immigrant who came to our fair shores and began brewing at the Fehr's City brewery in 1872. Fehr's XL lager won the Southern Exposition from 1883 to 1888 and was said to be the most widely consumed beer in Louisville!”
You pull down the sleeve of your sweater before he sees all this written on your arm and you hand him a can of this cold, pre-prohibition American lager from Akasha.
He sniffs at it and his expression softens,
“History in a can you say?”
MAY WE ALSO RECOMMEND:
UNCAGED (San Francisco Style Lager) - Chimera Brewing
3. Tangerine Barstow (Wheat ALe w Tangerine)