Growler Chill aims to keep growlers fresh and cold for weeks

Growler Chill logoshadowDon’t you hate that when you bring home a growler of fresh beer and pop the lid, you’re immediately on the clock? You’ve got four pints of beer to drink, and if you aren’t sharing with friends, well, you’d better hop to it. Because in 24 to 48 hours, your beer is going have lost some of its luster.

Well, a new product headed to market, Growler Chill, not only will chill and dispense three growlers (standard 64-ounce or 32-ounce howlers) at once, it claims it will keep the beer fresh longer as well – up to three weeks longer, according to Growler Chill brand strategist Tonia Speir. Because it holds three, that also empowers beer lovers to keep a variety of styles available all the time.

The device will make its debut May 4 in Louisville, Ky., at the Kentucky Derby Craft Beer Festival, and thirsty beer lovers can begin pre-ordering the units in June for an estimated fall delivery. After the official unveiling in Louisville, photos and videos will be made available. For now, all the folks behind Growler Chill will share is a rendering.

Here’s how the contraption works: Thanks to what is called a “magic top cap,” the beer stays fresh longer by using food-grade Co2 bullet canisters. Speir also says it’s extremely energy efficient because it only cools a small amount of space.

“Growler Chill is the size of an average toaster oven,” Speir said in an e-mail; the device measures 21 inches wide and 15 inches high.

In fact, it’s even got smart technology.

“It will allow you to store and track the information on your craft beers,” Speir says, “and will alert you when your beer is low, and you need a refill, by sending a push notification to your smart phone or tablet.”

Isn’t technology wonderful?

Growler Chill deviceGrowler Chill was created by Randy Hollister, a former real estate broker who credits his son for giving him the idea.

“He called me up, and said, ‘Dad, I think there’s something you need to invent,’” Hollister told WPDE  in Conway, S.C. “I started digging into it, and I realized there’s a huge market here that’s untapped, so we’re filling it.”

Speir says Growler Chill is privately funded, but the pre-sale launch will be via KickStarter – not to raise money, but rather to better determine an initial order requirement and to take advantage of the viral marketing opportunities KickStarter offers.

“In the past two years,” she says, “over $4 million has been raised from Kickstarter backers for craft beer related projects, and this will be an excellent way for us to connect with our core audience.”

She says the retail price of a Growler Chill is still being determined based on the smart technology being used, but estimates a unit will cost between $280 and $330 once the product goes to market.

Responses to the concept have been positive, according to Speir, who says breweries love it because it an impetus for selling more beer. The target audience, of course, is what really matters, and responses have been good there as well.

“We have spent the last several weeks attending craft beer events throughout the country, and the product has been very well received by both home brewers and craft beer enthusiasts,” Speir says. “Craft beer drinkers love variety and discovery and with Growler Chill they now have the ability to bring home a selection of their favorite brews without worrying about perishability. “

While you wait for the KickStarter pre-sale to begin, there’s a giveaway for which you can register at the Growler Chill website. In June, the company will give away a year of free beer.

This post was originally published by Alcohol Professor.

Great Flood Brewing celebrates year two by announcing new production brewery

Great Flood 2 facility

Great Flood Brewing Company celebrated its second birthday on Saturday by announcing to its Flood Liars Club members it will open a 13,000-square-foot production brewery in Shelby Park. The new brewery will increase Great Flood’s capacity by ten-fold, according to a press release.

Co-owner Vince Cain made the announcement during a quarterly event for club members that had the brewery’s taproom full with fellow co-owners Matt Fuller and Zach Barnes. He said the new brewery will be a 15-barrel facility able to produce an estimated 4,000 barrels annually. The current two-barrel brewing system tops out at about 300 barrels per year.

The new facility also will feature a canning line and tasting room, and will eventually offer brewery tours. There will be space for private events as well. Cain declined to disclose the address of the facility, however, saying only that it is in the Shelby Park/Germantown area.

The current brewery and taproom will continue operating as usual. Cain wouldn’t say what he and his co-owners would be paying for the new facility, but said it will be funded through “traditional bank financing” and not from outside investors.

Great Flood 2 Vince“We will 100 percent remain local brewer-owned,” Cain said.

Great Flood will primarily use the new brewery to distribute its beers locally so area bars and restaurants can carry the brewery’s beers on draft. According to the press release, “While the Highlands brewery focuses on experimentation, the Shelby Park/Germantown brewery will facilitate large-scale production and distribution.”

In addition, the canning line will produce 12-ounce cans of Great Flood beers for retail sale in area liquor stores, convenience stores and supermarkets. Cain also said arrangements are “in place” for statewide and regional distribution when brewing capacity allows for such.

No announcement was made in terms of what beers will be distributed or canned. When asked, Cain said, “We’re going to expand on existing successful Great Flood brands. Expect to see grown-up versions of beers you already know well.”

Cain, Fuller and Barnes had spent several months in late 2015 and early 2016 looking for a space to house the brewery before finally finding the Shelby Park neighborhood location.

“It’s been in the works for a while,” Cain said. “This location has been our target for some time.”

For the brewery’s two-year celebration, it had 16 house-made beers on tap, including some new brews such as Oaked Scotch and Dark Raspberry Sour, as well as favorites such as ’37 Coffee Porter

Great Flood opened two years ago to a welcome reception at its location at 2120 Bardstown Road, with the beer selling out before the end of the first weekend. It has remained a popular location. The popularity of the brewery surprised even the owners.

“There was, in our minds, less than a 1 percent chance it was going to be like that,” Cain said at the time. “We blew more kegs on Friday than we expected to blow the whole weekend.”

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

BBC to hold Metro Animal Services fundraiser April 20

BBC logoVia a fresh press release:
Bluegrass Brewing Company at 300 W. Main St will host a Happy Hour fundraiser to benefit the Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) Building Fund on Wednesday, April 20th, from 3-7PM.
BBC will feature a specialty beer named “Eyebock” during the daily Happy Hour festivities. Eyebock is a traditional spring Mai Bock Beer which will be sold at a Happy Hour price of $3.50 with all the proceeds going to LMAS. BBC will also donate proceeds from raffling off a pair of VIP tickets to the Derby City BrewFest which will be held on the Plaza in front of the KFC Yum Center on Derby Eve.
Come down to this festive event and help support a great cause for our animal friends while enjoying great beer.
Derby City BrewFest is also working with three charities this year; LMAS, My Dog Eats First and Ms. Wheelchair Kentucky. Volunteers can sign up adding one of the three charities in the comment section and DCBF will donate $100 per volunteer to the charity of their choice.

West Sixth to open new taproom

West Sixth logoWest Sixth Brewing announced it will open a small taproom in downtown Lexington next to Sunrise Bakery at 109 West Main Street. Here’s more, straight from the official announcement:

It will be called The West Sixth Greenroom, and once all the permitting goes through, it will be complete with its own nanobrewery inside. This will allow us to brew specialty beers just for the Greenroom on a smaller scale — and to do more fun experimental beers we can’t currently do at our existing facility. It’s an intimate, warm, shotgun style place – the side kick to the main brewery a few blocks north… our “Greenroom”. We can’t wait for you to see it!

While we weren’t actively looking to open a taproom in downtown Lexington, when Kristy and Steve at Sunrise approached us with this opportunity, we knew it wasn’t something we could pass up. Sunrise has been a partner with us since day one, and Kristy and Steve are kind and generous people. Between the tasty things they’ve baked on that block for years, there are some amazing things brewing with the opening of 21c, and (knock on wood) active construction hopefully beginning across the street. It will give us a great location to help celebrate all the amazing festivals in downtown Lexington, and will also be a great opportunity to showcase Lexington craft beer to all of the tourists and convention goers who don’t ever make it out of downtown.

We’re going to start simple with it — we’ll be open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from late afternoon until past midnight. We’ll have some basic food options available at all hours from Sunrise and some other partners downtown, and will be actively working with Lexington food trucks as well. We’ll have a curated list of West Sixth beers that will be available both in pints and to-go. Unfortunately, unlike our main taproom, until we receive our microbrewery license (approximately 5 month wait time for federal permitting), the West Sixth Greenroom will not be legally allowed to be family-friendly.

We’re also thrilled that this additional space will allow us to do more private events. We’re constantly getting queries about events, and unfortunately our main taproom isn’t always conducive to those events. Even more, we want to offer up the space when we’re not using it to local nonprofits and other organizations looking to do good in our community. If any of these fit your needs, please get in touch.

Things are moving quickly: we’re shooting to be open for Lexington Craft Beer Week in May. Construction is in full swing, with the bar already halfway built and much work already complete. We’ll soon be hiring a few more bartenders to help out with the additional load — if this is something you’re interested in, please shoot us a cover letter and resume to

Falls City Brewing Co. Creates Colonel’s Kolsch for GonzoFest Louisville

louisville beer - falls cityDirect from the press release’s mouth:

LOUISVILLE, KY (March 21, 2016) – Falls City Brewing Co. has brewed a new, limited release beer for GonzoFest Louisville called, Colonel’s Kolsch, a smooth finish ale. The Colonel’s Kolsch is named after Colonel Hunter S. Thompson, who was named an official Kentucky Colonel by Julian M. Carroll, the 1976 Governor of Kentucky. Appropriately enough organizers of GonzoFest Louisville were named Kentucky Colonels during the 2015 festival. This year during GonzoFest Louisville, Will Thompson, son of Juan Thomson, and grandson of Hunter S. Thompson, will also be named a Kentucky Colonel.

The Colonel’s Kolsch is revered as a smooth, easy-drinking ale the malt is mostly Pilsner with a little biscuit malt. The hops are Northern Brewer and Cascade. This style is fermented at lower temperatures than most ales and cold conditioned for 5 weeks to prepare for a smooth beer that will please everyone one from the veteran beer connoisseur to the rookie beer drinkers. The Colonel’s Kolsch is a good gateway style beer for American light Pilsner drinkers. The German yeast and the hops provide an interesting flavor that you won’t find in other beers. Fourteen kegs of The Colonel’s Kolsch were produced and will be available at GonzoFest Louisville, The Monkey Wrench, and The New Vintage.

“When I asked the Hunter experts if Hunter preferred a certain type of beer they said he basically drank whatever he could get his hands on, so I think he’d enjoy a few of these with us if he were still around,” says Dylan Greenwood, brewmaster at Falls City Brewing Co.

GonzoFest Louisville is on Saturday, April 16 at The Big Four Lawn of Waterfront Park, from 1:00 p.m. to11:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online through the GonzoFest Louisville website or Eventbrite. Additional information about GonzoFest Louisville can be found at Proceeds from the festival will support the creation of a life-size bronze statue of Hunter S. Thompson. GonzoFest Louisville is sponsored by Falls City Brewing and Four Roses Bourbon.

Derby City BrewFest set for May 6, adds bourbon barrel beer competition

Derby City BrewFest banner

Going into its second year, Derby City BrewFest will graduate to the next level — this year, in addition to beer tastings and live music, the Oaks Day festival also will hold a bourbon barrel beer competition.

This competition, which will be judged by certified BJCP judges, will include 20 area brewers who have created a beer and then aged it in Four Roses bourbon barrels. (Four Roses is the sponsor of the contest and this year’s BrewFest.) Beers will be judged prior to the festival, but attendees will be able to sample the beers and vote in a People’s Choice category.

“The bourbon barrel competition seemed to be the next logical step,” Pat Hagan, Derby City Brewfest founder and Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) owner, says of the May 6 event. “Few things are more representative of Kentucky than bourbon, and to do it on a weekend when the world is focused on Louisville thanks to horse racing makes it even more logical. We even have Four Roses Bourbon as a sponsor.”

“We are honored to play a role in BrewFest again this year, and we’re really excited to taste the Four Roses Bourbon-inspired beers the brewers create,” said Brent Elliott, Four Roses master distiller, in a press release.

The festival, which takes place on the KFC Yum! Center Plaza, also will pay homage to Kentucky Common, a beer style that was invented in Louisville in the 1800s and was the brew of choice for 80 percent of Louisvillians for decades. Several breweries will have their versions on hand for tasting.

In addition, the event will feature more than 100 beers from 28 local and regional craft brewers, including all Kentucky Guild of Brewers (KGB) members. Wine samples will be available to attendees from Little Kentucky River, and Four Roses will provide bourbon sampling. Once again there will be live local music all evening, including Quiet Hollers, Jericho Woods, Carly Moffa, the Uncommon Houseflies, Hot Brown Smackdown and Whiskey Bent Valley Boys.

Another addition to Derby City BrewFest this year will be locally made trophies for bourbon barrel contest winners by local artist Wayne Ferguson, whose work ranges from Gallopalooza to brewery tap handles. Ferguson also designed and sculpted the Worthog mascot for BBC, which is on display at the brewery’s St. Matthews location.

Hagan points out that Derby City BrewFest is one of the more affordable beer festivals in the region, with ticket prices starting at $15 for general admission. Tiered pricing goes as high as $75 for VIP tickets, with the varying levels including different perks — from a souvenir glass to varying numbers of food and drink tickets. For example, the online order special for $20 includes admission as well as $20 in food and drink tickets along with a tasting glass and souvenir lanyard.

Hagan calls it a “party for the people.”

“Not only is Brewfest a great way for people to sample some of the region’s finest craft beers,” Hagan says, “it’s an Oaks night party for the people, where they can relax after a long day of racing, drink some really good beer, listen to great music, and enjoy a laid-back, casual evening.”

For those wanting the full-bodied experience, the VIP package will include access to two VIP areas, 50 drink tickets, indoor and outdoor seating, plus indoor restrooms, with early entry at 4 p.m. (general hours at the festival are 5-11 p.m.). Food in the VIP area will be provided by World of Beer, and there also will be tastings of limited-edition and pre-release beers, wine and spirits.

There is a “Thurby” kick-off party on Thursday, May 5, at BBC Bourbon Barrel Loft, 300 W. Main St., featuring an evening of food, drinks and live music. The party will feature hard-to-find beer, Four Roses bourbon and Little Kentucky River wines, plus a door-prize drawing.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Harvest and Goodwood team up for a beer brunch concept

Harvest Beer POSTERThe first time I ever did a pairing dinner was in Dallas many years ago; it was a wine dinner at the Green Door in Deep Ellum, and the courses came out so quickly that the co-workers I was with (I was at a Microsoft conference during the dot-bomb era) couldn’t finish their wines and kept pouring their portions into my glass.

The next day at the conference was interesting. But my point is that wine dinners, beer dinners, bourbon dinners — they’re fun and plentiful. Thanks to the proximity of NuLu, there’s a new spin on the concept coming on Saturday, March 19, in the form of a Harvest beer brunch paired with a brewery tour. It’s a beer-unch.

Here’s the deal: Three courses of locally sourced Harvest food are paired with Goodwood Brewing Co. beers, and diners will be led through each course by Goodwood president Phil Dearner, who will describe the beer.

What’s different about this event is that after attendees are finished eating, diners get a private tour of the brewery and barrel rooms with Dearner. As a bonus, each attendee will get a pint of Goodwood beer of his or her choice. Of course, the concept is somewhat unique to the fact that the restaurant and brewery are so closely situated — Harvest is located at 624 E. Market St., while Goodwood is at 636 E. Main St.

And what comes after most beer dinners is an after-dinner mint. Or a nap. Certainly, it’s not a brewery tour.

“This way, they get to cross the street and see the brewery and how the beer is made,” says Goodwood’s Denise Ingle.

The brunch begins with a duck confit and fuji apple crepe, paired with Goodwood’s Red Wine Saison. The second and main course is a “black and tan” corned beef benedict with a Louisville Lager hollandaise, which will be served with a Goodwood black and tan made with Louisville Lager — brewed with Kentucky-grown grains — and Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout.

The third course will be a cocoa nib and sea salt granola made with malted fromage blanc, a Belgian white cheese, and chocolate creameaux. That dish comes with Goodwood Walnut Brown Ale.

The decision to collaborate with Goodwood on the beer brunch was an easy one, says chef Patrick Roney, who joined Harvest last year after a stint as chef de cuisine at The Oakroom. Why did it interest him?

Patrick Roney

Patrick  Roney


“I love beer,” he says. “And they’re in the neighborhood, so we’re buddies. We’re one block down from them, and I love that kind of neighborhood feel and collaboration. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Roney will explain each dish to diners while detailing why he thought each pairing would work. And while brunch for most means mimosas or bloody marys, he doesn’t find it odd to drink beer with breakfast.

“On a nice Saturday, I can see myself having a beer with brunch,” he says. “And it’s kind of right around St. Patrick’s Day, so some of that idea just fell right into place.”

Could this concept turn into a series? Roney says he hopes to keep working on such collaborations, especially if his NuLu neighbors are involved. Dearner concurs.

“We’ll have to see how this goes,” Dearner says. “Why not?”

“I think everybody in town is always looking for a fun little thing to come to on a weekend,” Roney adds. And with spring approaching, “Everybody’s looking to get back out. I’m hoping we can keep the ball rolling on this.”

There will be two brunch times from which to choose: 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m., and tickets are $35. Call Harvest at 384-9090 for reservations.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Falls City Beer unveils new product line, re-branded look

Falls City beer lineup

Surrounded by case after case of Falls City Beer, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer proclaimed March 1 as “Falls City Beer Day” in recognition of the brand’s new product line and look. The announcement was made a press conference at the brewery in Portland.

The announcement includes two new immediate releases in Kentucky Common and Easy Goer Session IPA, as well as three other new seasonals that will be sold in bottles and taps: Heather Ale, which will be available in late winter; Harvest Ale, available in the fall; and Red Rye Lager, available near the end of the year. In addition, Falls City representatives introduced redesigned packaging.

Fischer talked of his youth growing up in Louisville when Falls City was still a widely available beer. The original Falls City was founded in 1905 in response to a local monopoly on brewing, but it folded in 1978 following the failed release of Billy Beer. In 2010, it was revived by a local businessman, and last year was sold to a group of investors who also owns Old 502 Winery and Over the 9, a restaurant in the brewery/winery complex at 120 S. 10th St.

Kentucky Common is a beer style that is indigenous to Louisville and was being brewed here by the mid- to late-1800s. A dark, cream beer, it was a cheap and fast beverage to produce and take to market. It also was easy to drink and contained low alcohol, making it a favorite in Louisville’s taverns. It is estimated that about 80 percent of beer-drinking Louisvillians prior to Prohibition drank what became known as “common beer” or “komon beer.”

Falls City FischerFischer called it “a real milestone” that Falls City is rolling out the beer style as part of its core product line, pointing to a craft beer committee he formed two years ago to help promote brewing in Louisville. He noted that one of the key initiatives was to “reconnect Louisville with its distilling roots and its brewing roots.”

Falls City brewer Dylan Greenwood talked briefly about the history of the beer, which is made with similar ingredients used in distilling whiskey.

“We’re happy to bring it back to the masses,” he said. “Not only does it have a good history, but it’s a good beer.”

Easy Goer Session IPA is a lower-alcohol version of a currently popular beer style. Made with Palisades and Citra hops, it is less bitter than most standard IPAs and checks in at just 4.5 percent alcohol by volume.

“At 4.5 percent ABV, you don’t have to feel bad about drinking more than one,” Greenwood said.

These beers join Hipster Repellant IPA, which by comparison is 6.3 percent ABV, and Falls City Pale Ale, which was the first new beer the brand released in 2010. Much of Falls City’s brewing is currently brewed out of state, but the local facility will continue to brew limited monthly releases as part of the Falls City 7-Barrel series. These will be available only on draft at Over the 9, beginning with a Maibock, a malty German-style beer, and another beer style that was historically popular in Louisville.

While versions of Kentucky Common can be found periodically at other area breweries, Falls City CEO Cezary Wlodarczyk believes making it part of the brand’s base product line puts the brewery in “a unique position.” He specifically stated his goal to make the beer available at Churchill Downs and other iconic spots that are uniquely Kentucky.

“Falls City Beer is a brand that is totally connected to Louisville,” Greenwood said, “so not only is this a huge day for the brewery, but for the city as well. You can still see old Falls City signs on buildings around town. With new bottled beers like our Kentucky Common, we’re saluting local history but also producing well-balanced craft beer with the quality and variety beer fans now expect.”

Fischer added, “Falls City is iconic to Louisville, and watching its growth in the last handful of years is very exciting and meaningful to our city’s Renaissance of craft beer and spirits.”

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Fest of Ale Moving to New Albany

NA Amphitheater

Thanks to this post by Roger Baylor, I found out that Fest of Ale will move to the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater beginning this year. Here’s a press release with the details:

New Albany, Ind. (February 2016) – After 10 successful years in Clarksville, the Keg Liquors Fest of Ale is changing venues. The 11th Annual Fest of Ale will be held on June 4th, 2016 at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater.

“Moving the event was a tough decision, but we felt that we had outgrown the space we were using at St. Anthony’s,” said Todd Antz, owner of Keg Liquors. “St. Anthony’s has been very generous with their facilities and support over the years, and we could not have grown the event to the size it is today without their help.

“We felt that the event was becoming a bit too taxing for their neighbors and parishioners, and that it was best for both parties if we moved on. We’ve always had a great relationship with St. Anthony’s and look forward to working with them in any future opportunities that may come up. I can’t thank everyone at St. Anthony’s enough for their support over the last 7 years of hosting our charity event. We could not have done this without them.”

The New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater, located below East Main Street at the foot of Pearl Street, is home each spring and summer to numerous free concerts, productions, festivals and other events.

The move to the Riverfront Amphitheater will allow the Fest of Ale to expand in size, provide more parking, as well as having access to all of the great restaurants and businesses in downtown New Albany.

“The Fest of Ale has always been a grassroots festival that promotes independent breweries and businesses, so moving the event to an area that has reinvigorated itself with all of the great shops and restaurants made perfect sense to us,” continued Antz. “The City of New Albany was very excited to help us with the event, and we look forward to working with them to make this the best Fest of Ale ever.”