Get Ready for the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest

2014-alltech-craft-brews-food-fest-097Horses and bourbon. Bourbon and horses. As a Kentucky resident, that’s what I hear every time I tell out-of-staters where I live. That’s when I’m happy to inform them that the Commonwealth (it’s not a state) is also home to some good brewing and fine food.

Host Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. (Kentucky Brewery of the Year, 2014 NY International Beer Competition) makes a lot of products, but one of those is beer. So it is that the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest came to be, as part of the third Annual Lexington Craft Beer Week. And following that May 16 event, Alltech will host the Alltech REBELation Brewing and Distilling symposium on May 18-19, a talk featuring some big names that will examine the explosion of craft beer, the importance of a good distributor and the economics of returning moonshine to the mountains and boosting the eastern Kentucky economy.

More than 120 beers brewed by 40 breweries from across the nation will be available; breweries that will have their liquids available include New Belgium Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Blue Point Brewing Co., Goose Island, Country Boy, Sweetwater Brewing, Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing, Bell’s Brewery, Founders Brewing Co. and, of course, Alltech. .

In fact, there will be plenty of specialty and rare beers available, including a new one by Alltech that blends the aforementioned bourbon culture with brewing: Kentucky Old Fashioned Barrel Ale. The beer is described as “a subtly sweet, citrusy ale brewed with orange peel, then aged with tart cherry in fresh bourbon barrels and bitters barrels.”

Brewers even used bitters, an ingredient in Old Fashioneds and other cocktails, in the brewing process.

“This is quickly becoming one of the premier beer festivals in this area, and we are expecting an even larger crowd this year,” Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech, said in a press release. “Last year, people were running from brewer to brewer and lining up to try the special collaboration and rare brews.”

Alltech Southern Comfort beer“We figured what better brewery to make a beer like this than one that also produces its own bourbon and is known for its barrel aging?” Alltech master brewer Ken Lee added.

The festival will also feature the only professional craft beer competition in Kentucky, the Alltech Commonwealth Craft Beer Cup, as well as a sneak peek at the new Alltech Brewing & Distilling Academy.

Speakers at the symposium as part of Alltech REBELation include Bill Samuels, Jr. of Maker’s Mark; Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery and Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. A number of topics will be explored, such as:

  • A Sleepy Local Phenomenon Goes National and Global (Lyons)
  • The Crucial Element. The Crucial Partnership – Your Distributor (George Fisher, Cavalier Distributing)
  • Eastern Kentucky: How entrepreneurship can catalyze economic progress (Donovan Blackburn, City Manager of Pikeville, Ky.)
  • The China Opportunity (Patrick Lin, beer consultant, China)
  • Brewing and Distilling Education

Tickets to the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest are $30 in advance ($35 at the door) and can be purchased online. The tickets include 20 beer sample tickets and a souvenir glass. Registration for REBELation can also be done online.

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Kentucky Race Day Session IPA hits market April 7; on draft for spring

Kentucky Race Day Session IPABeer news, courtesy of Alltech:

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – Just in time for sunny days at the track, golf course or by the grill, and of course, National Beer Day, Kentucky Race Day Session IPA is now on draft in Kentucky. The new India pale ale from Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. is packed with flavor but not alcohol, coming in at 4.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

Light-bodied and refreshing, Kentucky Race Day Session IPA is aromatic and citrusy. Dry hopped with Hallertau Mandarina and Hallertau Blanc hops from a German hop-growing region sacred to many brewers, as well as Cascade hops from America’s Yakima Valley, the IPA is fruity, spicy and citrusy and can stand the test of a long day.

“This is a beautiful straw-colored beer, and it has a slight veil and is really light-bodied,” said Ken Lee, master brewer for Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. “As session beers have grown more popular, this was a fun chance to brew a new IPA in addition to our year-round Kentucky IPA, which we debuted a couple of years ago and is a bit heavier. I expect that session beers will continue to grow as the craft beer market evolves and more people are looking for beers that have both the complex flavors and high quality of craft beer but are still refreshing and light.”

Out of the gate, the new IPA will only be available on draft in Kentucky, but the brewery will potentially increase distribution to a wider footprint shortly and may explore other packaging options.

The new brew is debuting at a dynamic time in the brewery’s history, as the downtown Lexington brewery undergoes a renovation and expansion, with its capacity set to quadruple. The brewery’s summer seasonal is also set to hit the market soon, as part of its barrel-aged seasonal series it launched in 2013 with its Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale that quickly became a hit.

In addition, early bird tickets just went on sale for the brewery’s second annual Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fest on Saturday, May 16, which will feature more than 120 beers from across the United States, as well as food and local entertainment.

Follow the Kentucky Ale Facebook page or the Kentucky Ale Twitter for updates on Kentucky Race Day Session IPA pint nights, special tastings and more.

Zip’s, Blue Stallion Among Alltech Fest Winners

Via Alltech:

[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – A Christmas ale from a tiny brewery in northeastern Hungary was awarded the Alltech Commonwealth Craft Beer Cup, the first professional beer competition in Kentucky. The competition boasted 1,000 beers from 30 countries across the globe competing for the title. The top award was announced at the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest Saturday in Lexington, an event that drew 41 national and local craft breweries and nearly 4,500 craft beer enthusiasts. Following the success of the second annual international Dublin Craft Beer Cup in Ireland in February, Alltech decided to bring the excitement and passion back home to the Bluegrass.

Zip’s Christmas 2013 beer from Zip’s Brewhouse out of Miskolc, Hungary was described by the judging panel as a “heavily spiced ale balanced with a malty sweetness, creating an ideal Christmas beer.”  The brew boasted cinnamon, ginger, star anise, curacao, nutmeg, lemon peel, among other spices. The small brewery is owned and operated by Zip Technologies, a brewery equipment supplier.

Award-winning brewers received gold, silver and bronze medals. Lexington’s own Blue Stallion Brewing Co. won silver for its German Pilsner, Marzen and Oatmeal Stout, as well as a bronze medal for its Munich Dunkel Dark Lager. In total, 45 bronze, 36 silver, and six gold medals were awarded.

Winners were chosen by an expert panel of judges based on blind judging of appearance, aroma, flavor, body, style and quality.


Alltech to hold beer festival in Lexington May 17

alltech festivalIt isn’t often a beer story pops up on Insider Louisville and I didn’t write the damn thing. But today, one did.

Lexington-based Alltech is gonna have itself a beer festival May 17, and if you hurry up you can get tickets for $25. They’ll be $30 starting tomorrow.

The announcement promises more than 120 beers brewed by 40 breweries from across the U.S., alongside artisan food samples from local and international vendors. It will also include what Alltech says is the first professional beer competition in the state of Kentucky.

“With 40 breweries each serving three different beers – including ever-popular rare special tappings – Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest organizers expect 5,000 people from Kentucky, surrounding states, and abroad,” Alltech’s press release says. “It’s anticipated that up to 20 percent of attendees will be from outside the United States, demonstrating the popularity of American craft beers.”

“For years Kentucky has been synonymous with bourbon, and rightly so,” Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, said in the release. “However, there is a craft beer revolution going on right here in Kentucky and what better way to highlight that than by showcasing some of Kentucky’s finest local beers side by side with some of our country’s finest?”

The festival will be held in the Lexington Convention Center, noon-8 p.m. Each ticket includes 15 3-ounce pours.