Big Four Burgers owner planning to open craft cidery in 2016

Downtown New Albany already has a pair of breweries and a winery to go with its many restaurants. Sometime in early 2016, the Southern Indiana city will add a craft cidery to that mix.

Matt McMahan, owner of Big Four Burgers + Beer, says the project is only just under way, but he hopes that by spring, the 9,000-square-foot space at 432 Pearl St. will be a place where people can come in for a good meal paired with cider.

A popular alcoholic beverage from Colonial times until Prohibition, cider has begun to regain widespread recognition in recent years, with the largest beer companies releasing ciders to catch up to the growth. In fact, cider is now the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage, up more than 75.4 percent last year, according to market research firm IRI.


This building is going to become a craft cidery in 2016.

“It started with cider,” McMahan says. “It’s crazy it has taken this long to become this mainstream.”

While the cidery is still in the early stages of build-out and planning — a crew was working on wiring early Wednesday afternoon — McMahan has purchased the building and already added a garage door and a third storefront window to the space that once housed offices and cubicle farms. He will consult with Rick Otey of Donum Dei Brewery, also located in New Albany, for the brewing end of the business, while chef Charlie Starcher, who designed the menus at Big Four and McMahan’s other restaurant, Charlie Noble’s Eatery & Draft House, will create the food offerings.

The future cidery doesn’t even have a name yet, and McMahan says he is researching what kinds of permits will be needed to make cider in New Albany, given that cider is somewhere between beer and wine in the eyes of the law.

He believes the business will be a complement to the existing winery and breweries, saying he sees success “if we can be in the middle — and, obviously, with cider being so popular now.”

Since there is no kitchen in the space, that concept will be created once the type of food to be served — “Something that pairs well with cider,” McMahan says — is decided upon.

The cidery and restaurant also will serve wine and craft beer, with a focus on guest ciders and, obviously, the ciders made on-site. The dining area will be along the perimeter of the building, while the brewing equipment will be in the back; the space will be designed so that the brewhouse is visible from the dining room.

The future, McMahan hopes, will include canning and distribution once the business is established and the core ciders are developed. From there, he says, it depends on how well the products are received and how much cider’s general popularity grows.

“The ultimate goal is to make this a production cidery,” he says.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Beer to Get You Through Thanksgiving


Courtesy of Minnesoul

Thanksgiving is a traditional time for sharing, eating and giving thanks. It’s also a swell time to watch football and drink beer all day. Let’s face it: You don’t have to go to work, but in many cases you do have to hang out with your relatives all day. For some of us, you need to drink.

Hey, a farmer in New Hampshire feeds his turkeys beer. If the birds are drinking it, we should be too. So, here are a few recommendations for your Thanksgiving get-together.

In general, here’s how most beer resources see Thanksgiving beer drinking: You start the day (say, at kick-off) with lighter, easy-drinking beers that won’t fill you up. For the meal itself, you go for something a bit stronger, preferably something slightly bitter to help enhance flavors in main dishes. And after dinner, enjoy a big, rich, sippable stout or porter.

As noted, not only do the beers help you enjoy your gigantic holiday feast, they also help you endure some of the less … festive … social aspects of it.

When the day gets started, consider enjoying a refreshing Samuel Smith’s Pure Brewed Organic Lager. It’s not exactly exotic, but it is one of the more solid and dependable lagers out there. At 5.0 percent ABV, it’s light enough to be a reasonable session beer, but it has enough of a kick that will sure make it easier for you to listen to your Uncle Randall prattle on about his latest surgical procedure. What’s an ileostomy again?

Also consider having a light, but flavorful cider on hand for those who might not go for something as relatively complex as the Samuel Smith. A Magner’s is a solid middle-of-the-road choice that is not too sweet and not too tart, but still has a pleasant fruity flavor. Plus it will give your annoying sister something to put in her mouth to help curb how much she talks about her awesome boyfriend, who never seems to show up to these family gatherings.

For a traditional, roasted turkey dinner, how about a marzen-style brew? Great Lakes Oktoberfest is one of the best choices of its kind in part because of its mild finish. Plenty of spice and noble hops, but the flavor won’t get in the way of your grandma’s dried out stuffing and that dirty-sock aftertaste.

If you want to throw a curveball in there, see if you can find Harpoon’s Winter Warmer, which has plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg, and will distract you from Mom’s constant complaining about football and her never-ending chorus of, “I thought the parade was on” – even though it’s 4:30 in the afternoon.

beer - young's double chocolate stoutAnother one to consider for dinner is Harpoon’s Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale – yep, Cranberry beer. It doesn’t get much more Thanksgiving than that. After the 6.5 percent ABV of The Great Lakes, the Harpoon beers sit at 5.9 percent each, and that suppertime buzz will come in handy when Dad invariably decides to unbutton his pants at the dinner table to “make more room.”

And finally, once the plates have been cleared and the passive-aggressive sniping has died down under the weight of a collective tryptophan hangover (a tryptophangover?), that’s when you bust out a classic: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. Have you ever wrapped your mouth around one of these? Holy cow. Made with dark chocolate and chocolate malts, this isn’t a beer to go with dessert, it is dessert. And it’s way better than that crappy, months-old fruitcake Aunt Bitty brought with her. (You just know she got it on sale last January at Wal-Mart.)

So as the day winds down, and your right-wing cousin Iver, who also somehow is an insufferable hipster, drones on about Obamacare, socialism, Al-Qaida and his plan to move to British Columbia in 2014, you can sip your Young’s with a warm, full belly while you stifle eye-rolls and wish he’d shut up and move already.

Oh, and if the relatives stay past 9 p.m., just break out the tequila. At that point, passing out is your only salvation.

This post was originally published by

The Rise of Cider (via The Alcohol Professor)

louisville beer - apple cider alcohol professor

Imagine this if it was wetter and could get you drunk.

Via, check out my latest post there on the rise of hard cider. Here are a few paragraphs to get you started:

I had my first taste of hard cider about 15 years ago when my friend Greg introduced me to it. We were at an Irish pub, and when Greg ordered two pints, the bartender – in his thick Irish accent – exclaimed, “This is like rocket fuel, mate. It’ll blow your [freaking] head off!”

I had three of them that night, and I’ll say this much: Never mix hard cider with tequila.

That aside, along with the craft beer movement that is sweeping the U.S., cider is also enjoying an uprising; cideries and meaderies are popping up alongside microbreweries, creating new versions of an old favorite. And now autumn is here, a time when cider is on the minds (and in the mouths) of many. …

Read the Whole Freaking Post!

Another Weekend of Louisville Beer (and More) …

louisville beer - nabc pickmans ale

New Albanian’s Pickman’s Ale: Mildly hoppy. Sessionable. And great with beer cheese.

I got around this past weekend. I was actually in search of cider for a story I’m working on for another website, but I really like hoppy more than fruity. So I made it a point to have some Louisville beer along the way.

My first stop, on Saturday afternoon, was at New Albanian Brewing Company. I was in search of Gale’s Hard Cider, by way of Thomas Family Winery, but there were no bottles left (drat!). Instead, I tried a New Day South Cider, which wasn’t bad at all. Then I cleansed my palate with some breadsticks and had a (NABC) Pickman’s Ale, which is one I don’t believe I have tried before. I’m an APA guy, so I couldn’t resist, and it didn’t disappoint.

Anyway, it’s long on kick (6.5 percent ABV), medium on hops (52 IBU) and just what I needed to go with NABC’s spicy beer cheese. It has a burnt orange color, thin head, medium hop nose, just a touch of citrus tone and a quick hop bite that gets there before you expect it to. The hop flavor then continues to emerge drink after drink. Thumbs up.

louisville beer app - buckheads

Pick a beer. Any beer.

On Sunday, I watched some football with my pal Greg and had a flight over at Buckhead Mountain Grill in Jeffersonville, where Tisha Gainey always has a kick-ass selection. It’s always fun to use Buckhead’s Craft Beer App, in any case, scrolling through what’s on tap, separating the ales from the lagers and whatnot. I worked my way up the hops ladder (after tasting one Angry Orchard Cider) with Upland Campside Session Ale (4.5 percent ABV, 50 IBU); Daredevil Liftoff IPA (7.2 percent ABV, 72 IBU); Sun King Bitchn’ Camaro (8.7 percent ABV, 89 IBU), and Stone Ruin Ten Imperial IPA (10.8 percent ABV, 110 IBU).

I let Greg have a taste of the Stone Ruin. Here was his reaction: “That grabbed a hold of my whole mouth! Holy shit!” After that, he said, “I’m going back to my Miller Water.”

Yeah, I couldn’t taste anything by the time I finished off that flight. I also went a bit outside the region with the Stone Ruin, but I figured it was the perfect way to cap off a hop orgy like that one. Glad I only had four-ounce pours of those, though. Yikes. I bet Greg wishes he didn’t even have the one sip.

louisville beer - apocalypse irish red ale

Apocalypse Brew Works Irish Red Rapture: So smooth and creamy, it’s like bathing in a pool of kittens.

A bit later, still on a quest to find ciders I could write about, we wound up at O’Shea’s Irish Pub in the Highlands. There, I was greeted by something on a different part of the beer spectrum, but also one of my first loves: an Irish red ale. But not just any Irish red — it was an Apocalypse Brew Works Irish Red Rapture. How could I resist? And luckily, my palate had been wiped clean by tasting samples of cider.

At 5.9 percent ABV and 26 IBU, it looks like a brown ale, and even has coffee on the nose. It’s so creamy and malty. This is the kind of beer I typically go for in fall and winter. I wrote in my notes, “Leah rules.” Obviously, I was referring to brewer Leah Dienes.

After that, I went home and watched football. And fell asleep in the process. Totally worth it.