Great Flood Brewing Busts Out New Mug Club

Great Flood mugGreat Flood Brewing is now selling memberships to its new Flood Liars Club, a mug club that will get members discounts on beer pints and other cool perks. Hey, is there a better holiday gift for the beer nerd on your list?

The Liars Club nets members a numbered, 18-ounce mug from Louisville Stoneware, similar to the prototype pictured, along with a T-shirt and sticker, a buck off all house brew pours and more.

Great Flood co-owner Vince Cain said there will be exclusive specials for club members every Wednesday, plus quarterly private events such as beer tastings and brewing school, and a Liars Club email list for exclusive offers and beer releases.

The initial cost is $75; annual renewal fee is $35 to start with. Basically, Cain said, based on just the value of the mug and shirt alone, all a member has to do is drink 25 beers in a year’s time to come out ahead. (Heck, some beer drinkers can do that in a month. Maybe even a week.)

The club officially launches in January, but you can sign up now at the brewery, which is located at 2120 Bardstown Road in the Highlands. Space is limited, so don’t drag your feet.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

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Great Flood Brewing opens to a flood of customers

They were three and four deep at the bar all night.

They were three and four deep at the bar all night.

After months of working and waiting, the three owners of Great Flood Brewing opened the doors of their highly anticipated brewery to the public on Friday.

Predictably, it was packed.

Doors opened at 4 p.m., and there was a line of people on Bardstown Road waiting to get in the front entrance. By the time I got there around 8 p.m. with my friend Laura, the back parking lot was full, people were stacked three-deep at the bar, and every seat in the place was taken.

Great Flood kicked off its run at its cozy spot at 2120 Bardstown Road in Douglas Loop with seven house-brewed beers: a hoppy IPA that packs an 8.6 percent alcohol by volume punch; a milder but still plenty hoppy APA with a unique finish; a malty, delicious brown ale; Hoppy Irish, a red ale with a hop kick at the back of the palate; a citrusy wit; a thick oatmeal stout with plenty of coffee tone; and a surprisingly tasty and tart (but thankfully not too sweet) blackberry wheat beer.

If you haven’t been, you should go. The warm atmosphere features an art wall opposite the bar, with a row of tables down the wall ending in a lounge area containing black leather couches and chairs just inside the front window. Down the center of the space is a long, wood standing-bar where you can chat with friends and also have a place to sit your beer while you socialize.

Behind the ball is a pair of chalkboards, one displaying the beers on tap, along with their ABV content and IBU (International Bittering Units) rating. There’s also a flat screen TV showing sports.

On the wall nearest the bar is a huge mural featuring images from the 1937 flood, along with more tables and seating. In the midst of it all is a large orange sign bearing a pledge that ends with, “I dare you to catch me not smiling.”

Matt Fuller and his partners in beer were busy guys this past weekend.

Matt Fuller and his partners in beer were busy guys this past weekend.

There were plenty of people smiling during the Great Flood opening on Friday night. In fact, the throngs were so happy about Great Flood’s beer that by Saturday night, very little beer remained; as a result, a planned full weekend — including Sunday full-day hours — was cut to just Friday and Saturday.

“There was, in our minds, less than a 1 percent chance it was going to be like that,” said Vince Cain, who founded and owns Great Flood along with partners Matt Fuller and Zach Barnes. “We blew more kegs on Friday than we expected to blow the whole weekend.”

Saturday was not nearly as busy as Friday, Cain said, but there was “a steady stream from noon to midnight. There was never not somebody buying a beer.”

On Sunday, the Great Flood guys were busy brewing four new batches, including a rye IPA, a citra-hopped IPA, coffee porter and a double IPA. Those will be on tap for upcoming Halfway to Craft Beer Week celebrations, along with some guest taps including New Albanian Brewing Company’s Community Dark and Bluegrass Brewing Company’s bourbon barrel stout.

They are also working with BBC on a collaboration beer: a barrel-aged Kentucky common.

The clear crowd favorite for grand opening weekend was the brown ale, Cain said, which was a bit of a surprise. And while all the beers seemed to go over well, Cain cautions that they’ve only just begun to brew.

“These were our first batches on this system,” he said. “We are far from perfecting it. It’s only going to get better.”

And while Cain looked every bit as tired as he felt on Sunday afternoon as the new batches were being created, there wasn’t a complaint to be heard about how the weekend went.

“We’re tickled to death,” he said. “I’m tired. I’ll give you tired. But I’m not going to give you frustrated.”

Great Flood will be open Thursday and Friday 4 p.m.-midnight, Saturday noon-midnight, and Sunday 1 p.m.-10 p.m. (Unless they run out of beer.)

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Great Flood Unveils its Taproom and Brews with Soft Opening

It’s been a long wait, but Great Flood Brewing is about to open to the public. Be there this Friday to get your taste at a special grand opening.

The guys hosted an invitation-only soft opening last night at their Highlands/Douglass Loop location, and it was quite a success. The space is big and inviting, the vibe is both modern and nostalgic, and the beers are solid. Impressive indeed.

They had five brews on tap last night, including an APA with an outstanding  hop finish; a double IPA that ???; a surprisingly bold brown ale; a hoppy Irish ale that I couldn’t get enough of, and a solid wit.

My congrats to Vince, Matt and Zach. Looking forward to drinking their brews for a long time to come. Meantime, check out some pics from last night’s event.

Meet Kentucky’s new King of beer …

KGB LogoWhen nine Kentucky breweries got together nearly two years ago to form the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, the goal was a unified organization that would provide a singular voice with which to promote their beers, breweries and events.

They’ve found that voice in John King, who recently was named executive director to lead the guild’s board. And his voice speaks to the very unity Kentucky’s breweries seek. It isn’t about who can sell the most beer, King says, it’s about helping each other.

“People think [Bluegrass Brewing Company] is competing against Against the Grain,” he says. “The breweries are working together. It’s a good ol’ boy system where, if they run short on malt, they get malt from another brewery.”

But King has longer vision for his – for now – unpaid position, and that is to organize the breweries around the state into action.

It’s a hell of a good time to be doing it because there are new craft breweries springing up everywhere. Louisville alone is awaiting the launch of roughly a half dozen, with Great Flood Brewing set to open in the Highlands soon and Danville-based Beer Engine eyeing a summer opening in Germantown.

King points to Mayor Greg Fischer’s initiative to make Louisville a bourbon and dining touring destination as all the motivation he needs. When Fischer’s announcement came down at a bourbon-drenched press conference, many brewers in the city were left wondering, hands open and mouth agape, why no brewer (beer or coffee) was asked to join in on the action plan.

“I took it as a kick to the balls,” King says. “For beer geeks, Kentucky is a craft beer destination.”

And so, priority No. 1 for King is to build relationships with Fischer, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Danville Mayor Bernie Hunstad, to help raise the profile of the state’s breweries. Priority No. 2, he says, is to increase membership – and not just to include breweries, but suppliers, retailers, distributors and anyone else involved in the business of beer.

Ultimately, King wants local businesses of all kinds to be more connected to local breweries.

And priority No. 3 is to connect with the people who make it all possible, the enthusiasts. Or, as King puts it, “The common beer drinker that loves to drink Kentucky-made beer.”

John KingInterestingly, King, 31, insists he came by all this beer business mostly by accident. His “real job” – his words – is in education. He also makes furniture hand crafted from oak and bourbon barrels.

His path to becoming a craft-beer aficionado started with enjoying non-Kentucky craft beer, by way of Dogfish Head, a brewery based in Delaware. Next came Sierra Nevada Harvest, a wet-hop ale. He would get away from hoppy beers for a while, and then it was a local beer that snagged him and reeled him back in. That beer was Hoptimus, brewed by New Albanian Brewing Company in New Albany.

“As soon as I had it, I kind of fell in love,” King says.

Not long after, he began home brewing. Not long after that, he began communicating with New Albanian head brewer David Pierce, who also is involved with the guild.

From there he began testing his palate, finding out what he liked and what he didn’t. He began to plan his vacations around beer (and who doesn’t?). And soon he was blogging and podcasting for LouisvilleBeer.com.

“It was,” he says, “sort of a snowball effect.”

He was named executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers at the guild’s first official meeting in January. The upcoming Halfway to Louisville Craft Beer Week, April 16-20, will be the guild’s “coming out party,” King says. That’s when things will truly begin to ramp up, and a membership program will ultimately be put in place.

His vision is that for a membership fee, beer enthusiasts will get a VIP card good for discounts at every guild-member brewery. Members will also get a T-shirt and a regular newsletter.

“And you can celebrate the fact you are paying tribute to the great beer that is made in Kentucky,” he says. “I am personally going to sign every membership card and mail out all the T-shirts, so people can become members of what we call ‘the KGB.’”

He even envisions that one day, instead of corporate mega-beer sponsoring mega-events around town, it will be local breweries, and asks the question, “Why are we drinking Coors when we should be drinking BBC?”

It’s a question he hopes to answer in due time; make way for the new King of beers, Kentucky.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

A Chat With the Guys Behind Great Flood Brewing

louisville beer - great flood brewing

In a few months, you’ll be able to get craft beer at this place.

Matt Fuller, Vince Cain and Zach Barnes are serious about beer — especially Louisville beer. As such, they’re seriously going to open Great Flood Brewing in early 2014 at 2120 Bardstown Road, near Twig & Leaf in the Highlands.

The 3,000-square-foot property is being renovated for a two-barrel system with which they hope to crank out about 8 barrels or up to 16 half-barrels per week. Their hope is to fill up their beer garden with a “hang-out” atmosphere, good brews and a unique pricing model.

Of course, one of the first questions out of my mouth was, “What kind of beer are you going to start out with?” The good news is they plan to have eight taps. The interesting news is, there will be a lot of experimenting going on, style-wise.

“We have a rotating IPA recipe we’ve been working on,” Vince says. “It’s a pretty high gravity IPA we like a lot. It’s not going to be for everybody. We have a coffee porter. One of our goals also is – we do extreme things, but we want to have craft beer for everyone.”

Matt added that the plan is to have beers on tap at all times that can appeal to different demographics; Zach says the recipes will remain “fluid” based on demand, but that there will be “every man” beers such as Kolsch styles and amber ales, for the more casual beer fan or someone just looking to whet their whistle.

“We have such a small capacity size and we’re going to brew so frequently that we’re going to have something new all the time,” Vince says. “You’ll get maybe two regulars and six rotators. When it comes to kind of beer have on tap, we’re going to allow the customer base to dictate how we brew. We’re not sure how it’s going to happen yet, but we’re willing to try pretty much anything.”

In short, don’t be surprised if there are a few “name the recipe” or “you choose the beer style” contests in the offing at Great Flood.

louisville beer - great flood brewing logoThe name , of course, is a reference to exactly what you think: the Great Flood of 1937.

“We’re trying to bring in a historical tie, not just for our generation but generations past,” Zach says.

“We want to be part of the Highlands in every way,” Vince adds. “That’s our background, and that’s why we named the brewery the way we did. We want everything to reflect the heritage of the community.”

As for the pricing model, that’s an interesting proposition. At most microbreweries, you have the option to buy a flight or a sampler, usually for between six and eight bucks, that provides a chance to try five or more beers. Great Flood is going to expand this a bit: Beers will be priced by category, with the high gravity beers being a bit more expensive. You’ll be able to get a pint for a set cost or a 10-ounce pour for a little over half that cost.

louisville beer - great flood brewing

This will look a lot different in a few months. (Photos courtesy of Great Flood Brewing.)

Where it will differ from other craft breweries, where a sampler is a set animal, is that you’ll be able to get, say, a 10-ounce sampler for $2.50 as opposed to paying the six or eight bucks for 24 ounces worth of samples. The smaller sampler a) Keeps it more affordable, and b) affords a greater opportunity to find something you like and enjoy a pint of it.

Their point is that you know you can go have a couple of pints or whatever amount you choose, and you’ll know how much you’re going to spend going in. What they want is for Great Flood to be very “communal.”

“The same three guys brewing your beer will be the same guys pouring your beer and handing you your bee,” Vince says.

With both a sit-down bar and stand-up areas, Great Flood also will, hopefully, not be a place of segregation, where parties simply sit with their friends at a table.

“You can sit there with six of your buddies or one guy you know and four guys you’re just now meeting,” Matt says of the beer garden.

Not surprisingly, the Louisville beer community (and the community in general) is excited — Great Flood has done no marketing outside of social media and a couple of interviews, and the Facebook page already has close to 500 “Likes”.

“It’s really fun to hear people talk and hear the excitement,” Zach says. “It’s nice to hear from old friends you haven’t talked to in a while, and them saying ‘Its great you’re doing this, congratulations.'”

While the government shut-down has caused some delays and opening any new business presents its share of obstacles, the trio of young businessmen feel they can have Great Flood up and running by the end of March. Brace your palate for what will come next.

“We’re getting into the market because we enjoy drinking good craft beer, and we enjoy brewing good craft beer,” Matt says.

“It’s an art form,” Vince says of brewing beer. “We’ve never once made a beer that we said, ‘That’s the one we’re going to do from now on.’ We’re not going to stop making a better beer.”