Red Yeti Brewing hopes to open by late January in Jeffersonville

louisville beer - red yeti brewingAnother microbrewery and pub is set to open in early 2014 – Red Yeti Brewing nears completion of its brewing operation and restaurant after completely overhauling a two-story structure in downtown Jeffersonville.

Owner Brandi Ronau said she and her husband Paul Ronau have been planning the brewery for three years, and renovations to the building at 256 Spring St. have been going on for about a year. Brandy said Red Yeti just got approved for a liquor license to have a full bar in addition to house-made beers.

The project has been longer in the making than planned, as the structure required more work than expected.

“When we came in, it was in worse shape than we originally thought,” she said. “The only thing left [of the original structure], pretty much, is the brick and concrete.”

The menu will consist of pizza, burgers, sandwiches and appetizers. Meanwhile, she said, Red Yeti hopes to start out with three in-house beers along with a number of guest taps pouring other local, regional and national craft beers.

The three beers Paul will brew include “HopIPAtamus,” a red or brown ale, and a pale ale, for starters.

louisville beer - red yeti brewing interior

Doorway leading into what will be the bar/pub area at Red Yeti.

Considering the space is basically gutted at the moment, with fireproofing halfway done to the ceiling – the Ronaus live in the upper floor of the building, which also had to be renovated – the end of January may not be an attainable goal, Brandi said.

Just inside the main entrance is a white board with a long to-do list, detailing everything that still has yet to be finished, from installing the hood system to finishing the brick walls to building out the bar and installing the brewing equipment.

Yes, it’s a long list, but fingers are firmly crossed in the Ronau household. “End of January,” she said. “That’s what our contractor is telling us. Hopefully it comes together.”

Red Yeti will be the only craft brewery in Jeffersonville when it opens. And while the Ronaus have received overwhelming public support, one Facebook critic — someone named Paul Ranney — admonished Red Yeti last month because the brewery will not feature American light beers on draft.

“I look forward to your early closing so someone else will open a pub people can frequent for the beers people love,” Ranney wrote. “Why in the world would you not serve the best beers instead of craft crap is a testament to stupidity.”

A number of people stopped in while I was there talking to Brandi Ronau, and each of them seemed excited that a brewery was about to open in downtown Jeffersonville. Other feedback on the Red Yeti Facebook page has been positive as well, in part because Red Yeti has already been getting involved in community activities, from trick-or-treat festivities to letting a local vintner set up and share their wares just inside the front entrance.

“You can’t make everyone happy,” Brandi said of the craft-beer hating naysayer, and then smiled.

The name of the business actually comes from Paul, who will be the head brewer. He is a tall, red-haired man whose friends nicknamed him Red Yeti, prompting him to use that name as his online gaming profile.

Naming the brewery after the brewer seemed like the logical choice; it’s also just a pretty cool name for a brewery. The logo even features a red Sasquatch-like creature wearing sunglasses.

Paul began home brewing several years ago and was motivated to open a brew pub by the fact his friends began asking him to brew his beers for gatherings.

“They would pay for the materials, and he would brew it,” Brandi said.

Paul said HopIPAtamus (pronounce it similarly to “hippopotamus”) is his signature brew, with Stone Ruination IPA serving as its inspiration. HopIPAtamus will have a similar profile, packing 92 IBU (International Bittering Units) and 7.5 percent alcohol by volume.

“It’s over-the-top hoppy,” he said.

Since the build-out is ongoing, he isn’t sure yet how many Red Yeti beers will be brewed. While three is the safe number, he would like to see five or even seven.

“A lot of what we’re deciding to brew is based on cellar capacity,” he said.

Getting Red Yeti up and running will be first priority, however, meaning guest crafts will probably inhabit the taps for the first few weeks of operation. After that, look for the 6-foot-3-inch guy with red hair, and ask for a HopIPAtamus.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

Green Flash Green Bullet IPA Hits the Mark

beer - green flashThis one was originally published by the Alcohol Professor. Here are a few paragraphs and a link to the full article.

San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. finally green-lit a small batch favorite for national release; packed with New Zealand hops, Green Bullet is now widely available nationwide on tap, in four packs and in 22-ounce bottles.

And if you haven’t yet tried it, well, it’s kind of mind blowing.

Green Bullet has become a bit of a cult beer, much like Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. Since it has been available previously only in limited quantities – it was the brewery’s 9th Anniversary beer in 2011 – it has become a sought-after favorite of hopheads.

Ah yes, the hops. The beer is named after the primary hop used in brewing the beer, Green Bullet hops. Another New Zealand hop, Pacific Gem, is also in the blend, balancing floral with fruit characters to create – take a deep breath – this triple IPA. Yep, triple. This beer packs a wallop unlike most double IPAs you’ll find, and those tend to punch you in the mouth.

Read the full story at AlcoholProfessor.com.

BBC 20th Anniversary Ushers in Heine Brothers Coffee Stout

louisville beer - BBCIt’s just as tasty as you remember, that Heine Brothers Coffee Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. BBC unveiled it, along with a handful of other new beers, yesterday as part of its 20th anniversary celebration and third annual Dogtoberfest event at the St. Matthews location.

My buddy Nick and I stopped in for dinner and to take advantage of some throwback pricing, meaning $2.50 pints between 6 and 7 p.m. And the first brew we ordered was the aforementioned coffee stout brewed with Heine Brothers coffee. As expected, it is thick, rich and wonderful, with a big coffee nose and a nutty flavor. In short, it’s an enduring classic. We didn’t get around to trying the Stout Toby Bourbon Barrel Stout, but we can only guess that one is just as delicious and with a potentially more complex character.

We also tried a pint each of Rye IPA, a medium-bodied ale with a big rye flavor and plenty of hop bitterness. In fact, the rye bite might have even outdistanced that of the hops. This is great stuff, and went well with the chili I enjoyed for dinner.

BBC has a couple of other seasonals on tap right now at the St. Matthews pub, including Cream Ale and Rough Service IPA. Maybe next time …

Falls City Hipster Repellant Debuts at Liquor Barn

louisville beer - liquor barnI cruised by Liquor Barn out at Springhurst yesterday after work to (again) try Falls City Beer‘s Hipster Repellant IPA and to snag one of those cool Falls City mason jars. I hadn’t been to Liquor Barn in a while, however, and had forgotten just how much great beer they have on tap.

Of course, if you know what you’re doing and you have 40 lines at your disposal, you’ve got a pretty good head start.

I started off with a pint of the Hipster Repellant ($4, keeps the pint, a special deal yesterday evening), and perused the draft list as I enjoyed it and chatted with some of the staff and others on hand to get their beer on.

A great feature of the tap/tasting bar is that you can get two-ounce pours for 75 cents and six-ounce pours for $1.75 before deciding on a growler to take home. I didn’t get a growler this time around, but I did taste a couple of extra brews while I was there.

One was a beer I’ve been curious about for a while but had not gotten around to trying: Country Boy Brewing Jalapeno Porter. All I can say is that if you haven’t had this stuff, you need to. Like, today. It has such an intriguing depth to it — it possess all the characteristics you’d expect from a good porter, and adds a light jalapeno flavor, and just the tiniest bit of a spice kick that lingers on the palate. Nicely done.

I also had a six-0unce pour of Green Flash Brewing Company Symposium IPA at the recommendation of one of the Liquor Barn employees. I’ve had Green Flash beers before, but I don’t recall ever having the Symposium IPA. According to the Green Flash website, this is the third go-around for the beer since 2008, and I can see why they keep bringing it back. It has a floral and citrusy nose, and the flavors explode once you take a drink.

The beer description at the site notes that Green Flash placed a “profound emphasis on hop extravagance” — that’s putting it lightly. Apparently, the brewers added hops at every step of the brewing process, and the result is a highly complex and unique flavor in a beer that is still light bodied and crisp. Highly recommended.

Yeah, I’ll be going back to Liquor Barn again soon. Hope to see you there.

A Falls City Sneak Peek: Hipster Repellant

louisville beer - falls city hipster repellant

The “Hispter Repellant” IPA was, indeed, a little angry.

I took my dad to the Falls City Beer tasting room over the weekend and got a nice surprise: As if free samples of good Louisville beer wasn’t enough, we also got a tour of the brewing facilities and a sneak-preview taste of a new IPA that is, at least internally, being dubbed “Hipster Repellant.”

Hipster Repellant (which may or may keep its name when released to the public) is a special brew made to be available at Louisville-area Liquor Barn locations. While it had just been kegged and therefore was a tad over-carbonated when Falls City’s Rob Haynes poured the samples, the nose on this beer is outstanding.

“It’s a little angry,” he said, referring to the over-foam. When I mentioned the nose, he said, “I just want to huff it.” Indeed. It has less of a hop bite than the nose suggests, but there is still plenty there — I’d guess it at around 60 or 65 IBU. It’s crisp and smooth, with a creamier mouthfeel than I expected — although that very well could have been pushed along by all the foam.

We also tried a couple of other new-ish ones now on tap at the tasting room:

Kentucky Waterfall APA (6.6 percent ABV, 40 IBU): Straw-colored, mildly cloudy and crisp, this drinks like a great summer beer. My dad isn’t what you’d call a hop-head, and he really liked this one. It’s surprising this one is 6.6 percent alcohol, because on the palate and nose it could pass for a session beer. It’s a solid entry.

502 APA (5.5 percent  ABV, 55 IBU): Of course I had to try this one, simply because of the name; maybe this can be the official beer of 502Brews.com. Made with Amarillo hops, this one is a brilliant orange color, very dry on the finish, crisp and lager-esque. I could drink this stuff all day.

Here are some pics I shot of the brewing equipment and other odds and ends:

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.”

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.

Detroit Beer City, Part 2

detroit zombieland beer

A sobering sight in Detroit.

Near downtown Detroit is an abandoned neighborhood  now referred to as “Zombieland.” During my recent beer and baseball outing in the Motor City, I passed within half a mile of it on foot as we traversed downtown near Comerica Park.

Looking up to see an abandoned building with the word “Zombieland” painted across it gives you a creepy feeling, no matter where you are. As an avid watcher of AMC’s The Walking Dead (and a reader of the comic book series as well), I could almost hear the guttoral moans and shuffling feet behind me.

It could have happened; last year there were rumors that a Zombie-themed park would land in that neighborhood. Whether that may still happen, I do not know, especially in light of the city’s recent plans to file for bankruptcy. The whole situation was sobering.

Which is an ironic statement, considering how much beer we ended up drinking. But before I get to that, I want to point out that we actually enjoyed our time in Detroit. Comerica Park is beautiful, and the area surrounding that and Ford Field seems much improved since my last  visit roughly 10 years ago. We even cabbed it to the site of the original Tiger Stadium and got to play ball with a few other folks on the original field. Those are hallowed grounds indeed. (But I will say this: Rob pitches everyone outside. That’s my excuse for grounding out weakly to second, anyway.)

Before the game on Saturday, we stopped off at a couple of local beer spots, which happened to – conveniently – be situated next door to each other.

The first was a small bar and eatery called Small Plates, which had some locals on tap. Here’s what we checked out:

Rochester Mills Beer Co. Rochester Red (5.9% ABV) – This is a classic red ale, malty and nutty but with a lighter body than you’d expect upon first inspection. I ended up getting a pint of this. Well, at least according to my notes I did.

frankemuth brewery logo - detroit beerFrankenmuth Brewery Twisted Helles  (5.5% ABV) – This is a pleasantly light beer with a smooth body. The flavor wasn’t anything special, but it was a solid summer beer that combined bread-like flavors with some notes of fruitiness. Not bad.

Motor City Brewing Works Ghetto Blaster (4.2% ABV, 15 IBU) – This English mild ale was an interesting change of pace. Ghetto Blaster has a strong coffee nose, but is much lighter than the nose and color suggest. It is described as having a “clean biscuit flavor,” although in my notes I jotted down “roasted walnut?” Recommended.

And then we walked next door to Detroit Beer Company:

Broadway Light (4.3% ABV) – This is exactly what you think it is – a drinkable, pale lager that is crisp, with just a hint of a bite. It’s made for those folks that want something cold and crisp, without assertive flavor, and is all-day sessionable. We probably should have just split a pint of this and moved on.

detroit beer companyDowntown Brown (5.0% ABV) – This is a mild brown ale, with a cozy mouth feel, subtle malts and almost a toasted almond finish. Recommended for any ale fan. Even Rob liked it.

Double Play IPA (?% ABV) – Now we’re talking my language. This one is dry and hoppy, nicely drinkable and one of those beers that would pair perfectly with a pile of hot wings or some other spicy dish. Rob, who leans toward Guinness, said, “It’s like drinking metal.” Oddly, I could find precious few references to this beer online, making me wish I’d jotted down the ABV and IBU ratings on the spot. Inebriation breeds sloppiness, I suppose. I’ll leave the ABV content up for guessing.

Crooked Grill IPA (6.75% ABV, 50 IBU) – Well, I wrote down the ABV and IBU on this one, so I guess I was more sober than I thought at this point. This is an English IPA that is right up my alley. It’s milder than a lot of IPAs I’ve had – more than drinkable, but with enough of a wallop that I knew to stick with just a sample.

comerica park - detroit beer

This stadium stands out like an amusement park in the middle of downtown Detroit.

By the time we arrived at beautiful Comerica Park, we knew we had to back off to the Labatt’s Light or we’d soon die an awful death by exploding liver. I have to thank Rob for joining me on my quest and for not making fun of how inebriated I became.

Luckily, when we got back to our hotel, we got some comfort food in our bellies at the hotel restaurant and began our recovery.

Although, we probably should not have raided that mini-bar once we got back to the room …

Falls City Has Something New On Tap

louisville beer - falls cityFalls City Brewing has something new on tap, and you can check it out at the tasting room, located at 545 E. Barret Ave.

The brewery announced that (Scooby Doo reference alert!) Mystery Machine IPA is now available. It sounds pretty tasty, too.

Here’s the description from the Falls City newsletter: “This IPA pours a beautiful copper color with an off white head.  A citrusy hop aroma is complemented by hints of caramel and toffee.  We added a touch of chocolate rye to this beer to add a complex and unique malt backbone.  The hop bitterness adds a fruity dry bitterness, but still finishes smooth.”

That sounds like an IPA, all right. And if the other Falls City beers are an indication, it’s probably a good one.

Of course, you can also get the American Wheat, Session APA, Rye Pale Ale, Black IPA and English Pale Ale. Tap room is open 4-8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 2-8 p.m. on Saturday.

Bring your growlers, kids.

Evil Twin Ryan and the Beaster Bunny = Yum

Stopped in the Irish Rover last night looking for something different to try, and got my first taste of Evil Twin Ryan and the Beaster Bunny. It’s not a beer I’m going to obsess over or anything (besides, it’s apparently a limited edition), but it was a darn good pint – if you’ve had it, you know what I mean.

I do like the hops, and this one delivers nicely. It’s got an assertive hop character without being one of those beers that grabs you by the neck and says, “I’ve got LOTS of hops. Wanna see?” In other words, it’s a solid, no-frills, quality farmhouse ale.

Anyway, the bitterness lingers at the back of the mouth with the nose and front end having a bit of a citrusy quality, only mildly fruity without going over the edge into sweetness. It pours a slightly hazy gold, and quite frankly looks pretty darn inviting in the glass. Of course, pretty much every beer looks inviting to me.

Oh yeah, and be careful – when bartender Jason handed me my pint, he called it a “heavy hitter,” meaning that it packs 7 percent ABV. Probably good that I only had one.

Anybody else out there had this one? I’d go back for another without hesitation. Looking forward to trying more Evil Twin brews in the future, too. Heck, you have to love a brewery that makes a pilsner called “Low Life” (has to be a play off Miller High Life, right?).

Not sure you’ll get me to try any of those “Hipster” beers they make, though. I don’t have any desire to know what a hipster tastes like.

Note: Apparently Jason said “farmhouse” ale when I asked about it, and I thought he said “Falco ale.” It only said Evil Twin on the tap handle so far as I could see, so I thought I heard “Falco” (a name I’d heard of). Once again, good thing I only had one or I might not have found my way home. Idiot.