Brewery Roundup: Mile Wide, Old Louisville, CIDEways on track to open in 2016

Monnik Beer Co. and Akasha Brewing Co. both opened in late 2015, while Goodwood Brewing rose from the ashes of the Bluegrass Brewing Co. production brewery. In addition, 3rd Turn Brewing made its debut in Jeffersontown early this year.

But Louisville isn’t finished. Two breweries and a cidery are in various stages of completion in the area: Mile Wide Beer Co., Old Louisville Brewery, and CIDEways, which will eventually become a cider brewery in New Albany.

Here are the latest updates on these three up-and-comers:

Mile Wide Beer Co.

Mile Wide Beer Co logo

Mile Wide, so far, has been fairly secretive about what it is planning, offering glimpses on social media. But co-founder/co-owner Scott Schreffler, a beer industry veteran best recognized for his days repping St. Louis-based Schlafly Beer, did tell Insider Louisville this week the brewery plans to open in late summer or early fall.

While he wasn’t ready to reveal what style or styles of beer Mile Wide will focus on, he does promise a “wide variety.”

“A good deal of the time,” he says, “we will be brewing to our own whim.”

Right now, Mile Wide is running test batches through a 25-gallon system, which ultimately will be replaced by a 15-barrel brewhouse. But the small system will remain “for R&D and one-off beers.”

Little other information has been released, and Schreffler says he isn’t ready to talk about the project at length yet. Social media accounts launched in March with occasional teasers, from photos of brewers milling grains by hand to a shot of the temporary brewing system.

Mile Wide will be located between Downtown and the Highlands at 636 Barret Ave., in a space behind Diamond Pub Billiards — the Diamond space, coincidentally, is the space that originally housed Silo Microbrewery, Louisville’s first microbrewery following the 1978 demise of Falls City. Silo opened in 1992.

Old Louisville Brewery

Old Louisville Brewery has been a slow burn, as brothers Wade and Ken Mattingly have been completely renovating a spot at 625 W. Magnolia Ave. that once was a neighborhood grocery store, as we reported last May.

The five-barrel brewing system arrived on April 7, and the business recently received its certificate of occupancy and has passed health inspections. So, what primarily remains is getting the brewhouse set up and working with the state ABC to get proper alcohol licensing. Wade Mattingly says he expects to know by early May about when inspections and final approval should be complete, but he estimates it will be roughly a 45-day process. Best case, he says, would be to shoot for late June.

“Fingers crossed they are going to be able to come through a little earlier for us,” Mattingly says, “but history has told me don’t count on things going smoothly.”

A few other finishing touches remain, but soon Old Louisville will be able to look toward making the first batches of beer. Mattingly says the tentative plan is to open with four beers on the 12-tap system, while working up to having all 12 taps filled with house beers. Guest taps won’t be permitted due to zoning restrictions, but patrons should expect a Rye IPA, a pale ale and possibly a blonde and a stout or porter.

CIDEways Cidery

A project founded by the owner-founder of Big Four Burgers + Beer, CIDEways Cidery is a long-term project of sorts in that it will open in late summer as a restaurant and bar. A cider brewery will follow, according to owner Matt McMahan, in four to six months following the initial opening.

We first checked in on CIDEways last November before it even had a name, and it has since progressed to a point where an opening is not far in the distance, after a full renovation of the space, located at the corner of Pearl and Elm in New Albany.

According to more recent media reports, CIDEways initially will offer a wide variety of beers and wines as well as specialty hard cider; there will be 18 taps and a bottled beer selection of around 60. The venture is reportedly being funded in part thanks to a $50,000 loan from the Horseshoe Association of Southern Indiana. Plans are for it to be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to midnight.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

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An Old Louisville Brewing Preview (PB&J ale, anyone?)

PB&J ale.

PB&J ale.

Yes, there’s still a lot of work left to do on the building at 525 Magnolia, the former site of a grocery store, but the brothers behind Old Louisville Brewing are working on beer recipes even as they build booths and prepare to pour concrete.

They gave me a couple of howlers on Saturday, July 25 – one was, quite surprisingly, a PB&J ale; the other, a jalapeno stout. Both recipes are in the tweaking stage, and both offer promise.

The PB&J was made with a base beer that brewer Ken Mattingly described as being akin to an amber ale. He said a previous recipe employed blackberries, but he didn’t get the flavor profile he wanted. Brother Wade shushed him before he could tell me what he used for the second batch, but here’s the bottom line: If they were going for a beer that smelled pretty much exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, well, mission accomplished. It was uncanny, to be honest.

The flavor was probably 90 percent there as well. Actually, the base beer barely makes an appearance in this crisp, well carbonated beverage. It’s tart without being sweet. And the damn thing will take you back to the lunches your mom sent you to school with when you were a kid. For my palate, well, a few ounces were enough. But for the right audience, this thing could theoretically give Apocalypse Brew Works‘ Watermelon Crack a run for its money next summer. In short, purists will probably hate this beer … but your mom will love it, and it will make for a great bridge for many who believe they don’t like beer at all.

Old Lou Brew 1The jalapeno stout was much more my speed and, while the recipe may need a couple of tweaks, it’s an enjoyable beer already. I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t more roasted malt in the aroma; in fact, even the pepper in the nose really didn’t stand out as jalapeno pepper. That distinctive smell just didn’t surface for me.

But when I took a drink, what I got was a smooth, solid stout with a medium malt character with some light coffee and maybe even a hint of chocolate in the mix. The pepper sits at the back of the palate and is subtle but, as one would expect, slowly escalates with each drink, eventually coating the throat. There is a tiny bit of acidity in the finish, and while I did very much enjoy the beer, I probably would have guessed cayenne as the spice here. The distinctive jalapeno flavor, much like the aroma, doesn’t really assert itself on the palate (or at least on my palate).

Of course, that didn’t stop me from finishing off the whole damn howler. And while I will reiterate that some tweaks might be a good consideration before the brewery opens (they hope to be up and running by October, but aren’t making any promises), I tasted plenty of potential for some good brewing ahead.

Beer on.

Five new Louisville breweries to watch out for in 2015

Donum Dei Richard OteyThe national Brewers Association reported a 17.1 percent rise in craft beer sales in 2013, despite the fact beer sales were down overall.

Louisville, of course, bears the mark of this popularity surge we’ve been watching the last few years: For instance, Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse is distributing around the country and into western Europe, and announced a $1.7 million expansion in Portland.

Meanwhile, Great Flood Brewing opened to much fanfare in the spring, Apocalypse Brew Works is quietly working on expanding its brewing operations, Bluegrass Brewing Company released a new product called Louisville Lager, Falls City is again brewing in town and, across the big watery divide, New Albanian Brewing Company soldiers on, Red Yeti has begun brewing (finally) and Indy’s Flat 12 Bierwerks has opened a taproom in Jeffersonville that will next year turn into a full-fledge brewing operation.

Heck, even tiny Cumberland Brews shows no signs of slowing down in its cozy Highlands location. Good food and good beer are always a winning combination.

And as Louisville Beer Store, Holy Grale and Sergio’s World Beers keep pushing the goods, LouisvilleBeer.com keeps the hardcore beer nerds informed. It is with that we’ll take a quick look at five new breweries that are either on track for or are working toward opening in 2015. (You can check out a full list of breweries-in-progress around the region and state at the aforementioned LouisvilleBeer.com.)

Akasha logoAkasha Brewing Company: We caught up a few weeks back with co-owner/brewer Rick Stidham, who was originally eyeballing a December open date. Looks more like early 2015 at this point, but Stidham continues to burn the midnight oil to get his space in NuLu (and the beer it will produce) ready for consumption.

Located at 909 E. Market St., Akasha will be close neighbors with Feast BBQ, which opened recently in the same complex. Stidham has a collection of seven-barrel fermenters, plus he’s building out a barrel room, an open fermenting space and, of course, a cozy taproom with a bar and plenty of taps.

Right now, it’s a matter of getting the space built out and getting the brewing started, both of which have been delayed, but construction continues.

“I literally have people working night and day,” Stidham said. The target opening right now is late January, and the smart money is on this brewery to be the first one to open in the new year.

Beer Engine: Ian Luijk and Brian Holton, owners of this Danville-based brewery, deserved better. They bought the old Zeppelin Café (1036 E. Burnett Ave.) in 2012 with the plan to open a Louisville location, and they’ve been battling zoning issues, construction problems and just plain bad luck ever since. But you know what? They’ve persevered, kept a positive attitude and stayed active in the Louisville beer scene. Hell, they may even beat Akasha to open the doors in 2015.

Armed with a 10-barrel system and plenty of good beer recipes, Luijk and Holton appear poised to open in early 2015, perhaps around the same time as Akasha. Look for 10 or 12 house brews as well as some deftly chosen guest taps. The space is about 10,000 square feet, which will include a brewery, barrel-aging room, a patio, a stage, a kitchen and plenty of seating for around 250 thirsty people.

“Things are still moving along,” Holton said recently. “We were hoping to brew by the end of this month, but that’s not going to happen.”

Holton said a chef has been selected to build the menu and run the kitchen, but that his or her name won’t be announced anytime soon. He also doesn’t have a target open date, although March “is a fine guess.”

He added, “Man, I never thought it would take this long.”

Donum Dei new logoDonum Dei Brewery: Over in New Albany, at 3211 Grant Line Road, just a stone’s throw from the original New Albanian Brewing Company location, is another brewery in waiting. Richard Otey is brewing in his new space, which is nearly complete. However, he still is yet to offer a target opening date.

Originally, he told us he had planned to open sometime around Derby 2014; that prognostication later changed to summer, and then to Thanksgiving. Now, early 2015 looks most likely. But Donum Dei already has a batch of its pale ale brewed and ready to drink, as well as an enkle. Up next is wee heavy.

Kegs have been purchased, and the buildout seems mostly complete. Otey is doing most of the buildout himself, using reclaimed materials whenever possible, from rescued wood to 1940s-era mirrors to chairs from an old Wendy’s restaurant.

I stopped by recently, and the place looks within reach of opening. Still, Otey hesitates to throw out a deadline.

“Every time I try to make a deadline,” he told me, “it’s just that — it’s dead.”

He did tell me how he acquired his reclaimed brew kettle, which was purchased from a brewery in Vancouver Wash. — he found it on Craigslist.com on a Friday, left in his truck to pick it up on Saturday, and had it back at the brewery by Wednesday. He called it a five-day “turn and burn.”

Otey gave me a sample of the Donum Dei pale ale, his first test batch, that sure tasted better than a test batch — moderately hopped, it was well balanced and right on the money. He also gave me a sample of a roast beef panini that will be representative of the future food menu — another thumbs up. Expect sandwiches, soups, hummus and other such small eats once Donum Dei opens.

When will that be? Hard to say, although he admits February should be doable. Of course, as noted, last February he began construction hoping to open by Derby.

“I didn’t say which year,” he clarified with a smile.

Bannerman Brewing: Located in Clifton, just down the street from Apocalypse Brew Works on Mellwood Avenue, Bannerman was brewing small batches, waiting on more brewing equipment and working hard at building out its rather large space late last year, with talk of an April 2014 grand opening. In fact, at one point, a Bannerman representative estimated to LouisvilleBeer.com that it was 90 percent finished. And then everything went quiet.

Having tried a couple of brewer Cory Riley’s beers, I was pretty bummed out. In fact, I had nearly given up, but then in November, this post appeared on the future brewery’s Facebook page: “It’s been a long while since we’ve updated the page … Rest assured we’re still chugging away at the project so that you guys can be chugging away on some Bannerman brews soon!”

The last previous post was in January, nearly a year ago. So, maybe Bannerman is going to be a reality after all, which is why it is included here. I reached out to brewer Riley, and he confirmed things are still moving forward, if a bit slowly.

“Same as it ever was,” he said in a Facebook message. “Going well. No target dates.”

If my samples of Riley’s high-octane brews are representative, Bannerman will be worth the wait.

Old Louisville Brewing Company: This is one that is just getting its ducks in a row, with brothers Ken and Wade Mattingly having procured a property at 615 Magnolia near Gallery House and across from (duh) 610 Magnolia, and begun construction. Based on photos posted on Facebook, Old Louisville Brewing has a ways to go before it starts brewing and serving beers, however.

But it sure appears there’s a lot of hard work going on down there since the building was procured in August and a building permit was issued in late November. Issues with the building’s foundation seemed to confound the Mattingly brothers at first, but work continues on. On its Facebook page, Old Louisville says its goal is “to be a destination place that is a community hangout.”

Hey, if there’s freshly brewed beer to be had, then “destination” and “hangout” are solid goals to have.

The original target date for Old Louisville’s opening was early 2015, but that appears to have been overly optimistic. It would be a fair bet that this one will drag on into the summer or maybe even the fall. Here’s hoping things go smoothly from here forward.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.