Harvest and Goodwood team up for a beer brunch concept

Harvest Beer POSTERThe first time I ever did a pairing dinner was in Dallas many years ago; it was a wine dinner at the Green Door in Deep Ellum, and the courses came out so quickly that the co-workers I was with (I was at a Microsoft conference during the dot-bomb era) couldn’t finish their wines and kept pouring their portions into my glass.

The next day at the conference was interesting. But my point is that wine dinners, beer dinners, bourbon dinners — they’re fun and plentiful. Thanks to the proximity of NuLu, there’s a new spin on the concept coming on Saturday, March 19, in the form of a Harvest beer brunch paired with a brewery tour. It’s a beer-unch.

Here’s the deal: Three courses of locally sourced Harvest food are paired with Goodwood Brewing Co. beers, and diners will be led through each course by Goodwood president Phil Dearner, who will describe the beer.

What’s different about this event is that after attendees are finished eating, diners get a private tour of the brewery and barrel rooms with Dearner. As a bonus, each attendee will get a pint of Goodwood beer of his or her choice. Of course, the concept is somewhat unique to the fact that the restaurant and brewery are so closely situated — Harvest is located at 624 E. Market St., while Goodwood is at 636 E. Main St.

And what comes after most beer dinners is an after-dinner mint. Or a nap. Certainly, it’s not a brewery tour.

“This way, they get to cross the street and see the brewery and how the beer is made,” says Goodwood’s Denise Ingle.

The brunch begins with a duck confit and fuji apple crepe, paired with Goodwood’s Red Wine Saison. The second and main course is a “black and tan” corned beef benedict with a Louisville Lager hollandaise, which will be served with a Goodwood black and tan made with Louisville Lager — brewed with Kentucky-grown grains — and Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout.

The third course will be a cocoa nib and sea salt granola made with malted fromage blanc, a Belgian white cheese, and chocolate creameaux. That dish comes with Goodwood Walnut Brown Ale.

The decision to collaborate with Goodwood on the beer brunch was an easy one, says chef Patrick Roney, who joined Harvest last year after a stint as chef de cuisine at The Oakroom. Why did it interest him?

Patrick Roney

Patrick  Roney

 

“I love beer,” he says. “And they’re in the neighborhood, so we’re buddies. We’re one block down from them, and I love that kind of neighborhood feel and collaboration. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Roney will explain each dish to diners while detailing why he thought each pairing would work. And while brunch for most means mimosas or bloody marys, he doesn’t find it odd to drink beer with breakfast.

“On a nice Saturday, I can see myself having a beer with brunch,” he says. “And it’s kind of right around St. Patrick’s Day, so some of that idea just fell right into place.”

Could this concept turn into a series? Roney says he hopes to keep working on such collaborations, especially if his NuLu neighbors are involved. Dearner concurs.

“We’ll have to see how this goes,” Dearner says. “Why not?”

“I think everybody in town is always looking for a fun little thing to come to on a weekend,” Roney adds. And with spring approaching, “Everybody’s looking to get back out. I’m hoping we can keep the ball rolling on this.”

There will be two brunch times from which to choose: 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m., and tickets are $35. Call Harvest at 384-9090 for reservations.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

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BBC to unveil new Louisville Lager Aug. 20 on tap and in bottles

Louisville LagerYour grandfather drank Falls City, Fehr’s or Oertel’s ’92 beer back in the 1950s and ’60s. Those were lager-style beers brewed right here in the River City.

Locally brewed lager returns Aug. 20 when Bluegrass Brewing Company Taproom unveils Louisville Lager, a beer the company’s principals believe will reach out to a larger audience than many craft beers on the market.

The reasoning? In spite of the growth of craft-brewed beer popularity, BBC president Phillip Dearner says, the vast majority of people are still drinking “yellow beer.” As such, brewmaster and vice president of operations Joel Halbleib concocted a crisp, malty, lightly hopped and ever-so-slightly sweet lager to basically show people that craft beer can be accessible to almost all palates.

“We wanted to find a way to reach a different crowd than we were reaching,” Dearner says. “Ninety to 95 percent of Americans are still drinking light lagers. I imagine there is a large percentage of that segment that wants to support local. Why not give these people something they can get behind and have it be local?”

I got to try a few unfiltered and un-carbonated ounces of Louisville Lager, and it sure tastes like something people will get behind. It’s a beer by which a Bud Light drinker won’t be scared off, but it also has a distinctive malt character and just the tiniest hop bite on the finish.

Another interesting point about the beer is that it is branded quite differently than most BBC beers, which bear the familiar (to Louisvillians, at least) BBC script, sunburst and hop logo. Louisville Lager bears an eye-popping red, white and blue logo that hints at vintage. Frankly, it simply looks all-American. What Dearner said he wanted to avoid, somewhat ironically, was the familiarity to people who have tried more flavor-intense BBC beers and did not enjoy them. The approach is similar to how Sam Adams has marketed its Rebel IPA, distancing it from the parent brand intentionally.

“BBC has been around 21 years now and that sunburst that’s on all of our packaging, that sends the message to most people that, ‘This is a Louisville craft beer,’” Dearner says.

But if they’ve had BBC Stout or APA, well, they may be expecting anything but a crisp, drinkable lager.

When Halbleib first began developing a recipe, he focused on creating a Vienna-style lager. Dearner was quick to warn that the minute an exact style was identified, the beer snobs would begin nitpicking. So Halbleib changed course and ended with a lager that features aspects of both Vienna and Munich lagers, but which technically is neither. It is its own thing.

As for introducing it to beer drinkers, it’s a pretty simple approach.

“I would generally ask, ‘What do you normally drink?’” Halbleib says. “If they say Coors Light, Miller Lite or Bud Light, or any of the domestics, I would say, ‘We developed this beer for you.’”

“’What do you like?’” Dearner asks rhetorically. “’What’s your comfort zone?’ With this, we are now offering the full spectrum of beers.”

It speaks specifically to the folks who don’t believe they like ales or, god forbid, “dark” beers. But the truth is that baby boomers were weaned on yellow beer.

“I think the guy who is 50 and above who has drunk nothing but lagers feel so safe with that style,” Halbleib says.

But what it boils down to is that when Louisville was a big brewing city, there were two styles the city’s beer drinkers quaffed most often: Kentucky Common, a dark cream beer, and lager. The reason for this is because of the influx of German immigrants in the mid-1800s; they found Louisville to be an ideal place to start a new life, and they also found the climate and resources ripe for brewing. Lager is decidedly German, and as such, it became extremely Louisvillian as well.

Louisville Lager, in a way, pays tribute to Louisville’s history, adding another aspect of the beer both Dearer and Halbleib believe will help sell it. You can’t get Oertel’s ’92 at the liquor story anymore, but Louisville Lager will be there for the asking.

Louisville Lager 1Interestingly, one reason local brewers don’t make lagers more regularly is that it takes twice as long to ferment. With most local breweries having limited production capacities, making a lager becomes a more difficult proposition than making an ale. BBC’s production facility expanded about a year ago, adding three new fermenters, and brews about 14,000 barrels annually.

But another reason many avoid lager brewing is that it’s simply not easy.

“A lot of people shy away from it,” Halbleib says. “A stout, porter or anything dark hides all our mistakes. This is the complete opposite. Everything must be perfect or it’s going to show in big way.”

“You’ve got to baby it,” Dearer adds.

Halbleib says he went through three or four batches before green-lighting the final recipe. But he feels it’s just right.

Armed with tap handles made from rejected Louisville Slugger bats (you can’t get much more local than that) and the splashy new branding, Louisville Lager will begin popping up all over town later this month beginning with kick-off events Aug. 20 at the BBC Taproom, 636 E. Main Street; Thursday, Aug. 21, at Mellow Mushroom and Molly Malone’s in St. Matthews; and Friday, Aug. 22, at Drake’s at the Paddock and St. Matthews, and Highland Tap Room.

Price points will be $8.49 for a six-pack and roughly $4 to $4.50 per pint, depending on the location. Dearer feels it will soon be a Louisville mainstay, and will be available not just in craft beer locations but even places like Applebee’s or O’Charlie’s.

“I think this beer will open up this avenue for us,” Dearer says. “We have [BBC] Nut Brown at Applebee’s, but it’s not doing all that great. That customer feels a comfort for this lager and this lighter style. I would also think the BoomBozz’s and the Molly Malone’s and the OShea’s, these craft houses, still have a huge crowd that wants a lager.”

Heck, your grandfather may even give it a try.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.