Tucked away on an unassuming part of Magnolia Street near Sixth Street sits Old Louisville Brewery, the latest edition to the city’s collection of beer creators. This past weekend, co-owners and brothers Ken and Wade Mattingly opened the doors to the brewery, which features a taproom inside and a dog-friendly patio with a walk-up window outside. Currently, they have four house beers on draft as their first batch of releases, which we stopped by to try. We also took time to talk with the brothers about what we can expect in the near future.
“We picked this one, because it’s the beer that got us thinking about this,” Ken said about the Wade’s RyePA, a flavorful, citrusy beer with hints of spice and 7 percent ABV. Complex, but not overwhelming, this was my personal favorite — it was definitely bold, but it wasn’t hard to get to the bottom of. An increasingly popular variation of the Indian Pale Ale, the RyePA adds further depth beyond just waves of hops. A really good first effort that keeps pace with some of the RyePAs from more experienced brewing companies.—Scott
Less hoppy than most Pale Ales, but light and refreshing, with the sort of drinkability that works nicely with July humidity. The Summer Pale was the first keg that they ran out of over the weekend. Even though it turned out a little differently than they expected, Ken said, the beer was the result of an accident that worked in their favor: “It has a little less body than we intended, but it turned out really well for an easy-drinking type beer.” It hit on the spectrum between a Blonde Ale and an American Pale Ale — the hops took a bit to kick in, but there was definitely enough flavor to it that didn’t make it fall flat.—Scott
Experimental House Stout #1
A milk stout with chocolate undertones, the Experimental Stout goes down smooth with a nice nip on the back end. There is just the slightest bite to the taste, nothing bitter — almost like the sort of pop that defines soda, albeit without any of the fizz or sweetness. This is an especially creamy stout, although not so much that it lacks appeal as a summer beverage, setting it apart from the vast majority of stouts, both local and regional. The ABV is reasonable at around 5 percent, which gives you all that rosy feeling without ever growing cumbersome. This is a delightful stout that plays against trends to stand out in an otherwise-crowded seasonal market. “There’s a little bit of sweetness to it: some roast-y-ness,” Ken said. “I like stouts and porters, and, even though it’s summer, we wanted to try it out with our system, because it’s going to be a base for experimentation later on. We might put some vanilla and cinnamon in it.”—Syd
The Brown Ale came with a less-than-enthusiastic recommendation, as a beer that didn’t quite hit the mark. Apparently, there were problems during the brewing process that didn’t quite yield the robust flavor inherent to the style. The OLB Brown, at least this batch, was especially thin in body, and skewed towards a high IBU. The resulting beer was relatively low ABV at approximately 4.5 percent alcohol, roughly congruous to most domestic beers, which would allow this beer to serve well as a session. There were notes of roasted grains and a slight malt aftertaste, cut harshly by the strong IBU. Perhaps more than any of the other current beers that the OLB has on tap, the Brown Ale tastes at the moment very much like a work in progress.—Syd
“First in line, right now, is the Kolsch,” Wade said, although they’ve had some issue with it so far, and are currently working on perfecting it before its released. They also have a habanero stout in the works, which they’re attempting to find the right heat index on, as well as a double IPA on which they didn’t hit their intended gravity on for the first batch, and a peanut butter and jelly style beer that they are currently plotting. At this point, the brothers aren’t sure whether they will keep specific beers on tap consistently, or if everything will be fair game to rotate in and out. But something that was obvious from our trip is that they have a lot of ambition toward experimenting, meaning there might not be a whole lot of stability in their selection, but they’ll probably always be working on something interesting.
Old Louisville Brewery is located at 625 W. Magnolia Ave. Follow them on Twitter to keep up with their plans.