When Gravely Brewing Co. opens Aug. 18, it will hark back to a significant piece of Louisville beer history — a time when bicycle racing was a spectator sport and campaigning politicians were known to stop in for rallies.
The brewery at 514 Baxter Ave. formerly the Pride Tile Co., is on part of what once was home to Phoenix Brewing Co., a nationally-known brewery and beer garden that operated roughly from 1884 until 1916. It had a lush garden, an indoor velodrome, an outdoor bar that was longer than 100 feet and more. Events from a Teddy Roosevelt rally to traveling shows and pig races took place there over the years.
Two of the original lagering caverns, where beer fermented prior to refrigeration, are on the Gravely property and can be clearly seen — although they won’t be used for making beer these days. And the Phoenix horse stable still stands next door.
Fast-forward 100 or so years, and Gravely will be part brewery, part music venue. Co-owner Nathaniel Gravely has worked in the music business, while brewer and co-owner Corey Buenning previously brewed at Snake River Brewing in Wyoming.
In addition, the brewery has partnered with Mayan Café, which has created a food truck called Mayan Street Food. It will be a permanent fixture at the brewery serving Mayan-style tacos, Mexican-style tacos and chips and salsas.
The brewhouse plans to feature a 15-barrel system with five 15-barrel fermenters and a pair of liquor tanks.
The brewery hasn’t even released news about what types of beers will be featured, although Buenning admits to being an IPA guy, so we can surmise we’ll get plenty of hops. Expect this opening to be well attended.
Check out the brewery’s website at gravelybrewing.com, where you can submit your email address with the promise that “early adopters get early music brewery access!” Can’t hurt to sign up.
Mint Julep Tours adds brewery tours
Mint Julep Tours, known for its tours through Kentucky’s Bourbon Country, launched a brewery tour this month called Brew in the Lou — Louisville Beer Tour. On select Sundays and Thursdays through November, you and your friends can canvas the Louisville area, hitting three breweries along the way for tours and tastings.
A press release from Mint Julep Tours lays it on thick, saying, “Whether you’re a hop-head or passionate about porters, there’s something for everyone along the way. With sensory experiences, behind-the-scenes access and brewmaster meet-and-greets, you’ll learn the craft and commitment behind the city’s finest beers.”
Against the Grain, Great Flood, Goodwood, Apocalypse Brew Works, Falls City Brewing Co., Monnik Beer Co. and Mile Wide Beer Co. are the participating breweries, and the tours will vary. For $79, you’ll get “guided transportation with a brew guru, three tours with tasting flights, pretzel necklace and brewery swag.”
Of course, you may already know about Derby City Brew Tours, which offers similar tours on Saturdays and Sundays. For $45, you get a tour for up to 10 people by local beer enthusiast Keith Joy, along with beer samples, tours, a pretzel necklace and a beer-tasting chart.
Holsopple IPA releases today
Today, if you’re reading this on Aug. 9, is the release day for Holsopple’s new IPA. The Lyndon brewery opens at 4 p.m. Holsopple co-owner Sam Gambill shared an uncarbonated taste of the new beer, and it’s one that has been worth the wait as he figured out his recipe through several experimental batches he labeled as Project Alpha.
Asked what hops he used for the final product, he chuckled nervously.
“I can tell you that all the hops in this are ones we used in the Project Alpha series except for one,” he said, keeping the mystery alive. “I guess we’re more secretive than some breweries.”
He did say that Centennial, Cascade and Citra are three of the hops in the beer, which he labels as being “close to a Northwest IPA.”
With multiple dry hops and a restrained malt sweetness, the beer is worth checking out. The good news is, it will become a core beer and will be available year-around.
MadTree Brewing comes to Louisville
Cincinnati-based MadTree Brewing products hit town this week, with launch events all over town and a partnership with TreesLouisville. Check out madtreebrewing.com/lou for events today through Saturday at various bars, restaurants, and breweries.