Gravely Brewing to celebrate one year with a rare new IPA… and Wax Fang

New England-style IPAs have been all the rage for many craft beer drinkers and the object of scorn from others — particularly brewers. For its one-year anniversary, Gravely Brewing Co. is going in a different direction.

Brewery co-owner and head brewer Cory Buenning, who prefers clean, crisp beers such as pilsners and lagers, has brewed a Brut IPA, which is a high-hopped ale that resembles champagne. Originating out West, the style has only recently come to Kentucky, and Gravely is hoping to score a hit for its special anniversary event Aug. 18.

A special enzyme (it’s called amyloglucosidase, if you really want to know) helps break down sugars that otherwise might not be broken down in traditional fermentation. Thus, it is a cleaner, less malty beer that allows the hop qualities to shine through. It’s also effervescent and dry, kind of like a champagne.

If Platos are a measurement of the density of a beer, the goal with a Brut IPA is close to 0° Plato. Right now, the beer in the fermenter is just a little below 0°, said Nathaniel Gravely, who owns the brewery with Buenning.

Gravely said Buenning has been considering making a Brut IPA since as far back as May and did his due diligence before diving in.

“Cory has a love/hate relationship when it comes to the New England IPAs,” Gravely said. “He’s not a fan of the haze. This is the exact opposite of a New England IPA — it’s for a totally different audience.”

Gravely has tasted the beer from the fermenter and said it’s a big mission accomplished so far.

“It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had,” he said. “It’s so aromatic — it’s all hops. The hops just take over. You can almost smell the effervescence. It’s going to be a completely ridiculous beer.”

The beer will first be served at the one-year anniversary event, which also will include a performance by Wax Fang. You can get in for $10 general admission, but $25 VIP tickets get you in an hour early, plus commemorative glassware with your first pour of the Brut IPA. In addition, Mayan Street Food will create a special dinner item for VIPs: a chorizo burger on a pretzel bun, topped with beer cheese, jalapeño aioli, cabbage and pickled onions and served with house-made potato chips.

VIPs also will receive a souvenir 11×17 poster commemorating the event and prior to the live performance by Wax Fang, Night Visions’ DJs will spin tunes. Gravely expects big things from Wax Fang.

“I can’t wait to hear them in this room,” he said. “It was developed particularly for their kind of sound.”

Tickets are available at the brewery or through EventBrite.com.

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Beer festivals everywhere

Doesn’t seem like so long ago that the only beer festivals in town were Fest of Ale and Brew at the Zoo. As such, they were events to be planned around.

Sure, people still plan around them, but these days in Louisville, if you miss one, well, there will be another one right around the corner. If you miss Tailspin Ale Fest (you shouldn’t, but if you do…), catch the Highlands Beer Festival, in May. Miss that one, the Fest of Ale is right behind. And if you miss that one, now there’s the Kentucky Craft Bash, the all-Kentucky festival put on by the brewers guild.

Jeffersontown has its own beer fest now, as does the Kentucky Derby Festival, and random small multi-brewer events are popping up, sometimes in conjunction with barbecue and blues, sometimes with food trucks.

Old Louisville now has its own beer fest and it’s heading into year two. Presented by the Old Louisville Neighborhood Council, it takes place in Central Park this year on Aug. 24, 6-10 p.m., with 10 breweries participating, all local or regional, including Against the Grain, Old Louisville Brewery, Akasha Brewing, Mile Wide Beer Co., Holsopple Brewing and more.

Bridge 19 will perform during the event, food trucks will be on hand and tickets are just $10 at the gate or $8 in advance when purchased online via SquareUp.com. Find out more at OldLouBrew.com.

What’s in the fermenter?

Great Flood Brewing Co. owner and head brewer Matt Fuller has been busy keeping up with packaged product demand, but in between, he found time to brew another batch of a popular taproom brew: Hermes. A session IPA, it’s a summer sipper that Fuller called crushable.

The beer is made with Ekuanot and El Dorado hops, dry-hopped with more than a pound of hops per barrel.

“It uses a yeast strain that creates fruity flavors which compliment the hop flavors, which are citrus and tropical fruit,” Fuller said.

If you’ve been missing Hermes in this summer weather, fear not. It’s on its way back soon. •

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