(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE
During our time in Lexington, KY, we received multiple recommendations to check out Blue Stallion Brewing company. We originally made our way over there on Saturday night and then went back the following day to speak with co-founder Jim Clemons. Blue Stallion is currently the only brewery in Kentucky distributing lagers, which became a focus of head brewer Nico Schulz after getting his brewing start in Germany and then attending the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. Blue Stallion has a principal focus on traditional German lagers and English ales featuring traditional and proper glassware to pair with each style; they do not make any American styles. The taproom features a bar taller than any we have experienced in a space that used to house an old iron working studio. We had an incredible time there both days and thoroughly enjoyed all of the beers we got to try, including a collaboration they did with Against the Grain called All Funked Up Berwynnerweisse.
(2) VITAL INFORMATION
Date of our visit: Sunday, 04/27/2014
Open since: July 17, 2013
Approx. Barrel (bbl) Output 2013: n/a
Projected bbl Output 2014: n/a
Brewhouse size: 15 bbl – 2 vessel direct flame
Founder(s): Jim Clemons, Nico Schulz, Kore Donnelly, Zac Donnelly, and Xavier Donnelly
Head Brewer: Nico Schulz
Packaging: Kegs only
Distribution: Central KY
Other things we learned:
* Fermenting in six single batch 15 bbl copper vessels for the first year, however, began utilizing two 60 bbl fermenters one day prior to their one year anniversary. Also have six 15 bbl lagering tanks plus one additional that serves as a cold liquor tank.
* All grain utilized comes from Europe. Traditional and authentic ingredients – grain, hops, and yeast – fit to style. Beers are all vegan and utilize no chemicals to aide in fermentation i.e. Silicon oxide for flocculations. If you can’t safely eat the ingredient on it’s own, it does not go into the beer.
* They won multiple medals this past February at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup Competition which is judged as a blind taste test: Gold for Doppelbock, Silver for Smoked Lager, and Bronze for Dunkel
* At the time of our stop they were in the process of building a larger parking lot across the street. Once completed, the goal is to transform the current parking lot into an expanded beer garden.
* Also have a pilot system utilized for Test batch Tuesdays: Tap a new beer from the pilot system that is typically less traditional and more experimental with styles.
* They have live music on Wednesdays and Trivia night on Thursdays. Feature various food trucks every day.
* The sole KY brewery distributing lagers, they wish to get into further packaging in the future but will need to acquire additional space to accommodate.
* Because they are making a lot of lagers which take more time than ales, they end up producing less beer than it may seem by the looks of the fermenter tank farm.
* For craft beer week in May they had quite a few releases. Sour beer day, smoky beer day with a BBQ truck, etc.
* The brewery was originally going to be called Blue Horse but ran into legal problems with a Mexican company, Azul Cabelleros, and had to switch to Blue Stallion. The name obviosly pays homage to their location in KY – Blue for Lexington’s UK campus and Stallion for KY’s long horse-centric history.
* The original label design pictured the horse walking and, again, ran into legal issues but this time with the city of Lexington who uses a standing blue horse for the tourism department. They lost a lot of money in pre designed tap handles, etc, but now the logo is fixed as the galloping blue stallion.
* The building that houses the brewery and bar used to house an old iron working studio.
* The brewery taproom features a very tall bar (quite comfortable if you ask me) but they joke that it was built to scale for Nico’s 6’7″ build. The bar is also decorated with disassembled bourbon barrels, featuring holes since they are required to be single time use.
* Nico got his brewing start in Germany and came to America and attended the Seibel institute. After graduating he knew he really wanted to focus on brewing lagers.
(3) BEERS AVAILABLE DURING OUR VISIT
* Beers We Sampled; # = Year Round
$ = Seasonal, @ = Specialty/Limited Release
* German Pilsner #
* Helles #
* Hefeweizen #
* Oktoberfest Marzen $
* Munich Dunkel #
* Scottish 70 Schilling #
* Schwarzbier #
* Bourbon Barrel Aged Irish Red Ale @
* Bourbon Barrel Aged Wee Heavy @
* Smoked Lager #
* Oatmeal Stout @
* All Funked Up Berwynnerweisse @
Listing of beers
Current tap list
What we learned about their beer during our visit:
* A principal focus on traditional German lagers and English ales featuring traditional and proper glassware to pair with each style. They do not make any American styles.
* Top selling beer is the Munich Dunkel followed by the Hefeweizen which is the sole unfiltered beer.
* With the focus on traditional styles, they refuse to cut any corners on lagering times for beers.
* Beers in distribution (keg only): Hefeweizen, Munich Dunkel, Helles, and Pilsner.
* Collaboration done previously with Against the Grain in Louisville – All Funked Up Berwynnerweisse.
* Being from KY with close access to everybody’s favorite spirit (or at least ours), they have a separate room set aside for bourbon barrel aging. Irish Red Ale, Wee Heavy, Maibock, etc.
* They have a 50 degree cellar and the long term goal is to consistently offer traditional UK cask ales.
(4) EXPANSION PLANS
Recently utilizing new 60 bbl fermentors.
(5) BACKGROUND OF PEOPLE WE SPOKE TO
Name: Jim Clemons
Been with company since: Inception
Previous Brewing Experience: Homebrewing 20 years
Previous Occupation(s): Designing petro chemical plants in TX
Favorite Superhero: Superman
(6) MORE LINKS ABOUT BREWERY
(7) You can find the rest of our photos here
Author: Michael Roberts & Brandon Wurtz