#124 – Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville, KY

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(1) OUR EXPERIENCE

I can’t think of a better way to start a Louisville, KY experience than to go to a brewery that uses bourbon barrels from Kentucky and is connected to a ballpark . That is exactly what Against the Grain is, but they are so much more than that – our experience there was incredible. Co-owner Sam Cruz met with us on the gloomy, near-tornado-storm-but-nothing-actually-happened Monday and was able to tell us about their constantly changing beer selection, on-site malt smoker, broad distribution, multiple collaborative efforts, and more. Their brewing equipment is located on the second and third floor, which is visible through glass panes for your viewing pleasure from the bottom floor where the taproom and dining area are located. With so many experimental styles and a warm, welcoming staff, this is a destination that you cannot miss out on!

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(2) VITAL INFORMATION

Date of our visit: Monday, 4/28/14
Open since: October 2011
Approx. Barrel (bbl) Output 2013: 2,500 bbl
Projected bbl Output 2014: 6,000 bbl
Projected bbl Output 2015: 10,000 bbl
Brewhouse size: 15 bbl
Owner(s): Sam Cruz, Andrew Ott, Jerry Gnagy, Adam Watson
Brew master: Jerry Gnagy
Packaging: Large bottles/ Kegs
Distribution: List of areas

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Other things we learned:

* Jerry and Sam used to be the brewers at Bluegrass Brewing Company

* Sam does the marketing/ sales, Jerry leads the brewing, Adam functions as the CEO and head brewer, and Andrew runs the restaurant/ food

* Adam had spear-headed law changes regarding distribution in KY

* Offer non-alcoholic in-house options, including a bacon cream soda

* Connected to Louisville Slugger Field, but do not offer their beers there

* Have a wide selection of options on their food menu

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(3) BEERS OF THEIRS WE HAVE TASTED

* Rico Sauvin (at Avenue Pub in New Orleans, LA)
* Citra Ass Down (at Mekong in Richmond, VA)
* BerwynnerWeisse (at Blue Stallion Brewing in Lexington, KY)
* Hop Party
* Debora Deaux’s Helles
* Meconium Falcon
* We Shuck on the First Date
* Goin HAM
* Come on Summer
* Complete listing of beers

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[Top L-R: Session, Dark, Malt; Bottom L-R: Smoke, Whim, Hop]

What we learned about their beer during our visit:

* They categorize each of their beers into 1 of 6 categories: Hop, Smoke, Dark, Malt, Session, and Whim. They also have characters they use for the artwork depending on the style that particular beer falls into (see photo above).

* The bottle for Kentucky Ryed Chiquen was designed to look like they beat a chicken to death with it, but without the blood [image]

* Bo & Luke was the American version of a collaboration they did with Brouwerij De Molen; it is an Imperial Smoked Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels & was named after the characters in The Dukes of Hazard. The recipe is sort of a bourbon recipe turned upside down, as it contains corn & rye

* Have done multiple other collaborations, including ones with: Blue Stallion (All Funked Up: Berwynnerweisse), Mikkeller (Bloody Show), Amager Bryghus in Denmark (The Great, Big Kentucky Sausage Fest), Country Boy (Saladbarity)

* Hop Party & Hop Party 2: Pajamagem were named after the House Party movies

* We Shuck on the First Date is an oyster stout that uses oysters from Island Creek Oyster Farm in MA

* They smoke their own malt with an onsite smoker; use different wood varieties such as apple wood; always have a smoked beer being offered

* 4 brands of their 22oz bottles are contract brewed out of state; the barrel-aging/ wild/ sour programs are all done in-house

* Brew some beers for Local Option, The Aviary, and Fountainhead in Chicago

(4) EXPANSION PLANS

* Open up a second facility in Louisville soon – hoping to start brewing beer there by the end of this year

(5) BACKGROUND OF PEOPLE WE SPOKE TO

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[Me, Same, Haggis]

Name: Sam Cruz
Title: Marketing/ Sales/ Branding manager
Been with company since: The beginning
Previous Brewing Experience: Brewer at Bluegrass Brewing Company
Favorite Superhero: Remo Williams
Other info: Started off as a brewer, became an owner

(6) MORE LINKS ABOUT BREWERY

* Main Website
* StarChefs.com – Interview

(7) You can find the rest of our photos here

Author: Michael Roberts

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5 thoughts on “#124 – Against the Grain Brewery in Louisville, KY

  1. Pingback: #123 – Blue Stallion Brewing Co in Lexington, KY | Brews Travelers 365

  2. Pingback: #125 – Apocalypse Brew Works in Louisville, KY | Brews Travelers 365

  3. Pingback: Top 6 Crafted Beer Brewery Worth Visiting in Louisville | Your Journey | Your Destination

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