#125 – Apocalypse Brew Works in Louisville, KY

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(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE

After visiting Against the Grain in Louisville, KY, we made the short drive over to Apocalypse Brew Works. Co-founders Bill Krauth, Leah Dienes, and Paul Grignon opened up the taproom (which they call “The Fallout Shelter”) on May 11, 2012 with the 3 1/2 barrel system they are using today. We spoke to Leah, the head-brewer, while sampling their brews and learned all of the information found below – including the fact that Leah is an active BJCP judge. Between the three co-founders, there is over 40 years of homebrewing experience which helped them open the taproom with 10 beers on tap and maintain that number since. Also, if you happen to be in the area when the world gets taken over by zombies, keep in mind that the brewery makes for a nice Apocalypse bunker since they can lock the razor wire laden gates to keep the zombies out; hence their motto “Drink Beer Til the End.”

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(2) VITAL INFORMATION

Date of our visit: Monday, 04/28/2014
Open since: May 11, 2012
Approx. Barrel (bbl) Output 2013: n/a
Projected bbl Output 2014: n/a
Brewhouse size: 3 1/2 bbl
Founder(s): Leah Dienes, Paul Grignon, Bill Krauth
Head Brewer: Leah Dienes
Packaging: Kegs only
Distribution: KY (primarily Louisville) and a few accounts in IN

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Other things we learned:

* The idea to open a brewery started when Bill, his wife, and Leah were at the National Homebrewer’s Conference in San Diego with their local homebrewing club, Louisville Area Grain and Extract Research Society (LAGERS).

* The brewery and taproom, aka “the Fallout Shelter,” occupies some of the space of the shop for Bill’s plumbing business. Of course this was helpful when doing plumping installations for the brewery.

* “Drink Beer Til the End” – The brewery makes for a nice Apocalypse bunker since they can lock the razor wire laden gates to keep the zombies out.

* Among the founders there is over 40 years of homebrewing experience. Leah, an active BJCP National Judge, is the head brewer, however, all three of the partners brew and tend to have their own specialties. Mostly collaborate on recipe creation. Their newest employees are 2 brewery cats plus 2 part-time people.

ABW brewery cats
[Brewery cats!]

* Sustainability Focus: The brewery water is heated by solar energy. Water and glycol are pumped up onto the roof and heated or cooled, respectively, and solar panels on the roof are also utilized to run pumps. They are using reclaimed materials with a focus on reuse and recycle, including during the building of the taproom bar. Planning to get an Air Quality Egg, which is a community driven air quality sensing network.

* The taproom is open Friday and Saturday and features rotating Food Trucks on site.

* The taproom is dog friendly. In fact, each year during Louisville Craft Beer Week they do a “Yappy Hour” where all proceeds go to the KY Humane Society. The event features food, live music, and collaborative beers with the LAGERS Homebrew Club.

* Other Events: Host anniversary Survival Parties with food and music and had an End of the World party on Dec 21, 2012. There is a local festival each summer, The Forecastle Festival, and the brewery has hosted it’s version, Poorcastle Festival, for the second year this past May for $5 – it features tons of live music on a couple different stages including utilization of a flatbed truck outside of the brewery.

* Leah is growing hops in her backyard and was able to use them in a beer for a fundraiser to support the Mighty Kindness Earth Day Hootenanny, an event for the non-profit organization focused on spreading kindness.

* Considering their focus on sustainability, a lot of local green organizations also like to hold meetings at the brewery.

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(3) BEERS ON TAP DURING OUR VISIT
* = Beers We Sampled; # = Year Round

* APA Series: Summit
* Apollo IPA #
* Atomic Amber #
* Big Barley II American Barleywine
* Cream-ation Cream Ale #
* Fallout Dust w/ black peppercorn #
* Peanut Brown
* Sunspot Stout Oatmeal Stout
O’Danny Pivo (Gluten Free) #
Whirlwind Wheat – American Wheat
* Complete listing of beers
* Beers on tap now

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What we learned about their beer during our visit:

* Opened their doors with 10 beers on tap and have maintained that since. Currently rotating through about 40 different recipes and attempting to keep a range of styles available on tap at all times while still keeping seasonality in mind.

* Working with a variety of yeasts to keep beers stylistically appropriate rather than working with just one house yeast.

* 5 beers (Atomic Amber, Cream-ation, Fallout Dust, IPA, and O’Danny Pivo) are kept on tap at the brewery at all times and a couple beers make it out into distribution.

* APA Series is done with rotating hops but always to the same 46 IBUs. Chose to do this rather than the more common IPA series because it is more balanced, you get a different spectrum of the hops in contrast with the malt backbone.

* Smoked Robust Porter aged in bourbon barrels released for Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar. Also brew a variety of other beers for select restaurant accounts in the area.

(4) EXPANSION PLANS

* Have some 10 bbl fermenters on standby for later use

(5) BACKGROUND OF PEOPLE WE SPOKE TO

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[Brandon, Leah, Michael]

Name: Leah Dienes
Title: Co-Owner & Head Brewer
Been with company since: Inception
Previous Brewing Experience: Homebrewing 17+ years
Previous Occupation(s): Graphic Design
Favorite Superhero: Iron Man

(6) MORE LINKS ABOUT BREWERY

* Main Website
* Contact Info
* Events Calendar

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

Author: Michael Roberts & Brandon Wurtz

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One thought on “#125 – Apocalypse Brew Works in Louisville, KY

  1. Visited Apocalypse last spring after getting advice from a server at Against the Grain. Luckily, we were in town on a Friday and the shelter was open. Brought my wife and three sons (9, 7, & 4) and all had a wonderful time. Even ran into some old friends that had moved from Chicagoland to L’Ville! The standout, for me, was Fallout Dust. I am considering a Smokey and the Bandit-type run just to get more! Eastbound and Down, baby!

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