Yesterday my co-worker, Tony, suggested heading down to Against the Grain, the new locally owned brewery and smokehouse, at 11:00 AM for their Grand Opening. Of course I wanted to go, but was unsure what to expect from a crowd standpoint, and didn't really feel like waiting for a table or just standing by the bar, but I relented and we took the few block jaunt over to Louisville Slugger Field. We were both pleasantly surprised to find out we were the second and third people in the door; so we had beat the crowd. We found our way to the bar and what came next will be a thing of legend when we look back at Against the Grain in a few years.
We were promptly greeted by our bartender, Jessie, who introduced herself with a handshake and a smile. We introduced ourselves and Jessie pointed out the large blackboard with the current beers listed on them (the same board Browning's used if you'd been down there while they were open). One more note on Jessie before we move forward, she was a very good bartender, knowledgeable about her beer, talkative, but not too much so, and even remembered Tony and my name, which is impressive to me because I am horrible with names even when I'm trying to remember them. After some deliberation I decided on a flight of all six Against the Grain beers. Now, for those of you who don't know, Against the Grain is going to do things a little different; instead of having a "flagship" beer like a lot of breweries do, they are going to have "categories" and will always have a beer on tap that fills the categories. The categories are going to be: Session, Hop, Whim, Malt, Dark, and Smoke. Filling the categories yesterday were: Session - Covalent Blonde, a Belgian Blonde / Hop - 2 Wheel Death Machine, an APA / Whim - Knotty Squirrel, a Belge-Amer IPA / Malt - Fancy Lawyer Terms, a Biere De Garde / Dark - 35K, a Milk Stout / and Smoke - Ledersmoken, a Smoked Oktoberfest.
Let me just say, I was more than impressed with each one. However, my favorite was probably the 35K Milk Stout. It had a beautiful chocolate/smoked aroma to it (even though I found out from the brewer, Jerry Gnagy, that he used absolutely no smoked malts to brew it). At 6.7% ABV and around 26 IBU's, I found it very sessionable. My second favorite was close between the Ledersmoken and the Fancy Lawyer Terms. The Ledersmoken was not quite as smoky as the Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen I reviewed last week, but it was delicious none the less, and I found myself smiling as I took my first sip of it. The Fancy Lawyer Terms had a yummy, sweet malt character to it, and since I am more inclined to enjoy malty or well balanced beers as opposed to strip your taste buds off hoppy beers, I found the 8% ABV, 28 IBU brew extremely sippable.
The thing that sucked the most about Against the Grain for me was that I enjoyed each one of their beers so much that when I go back I'll be more inclined to get a flight again than settle for a few pints of just some of them. The great thing about Against the Grain for me is that they're going to have something for everyone and are going to brew a year round Smoke Beer, which was music to my ears. I wish the guys at Against the Grain the best of luck, they are a welcome addition to the local beer scene.
If you had been following me on Twitter, you would have gotten my LIVE updates, opinions, and pictures from the Grand Opening; so if you're not already, you should correct that mistake now...and go ahead and follow me on Facebook and Foursquare too.
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