Monday, March 30, 2009

Browning's restaurant back?

Good news from Louisville. To help clarify, the space in question is the once/future Browning's Brewery, which has continued producing beer since the attached restaurants closed in October, 2008, and the locally renowned Shariat formerly ran the kitchen there.

Shariat receives city loan for Slugger Field restaurant

Louisville restaurateur Anoosh Shariat and a business partner have received a $100,000 loan from the Louisville Metropolitan Business Development Corp. to open a restaurant and brew pub at Louisville Slugger Field.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A rainy Saturday.

(Bank Street Brewhouse is open on Sunday, and the NCAA games will be showing)

After a lengthy hiatus, I returned to the front porch yesterday afternoon and enjoyed a fine cigar (from Kaiser’s Tobacco in downtown New Albany) accompanied by a cup of steaming black tea and the most recent issue of “The Economist.” It was a pleasant break from the previous weeks of stress and strain at work, and the cigar tasted even better for it having been more than a month since the one before it.

Before that, my pal Jerry and I enjoyed one of our periodic forays to Ear-X in Louisville, had a bite to eat, and then stopped at Rocky’s Sub Pub in Jeffersonville to examine the new 30+ draft system. The selection is good, and I’ll be writing about it for my column in this Wednesday’s LEO. We ended up and Bank Street Brewhouse, where several friends were ensconced, including three regional wine merchants who drink beer in their spare time. We all talked shop, and it was invigorating.

Jared had uncovered a four-month old firkin of Beak’s Best that had been dry-hopped with Amarillo hops, and it was pouring from the hand pull. Good stuff indeed, even if the temperature wasn’t right for lifting the garage doors. I felt a bit sad for the group coming in for pizza, but accidents are unavoidable. The point is for Connor’s Place and/or the River City Winery to make pizza. We’ll happily direct people in those directions. Then, no one leaves downtown without satisfaction.

Speaking of which … excuse me for dipping into the mailbag.

To Edna: Sorry, but the food is priced and sized in portion wit the ingredients and preparation. There will be no burgers or pizza. The burgers at Studio’s are pretty good, though.

To K: We had the sound turned off on purpose. We think that being able to see the game is enough, and that the announcers typically are superfluous.

To the unknown homebrewer: We’ve never done chicken wings at the original location, and they weren’t contemplated at the new one. I understand that Connor’s Place will be offering them soon, if not already.

To N, T, J, L and a couple dozen others: Thanks for the patronage, and moreover, for understanding what we’re trying to achieve. It will continue to evolve. Please share your feelings with the like-minded. Revitalization can’t occur without standing a few paradigms on their heads.

That’s why we’re here. It’s what we do.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gastronomy in New Albany? You might as well get used to it.

Yesterday I chewed over a few ruminations gleaned from the ongoing kitchen rollout at the Bank Street Brewhouse.

Bank Street Brewhouse: It's exactly because "different" isn't the "same."

Last evening I sampled the Flat Iron Steak with an Asparagus Salad, accompanied by an Oaktimus (Hoptimus aged with oak chips) dating from early 2008. Speaking with approximate objectivity, it may have been the best all-around meal I've had in an American brewpub, bar none -- and I've been to quite a few.

Yes, the intention was to have a continental, Belgian-cafe-style kitchen. Two weeks into the Brewhouse's existence, we've transcended that simple ideal by an Old Country mile. This has occurred because we had the chance to work with Chef Josh Lehman, whose vision and dedication should be obvious. Admittedly, it's the polar opposite of the menu at the Public House and Pizzeria, and for some, that fact has been an impediment. Happily, the scene at Grant Line is the same as it ever was.

Meanwhile, at Bank Street, we're all working as hard as we can to disseminate information about when we're open, what food is available and when, and a hundred other things that every start-up has to resolve. The brewery's coming within a month, and then another chapter begins. Exterior finishing work is set to resume.

The point to me is this: It hasn't progressed in the way I imagined, but it's far, far better than what I ever envisioned, which makes a very strong case for the collaborative theory of management as illustrated by our team. Our traditional location is utterly unique, and so is the new one. Our collective mandate has been to challenge, not pander, and my personal goal is to make the world aware of the possibilities of pairing first-rate cuisine with equally top-notch brewing. We're already heading toward fruition in these areas, and it's only just begun.

In fact, the only dissonance heard so far is the familiar variation on the crippling, self-loathing lament native to the vicinity: You can't do that in New Albany, and you shouldn't even try.

Bullshit. Why not?

My question, then, is what word do we coin to describe what we're doing? The one that seems closest in the "gastropub" in Brit-speak, as defined by Wikipedia.

A gastropub (or gastro pub) is a British term for a public house which specializes in high-quality food a step above the more basic "pub grub." The name is a combination of pub and gastronomy and was coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben opened a pub called The Eagle in Clerkenwell, London.[1][2] The concept "helped create a truly British culinary scene" and "arose from a conscious effort to promote great food in well-loved places."[2] Gastropubs have been described as the Anglo-equivalent of the French brasserie or the Japanese izakaya [3]
The problem with "gastropub" is that Americans only hear the prefix when it is associated with stomach viruses, "gastronomy" being a little used word in Big Buford Land.

Any thoughts? Thanks to all readers so far who get it. Your patronage is appreciated very, very much.


At NAC: Dinner menu at Bank Street Brewhouse tonight ... and a special Elector on the handpull.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse: It's exactly because "different" isn't the "same."

Dinner menu at Bank Street Brewhouse tonight ... and a special Elector.

Now that the Bank Street Brewhouse is operational, at least on the front end, I hope that there’ll be time to return this blog to its original purpose. Primarily, this means me writing about anything I damn well please, with a general connection to beer and brewing, and to my place as a habitué of this wonderful world.

The first days of Bank Street have been incredible, and yet there’s something I need to get off my chest.

I told you it was going to be different!

Some of you should have listened to me. I spoke of shifting paradigms and drmatic reinventions, and you somehow thought I was joking or playing games.

Remember: I don’t play games. Ever. As a voyeur, I might watch them ... but not play them.

Way back in 1992, many of my friends doubted that a true specialty beer establishment could survive in New Albany. I was serious then, too. Hopefully the results over 17 years speak for themselves.

Now that we’ve embarked upon a major company expansion, one that involves a fairy radical new concept of what we as a company can be, especially when it comes to Chef Josh’s incredible cuisine, it’s useful for me to remember that not everyone is going to see it that way, even some of those who should know better. That’s okay. I’ll just have to work a bit harder to prove it to you.

I’m largely untroubled beyond feeling a natural disappointment that everyone might not see the future as clearly as I do, but that’s part of the game. We are going to be compelled to explain ourselves and the mission, and that’s necessary. I welcome it.

After we’ve explained ourselves and offered a completely new, unique experience in downtown New Albany as a damned fine brewery that does some damned fine food – that both “feeds the people” in a sense, but more importantly educates them by challenging preconceived notions of the heights to which beer and food can aspire – there’ll be a percentage that still disagrees.

So be it, and that’s okay, too. All anyone can do is their best, and so far, we are doing just that. Once the brewery is on line, it'll be better.

The original pub and pizzeria off Grant Line remain intact, and the combined weight of the beer program (NABC and guests) and traditional pizza-based menu is the same as it ever was. That’s purely intentional. Downtown, we’re going to make the point that fresh, locally sourced food prepared with consummate skill by an creative, ambitious young chef and his crew, and (once the brewing system is operative) paired with consistently excellent local craft beers, is a viable, complementary option. There may well prove to be an entirely new crowd for such a fusion, and in fact, we’re counting on it.

Yes, it’s true: I suffered a bit of rejection’s sting last night. It’s also true that dounbters always stoke my competitive spirit. That’s the way it worked in 1992, and the way I hope it remains.

Dinner menu at Bank Street Brewhouse tonight ... and a special Elector.

On Thursday evening (March 26) the NABC Bank Street Brewhouse dinner menu will debut. Please note the dinner hours of 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

To honor the occasion, the NABC’s brew crew will be releasing a cask-conditioned pin (5 gallons) of Elector, which has been aged for nine months in a wooden cask formerly used to dispense Lagavulin-aged JW Lees Vintage Harvest Ale. This special batch of Elector will be tapped at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Stay tuned. There are rumors of a Thunderfoot appearance during the week of March 30.

Executive Chef - Joshua Lehman
Sous Chef - Andy Gunn
Brewers – Jesse Williams & Jared Williamson

Dinner Menu

Soup du Jour
Chef's Whim

Asparagus Salad
Fennel, Radishes, Citrus Vinaigrette

Diver Scallops, Carrot Mousse, English Peas, Bacon, Lemon Brown Butter

Pork Confit - Slow Roasted Pork, Fingerling Potatoes, Pickled

Flat Iron Steak
Caramelized Onions, Sunchokes, Asparagus, Veal reduction

English Pea & Mushroom Risotto
Arborio Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms, Roasted Fennel, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Good press today at LEO: Review: Roll out the barrel at Bank Street Brewhouse, by Kevin Gibson & Robin Garr.

Lovers of microbrewery beer now have another local mecca: The long-awaited Bank Street Brewhouse, an offshoot of New Albanian Brewing Company, opened its doors this month and is operating with a limited menu and limited seating in downtown New Albany.

If an early impression does justice to the end result, this brewpub will indeed have been worth the wait.

Monday, March 23, 2009

One day just behind the unread "closed" sign.

Brewer Jared Williamson and I share a recurring joke about how we can't understand non-readers, seeing as neither of us can drive down the road without reading every sign we see.

All of them. We just can't help it.

There were having team meetings today at the Bank Street Brewhouse, which is closed on Mondays. As we proceeded with discussions, there were periodic arrivals of people unaware of the operating hours, and that's fine. We're just starting. A few of them paused to read the sign that explains our hours. Others pushed on the door, which was locked for the most part, but once or twice was unlatched. The Monday closing would be politely explained to them, and accompanying questions answered. Most of the time this was sufficient.

At around 3:00 p.m., with the door unlocked because of someone's smoke break outside, a smartly dressed older couple reeking of affluence pushed through. One of the servers explained matters, and the woman was taken aback, saying that as out of towners, it had been hard to find us, but they had to come after the newspaper article in the Courier-Journal on Saturday - "the food looked so good in the picture."

They asked if there was a good place to eat nearby, and we said "La Rosita's" in unison; the best Mexican in the area.

"We don't eat Mexican food."

Uh huh. You're losing points fast, lady.

With the Windsor open only for lunch, the best alternative was Studio's, and I told them so, adding that it surprised me that the Saturday C-J article didn't have the business hours. Of course, I knew it did.

"Well, we didn't actually read the article," she replied.

Or call the phone number.

At this point, I'd lost interest. You drive out of the way because of a photo, perhaps noting the headline alone, and then what? Driving down every street until there wwas a banner so large that it couldn't be missed?

Then he looked at her and said, "Why don't we eat at Penn Station instead?"

Candid Camera, anyone? Is this my payback for bad karma?

I considered saying something like this:

"I can't help noticing that you're fairly well off. How exactly did you manage that? Did you inherit it, or did you come up with a way to fleece people dumber than you?"

Because I'm masquerading as an adult, I refrained. It wasn't easy, but at least we didn't have to try and recommend beers to them.

White Zinfandel, anyone?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Too early for the beer biz.

John Campbell and I were up bright and early today to promote local beer and LIBA's Louisville Brewfest at the Clifton Center on Friday, March 27. My appearance was on WHAS-11's morning news, and lasted approximately a minute.

If you're in the New Albany neighborhood, don't forget that the Bank Street Brewhouse is open today until 8:00 p.m. Food service is limited today because we gave the kitchen crew time off; yesterday's mention in the C-J was good for business yesterday, and they need time to prepare the first stages of the evening menu that should hit tables on Thursday night, March 26.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tasty Stark Bier Zeit draft fest at the Nachbar, Saturday night (March 21).

Stark Bier Zeit at the Nachbar on Saturday!

The draft selection for Stark Bier Zeit is excellent, including the only Louisville appearance of our Solidarity, a Baltic-style Porter, and also the rare Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) and Dogfish Head WorldWide Stout. The fest's name refers to the Bavarian habit of late winter or early spring Doppelbock release celebrations -- strong beer time. Ironically, it was my original choice for what became Gravity Head.

Bank Street Brewhouse in today's C-J.

Good press for the business in the morning C-J: Long-awaited Bank Street Brewhouse opens in New Albany (by Steve Coomes).

When Steve, a veteran free-lancer, visited the Brewhouse last Sunday, we were chatting about beer and he revealed a forthcoming trip to Italy to write about a pizza competition. I told him that Italian microbreweries are red hot, and then in the days since he did more research and found one near his destination. Now I'm envious that he'll get there before I have the chance. Italian beercycling, anyone?

Here's the link to a Bank Street discussion at the restaurant forum: First Visit: NABC Bank Street Brewhouse.

From all of us at NABC Bank Street Brewhouse: Thanks for coming in the past week. Next week you should be seeing the evening food menu phased into place, as well as a special involving cask-conditioned Thunderfoot on the hand pull and elegantly styles duck on the plate in front of it. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Swill cons in LEO today.

Today's LEO column contains heartfelt revelations about the time I wasted beer. Don't judge me too harshly ...

Mug Shots: Reveling in the innocence of a swill-soaked youth.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friday, March 27: LIBA's Louisville Brewfest at the Clifton Center.

Here's the scoop on an upcoming Louisville beer fest. We'll be there.


Press release

Friday, March 27th from 4:00pm – 10:00pm
The Clifton Center, 2117 Payne Street

Louisville, KY – The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) and the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO) are pleased to present the first annual “Louisville Brewfest” on Friday, March 27th from 4pm-10pm at the Clifton Center, located at 2117 Payne Street.

The event will feature beer tastings from Bluegrass Brewing Main Street, Cumberland Brews, New Albanian Brewing Company, Bluegrass Brewing Company, and Brownings, as well as favorite hometown foods from the breweries, Boombozz Famous Gourmet Pizzeria and The Bodega at Felice.

There will also be performances by local bands The Instruction at 7pm, Thomas A. Minor at 8pm and Adventure at 9pm. Admission is free, and in order to drink attendees must be 21+ and purchase a $2 souvenir cup. Complimentary rides will be provided by City Scoot after 7:30pm.

Beer tickets can be purchased at the door for $1 each, redeemable for food and beer (i.e. 1 ticket = 1 beer sample, 3 tickets = 1 full beer). If our local basketball teams are playing in the NCAA tournament that night, the games will be available for viewing on site. LIBA individual memberships will be available for $10, and new members will receive a “Buy Local First” or “Keep Louisville Weird” sticker and a special voucher book with discount offers from participating venders.

“Louisville has a thriving micro/craft beer scene, and it goes a long way toward Keeping Louisville Weird,” says Scott Roussell, Bluegrass Brewing Main Street. “Like we always say, ‘Don’t buy beer from strangers.’”

This event is sponsored by the LEO. For more information visit

About the Louisville Independent Business Alliance
The mission of LIBA is to preserve the unique community character of the Metro Louisville area by promoting locally-owned businesses and to educate citizens on the value of shopping locally. For more information and a member list, visit

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We want to do Sundays, and today is a fine place to begin.

Go to NABC's website (scroll down) for updated draft listings for both NABC locations.

Following the first few days of business at the Bank Street Brewhouse, the team is busily sorting through dozens of hastily scribbled post-it notes. Your constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and in fact, it is encouraged. I haven’t had time to catch up with all of last week’s e-mail correspondence, so please give me today to do a load of laundry and crawl back.

BSB will be closed on Mondays. Part of the reason for this is that I remain rather stubbornly determined to make “Open on Sunday” a reality in downtown New Albany. It is perhaps my primary goal as carnival barker and promotional flagellant, and in fact borders on the obsessive.

Today will be the inaugural expression of this desire, even if we don’t have the operation down to a science quite yet. There will be food, and there will be drink, and someone will be there to serve them from 12:00 noon until around 8:00 p.m.

With time and warmer weather, I’m envisioning a lively Sunday experience. Chef Josh and I have discussed several “Sunday special” menu possibilities, among them a lighter soup and salad option that might be good for the Sunday YMCA crowd, post-church lunches and cyclists. Of course, those wishing to augment with beer would be welcomed to do so.

We’re not quite there … yet. But we’ll be there today, with what we have now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Exhaustion and pride.

Thanks to everyone who came out to sample the Bank Street Brewhouse yesterday afternoon and evening. It was a fine start for us, and we'll be working to iron out the kinks as the next stage (brewery installation and exterior work) begins.

I apologize about the food/kitchen confusion yesterday. I was confused, too. I did a fairly poor job of articulating the lunch time vs. dinner time information, and we hadn't quite gotten an "interim" snack menu in place ... then, to top it off, we ran through a big volume of edibles at lunch with no time to prep the evening.

Chef Josh let most of the kitchen crew go home and sleep, and put together an impromptu evening menu of soup and a cheese plate that went over quite well. The beer was flowing freely, and the atmosphere was festive.

In the context of our previous experience, the Bank Street project throws a few curveballs. We've always done a day-long pizza and sandwich menu; now, at Bank Street, we have a kitchen and a creative menu that make different demands in terms of time, and with the way that I must conceptualize the marketing plan. It'll take a couple of weeks, but we'll get there. Tuesday through Saturday will be lunch and dinner menus, with snacks (cheese plate, etc) in between. Sunday will be a different (and currently evolving) plan for the food, perhaps a lighter bill of fare (salads, soups) for YMCA patrons and weekend bicyclists.

NABC beer, Southern Indiana wines, a small list of selected spirits and craft sodas will be available at all hours.

Ironically, with my out-of-town guest Kim in tow, and seeking to expose him to as many good things as possible over the weekend, we actually left Bank Street Brewhouse early Friday evening and went to La Rosita's to dine. We could do this because the staff was completely on task, which feels good.

Rosita's was packed, too, and in all three seating areas. The food was wonderful as always.

Thanks again for the support. We have plenty of work to do, and are exceedingly optimistic about the prospects.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bank Street conditions for the weekend.

Bank Street's going to be open the next three days (Fri., Sat & Sun.) according to the schedule listed at right on the main blog page. However, it's important to know that we really only planned for lunch the next two days, so the evening menu will be short. Soup and frites, anyone? I understand they go well with beer. We all deeply appreciate the kind words of those who've dropped by to eat and drink this week, and I apologize for the absence of personal responses.

We're still putting the pieces together. Thanks for understanding.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dinner tonight at Bank Street Brewhouse? Doors unlocked tonight.

We invited neighbors and townies to the Bank Street Brewhouse for lunch today. At the moment we're cleaning up and preparing to do it again this evening. If you'd like to stop by after 5:00 p.m. and check it out, feel free. Scroll past the photo for the menu.

New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse

Lunch Menu (currently offered much of the day)

Soup du Jour
Chef's whim

Caesar Salad
Hearts of Romaine, Parmigiano Reggiano, Garlic Croutons, House Caesar Dressing

Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
Frissee Lettuce, Roasted Gold & Red Beets, Bacon, Walnuts,
Capriole Goat Cheese, Crème Fraiche Vinaigrette

Pommes Frites
House cut Fries, Sea Salt, assorted Dipping Sauces

Ginger, Lemon Grass, White Wine and Coconut Milk

Croque Monsieur
Black Forest Ham, Prosciutto, Emmantaler Cheese,
Wheat Bread (Blue Dog), Mornay Sauce

Croque Madame
Add Egg to Croque Monsieur

Mushrooms en Croute
Wild Mushrooms, Lentils, Puff Pastry

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I know, I know ... it's like inflicting baby pictures on your buddies, but what can I say?

I'll apologize in advance for resembling a broken record this week. Having confessed, here are more photos from the Bank Street Brewhouse, specifically last evening's "soft" opening. Another follows tonight, and another on Thursday, with Friday designated as opening day.

In the afternoon, the kitchen crew prepared menu samples for the employees.

Chef Josh Lehman explained the ingredients and preparation of the dishes, and then brewer Jared Williamson provided a few beer/food pairing observations.

From six to eight in the evening, dining and drinking occurred.

Earlier in the day, utilizing the newly installed antique poplar countertop by the (future) brewery window, liquors were briefly nipped. We'll eventually have a few selected spirits behind the bar (a hint: don't order Jack and coke), along with wines from Indiana wineries. Turtle Run's up first, with Huber and others to follow. There'll also be a selection of non-alcoholic craft sodas, and maybe even straws.

Of course, NABC beer is the primary beverage. When everything is working right, there'll be ten standard taps and two hand-pulled ales every day.

Thanks again for your support.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse: Everybody's working for the weekend.

It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that U2’s new release, “No Line on the Horizon,” has become my personal soundtrack for the opening of NABC’s new Bank Street Brewhouse. For me and my Irish contemporaries, they’re acts of reinvention, as I hope these photos illustrate.

They were taken yesterday, as we prepped for entertaining Resch Construction’s workers with a meal and drinks. We’ll be doing a few “soft” nights this week for selected customers, and aiming to be open for lunch and the general public on Friday and Saturday. We're planning on Sunday hours, with Mondays closed.

When I’m absolutely sure all this will be lifting off on Friday, I’ll post opening hours and further details. Thanks for your support.

Demanding list of Liver Olympic events for the week.

As of today, the 2009 edition of our Gravity Head "Liver Olympics" is ten days old, and roughly one-third of the listed contestants are depleted: Gravity Head 2009 lineupdate.

Tonight there'll be incoming: Bus from Louisville to Gravity Head this Tuesday, March 10.

On Thursday, we're tapping a keg of Schlafly with a special baseball opportunity attached: Thursday, March 12: Come to Schlafly Tripel Night for a chance to win St. Louis Cardinals-Chicago Cubs tix.

The weekend's going to be crazy; in addition to the following, it looks like NABC's new Bank Street Brewhouse will be open for business on Friday (more on that a bit later today):

March 12-16
“Kim’s Coming to Town”
To know the Publican is to know his Danish friend Kim “Big Kim” Andersen. Kim, a member of the Danish Beer Enthusiasts, will be coming to New Albany for a well-timed visit and stay at the fabled Chez Baylor bed & breakfast. Look for us in the Public House and/or Bank Street Brewhouse. We’ll be the big guys.

Saturday, March 14
“My Wild Irish Rose”
NABC will again participate in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade along Baxter Avenue & Bardstown Road in Louisville.

Saturday, March 14
“FOSSILS Meeting with Ron Downer”
The FOSSILS homebrewing club meets in Prost, and will welcome special guest Ron Downer. Ron is a legendary homebrewer & professional brewer, but more importantly, he is a dear friend of the public house owners and regulars. Not yet a member of FOSSILS? Then join up.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Wholesaler team coming to visit on March 20, and bringing tasty breakfast with them.

One of our Public House wholesaler, Cavalier Distributing, handles the fine beers brewed by Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan).

Founders brews an excellent barrel-aged stout: Kentucky Breakfast Stout. For the first time ever in 2009, Cavalier received an allotment of draft KBS, and the Public House is purchasing one of the kegs. Had it arrived sooner, it would have been listed for Gravity Head. This doesn't mean we can't pour it.

So, for the occasion of the Cavalier sales and management crew's annual expedition to Gravity Head on Friday, March 20, we'll be tapping the KBS as a special Liver Olympics addendum. Of course, all customers may partake of the bounty -- and say hi to the folks who bring these kegs to us.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Thursday, March 12: Come to Schlafly Tripel Night for a chance to win St. Louis Cardinals-Chicago Cubs tix.

NABC's John Campbell and Schlafly's Scott Shreffler have lined up a great Schlafly Tripel Night promotion at the Public House this Thursday evening (March 12) from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

We'll tap our Gravity Head listed keg of Schlafly Tripel (see below; first time ever on draft at the Public House) for the occasion, and everyone who buys one will get their name in drawings on the half-hour for Schlafly gear.

More importantly, all Schlafly drinkers get a chance at the final drawing of the evening: Two tickets to the Saturday, April 25 St. Louis Cardinals home game (3:10 p.m.) against the Chicago Cubs, along with a $50 gift card redeemable at Schlafly's Tap Room (2100 Locust, downtown). We think these tickets may be part of owner Tom Schlafly's season ticket package, but even if not, this is a fine package ... and all you have to do is get a room.

Here's the straight dope on Schlafly Tripel.

Schlafly Tripel
The Saint Louis Brewery,
St. Louis MO
Malts: American
Hops: Central European
Bitterness: 45 IBUs
Alcohol by volume: 10.78%
Gravity Head Twist: Kegged version of the brewery’s series of bottle-conditioned Belgian (and French) ales, each fermented with unique yeast. Golden, rich and fruity, with characteristic Belgian esters.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Bus from Louisville to Gravity Head this Tuesday, March 10.

This Tuesday, March 10, Rick & Jeff Tours will be running a bus from Derby City Espresso (331 Market Street, Louisville) to NABC/Public House/Pizzeria for Gravity Head 2009.

The bus is leaving from Derby City Expresso at 7:00 p.m. sharp, and it will depart the Public House at 10:00 p.m. Derby City Espresso will provide complimentary coffee afterwards. While at the Public House, the bus group will have its own server in the Prost wing, along with a previously unannounced Gravity Head "The Liver Olympics" bonus keg: Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA.

A seat on the bus costs $10. Call Rick for reservations 502-314-6056.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A bit about NABC's beer at NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse.

Jared Williamson spent the week building and then tweaking the draft system for the soon-to-open Bank Street Brewhouse.

There'll be a total of 12 taps, which is a far cry from the 38 at the Public House, but remember that Bank Street is dedicated to the furtherance of NABC's house beers, both in the sense of expanded distribution once the brewhouse is installed in April, and also to the selection available in the downtown eatery/taproom.

Never say never ... but guest beers in any form, kegged or bottled, are not anticipated at this time.

Ten of the taps are for standard kegs, and there'll be no serving tanks at BSB. The core portfolio will be brewed at BSB, with seasonals and specialties brewe and kegged at Grant Line. We'll transport kegs back and forth as necessary so that NABC is represented at both establishments, although there will be times when the lineup differs. Showcasing the NABC product line at BSB will occasionally mean having fewer NABC beers on draft at Grant Line, especially in the beginning before the new brewery is producing.

Two of the BSB taps are handpulls. We will be trying to keep cask-conditioned Beak's Best on tap at all times, with the second handpull rotating.

20-ounce pours will be standard for most, though not all, NABC beers. Half-pints will also be available, as will sampler trays and carry-out growlers. Once the brewery is going full throttle, we'll begin re-examining the future canning prospects as originally promised.

Keep checking back. We'll be open any day now.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Scenes from employee training at the Bank Street Brewhouse, March 5.

It isn't looking like this weekend for an opening, but nothing is being ruled out yet. I will give notice when the time comes. Really, it's any minute now.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Beer class tonight.

Here's the "Mug Shot" for this week's LEO:

How’s this for a college course listing?

Once upon a time, beer was just beer, but no longer. Beginning with an overview of the brewing process and the history of beer, we'll learn how to distinguish Pale Ale from Imperial Stout through words and samples.

The class begins tonight, and much to my delight, I’m the teacher. The Division of Continuing Studies at Indiana University Southeast contacted me a while back about Beer-Ed as a non-credit offering, and after a quick calendar check and ten minutes sipping from one of the required texts, I agreed to take my turn at the lectern.

Saying “yes” was the easy part, primarily because the necessary syllabus did not exist until I sat down to write it. After all, without a rough guide to inform the actual samplings, the endeavor wouldn’t be very educational. Here are a few starting points for students (and LEO readers).

Even before the scientific process was understood, mankind has been wonderfully creative when gazing upon the bounties of nature and determining how to render them into alcoholic beverages. Consequently, human societies and fermentation are inextricably linked. All human societies cook, and all of them ferment.

The production of beverage alcohol through the natural process of fermentation occurred for thousands of years before eventually intersecting with what we might call “modernity” in the sense of science, economics and capital accumulation, at which point the art of brewing moved from households to factories, and became commoditized according to the logic of the industrial revolution and mass marketing.

In spite of everything we profess to know about the history of beer and brewing, particularly when it comes to the alleged holiness of the beer style definition, it must be remembered that beer represents a foodstuff – a beverage derived from agriculture for the purpose of preserving the value of a crop, adding additional value through the transformation of raw barley, hops and water into a finished article, and most importantly, dramatically enhancing human happiness.

In short, modernity stole beer from the people … and now we’re stealing it back. Also, words of advice: Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Liteweights. And, to conclude: Friends don’t let friends drink bad beer. Beer should taste like beer was meant to taste … and my class will help you learn exactly what that means.

Sorry, but it’s too late to register for the current session. However, there’ll be another one taking place on Wednesday evenings in July. Call IUS for information at (812) 941-2206.


With less than eight hours of classroom time, it’s axiomatic that the best way to learn is to taste. Beer’s flavor spectrums are both deep and wide, and after three decades of the craft beer revolution, categorizing them can be challenging.

If you find yourself at the bar of the Irish Rover, Louisville’s truly original Irish pub, look at the taps behind the bar. For the most part, they are representative of classicism in beer and brewing: Guinness, Smithwick’s, Harp and other beers that have been brewed for decades and sometimes centuries.

Beer enthusiasts identify these by style: Dry Stout, Red Ale (both top-fermented ales) and Golden Lager (bottom-fermented lager). To ace Beer 101 is to become fluent in these style designations, but to progress from beginning to intermediate beer appreciation is know that in contemporary terms, stylistic rules are made to be broken.

As an example, Bluegrass Brewing Company’s two head brewers, David Pierce and Jerry Gnagy, both brew dark ales from the British Isles. Stout and Porter are similar. While typically black in color, Stout is characterized by the use of highly roasted barley, which is not a component of Porter. Gnagy’s Porter is overly strong, and so prefaced with “Imperial.”

So far, so utterly classicist, but then both brewers age their ales in recently emptied Kentucky bourbon barrels, and by doing so, the tasty result is an expanded style definition for the contemporary era.

In olden times, beer was served from wooden barrels. It seldom was aged in barrels previously used for spirits or wine. Modifying the flavor characteristics of beer by infusing it with flavors from a barrel is a thoroughly modern conceit.

Classic and contemporary: Know the difference. Class dismissed.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Gravity Head 2009 lineupdate.

As of Monday, March 16, visit NABC's website (scroll down) for updated draft listings for both NABC locations, including Gravity Head 2009.

As of Thursday, March 12. As a non-Gravity note, be aware that our yearly allotment of Schlenkerla Fastenbier, the Brauerei Heller-Trum's Lenten recipe of 50% smoked malt and 50% regular pale malt is currently on tap.


*Avery Ale to the Chief!
Avery “The Czar”
Avery “The Reverend”
Bell's Expedition Stout (2006)
*Browning’s Quadrupel
*Founders Backwoods Bastard
*Founders Double Trouble IPA
*Harviestoun Ola Dubh – Old Engine Oil Special Reserve 40 Yr (firkin)
Left Hand Imperial Stout
*Regenboog 't Smisje Grand Reserva
New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole Wheat Wine
Samichlaus Bier Helles
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine (2008)
*Sierra Nevada Double Debockel
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (2007)
*Strubbe Keyte Dobbelen Tripel
Two Brothers Bare Tree (2007)



Some already blown will return for encores, and some are still in transit.

Avery Hog Heaven
Great Divide Old Ruffian Barley Wine
Three Floyds Behemoth Blonde Barley Wine

BBC (Shelbyville Road) Kick in the Baltic Porter
*Rogue XS Imperial Porter (2008 XS)
*Thisted Limfjords Porter (April ETA at the earliest)
*Two Brothers Red Eye Coffee Porter

*Baladin Al-Iksir Demi Sec (April ETA at the earliest)
De Dolle Dulle Teve (“Mad Bitch”)
*Schlafly Tripel (scheduled for tapping on March 12)

*Samichlaus Bier

Boulder Mojo Risin’ Double IPA
Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Stone Double Bastard Ale (2006)
Victory Hop Wallop

Upland “The Ard-Ri” (on tap for St. Patrick’s Day)

Alvinne Podge Belgian Imperial Stout
*Ducato Verdi Imperial Stout
Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2008) (on tap for St. Patrick’s Day)
Thornbridge St. Petersburg Imperial Stout (firkin)

Burton Bridge Thomas Sykes Old Ale (firkin)
J. W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale

*Borgo 25 Dodici
*Ducato Krampus
De Dolle Stille Nacht

*BBC (Main & Clay) Olde Ale (2008)
*Harviestoun Ola Dubh – Old Engine Oil Special Reserve 18 Yr (firkin)
*Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout
*Regenboog 't Smisje Calva Reserva



Allagash Curieux
*BBC (Shelbyville Road) Knob Creek Russian Imperial Porter
*Bell's Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition/Double Cream Blend
Bell’s HopSlam (three kegs)
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron
Founders Breakfast Stout (2007)
*Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine
*Het Anker (Gouden Carolus) Cuvee Van de Keizer
*Hofstetten Granit Bock (Stein Bier)
J. W. Lees Vintage Harvest Ale Lagavulin barrel-aged (2007)
Koningshoeven La Trappe Quadrupel
*Left Hand Smoke Jumper Smoked Imperial Porter
*Mad River JBC (John Barleycorn)
*Moylan’s Double Kilt Lifter (Batch 1,000)
NABC Malcolm’s Old Setter’s Ale (2007)
NABC Solidarity
NABC Thunderfoot (2008)
New Holland Dragon’s Milk
Rogue XS Old Crustacean Barley Wine (2003)
Stone XI - 11th Anniversary Ale *Stone Twelfth Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
*Struise Black Albert Belgian Royal Stout


*L'Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2007)
Regenboog ‘t Smisje BBBourgondier