Back in June, I heard that Bonnie “Prince” Billy (AKA: Will Oldham) was playing an Appalshop benefit show in Lexington, Kentucky. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to check out the burgeoning beer scene in Lexington.
My buddy Dave and I got to Lexington and decided we would hit both of the new breweries before the show. West Sixth happened to be the first place on our whistle stop tour. I asked the friendly bartender if we could get a tour, but none of the owners were there at the time, plus they were pretty busy, so we just peeked through the windows into the brewhouse. Seemed impressive. West Sixth Brewing is located in an old warehouse (Rainbo Bread), and they’ve done a great job on the renovations, keeping enough of the industrial details to make it unique. The old yellow subway tiles covering the walls were my favorite detail, and the growler pendant lamps were a great touch. There was plenty of seating at the wrap-around bar, and lots of tables filled with people enjoying good beer. What a nice sight that is. They also had a Pizza food truck outside. Cool!
Dave decided on a pint of their amazing IPA, it being his favorite style. I went with the $6 flight. 4 beers: Dead Heat Wheat (4.5%), Deliberation Amber (5.5%), Smithtown Brown (5.5%), and the West 6th IPA (7.0%).I enjoyed the IPA a couple months earlier and was excited to try it again as well as some of their others. I was not disappointed at anything!
The Dead Heat Wheat poured a hazy light yellow color with a good sized head (the best you can get in a sampler cup, I guess!). I’m not a fan of wheat beers, really, but this was definitely true to style (which they all were), but with a little less wheat. A good light beer.
Moving on to the Deliberation Amber, I could see this one being a great entry for people getting their feet wet in craft beer. It poured a perfect amber color and hit the spot.
The Smithtown Brown was third…Good nutty flavor, and obvious dark brown pour. Good balanced beer.
Saving the best for last (for both tasting purposes, as well as keeping my anticipation up), the IPA. The king of the castle. This is a great floral IPA that pours a beautiful dark orange. Not as bitter as a lot of IPA’s, but it’s a strong contender for a favorite local(ish) beer. Great job, guys!
I also got a sample pour of the Snake Eyes Imperial Stout, and if we didn’t have other places to go, I would have settled back in a dark corner with this pitch black beauty. The 11% alcohol was hidden behind this chocolate, coffee, sweet beer. I’ll be back for this one. Just you wait.
We needed to get some food in our bellies, and the clock was ticking down to showtime, we went 1.5 miles down the road to Country Boy Brewing. I’ve been there once before, and loved the beer and hospitality. This trip was no different. 24 Taps – 12 of their beers, 12 guest drafts (including Cumberland and Against the Grain!). I started with a 1/2 pint of Habanero Cougar Bait, which Evan (our gracious host) poured from the brewhouse, as it wasn’t tapped yet . It was pretty amazing. Being a huge fan of their Jalapeño Smoked Porter (which they were out of — curses), I really liked the Habanero Cougar Bait. It went great with the delicious tacos from the El Habanero Loco truck parked out front. The beer cooled off your mouth for a second or two, until, BAM, the Habanero hit you. Wonderful. Not too spicy, not too wimpy.
Dave got the Fulcan-A IPA, which he loved. There he goes with the IPA’s again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s also one of my favorite styles for sure, but Dave doesn’t stray too far off the path. He did, however, really like the Habenero Cougar Bait also.
While at Country Boy, we ran into Lori and Tyler from Louisville Beer Store and Holy Grale and enjoyed a few beers with them and Evan gave us all a quick tour of the brewhouse. Tyler passed me a pint of Heart of Dankness which I couldn’t refuse. It’s their black IPA and was yet another perfect beer.
After purchasing a shirt, we were on our way over to Cosmic Charlie’s to catch Bonnie “Prince” Billy. What a show. I would type a review of that, but I’ll spare you. It was wonderful. That’s all you need to know.
So, Lexington…we love what you’re doing and you should be proud of the terrific beers coming out of your fair city. I speak for the whole city when I say that we can’t wait to have your beers distributed here. Keep brewing great beer, and we’ll always love you, Lexington.