One of the things we are passionate about here at Ravenwood Castle and the Malted Meeple is craft beer. We pride ourselves on having an excellent assortment of craft beers for the enjoyment of our guests. In our new monthly blog feature, the Brewer’s Spotlight, we raise our pints to the men and women who dedicate themselves to the brewing craft.
This month, we raise our pints to the folks from Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., a company with a unique history and brewing process!
Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. is based in Lexington, Kentucky. The company was founded in 1999 when Alltech, a company who made its name in animal nutrition, purchased Lexington Brewing Company. In 2012, Town Branch Distillery was opened and Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. was coined. The brewery’s Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is one of our favorites! Initially, Kentucky Ale was created using their proprietary yeast strain and a unique recipe that combined an Irish Red Ale with an English Pale Ale.
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is a unique sipping beer with the distinctive nose of a well-crafted Bourbon. The Kentucky Ale is aged for at least six weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels from some of Kentucky’s most distinguished distilleries. The beer is pleasantly smooth and robust with subtle yet familiar flavors of vanilla and oak. These flavors are imparted into the ale as it rests in the charred barrels. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale launched in 2006 and has grown to become the flagship beer in barrel-aged beers.
How Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale came to be is an interesting story all on its own. The original Master Brewer lived next to Woodford Reserve Distillery. Back in the early 2000s distilleries had no use for their used bourbon barrels. Once a barrel has been used it cannot be reused. So at the time, distilleries would just give away used barrels. The Master Brewer would drive by and pick up a few on his way into work every day. He began aging Kentucky Ale in those Woodford Reserve barrels as a labor of love, having no clue what would come out on the other side of the aging process. He gave a few samples to the local folks, and it wasn’t long before Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale became a brand unto itself.
The folks at Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. strive to brew the highest quality barrel-aged beers on the market. To them, the barrel is as important an ingredient to the brewing process as the barley or the yeast. The bourbon barrel contributes many unique flavors into the beer. The company loves to explore and highlight these flavors, and introduces them to the craft beer community at large. Apart from their barrel-aged flagship brands, Alltech is one of the few joint brewing & distilling companies in the United States. Their catalogue of products highlight the flavors a bourbon barrel can provide to whiskey, beer, and other cocktails.
They also offer a delightful seasonal selection which began with Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale. This unique spiced beer is brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice as well a Kentucky Pumpkin Butter. It has a great scent of pumpkin bread on the nose and an impressive 10% ABV. This is by far their most popular seasonal and while we can wait for colder weather, we can’t wait for this unique seasonal to return!
Their latest project in the works is what they are calling the “Kentucky Rickhouse Series.” The rickhouse is a building designed to hold thousands of bourbon barrels and age them for long periods of time. This series will feature a wide selection of extended aged beers in all sorts of different casks. They have some great beers currently aging in tequila barrels, sherry wine casks, and rye whiskey barrels. These will be released intermittently when the beer is ready to taste!
Throughout the month of June, we will be proudly featuring The Strawberry Wheat on draft, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale in bottles. Make your way to The Malted Meeple or Ravenwood Castle and enjoy some delicious brews from our friends at Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distributing Co.!