So, here’s something you might not know about me – I grew up in Lexington. I had a lot of misconceptions about the fair city of Louisville, but now that I live here, I love it. In fact, I spend a fair amount of time nagging friends in both towns in an attempt to bring about freer movement between them. I mean, it’s seriously a one hour drive. In the time it takes you to watch a rerun of NCIS (which is something I’d like to talk to you about separately) you can be in a whole other town with other people and other stuff to do. Now I bring this crusade to you by talking on occasion about beer options in our neighbors to the east.
Saturday afternoon, after hearing talk for weeks upon weeks, I finally paid a visit to Country Boy Brewing. You have to know where you’re going to find the place, as it’s tucked back in sort of warehousey area near downtown / campus. In fact, Country Boy is in a warehouse, so if you drive up and see this, you’re in the right place.
It might not look like much, but inside this building is where the magic happens. The majority of the space is the brewery, where you are allowed nose around, as long as you stay behind a rope. As you can see, one of the Country Boys himself was so kind as to pose for me. The rest of the building is a taproom for you to sample their delicious wares.
And what of those wares, you ask? Well, Country Boy has 24 taps featuring a mix of in-house brews and guest taps. It seems that as they have gotten ramped up, the mix is trending more toward their own stuff, which is just fine with me. Here’s what was available when I paid my visit. Note that everything with a circle around the number is one of their own.
I started out with a pint of the Fulcan-A IPA (heh, heh). It was a very sound beer, but I was ready to experiment a bit, so I then got a giant flight with just about everything else. Samples are very cheap (as are the prices in general - especially if you’ve been drinking in Louisville), so this is a great way to see what they have on offer. There’s no space here for a full review of all the beers, but I will say that everything I tried was a solid entry for that style, which is impressive when you’re serving up everything from old ale to blonde. My only quibble was with the brown, which I would have labeled a porter, but that may just be me. The two standouts in my mind were the Heart of Dankness (a black IPA which is a style I currently can’t get enough of when done well) and the Jalapeño Smoked Porter. As for the latter, I don’t know if they consider it to be their flagship brew, but it’s definitely the one I had heard the most buzz about going in. That buzz is well deserved. Most of the peppers I’ve tried have been definitely novelty brews, just throwing a lot of heat at an average beer. This was just so well-balanced and the taste of the jalapeño was as much vegetal as it was hot. Very, very tasty.
What else can I tell you? Well, they don’t have a have a kitchen, but there is a taco truck that makes frequent weekend appearances and they also encourage you to bring food or have it delivered, even providing a board with phone numbers of local spots. We went with carryout Tolly Ho, fully completing my Lexington experience for the day. They also have a FREE jukebox with records and everything.
The crowd was a bit hit or miss. We arrived early and the day started with the normal quiet beer geeks I was expecting. As the day progressed, things got quite a bit more mixed. I don’t know if it’s the sort of cool underground location or the great prices that are attracting a non-traditional element, but there were several parties of people all slamming pints of the blonde (Snob alert! Snob alert! Guilty.) and using the word “bro” non-ironically. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing different than what you would see at most bars all over town, but for what I thought of as a beer bar, it was a bit unexpected.
Overall a big thumbs up to Country Boy and their beer. It’s a great reason to make that loooong trip to Lexington.