Friday, October 11, 2013
NABC beers are the best in metro Louisville. There. I said it.
With yesterday's annual advent of Downtown Displacement Daze, I occupied a stool at the Bank Street Brewhouse bar in mid-afternoon and dispassionately surveyed our selection of beers on tap for the weekend.
Okay, okay -- so I tasted them, too. My line of work is strictly gonzo.
In addition to the everyday familiar styles (Black & Blue Grass, Elector, Hoptimus, Community Dark, Houndmouth, Beak's, 15-B), there are the several seasonals and specialties available to vary the routine. I'll be describing some of these, but first, a damned cheeky digression.
My natural default inclination is to tout the good beer community as a whole, and considering downtown New Albany's current business grouping, it isn't an exaggeration to guess that as many as 50 American craft beers currently are pouring there, including NABC's -- perhaps more, although none of them at the official Harvest Homecoming tent ... but let's refrain from going there, both literally and figuratively.
Let's celebrate a downtown food and drink district made safe for better beer, and not forget that River City Winery performs the same public service when it comes to excellent, locally-produced wine.
Right now, Bank Street Brewhouse has somewhere around 15 of our NABC beers on tap, and looking at them objectively as a group, the impact is tremendous. With requisite respect for our brethren in Louisville, at this precise time in history, I believe our roster of beers brewed in New Albany (gads) to be the best in Louisville metro, which is under-appreciated already for the quality of its local beer.
Folks, take it from me: David, Ben, Josh and Peter are killing it. We're brewing across a stylistic range, with tastes and textures for everyone, and consistency and craftsmanship every step of the way.
Those who still feel that beer must come from somewhere else far away to be good, or that it is necessary to be seen publicly drinking certain brands because they're highly ranked at a ratings web site -- or maybe you just haven't been paying attention to what we're doing -- permit me to suggest that your own backyard just might be an appropriate place to start revising wayward opinions. Nowadays I drink more NABC beer than anything else. Trust me. I wouldn't do it solely to make a point. I do it because the beers taste very good. And I'm proud of that.
Here are five NABC seasonals and specialties worthy of consideration.
Wet Knobs Harvest Hop Ale
When some enterprising folks in the Knobs began raising hops a few years back, there was an opportunity for NABC to brew a seasonal ale using freshly harvested and unprocessed "wet" hops in the fashion of those crafted for many years in hop-growing areas on the West Coast. Our recipe might be described as a rich American-style Pale Ale, with all the hops (Centennial, Chinook and Cascade) this year coming from Brandon Freiberger's crop. We consider Wet Knobs Hop Harvest Ale to be the official ale of Fringe Fest at Bank Street Brewhouse, but it's also on tap at the Pizzeria & Public House. It's a small batch, so get some now.
Phoenix Kentucky Komon
Old-time Louisville brewers were known to purloin sour (corn) mash from neighboring distilleries, using it as adjunct in batches of everyday ales that were referred to as Common or Komon. NABC’s paean to our creative “forebrewers” comes out sour, because we like it that way.
According to the Terre Haute-born labor union leader and presidential candidate Eugene Debs, "The most heroic word in all languages is revolution." Indiana has had numerous revolutionaries in fields ranging from basketball (John Wooden) to music (Hoagy Carmichael) to popcorn (Orville Redenbacher). Ever heard of James Dean, the actor? He was a Hoosier Daddy, too. Our "Crimson & Cream Ale" honors them all. A six-month seasonal, Hoosier Daddy will be available through April, 2014.
We resist the strange trend of rendering Oktoberfest/Märzen lagers golden, preferring to retain an amber-brown hue in this classic example of a malt-accented Bavarian fest beer.
Dwindling stocks of hand-numbered commemorative bottles remain available for purchase, and the last bit of draft is pouring this weekend. Tricentennial Ale is a formulation reaching back to the post-Colonial era, when Hew Ainslie ran New Albany's first commercial brewery, circa 1840. There's a touch of smoke, and sorghum.