As luck would have it, long before this blog was conceived, I brewed a collaborative beer with my used-to-be-local homebrew club, Brewers of Central Kentucky (BOCK). I entered that beer, a bourbon barrel aged Wee Heavy, into the Kentucky State Fair and was awarded first place in my category. Part of the prize was the opportunity to brew that beer on a commercial scale at Goodwood Brewing in Louisville, KY. Now that I am traveling, what better way to kick this thing off with a brew day at a real brewery?!
My wonderful wife arranged for us to stay in the staff parking lot at Louisville Slugger Field, home of the Louisville Bats (thanks Nathan Renfrow). From here it was just a short bike ride to the brewery.
I arrived bright and early and was introduced to the head brewer, Tim Salyers. Both of us were working on just a few hours sleep due to the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series after a 10 inning game 7 the night before. After some much needed coffee, we were determined to get the job done.
Working with Tim was great. He was more than happy to answer all my many questions. And, as it happens, he used to be a full-time rv’er just like us! We even had a small-world moment when we discovered that we had purchased our RV’s from the same dealership in Michigan!
I even had the pleasure of meeting COO/brewmaster Joel Halbleib, who had scheduled our brew day. He was there brewing up a test batch.
Together, we discussed the high original gravity (OG) of the beer, which was targeted at 1.095. They had never brewed anything with such a high gravity and they weren’t sure the mash tun would be able to do it. They were correct. The first wort collected was substantially lower in gravity than expected. What could have been a pretty big hurdle was easily overcome by the professionals with a little honey addition.
It wasn’t long before we were boiling and I got to add the hops. It turned out to be a very long boil, which was another part of the solution to achieve such a high gravity.
In the end, we were able to come close to our target. As with homebrewing, the ability to be flexible made the brew day very enjoyable.
If you are ever in the Louisville area, I strongly recommend you stop by here. I can’t speak for you taproom, as it wasn’t open when I was there, but I have had some of their beer in the past. Most of it has been worthwhile. What I can tell you for sure is the staff here is top notch and they care dearly about the beer they produce. I can’t wait to come back when my beer is ready to pour. Maybe I’ll see you there!