Brewery Showcase | Country Boy Brewing (Lexington, KY)
Country Boy Brewing | Lexington, KY
This is a brewery that Tim the Tool Man Taylor would go to after palling around with Al Borland on the set of Tool Time; a brewery that Zac Brown Band would go to for a cold beer on a Friday night; a brewery my anthropomorphic car Larry would go to because he’s Mr. Dependable, a real blue collar guy, someone who shows up early for work every day and goes home late, then he stops over at Country Boy for a drink with his buddies. This is a bar that you, me and all of the porch gang would go to because this brewery doesn’t have a lot of pretense and they serve fantastic beer. This is a brewery that the entire state of Kentucky can go to and discover what craft brewing is all about, all while throwing up three goggles, and yelling C-A-T-S CATS CATS CATS.
Part of the reason Country Boy resonates so deeply, lies within the path they took to open the brewery. Daniel Harrison, co-founder of Country Boy noted that his passion for craft beer began in Asia, and coincidentally enough, it all started with a blog.
“I was teaching English in Japan for three years and in order for an ex-patriot to find success over there, you had to find a niche … Some people got really into anime, music, fishing but for me, it was writing about craft beer in Japan. So we started a blog called Good Beer and Country Boys.” It was through this project, that Harrison would meet Brian Baird of Baird Brewing.
Baird, who graduated from Miami University, created a West Coast influenced brewery at the foot of Mt Fuji and it had a profound impact on Harrison as a brewer. “Brian is an incredible brewer and mentor who has made tremendous stuff. He’s also done so much to help us get started and is always willing to trade tips and offer suggestions.”
When Harrison returned stateside, he parlayed his experience managing a restaurant in Georgetown, KY and his involvement in the local home brew club, to get the ball rolling with Country Boy Brewing. “When it comes down to it you just have to shut up and do it. Sure, you have to realize what sacrifices you’re willing to make to have your dreams come true, but in the end, it’ll be worth it if you are personally invested.”
The name, Country Boy, is not meant to depict a backward hillbilly persona, but rather a lack of pretense, something for both the expert and uninitiated beer drinker. Sound familiar?
DH noted, “Our tap room is modest but comfortable and our focus is all about the quality of the beer.” The tap room, which is located in what looks like an industrial park, and is housed in a converted warehouse, features a random assortment of beer signage, mounted bass fish, a University of Kentucky flag, a bar that was hand crafted by friends of the brewery, and flight trays that were made from wood left over from constructing the bar. But that works for Country Boy’s beer first, down home focus. After surveying the lineup at CB it is clear that they’ve followed their mission statement to a tee.
Both of the IPA offerings Cliff Jumper and Fulcan have become instant favorites. Cliff Jumper weighing in at 7% ABV is extremely easy to drink with the hops trailing followed by a sweet fruity finish. Fulcan, named after the Millennium Falcon, due to their use of Millennium Hops, was designed to use all non-traditional IPA ingredients such as Pilsner and Chocolate Malts, and Millennium, Calypso and Summit Hops. What results is a complex, sweet, easy to drink IPA that has become one of my favorites.
To continue the theme of mad scientist-esque awesome brews, Country Boy’s Schnickelfritz Spruce translates to what one friend describes as Christmas in liquid form. This alt style utilizes eight pounds of fresh spruce tips from one of the brewer’s backyards. It has a fresh evergreen aroma and has a light almost Coca-Cola refreshing taste.
As it will be detailed in my trip home recap, Lexington and the state of Kentucky as a whole, has been years behind on the craft beer map, but Country Boy is exactly the quality crash course introduction its fine residents need and have deserved for so long. These Kentucky natives are staying true to their roots, while not sacrificing the experimental nature of the booming micro brew movement.