All photos courtesy of Alltech.
Horses and bourbon. Bourbon and horses. As a Kentucky resident, that’s what I hear every time I tell out-of-staters where I live. That’s when I’m happy to inform them that the Commonwealth (it’s not a state) is also home to some good brewing and fine food.
Host Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. (Kentucky Brewery of the Year, 2014 NY International Beer Competition) makes a lot of products, but one of those is beer. So it is that the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest came to be, as part of the third Annual Lexington Craft Beer Week. And following that May 16 event, Alltech will host the Alltech REBELation Brewing and Distilling symposium on May 18-19, a talk featuring some big names that will examine the explosion of craft beer, the importance of a good distributor and the economics of returning moonshine to the mountains and boosting the eastern Kentucky economy.
More than 120 beers brewed by 40 breweries from across the nation will be available; breweries that will have their liquids available include New Belgium Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Blue Point Brewing Co., Goose Island, Country Boy, Sweetwater Brewing, Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing, Bell’s Brewery, Founders Brewing Co. and, of course, Alltech. .
In fact, there will be plenty of specialty and rare beers available, including a new one by Alltech that blends the aforementioned bourbon culture with brewing: Kentucky Old Fashioned Barrel Ale. The beer is described as “a subtly sweet, citrusy ale brewed with orange peel, then aged with tart cherry in fresh bourbon barrels and bitters barrels.”
Brewers even used bitters, an ingredient in Old Fashioneds and other cocktails, in the brewing process.
“This is quickly becoming one of the premier beer festivals in this area, and we are expecting an even larger crowd this year,” Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech, said in a press release. “Last year, people were running from brewer to brewer and lining up to try the special collaboration and rare brews.”
“We figured what better brewery to make a beer like this than one that also produces its own bourbon and is known for its barrel aging?” Alltech master brewer Ken Lee added.
The festival will also feature the only professional craft beer competition in Kentucky, the Alltech Commonwealth Craft Beer Cup, as well as a sneak peek at the new Alltech Brewing & Distilling Academy.
Speakers at the symposium as part of Alltech REBELation include Bill Samuels, Jr. of Maker’s Mark; Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery and Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. A number of topics will be explored, such as:
- A Sleepy Local Phenomenon Goes National and Global (Lyons)
- The Crucial Element. The Crucial Partnership – Your Distributor (George Fisher, Cavalier Distributing)
- Eastern Kentucky: How entrepreneurship can catalyze economic progress (Donovan Blackburn, City Manager of Pikeville, Ky.)
- The China Opportunity (Patrick Lin, beer consultant, China)
- Brewing and Distilling Education
Tickets to the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest are $30 in advance ($35 at the door) and can be purchased online. The tickets include 20 beer sample tickets and a souvenir glass. Registration for REBELation can also be done online.