Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Visit to Braxton Brewery - Covington, KY

This past Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to make a visit to another brewery that has opened in the Cincinnati area and this time, it was on my side of the river which was nice. And what side would that be? The right side of course, lol. Covington, Kentucky is now home to Braxton Brewing, one of the newer breweries to recently open up in our region. Located on West 7th, it is nestled into what I guess could be called the business district of Covington, which is actually nice because one option that they do not have is food on the premises. While that sounds bad, there are many choices around them including one of my favorites which serves the best Chinese food that I have ever had in the Cincinnati area. I will share that information another day in another post. So before I discuss the beers, here are some photos of the decor which is very spacious.


So, what about the beers?

Well, I took the liberty of trying them through a flight and started with the four that caught my attention. So as seen below from left to right as well as light to dark. I chose the Kentucky Home, Crank Shaft, Dead Blow and Blown Gasket.

Kentucky Home is a cream ale and features an abv of 4.8% and a 14 IBU. This beer provided a nice sweet malt aroma and a light body taste and texture. It proved to not be too heavy at all and I can see it easily be very sessionable. It reminded me of some of the lighter beers in that it didn't bog me down. The appearance was a nice clear yellow, but there wasn't much of the white head to speak about as it tended to diminish quickly with no lacing. But, there was something of a candy sweetness with it as I finished the beer which I couldn't place but it definitely worked.

Crank Shaft is an American ipa and features an abv of 6% and a 75 IBU. This beer was also clear in appearance and displayed a nice orange/amber hue. The head was off-white in color and provided a fair amount of lacing. There was also a great citrus aroma lead by grapefruit along with pine on the back end. I could really smell the freshness of the hops. As for the taste, the mouthfeel was excellent and the hops seemed to be very well balanced. The body of the beer was medium and the texture was dry with a great crisp finish. There was no tasting of the alcohol and duration of the finish was average to long. This was a pleasant beer and honestly, one of the better ipa offerings that I have had from any brewer. It was very nice and smooth to say the least.

Dead Blow is a tropical stout and features an abv of 7.3% and a 26 IBU. For an adjunct, dates are used with the brewing process. This helps to present a nice aroma of fig and what I would call the black fruits. The head was tan/beige colored and did produce some nice lacing. It had a very smooth taste and as you would expect was characterized by the sweetness of the malts. The body was a nice medium while the texture was slightly creamy. But the mouthfeel produced was excellent as it just enveloped the mouth and would seem to be nice with a cigar.

Blown Gasket is a robust porter and features an abv of 7.5% and a 20 IBU. This one also produced a nice tan/beige head with some nice lacing, but no adjunct to speak of as being used. While it had good taste and flavoring from the malt along with the expected sweetness, there wasn't as much on the aroma that made it distinct for me. The texture was also creamy on this medium body one and at 7.5%, there was still no tasting of the alcohol. It didn't knock me back, but I can see it as one to be able to sit and enjoy.

Now away from those four, I did try one more as well as one again with a variance. Sparky is a hoppy wheat ale and features an abv of 5.5% and a 35.5 IBU. Full disclosure is that I am not always a wheat ale fan, but this one actually surprised me nicely, thank you Annette for recommending. The ale itself provided a nice fruity aroma along with a good scent of pine and earth. The head was white to off white and didn't hold as much on the lacing, but that is usually the case with some wheat ales. The mouthfeel was very crisp and refreshing with a nice duration on the finish. This could be a great ale for someone that wants hoppy but not a ton of it or even a novice trying to move into the ipa area. It is a well put together ale and as a side note, it is one that is available at Great American Ballpark.

As for the variance that I mentioned, I tried another Blown Gasket but this time with a twist. This time I had it with nitrogen rather than the co2 which is standard. Does it make a difference? Yes, it does and I would recommend that if you try the porter or the stout that you do the same. The nitrogen tended to bring out more of the aroma of the malts as well as their sweetness. The mouthfeel was even better and with this one, it actually gave it more of a Guinness feel. Very nicely done, thank you again Annette!

The whole experience was a great time and thank you to the staff as well as to Jonathan Gandolf, who I also had a chance to speak with during my visit. I do look forward to making a return and I recommend others to stop by and check out the brewery as well.

Drink Local and remember if it's here, then it's beer!

***Post correction: Kentucky Home is actually the mint julep beer for Braxton Brewery while Storm is the cream ale beer. It seems that sweetness that I couldn't quite peg may have been the mix of the fresh mint and the bourbon from the bourbon barrels.

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