The Bluegrass region has a lot to offer. The Bourbon Trail. Horse racing. Excellent outdoor activities. And several new breweries in downtown Lexington. My first visit into this district was with friends at Blue Stallion Brewing Co., located off West 3rd Street. During this visit, I drank some tasty beer and ate some amazing things from the Gastro Gnomes food truck. I had a blast and can’t wait to go back again.
As I was sipping my Wee Heavy, I was lucky enough to get a brief interview with one of the owners, Jim Clemons. Jim used to be a Chemical Engineer for LexMark but has become one of the lucky few who makes money as he lives his passion. After making beer at home for several years, Jim joined with four other beer enthusiasts to found Blue Stallion, one of the smallest commerical breweries in Kentucky. Jim says his favorite beer is the Pilsner because it reminds him of the time he has spent in Germany. He describes the beer as bitter enough to have character but not overwhelmingly so. It is quite tasty! The full flavor is very enjoyable without being too pushy; sturdy enough to drink alone but also would pair well with most any food. Of the three I tried, it was also my favorite.
According to Jim, the beer at Blue Stallion is “more old world European” than the beer offered at the other Lexington breweries. He describes the beer at Country Boy as “pleasantly cutting edge,” while the beer at West 6th is “more in the modern American style.” Jim speaks very highly of the other breweries and reports that they all share a strong relationship; he says a strong brewery district is good for everyone. Having such a large variety of beer available in Lexington means that there is something for every palate.
The production beer at Blue Stallion Brewing Co. is, at least so far, all vegan, all natural, with no spices, fruit, or herbs. Their beer is made with only grain, hops, and yeast, from the beer’s country of origin. According to Jim, many breweries use a clean yeast strain from California ; “there isnt’ anything wrong with that, it’s just a little different flavor than what we are going for,” Jim says. Most all Blue Stallion beer is filtered with coarse filter pads, resulting in crystal clear beverages; he says this is just a preference but does not affect the flavor of the beer.
Blue Stallion averages one batch of beer per week - that’s 28 kegs of beer. He says they serve half of that beer at their own bar, while bottling and selling the other half to resturants and private citizens by the growler. When I asked what he saw for the brewery in the future, he said he would like to see them increase their production three fold, build a bigger brewery (they have a 15 year lease at their current location, so don’t fear, they won’t be moving any time soon), and to become more production oriented, rather than bar oriented.
But clearly serving their own beer is working well for them now. When I arrived at 530pm, there were about 10 people there already, enjoying a cold one. Several people (including me) were also waiting on the Gastro Gnomes Food Truck to begin serving dinner. Blue Stallion, like the other breweries, allows food trucks to park on their property and conduct business. (Side note: Lexington is working on legislation to allow food trucks in more areas around town. Despite some pushback from traditional resturants, food trucks have become very popular, even though they have to park with permission on private property at this time.) Jim says allowing food trucks is a great way to increase beer sales. He says the more you eat, the more you can drink, the longer you stay. It also is a great draw for the sober driver in the group. Plus, most everyone would agree good food and good beer make for a great night out. There is a rotating collection of food trucks that serve at the brewery. You can find out when each one will be there on the Blue Stallion event calendar or the food trucks websites.
In addition to partnering with food trucks, Blue Stallion has other events nearly every night. Sunday and Monday features reduced pricing on growler fills (that’s a half gallon of deliciousness!). Tuesday night has been dubbed “Test Batch Tuesday.” Jim says beer from tap #4 is usually real good, but occassionally some is not (Hey, it’s experimental !!). Either way, I bet it’s a lot of fun! Wednesday night features live music from local bands. Live Team Trivia is popular on Thursday. If none of these things are appealing, there is a comfortable lounge area with dart boards and a pool table. I can’t imagine how anyone couldn’t have fun at Blue Stallion Brewing Company. I had a blast and can’t wait to go back!
Thanks to Jim for the interview, the delicious Gastro Gnome for the tasty eats, and my fellow foodie friends for inviting me to such a wonderful place! (Please note all photos, except the photo of Jim, were taken by me. The photo of Jim can be found here.)