Within the overall explosion of craft beer, there are always certain styles that are the current darlings of brewers and drinkers. I love these trends when they align with my palate (Hop bombs! Barrel-aged!), and I roll my eyes when they don’t (Belgians! Sours!). What is truly refreshing – both figuratively and literally – is when a brewery eschews all of that for something different. Such is the case with the newest player in the Kentucky beer scene. Blue Stallion Brewing Company just down the road in Lexington is differentiating itself by specializing in German- and British-style beers.
The taproom is very accessible to out-of-town visitors, located at the corner of 3rd Street and Newtown Pike (the road that takes you from the interstate to downtown). The space itself is nice; a converted industrial building that is bright, airy, and welcoming. Like the other breweries in town, they don’t have a kitchen, but food trucks are a regular presence (Athenian Grill on the day we visited). The decor is in keeping with the name, lots of racing silks and horseshoes. I liked how it felt very “Lexington” without being cheesy. The only odd point was the bar which is very high with the floor below the stools at a bit of slant. I have visions of a post-session calamity for somebody at some point, but I trip over my feet when I sober, so it’s possible I’m projecting a bit here.
Speaking of the bar, when it was my turn to order the bartender greeted me by name, revealing that one of the owners of Blue Stallion is an old high school classmate (Go Generals!), thus cementing my love for this hometown brewery before I’d even had my first sip. Just kidding. Personal loyalty is for saps. I am all about the beer.
They do have a handful of quality guest taps, which is a great way to get other beer styles into the mix. I obviously wanted to sample the homegrown stuff, so I ordered a flight of the six beers currently available. I didn’t much care for the Hefeweizen or the German Pilsner, but when do I ever? Both beers were selling at a clip that indicated many folks were very happy with them. One of the Scottish Ales was a 70 Schilling that didn’t really stand out to me, but the Wee Heavy was quite tasty and a very sneaky 9.5%. Also on offer was a nice smoked lager that struck the tricky balance of having a decidedly meaty flavor without devolving into what I not-so-affectionately call “hot dog water” (you know what I’m talking about). The consensus winner at our table though, was the Munich Dunkel. It was a great balance of flavors, approachable but interesting, and available in the all-important liter mug. This is the beer to give to that friend of yours who quite maddeningly claims to not like dark beer (like “dark” is a flavor).
Overall, I definitely recommend a trip to Blue Stallion. Like many of you, I’m wondering how much more room for growth there is for the Lexington craft beer scene. On this particular Saturday afternoon, I can report very brisk business there as well as Country Boy Brewing (hey, I’d already made the drive) so it appears they’re not at capacity yet.