Brew Biz: Werts and All (Hopkinsville Brewing Company)

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Written by Ken Carman

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been writing on beer-related topics and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for over 20 years.

 We knew this was going to be a brief stop because we were on our way to a Clarksville Carboy’s Christmas gathering. We slipped right by Clarksville, knowing we’d have to back track, because we wanted to check out Hopkinsville Brewing Company.
 Be aware if you use a GPS you may find yourself face to face with some confusing directions due to one way streets Ms. GPS tells you to go down anyway. Could have been an update thing with Mrs. Garmin, but we figured it out.
 Hopkinsville Brewing Company is in a cute little brick building with a small parking lot. This is indeed the definition of a small brewing operation: 2.5 barrels. We’ve seen smaller, like Community in Buffalo a few years ago which was 1.5 at the time. The servers told me they have to brew when they’re not open, not only due to inconvenience but by law. Not surprised: you can see the tightly squeezed together, bright, shiny brewing equipment when you walk in on your right. There really wouldn’t be enough room to brew without the place being closed.
 We had a sample of everything they had on tap at the time: Watermelon Wit, Watermelon Sour, Gose with hibiscus and orange, Smoked Apple Rauch, Cream Ale, Amber, Stout (sweet), IPA.
 Millie and I agreed on two things from the start. Every brew was light bodied. While there’s nothing wrong with that we felt it would be better if there was more variation on the gravity. Perhaps the IPA, the Amber, and the Stout in the descending order? Any order would be fine, to be honest, but the sameness to the body sense in the quaffs could make them less interesting to some patrons. Of course adjustments would have to be made: more hops if more body; just to provide one example. We also felt the most interesting of all the brews was the Rauch, which unfortunately, I believe, may have been a one off.
 We were told they have done some higher gravity brews, so maybe we just came at a time when they didn’t have something like that? We also understand with a small operation like this what it would take to do this, yet still have so many taps ready for patrons, might be a tough request. Tis a small system with legally limited brewing time. From what I understand from what the servers told me; not only would you not want to brew when the public is there due to space restrictions, legally they’re not allowed to.
 Our servers were Gavin and Chloe. Gavin and I talked beer quite a while: he’s studying for Cicerone and considering BJCP.
 The only defect we found was the Cream Ale had DMS and, yes, a Cream CAN have a minimal amount of DMS. We felt too much… not “light.” This, of course, is a judgment call. Another judge might not feel that way. The IPA seemed a little more of a Pale, but we also agreed it was on the edge.
 It’s an interesting, comfortable, inviting brewery. We were told at our Christmas Party that Hopkinsville Brewing provides something the city has needed for a while: the town pretty much rolls up the sidewalks at night and this is a great addition to the community.
 We think it likely we can expect ‘more’ from Hopkinsville Brewing, in all senses of the word.

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   Brew Biz : Werts and All,` is a column dedicated to reviewing, discussing, and commenting on, beer-related topics including, but not limited to: marketing, homebrewing and homebrew/beer related events, how society perceives beer. Also: reviews of beer related businesses, opinions about trends in the brew business, and discussions regarding all things beer.
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