Blue Stallion Brewing celebrates first year with growth spurt

jpatton1@herald-leader.comJuly 17, 2014 

Blue Stallion Brewing in Lexington celebrated its first anniversary with a retrospective of craft-beer hits: 16 of their beers served in the past year were on tap Thursday for customers.

"We're putting back on tap every beer we've made, save for one," co-owner Kore Donnelly said. They couldn't find any of one of their beers, he said.

They're making up for it, though, with something special Friday: A dopplebock that won a gold medal in February at the Dublin Cup in Ireland has been aging in some special bourbon barrels.

Donnelly can't say which label, but it's a popular wheat bourbon from Buffalo Trace and rhymes with "happy."

And on Saturday, Blue Stallion will have special test-batch tappings, including a couple of Nitro taps.

To help celebrate, food trucks Fork in the Road, The Gastro Gnomes and Rolling Oven were scheduled to be there for dinner, Donnelly said.

The brewery, owned by brothers Kore, Xavier and Zac Donnelly; Jim Clemons; and head brewer Nico Schulz, opened its doors last summer on West Third Street and almost immediately began expanding.

By January, they added a cooler to increase storage capacity. That allowed them to begin distributing some beer in February.

Demand for their most popular beers continued to outstrip supply, so in late spring they added two 60-barrel tanks, which at 31 gallons a barrel almost doubled their brewing capacity, Donnelly said.

"So we can brew a lot more of the beers that we distribute," he said. Blue Stallion specializes in German-style lagers and British-style ales, which tend to be lighter and less hop-heavy than some American style craft beers.

This week, they brewed Munich dunkel (a German amber lager) and Hefeweizen (a German-style wheat medium-bodied ale) and in four to eight weeks those will be on tap, he said.

"We have been making them in much smaller batches, but they are our two most popular, so the bigger tanks will allow us to make a lot more volume," Donnelly said. "We haven't been able to distribute much of those."

That increase could allow Blue Stallion to expand its distribution.

"Right now we're still in Central Kentucky exclusively, with Kentucky Eagle, but we're looking at expanding into Eastern Kentucky, Louisville and Northern Kentucky now that we can provide more volume," he said.

And they hope to begin bottling next year, which could expand their reach even more.

With all the sales growth, how soon will Blue Stallion need more room?

"It's something we have in mind," Donnelly said.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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