By David Carrier
The Beer Carrier
One of the most exciting beer related events to happen in Danville recently — heck, maybe ever — was the opening of Gypsy Run. It’s the second brewery in our small town, and while it has obvious ties to its predecessor, Gypsy is unique, quirky and already making some darn great beers. Their handful of initial offerings have been varied and intriguing, providing a little something for everyone.
I’m Four, an Irish stout, might seem a bit reserved at 3.9-percent ABV, but it packs a ton of flavor. Like other beers in the style, including that insanely popular Dublin draught, I’m Four is soft and creamy, with the typical roasty stout notes but with a dry finish.
If you’re not a fan of the dark beers, you might like Eighth of An Inch, Gypsy’s pilsner. The name is an inside joke between the three co-owners about the difficulties of renovation — how nothing ever seems to go as planned, despite proper measuring and planning. The beer itself measures up nicely, though. It’s light, clean, and crisp, not unlike so many of the well-known domestics, but with a more citrusy, floral flavor and a slight hoppy kick, making it a good introductory beer to craft newbies, or just a respite from the more esoteric brews that are out there.
Gypsy Run has already made a big splash in the short time they have been operating. They have a great location that is spacious yet cozy, with a chill vibe, made all the better by the foosball table and Atari games. More importantly, though, they’re already pumping out some stellar beer.
His Dark Materials at Beer Engine
Of course, Beer Engine, Danville’s original brewery, is still going strong and pouring good brews like they always have. Over the last few years, they’ve expanded into bigger, perhaps better things, namely their sister brewing site, Monnik, in Louisville. They’ve always managed to remember and embrace their Danville roots through their new successes, though.
His Dark Materials, one of their stalwart flagships, is a 5.6-percent milk stout sweetened with lactose. It’s a beer I can rarely pass up. Like the series of fantasy novels that give this beer its name, His Dark Materials is complicated and nuanced. It’s sweet yet smoky, a little oily in appearance, with a medium mouthfeel and subtle hints of chocolate and coffee.
However, unlike those Philip Pullman books, this beer should not stir up any controversy. This is a crowd-pleaser, one of Beer Engine’s most popular offerings as far as I can tell. It is a quaffable stout, urging the drinker to enjoy a few. Although the name might sound a bit nefarious, you’ll never feel guilty or over encumbered after drinking a couple His Dark Materials. I’ve been known to pick up a growler almost any time, not just in these cooler months, and I’ve never been disappointed.
Moscow Mule at The Still
This one might be cheating a little, but hear me out. If we’re talking about homegrown libations, we should not ignore the distilled spirits. After all, drinking too much beer can be be bad for the taste buds and the waistline. You have to mix it up every once in a while.
Luckily, Danville is doing some interesting things when it comes to distilling. The Still at AMBRAbev is a fine example. This relatively new Brazilian restaurant specializes in both the culinary and alcoholic offerings of the South American country. Their Boteco vodka is made solely with Brazilian sugarcane, no artificial flavors or additives.
If you’re like me, you might want to try it in a classic cocktail, like the Moscow Mule. It’s made with ginger beer, an increasingly trendy mixer that also satisfies the expectations of this column’s name, at least sort of. It’s refreshing but deceptively strong. Despite the name, it is a drink equally suited for a southern hemisphere beach vacation or a chilly, bleak, winter Kentucky day. The Mule is good all by itself but it would also pair nicely with any of the Still’s interesting and authentic entrées or appetizers.