Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

March 30, 2014

Craft beers, landmarks, on target; the end is near?

ASHLAND — I often hear from people who express some version of the sentiment, “I want your job.”

And, if the job really did involve nothing more than eating cheeseburgers and writing about it, I would completely understand. Despite the despairity between perception and reality of my day-to-day assignments, however, I do have a pretty sweet gig most days, and I’m well aware of it.

I had a pleasant reminder of that fact last week while hanging out with Daniel Harrison, better known as “D.H.” from Lexington’s Country Boy Brewing. D.H. was in Ashland along with local hosts visiting local businesses including Continental Liquors and Ashland Beverage Centre, as well as restaurants where you can find their small-batch brews on tap including Fiesta Bravo at Ashland Town Center and Ruby Tuesday adjacent to the town center and Callihan’s American Pub & Grill at the Kyova Mall.

A resident of Georgetown who brews and draws pints alongside his partners at the brewery and tap room in Lexington, D.H. explained his passion for the craft and artistry of beermaking was largely born while he was working in Japan. His wife is also from Japan, and he has some great stories about the ways his country-boy accent gets him in trouble as she translates his messages.

In addition to making some great beers, Country Boy Brewing is often noted for the unusual titles they apply to their beverages, including Cougar Bait, Cliff Jumper, Amos Moses, Brown Chicken and Shotgun Wedding. The company started small in one of the partner’s back yard and produced 504 barrels of beer during its first year, ramping up to 1,800 barrels last year and on target to produce and deliver 5,000 barrels this year. While in Ashland, D.H. was introducing local craft beer enthusiasts to the brewery’s new brew “Sexual Dracula” — a creamy stout-style beer with an appreciable whisper of cherries as it washes down.

Laughing, he explained his first visit to Ashland was a journey with several other firsts, including an on-the-spot thermostat replacement in his pickup truck upon arrival. He was also obviously pleased with the reception provided by local beer lovers.

“There were six people waiting with growlers when we got here,” he said while greetings customers at Continental Liquors on 13th Street. “Even in Lexington we wouldn’t see that on a Wednesday.”

D.H. and company were also among the first to encourage Matthew Bradley at 1937 Brewing Co. as he has worked to make the idea of a microbrewery a reality along Greenup Avenue between Ashland’s blue and green bridges. D.H. said such a microbrewery, strategically located in the northeast portion of the state, gets an overwhelming seal of approval from the guild of brewers already building a tremendous reputation across the commonwealth.

“Nothing would help Country Boy more than to have a brewery here in Ashland,” he noted.

For more information about Country Boy Brewing, visit their website or drop by their tap room at 436 Chair Avenue the next time you visit Lexington, or call (859) 554-6200. Country Boy Brewing beverages are available locally at places with “growler stations” and/or draft beer options.

Soon gone?

I’ve often cautioned that people who truly love a particular restaurant need to make a point of eating there and telling their friends about the place.

I’ve heard a few reports from within the walls of a local restaurant (specializing in Italian cuisine) that the place is scheduled to close by May unless there is a dramatic upturn in business. I’ve heard the same thing from two of this particular restaurant’s most-vocal fans (who describe themselves as heartbroken over this news) who’ve confirmed the information with their servers. Many months have passed since I adopted a policy to avoid writing about anyplace going out of business, but I have to make at least a partial exception on this one.

If you think you know the place I’m talking about, and appreciate their food and service, I will pass along the words of Janis Joplin — “Get it while you can.”

If in Pikeville

It wasn’t long ago that we traveled to Pikeville, or Pike County, at least a couple of times a week. While I haven’t been back that way in a while, I know a lot of people still travel to and through “The city that moves mountains,” so I wanted to pass along a review from one of my reliable field agents regarding the restaurant at the longstanding and recently renovated Landmark Inn.

“I had the sirloin with the salad bar and baked potato. My wife and one daughter each had a meal they made out of crab cakes that normally was an appetizer that they allowed them to do along with a salad. The other daughter had a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, fried green tomato and buffalo sauce. They all enjoyed the main meal,” he reported.

“We topped it off with dessert all made in their kitchen per the chef. I had Dreamsicle cheesecake, one daughter had strawberry cheesecake while one daughter and my wife shared a Derby pie — which all were excellent!”

For more information about Landmark Inn, located at 190 S. Mayo Trail, Pikeville, call (606) 432-2545.

Range gets thumbs up

I heard from local shooting enthusiast Kirby Hall, who followed up on last week’s note about a new shooting range in nearby Kitts Hill, Ohio last week.

“Thumbs up,” Hall said, explaining the K-Hill Indoor Shooting Range is “out in the country” about 15 minutes off of U.S. 52.

The indoor shooting range seems small when you first see it, Hall reported, although once inside he was pleased to find it is neat, clean, well organized and operated by an outstanding staff.

“Customer service was really, really outstanding,” he said, explaining he was so impressed that he went ahead and signed up for a one-year membership before enjoying an afternoon setting sights on targets.

K-Hill Indoor Shooting Range, open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, is located at 9905 State Route 141, nine miles north of Ironton in Kitts Hill, Ohio. I plan to visit the range myself at some point in the future, but if you can’t wait for my eventual report, get in touch with Lynn, Mark, Dwain or Debbie by calling (740) 442-7072.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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