On Saturday the girls of GBS teamed up with the ladies from Snobby Beer Bitch(check them out on twitter @Snobbybeerbitch and Facebook) a group of women who love to drink and learn about craft beer and support the local scene, to take a tour of Lexington’s newest craft brewery, Pivot. The craft beer scene in Lexington has grown exponentially in the last 4-5 years. West Sixth, Country Boy, Ethereal, Blue Stallion, Mirror Twin and Rock House brewing all offer the craft beer drinker something different. Pivot, however, is very unique, in that it is the area’s first craft cidery, offering their own product as well as showcasing ciders from other parts of the country.
Although they don’t quite have their own products available yet, they have more than enough ciders to try. I personally like very dry ciders and was very happy with the Argus Ciderkin. Argus is from Austin, Texas and I’d never heard of them before. I thought the Ciderkin tasted like Strongbow used to, before Strongbow decided they needed to change their recipe and made it too sweet. Leigh was thrilled that there were flights available since she was unable to decide what to have first.
Pivot has a great space. They have a front and back room, with plenty of TVs for watching the game. The projection TV in the back is especially nice. Dogs are definitely welcome, there were several hanging out when we were there. One unique thing that they also offer is a children’s play area in the back room. Unusual for a brewery? Maybe, however, as we have discussed on the podcast it’s something that you will probably see more of as the people who make craft beer and those that enjoy craft beer have families or start families, but still want to enjoy the craft beer scene.
Kevin, the owner gave us a great tour and really explained how the cider making process is very different from the process of making beer. In Kentucky ciders containing less than 7% ABV are considered “weak ciders” and are treated as malt beverages. This means that in order to be within regulation all Pivot’s ciders will have to be in this ABV range, so no high gravity ciders.
Apples are stored in a cooler until they are ready to be processed. The temperature of the apples is very important, the juice cannot go into the fermenter cold, Kevin explained that before processing they are left out of the cooler overnight in order to get to room temperature. Once they are sorted they are run through what I would call the grinder. The whole apple, core and all is put into the grinder in order to get an applesauce type product.
Once the apples have been ground to the right consistency that mash is crushed through about 16 layers of cloth, is then put into a press and pumped into a tank.
Any excess apple product leftover from processing will go to farms as feed for livestock. Once in the tanks the fermentation time just depends on the type of cider you are making. Kevin explained that a pub cider can be ready in a few weeks, but much like beer, cider could be aged in something like a bourbon barrel for up to a year.
Although Pivot did not yet have any of their own cider ready, the tour was really informative and Kevin really knows the ins and outs of the cider making process. If you are in Lexington definitely add Pivot to your list of craft breweries to visit. Even if you don’t consider yourself a huge cider fan, chances are good that you will find something that you like at Pivot. In addition, Lexington Pasta Garage is right next door and delivers to Pivot. Do yourself a favor and order something delicious from them, you won’t be disappointed. So bring the dogs, bring the kids and get to Pivot Brewing for great drinks, great service and a great atmosphere. If we endorse it you know it’s good!
You can follow Pivot on twitter @PivotBrewing and also like them on facebook