In its ongoing quest to expand its reaches and maintain uniqueness, Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery recently added food to its arsenal in the form of B-town Pie Co., starting with a soft opening this week.
Located in a bright orange metal shed of sorts in the Copper & Kings courtyard, B-Town Pie will serve a variety of hand-made lunch pies, or “pasties,” paired with Spudz potato chips, Louisville Cream ice cream products and Butchertown Soda products.
The venture is an internal part of Copper & Kings and will be open daily, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The pasties, which are inspired by food commonly seen in various areas of the world, are basically pockets of ingredients including meat, cheese, vegetables and spices – think Hot Pockets for grown-ups, and you’re on the right track.
The pies cost $5 each for colcannon or Chana Masala, and $6 each for beef burgundy, chicken pot pie or Polynesian al pastor. For $2.50 more, you get soda and a bag of chips as well. There’s also a $5 dessert pie called Apple-Brandied Pie, made with un-aged apple brandy and caramelized apples, seasoned with brown sugar, cinnamon and other spices.
The concept arose when the distillery decided it wanted to offer food, particularly during daytime tours, and to offer another reason for its Butchertown neighbors to stop in.
“We always said the No. 1 thing was to be a community asset,” Joe Heron, founder of Copper & Kings, said during Thursday’s soft open.
Initially, the management team discussed possibly having sandwiches, and there was talk at one point about other foods such as a taco truck, but the distillery’s ongoing quest for uniqueness soon came into play. Director of food and drink Joe Phillips is a self-confessed anglophile who was interested in doing food one might find in the U.K. Such pasties are also a staple of Heron’s native South Africa.
“This is his comfort food, his baby,” Phillips said. “We just took it and ran. It was low-hanging fruit for us, basically.”
Ron Jasin, who also helped with the concept, said, “Like most things at Copper & Kings, it just snowballed from there.”
I sampled a beef burgundy as well as a colcannon pastie, which is inspired by a traditional Irish dish usually made with mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale. The beef burgundy is made with brisket meat and red wine, with onions, mushrooms, and carrots, and like all the pastries at B-Town Pie, the ingredients are wrapped in a light, flaky shell that is similar to a croissant. Like much Irish and British food, the flavors within are savory and hearty – and the pie is the perfect size for a well portioned lunch.
The colcannon actually was a tasty surprise, with a cheesy base that also contained bacon and leek – it was similar to colcannon I’d tried a few years ago, yet with a bit bolder flavor profile, and well worth $5.
Finally, I tried a few bites of an Apple Brandied Pie, which was drizzled in a lightly sweet glaze and packed with chunks of apples. It was not nearly as sweet as I’d expected, offering more of a tart experience with plenty of natural apple flavor.
Meanwhile, the chicken pot pie is a take on the classic comfort food, featuring cream-braised chicken, carrots, celery, potatoes and onions; the al pastor features marinated achiote pork, pineapple, honey, and onion and bell pepper sofrito; and the Chana Masala is based on a traditional Indian dish, stuffed with chickpeas, tomatoes, red lentils, ginger, and onions, simmered with Garam Masala and cilantro in coconut milk.
While no date is set for a hard open for B-Town Pie Co., expect the soft open to continue for another week or two, just catering to neighbors and friends. The menu will be tweaked as the team learns what patrons are looking for, but there are no plans to expand to dinner hours.
However, Heron noted that further updates to the distillery are in the planning stages, with a lounge scheduled for the third floor deck in spring 2017. The lounge will be the yin to the casual lunchtime courtyard experience’s yang, focusing on craft brandy cocktails and charcuterie in a slightly more upscale atmosphere.