The old Zeppelin Cafe in Germantown will serve as the site of the new Beer Engine, slated for opening in mid-2013.

Beer Engine, a small and well-regarded craft brewery in Danville, Ky., will open a second site in Germantown sometime around the middle of next year. The site is the old Zeppelin Café at 1036 East Burnette, cattycorner to Check’s Café.

Founder, owner and brewer Brian Holton, who not only lives in Louisville, but works as an emergency room nurse at Baptist East Hospital, said that despite Germantown’s excellent brewpub reputation, is long overdue for an actual brewery.

“You have Eiderdown, Four Pegs, Hammerheads, so it’s a great area already for beer,” said Holton, who lives in Middletown specifically for its proximity to I-64 and the too-regular ride to Danville. “I don’t think there’s any other neighborhood in Louisville I’d rather open up a business for beer. I’m confident it’s going to go over well.”

Holton sought to buy Zeppelin after it closed in 2011 but didn’t find the price agreeable. When it went on the auction block in June, he scooped it up.

Inside the historic site was 10,000 square-feet of serviceable space—and some historic food left in place following its closure.

“We’ve filled up one dumpster and have a couple more to fill with things we don’t want that were left behind,” Holton said. What he does want is its existing kitchen equipment, even some machinery left behind when the site was a Heitzman Bakery. “The area in the back is falling apart, so we’re going to rebuild it and use it for brewing. … Upstairs and downstairs, we’ll have about 110 seats.” (He said he hasn’t settled on the fate of Zeppelin’s well-used pool tables.)

Along with craft beer brewed onsite and a broad bottled selection, Beer Engine will serve food. But since Holton’s looking for help on the culinary end of the business, he doesn’t know what will be on the menu.

“Whatever we do, we want prices to be approachable,” he said. “This won’t be fine dining. It might be something as simple as an awesome burger menu.”

If you want a preview of what beers Holton will brew, here’s the link to Beer Engine in Danville, and a link to its Facebook page. And if you want to drive there yourself, Holton said it’s a less than 90 minute drive from his home in Middletown. Sounds like a worthwhile road trip!

Steve Coomes
Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.