Mulberry Orchard co-owner Amanda Gaidzik and Against the Grain brewer Amelia Pillow teamed up to harvest peaches from the orchard for a peach lager as part of a Kentucky Proud initiative. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

A few miles north of Shelbyville, set off Ky. 43, sits a small farm filled with rows of peach and apple trees, meadows with roaming cattle, a playground, a grocery store and even a restaurant. It’s the last place on earth you’d think might help produce a beer, let alone with a brewery that is internationally recognized.

The Kentucky Proud collaboration with the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, now in its third year, is where Kentucky farms and other businesses like Mulberry Orchard come together with breweries for some unique products. The farm has 4,000 fruit trees in all and grows 15 varieties of peaches and 17 varieties of apples, along with other crops and beef.

This year, eight Louisville breweries will partner with bluegrass businesses like Mulberry Orchard to make some unique, one-off beers. Mulberry is paired up with Against the Grain Brewery, with the result being a peach farmhouse beer that will be released, along with more than a dozen other collaborations around the state, on Friday, Nov. 2.

Against the Grain used about 200 pounds of peaches from Mulberry Orchard. | Courtesy of Against the Grain Brewery

Louisville’s Kentucky Proud releases will coincide with the wrap-up of Louisville Beer Week.

Farm co-owner Amanda Gaidzik said Against the Grain procured about 200 pounds of peaches for the beer, with several varieties going into the finished recipe. The brewery created the base beer, and the peaches were added.

Amelia Pillow, head brewer at Against the Grain’s pub, said the beer will be a “rustic lager” with multiple malts plus Brettanomyces for a funky tartness. And, of course, lots and lots of peaches.

It isn’t the first such collaboration for the Gaidziks; the farm has collaborated previously on a beer with Against the Grain as well as one with Ethereal Brewing Co. in Lexington, and Jeptha Creed Distillery acquired fruit to make brandy.

Kentucky businesses helping Kentucky businesses.

“This is a great example of Kentucky Proud farmers and small businesses helping each other,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. “We were pleased to play a role in bringing this project together.”

“It is really cool,” said Amanda Gaidzik of the initiative. “It’s nice that local stuff goes into (the beers). I think these collaborations are important.”

The beer will be available on draft as part of the wrapping up of Louisville Beer Week, which began Friday, Oct. 26, but Pillow said she will bottle some of the beer for people to purchase. She indicates it is a fine beer for aging.

“It doesn’t get worse, it just gets different” with age, she said. “And potentially better.”

Derek Selznick, executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, said the point of the collaboration between the Guild and Kentucky Proud is to connect breweries with the producers of various other products.

Participating breweries can choose a partner, and if there isn’t already a connection, the Department of Agriculture will assign one.

For the Kentucky Guild of Brewers,” Selznick said, “this is a great opportunity to showcase the creativity of our brewers by making Kentucky Proud agriculture products the star of the show for one of their beers.”

Akasha Brewing Company and 3rd Turn Brewing teamed up with Gallrein Farms in Shelbyville for a sour apple tart APA, while Monnik Beer Co. worked with Paul’s Fruit Market to create a grisette beer called Master of Peaches. Falls City Brewing will release a peach saison, Gordon-Biersch a blackberry tripel, Holsopple a brown ale with hemp seeds, and Old Louisville a farmhouse saison.

Breweries will each release their beers at their respective taprooms, and the first 100 people to buy one of the Kentucky Proud beers at each location will receive a commemorative logo glass.

Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]