Jalapeño Beer at Country Boy Brewing

Country Boy Brewing - Lexington, Ky.
At first, I was a little skeptical at the concept. Gimmicky? Perhaps. Worthy of trying? Absolutely.

It took me a while to make it down to Lexington's Chair Avenue to explore and taste the brews of Country Boy Brewing Company, one of the several microbrews to open and be embraced by Lexington within the past year. Since I first learned of Country Boy, I wanted to taste their Jalapeño brew. On the day I visited, they had two of their twenty-four taps featuring the mighty jalapeño.

The Jalapeño Smoked Porter is spicy, but pleasantly so. Even better for my palate was the Jalapeño Smoked Porter XXX which was slightly mellower on the Scoville scale thanks to a some aging in bourbon barrels. With either, however, I'm not sure how I'd make it through an entire pint (having some food from a nearby greasy spoon would probably do the drink, but jalapeño beer really ought to be coupled with some food). Though no food is served at Country Boy, they welcome outside food. And Tolly-Ho is really close!

Even without food, the $1 sampling glasses allowed me a flight of five of Country Boy's delicious and unique brews. My other three tastes were of the English Brown Ale (Brown Chicken/Brown Cow, on nitro at 4.8%), the incredibly unique Schnickelfritz Spruce (a 5.7% beer brewed with fresh spruce tips), and the Cliff Jumper IPA. All brewed in house and all quite tasty, but it is the willingness to experiment outside-the-box (jalapeños, spruce tips) that sets Country Boy Brewing apart.

As for location, it certainly is different than Lexington's other newly opened watering holes. Lexington Beerworks occupies a historic North Limestone structure and West Sixth Brewing has transformed the old Rainbo bread building. On the other hand, Country Boy's taproom and brewery are located in a nondescript, modern industrial building of concrete block and corrugated sheet metal. If blue laws were different, this plain building could be lifted and relocated to any of the smaller towns surrounding Lexington and fit in perfectly. I wouldn't object if their taproom did just that.

Inside, Country Boy delivers on its name with a homey, relaxed experience. There is no pretense here. Just good beer and good times.