If you’re familiar with Union Kentucky you know that for a long time at the top of Braxton Drive sat a Kroger store. I can only imagine that a lot of the craft beer that the Rouse family bought over the years came from the shelves of that Kroger, which explains a lot why they have such an emotional tie with the Cincinnati company. Braxton was literally born around the corner from Kroger, and as Evan Rouse started his career in beer, the dream to be on the shelf at that store was a very real one… which is why this beer is so exciting.
But I’m getting a tad bit ahead of myself here. Let’s learn a little bit first.
A Very Short Kroger History Lesson
The Kroger company was started in 1883 by Barney Kroger, when he invested his life savings of $372 to open a grocery store at 66 Pearl Street in downtown Cincinnati (this location is right around where I-71 now passes by the Great American Ballpark). The son of a merchant, he ran his business with a simple motto:
Be particular. Never sell anything you would not want yourself.”
This ethos has driven the Kroger Company to become the nation’s largest supermarket chain by revenue, and the second largest general retailer behind Walmart. From that very first store at 66 Pearl, to now operating more than 2700 stores across the United States.
It’s a story that any Cincinnatian can get behind, and feel a bit of pride about.
About 66 Pearl, The Beer
If you’re Braxton Brewing Company, what better way to honor the story of Barney Kroger than to brew up a beer to be sold exclusively at their Cincinnati stores? But if you know Braxton, you know that just brewing up any old beer was not going to cut it… they rocked out a Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Style Golden Ale that clocks in at a massive 15.7% ABV.
From the bottle label:
66 Pearl takes on the characteristics of the barrel it was aged in. Smooth hints of oak from the barrel and spice from the Belgian yeast combine to create a beer as unique as this collaboration.
I haven’t tried this beer, yet… but if there is anything that I trust at this point it is the barrel program at Braxton. Ever since they released Kentucky Home in their first year they’ve been doing some amazing things with oak, and I know that this will continue that trend.
I Want it… When Can I Get It?
This should be starting to appear on the shelves of greater Cincinnati Kroger stores as I write this, but keep in mind that while this is going to be released in 12oz bottles exclusively in Kroger stores all across the city, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be widespread. It’s going to be pretty limited as far as how much is out there. If you see it… get it.
If you’re looking for a taste of the beer, and you happen to be at Dark Charge day this year… you’re in luck. They’ll be tapping this new beer at noon for you to try in a 10oz pour.