Braxton Brew Company By Senior Editor Don Else

At only 2-1/2 years old, Covington, Ken. based Braxton Brewing has grown quickly. Located just seven blocks from the Ohio river, they necessarily distribute up into Ohio to Cincinnati and Dayton but have focused their efforts in their home state of Kentucky, until now. With several launch events, tap takeovers, and samplings in and around Nashville, Braxton, as of August 28, is now distributed throughout middle Tennessee.

The best part of the story, though, is the very very beginning. Sixteen year old Evan Rouse was dropping older brother Jake off at Indiana University. Stopping at Upland Brewery, just a relatively few blocks away, Evan discovered people can make their own beer! He convinces dad Greg to buy him a homebrew kit which they then set up in their garage. Sixteen. With dad “supervising” though.

With a determined passion, Evan began entering his beer in homebrew competitions. Entering beers he was technically not even able to sample, he quickly began amassing awards. In 2011 he became the assistant brewmaster at Hofbrauhaus where he developed the recipe for the first IPL in the 400 year history of the brewery.

In 2013 Braxton Brewing was founded by Evan, Jake, and Greg, named after the street where they lived and where that first homebrew kit was set up. And site search begins. They have an abiding entrepreneurial attitude and knew that a brewery could act as an impetus to neighborhood revitalization so their search was focused on just that. They found just the spot at 27 West 7th Street in Covington.

The brewery that was merely a dream that began in the family garage years earlier opened in March of 2015. And the garage theme pervades. At Braxton, a “garage is more than a garage. It’s a place where we build our hopes and dreams. A reliable place from which we launch into the world, and enjoy a safe return.”

Their website also refers to a garage as “an incubator, an enterprise zone.” And that is where the tie in is with the neighborhood revitalization concept. The beautiful and bright taproom actually opens at eight in the morning for other entrepreneurs to come in and use the space as an incubator. With a huge window wall across the entire front, and a window wall facing the brewery, and white boards on the walls, the place is very conducive to inspiration, and not just in the brewhouse.

Almost exactly two years later, in March of this year, they opened up Braxton Labs in the site of the former Eight Ball Brewery in Bellevue, just a few miles away. Another full size brewery, here they focus on seasonals, one offs, and experimentals. There is also a full size taproom with forty tap handles, most of which are either Braxton or Braxton Labs beer. That is quite an accomplishment.

I was able to meet with the brothers a couple weeks before the launch, and we sampled through several of the beers that will be distributed here. These are great guys. It was a great pleasure to meet them, hang out for a while, and sample their beer. And, oh yeah, the beer is excellent!