Profiles in brew: Gravity Brewing and Gastronauts

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Jen Wolf and Taylor Kuck of Gravity Brewing
Michael J. Casey

No business goes it alone. It takes a village, and few area breweries illustrate that point quite like Louisville’s first tap house: Gravity Brewing — which celebrated its seventh anniversary earlier this September. Seven years in the craft brewing world is an accomplishment, and Gravity isn’t showing any signs of slowing.

“We’ve been pushing up every year,” Taylor Kuck, Gravity’s head brewer says. “We got a 20-barrel tank last year. We’re at capacity right now.”

Kuck, who joined the brewery in 2015, brews on a 10-barrel system, which produced about 750 barrels of beer in 2018. Though Gravity does package and distributes some, most of its beer goes over the handsome beetle-kill pine bartop at its taproom.

And if you haven’t had a chance to visit Gravity’s home base, now’s the time to indulge. Either for one of their beers — they have eight mainstays and eight seasonals on tap; give their Mexican Bock, Gasolina, a quaff — or for a nosh from sister company, Gastronauts Restaurant.

“It’s such a simpatico relationship,” Gastronauts owner Sheila Peck says. “I couldn’t be here without them, and I think we’re a benefit to them.”

Gastronauts, which serves a variety of handcrafted eats, celebrated their third anniversary this past July.

“When we came in, we really worked closely with Taylor, and with the brewery owners too, on developing the menu,” Peck says.

From pizza to buffalo cauliflower, Gastronauts features a menu that’s fresh and relevant to the seasonal brews Gravity produces. They’ve also lent a hand when it comes to making them. For instance: Smokin’ Da Heat, a spiced grodziskie.

Historic Polish oak-smoked wheat ales are already a rarity in the U.S. craft beer scene — a shame considering how delicious grodziskies are — but Gravity takes it one step further by adding roasted pastille and serrano peppers to the recipe. And the peppers they use come from Gastronauts small vegetable garden out back.

“It’s cool because that’s a collaboration between the restaurant and the brewery,” Kuck says.

“Representative of both,” assistant brewer Jen Wolf adds.

And that representative is headed to the Great American Beer Festival in October to compete for a medal.

But none of this would be possible if not for American Legion Post 111, located next-door. The Legion owns the building — the space Gravity currently occupies used to be their banquet hall — but they might have lost it all if not for Gravity opening up in 2012. And with Gastronauts running a food window on both sides, things are looking up for the Legion as well.

Which is something, considering Gravity isn’t situated along Louisville’s main drag — it’s a few blocks east, across the tracks. But the Legion plus Gravity plus Gastronauts gives the space a sense of place and a sense of community.

“Not only do we have the beer and the food dialed in, we’ve got the personalities dialed in,” Peck says with a smile. “People come in here because they love us.”