Friday Night in Paris

Friday Night in Paris

Rooster Brews

Gastro Gnome Food

&

Big News!

When I left Rooster Brew this past Friday, downtown Paris, KY was fast asleep. I decided to take myself a little stroll up and down some of the unknown Paris streets. For no real particular reason other than it sounded more enjoyable than driving straight back to Lexington at the time.

The air was brisk and seemed extra quiet. Likely because I had just spent the previous four hours in a brewery filled with people talking and laughing and eating and drinking. Just having a good old time. With each step I took further away from all of that fellowship, I was going over what a great time we all had and I felt a little sad that it had to end.

Going from one extreme to the other, like stepping out of a brewery full of people to wandering around the streets of Paris alone, can sometimes make one of the extremes seem more extreme than it is. But for me it was all fine, it was a time for recollection and sorting ideas. Did that make sense? Probably not. Sometimes I ramble.

What I’m trying to get at is that I didn’t feel a sadness because my fun Friday night was over and I was walking by myself through a small town that I didn’t know my way around. No, I was feeling good. My time at Rooster Brewing that night had such a good air about it that it carried over to my aloneness and I couldn’t help but smile while I was walking along and remembering how it all went down.

We had records spinning on the stereo, cold beer in our glasses and tasty food in our stomach. 609 Main Street in Paris, KY was the place to be, let me tell ya. They say the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, gets the seat closest to where the beer is poured. So, I got there early to snag a stool somewhere at the bar and to catch up with Ralph Quillin to see what all he had in store for the evening.

Ralph told me the big announcements were happening at 8, which gave me a solid two hours of listening to music and mingling with the regulars. All of which seem to have never met a stranger. Even though most of them had never seen me, they didn’t mind at all that some big, tall lanky feller was walking around taking pictures. I was made to feel right at home from both the patrons and employees.

17918326_2064920947067855_273507324_n

That stool at the bar that I had longed for earlier wasn’t much use for me. I meandered around talking to all different types of folks. Some that are there nearly every time the doors are open and some that were just in town for the day before they headed back home to Maryland. I got to meet Ralph’s wife, Donna, and their Bull Mastiff pup, Angus. I got to know the folks behind the bar, Kaylyn, Ricki and Vinny. Vinny is Ralph and Donna’s son and is going to be managing the expansion in Lexington. Everyone seemed happy to be there. Which made the whole place come alive with good vibes.

Before I knew it 8 o’clock had snuck right up on me and Ralph was taking his place standing up on the cooler behind the bar. I positioned myself at what I thought was the best place to get some good pictures and listened while he and Vinny both thanked everyone that has played a part in the success and growth of Rooster Brewing and all of its future endeavors.

17918702_2064907320402551_1915099343_n

The first big announcement was the name of the new place going in on South Limestone here in Lexington. Ozcar Diggs will soon become a staple in the Lexington food and beer scene. It’s going to be an incredible partnership between Lexington’s best food truck, The Gastro Gnomes, and what’s soon to become one of Lexington’s favorite breweries, Rooster Brewing. If all things go as planned, they are hoping for a late summer opening this year.

The second announcement was the name of the Rooster expansion into Georgetown, Captain Tuttle’s. It’s still in its pretty early planning stages but they are hoping to be up and running by spring of 2018.  It’s going to be located on South Water Street and it will be a large three building compound. When I asked Ralph what people should expect he told me to think of it as a place similar to Tolly-Ho with Rooster Brew beer and a killer patio.

The third and biggest announcement was the naming of Kaylyn Shumate as the new head brewer for Rooster Brewing. She becomes only the second female head brewer in the state of Kentucky. I got to talk to her for a little bit throughout the night. Not only is she incredibly nice but she knows her stuff when it comes to brewing. Ralph has put his beer in good hands.

17888390_2064907077069242_1767812004_n

Once the announcements were made and hands were clapped, it was time for me to mosey on out and grab some grub from the Gnomes. DSC06949I’d had a hankerin’ for a good burger from the moment I got there and they sure did deliver. Sweet mercy! Kyle and Andrew know how to cook up a tasty dish. I, along with many others, can’t wait to see what they have in store for Ozcar Diggs.

Once the night started winding down we capped it off with a jubilant toast to new things to come.  And since I’ve always felt like it’s best to end on a high note, I gathered up my bag and camera and said my goodbyes to my new Rooster Brewing/Gastro Gnomes family.

I found my way to the door and stepped out…where the sleepy streets of Paris welcomed my wandering.

-Cody S. Decker official “scribe” of Rooster Brew

Partners on Lime

Partners on Lime

I’m sure by now you’ve heard that something new is going into the old Merit Furniture place on Limestone. You may have even heard that it is going to be a tasty partnership between Rooster Brewing from downtown Paris and the consistently delicious Gastro Gnomes food truck. You may have also heard what they are planning to name the place…if you have, could you tell me? I still don’t know that.

You may have not heard any of these things yet and that’s fine, too. Hell, that makes it even better for me. It means I’m actually breaking some news to someone.

Today, I don’t really have a whole lot of new information that differs from what the other places in town have written about it so far. Because as of right now it’s in its very early stages of planning and construction. But as progress continues, I’m going to be checking in once or twice every thirty days (sometimes more frequently depending on what’s happening) down at 157 North Limestone and take a few pictures of the place while I shoot the breeze with Ralph Quillin and find out what’s new.

Ralph is the co-founder of Rooster Brewing along with his wife, Donna, I wrote a piece about his brewery in Paris a little over a year ago and we’ve kept in touch ever since. So, when he asked me to chronicle this new venture with him, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.

I’m going to do my best to make these things I write as informative as I possibly can without being full of nothing but lines of information.  I probably won’t barrage you with numbers and statistics and you probably won’t see very many quotes, unless they’re good ones that stick with me and my horrible memory. And it won’t be in MLA format.

I just don’t care too much for following someone around with a pen and paper trying to frantically jot down everything they say. Nor do I like using a voice recorder. Both of those tend to take away from that fact that we’re just two people talking. It adds an aspect to it, for me anyway, that infringes on the human element of good ol’ back and forth conversation.

I’m going to try my best to make these articles/stories seem like you and I are having a conversation. Granted, it will be a very one-sided conversation but you catch my drift. I’m hoping it will be something you will enjoy reading yet still take away something that you didn’t know before you clicked on it.

As for today, this is going to serve as more of an introduction what we’re trying to do and give you a heads up so you can look forward to more.

However, I did venture down to the new spot last week and gave it a look.  I met up with Ralph and a fellow by the name of Graham Allen, of SQUARE PEGS, a local freelance group, specializing in Graphic Design, Fine Arts and Murals.  Graham is an incredible artist who is going to be doing some mural work on this project. He did the work on the walls of Mirror Twin Brewing and several other projects around Lexington.  Not to mention the awesome Tom Waits mural he did in Paris.  If you haven’t seen it, you need to change that.

I took some pictures of the place, both inside and out, and Ralph gave me a little bit of an idea of where everything is going to be. But it’s not set in stone yet, so we’ll save the juicy details for a little further on down the road.

I can tell you that the space is big and open and they plan on keeping it that way. There are two skylights that will bring in just enough natural light to keep the place feeling cozy but not too shut off from the outside world so you don’t feel like you’re in a hole. The original brick on the walls will remain exposed and the hardwood floor that supported furniture for sixty plus years will be getting a good sanding and refinishing.

Take a gander here at some of the pictures:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The whole place will have the warm comfort and charm of somewhere you’ve been a thousand times, even though it’s new.

There may even be talk of a rooftop patio…once everything is up and running well on the inside.  But let’s keep that between you and me for now.

This partnership between The Gnomes and The Rooster has been brewing for quite some time now. I’m thrilled that it’s finally coming to fruition and I can’t wait to work with the guys from Gastro Gnomes and Rooster Brewing and everyone else that will be involved.

I hope you’ll follow us as we go from blueprints and hardhats to cold beer and hot food.

 

-Cody S. Decker                                                                                                                                             Kentucky Author and Poet

Rooster Brew: Beer Pioneer of Bourbon County

Rooster Brew: Beer Pioneer of Bourbon County

I had never ventured into Paris, Kentucky until the other day. I don’t tend to leave the city that often unless I’m making the trip back home. The drive out there was absolutely gorgeous. The slow winding curves of Paris Pike take you through miles of farmland with barns that are probably nicer than my house. It’s winter time and I thought it looked nice. I can only imagine it during the spring and summer. I didn’t take this trip for the view, though. I headed out of town to stop by Rooster Brewing (or Rooster Brew as it’s now called by its patrons) and chat for a few minutes with the owner, Ralph Quillin. Rooster Brew is the first brewery to ever operate in Bourbon County.

The place wasn’t very hard to find, you simply stay on Main Street until you see the rooster sticking out of the side of one of the beautiful old buildings that line each side of the street. I parked and made my way up to the door where I saw Ralph sitting inside behind the bar. It was just him in there. The brewery wasn’t officially open but he was nice enough to meet me anyway. We exchanged our hellos and how do you dos and he told me all about his place as I sat at the bar and tried my best to keep one eye on him while I scoped out the beer list with the other. He had six of his own concoctions on tap and a couple more from other breweries. There was a cooler full of all different makes and bottles of beer and behind me was a wall of bottles for you to choose from to take home.

The whole place had a nice, open and mellow vibe to it. He told me that they pretty much gutted the entire space when they bought it, to open it up like it is and show the beauty of some of the original architecture of the building. Which revealed the original ceiling from when it was built in the late 1800s. The place certainly doesn’t lack any charm. The bar itself is made from reclaimed doors with knobs still intact and all of the tables and chairs proudly display handmade renditions of the signature red rooster. Even the metal tap handles are molded into rooster shape.

DSCF1095

DSCF1090You can sit at your typical high-top tables, rest your elbows on the bar or cozy up next to the fireplace. There’s no wrong choice.

We kept talking for a while and I asked the question that I’m sure he gets asked all of the time, “Where’d the name Rooster Brewing come from?” He said before he opened the brewery, he would brew with family and friends and they did their brewing out on a farm. About the time they would get everything going, a big rooster that was missing his tail, would come check everything out. So, when he decided to open up his own brewery he needed a name for it. He didn’t want the name to be anything too personal, no family names tied to it or anything. So his wife, Donna, came up with the name Rooster Brewing in honor of that old rooster that used to watch them brew on the farm and it just seemed right. She was is also to credit for naming one of the beers. Fittingly she called it “No Tail Ale.” Speaking of beer, while we were talking I got around to trying a few. Not only did he know how to make a brewery look nice and make you feel at home, he figured out the most important part of owning such an establishment: how to make good beer. Better yet, how to make damn good beer. Like I mentioned earlier, he had six of his own on tap, I only tried a couple of them but that’s fine. It gives me a reason to go back and try the rest.

DSCF1087Whether you’re a fan of sours, ales, IPAs, or saisons they are bound to have something on tap to wet your whistle.

When I left I was excited that I had found myself another brewery to add to my rotation of places to visit when I want to go out for a beer. Rooster Brew truly is a one of a kind micro brewery. Tucked between other shops and businesses, you really get that downtown feel but with a small town charm. The atmosphere there is incredibly welcoming and not intimidating in the least bit. You don’t have to be a beer connoisseur to fit in, you just need to come looking for good beer and a good time. It may be a few miles out of Lexington but it’s worth your drive to go pay Ralph a visit. They’re open Thursday through Saturday from 4:30 til the Rooster crows or 11:00. Whichever comes first. Trivia takes place on Thursdays and there’s usually a food truck there on Fridays. When Saturday rolls around, you can catch some live music.

I’m glad I got to meet Ralph and talk to him one on one but I’m looking forward to going back when the place is a little more lively and I can mingle with some of the locals. The lucky folks that have already known about this Bourbon County gem longer than me. I think he said the Gastro Gnomes food truck was going to be there within the next week or so. I may make plans to go that night, I think those two would pair nicely together.

Follow Rooster Brew on Facebook so you can keep an eye out for all they’ve got going on now and all that they have coming up this year. Because I’ve caught wind of a rumor that Lexington may be getting a new edition. And if all goes as planned, it could be one of the best new spots in town.

Cody S. Decker

Thanks is in Order

Thanks is in Order

Just about this time last year I found myself packed into the Carnegie Center to celebrate the inductees into the Kentucky Writer’s Hall of Fame. The main reason I was there was the fact that Hunter S. Thompson was being inducted. Damn, I was excited about that. Hunter was the reason I got into writing in the first place. I hold in him very high regard as an author and Kentuckian so I was zoned in that night. Hunter was all that I was thinking about. Which was justifiable, I was there to write an article about the event for a website called GonzoToday.com and Hunter was of course going to be my main topic. It was a tremendous experience and exciting opportunity for me at the time. Here I was, witnessing my literary idol being ushered into the literary history books of the home state I share with him. But the main inductee of the night was not who I was there to write a story about.

Mr. Wendell Berry was being inducted into the Kentucky Writer’s Hall of Fame as well. The only living author to do so. He was there mingling amongst the crowd and was even going to speak at the end of the night. But like I said, I was zoned in to one person being honored. I had Thompson tunnel vision. Hell, I even saw Wendell upstairs as he walked out of the latrine and didn’t even bother to go introduce myself or shake his hand before he went back to the maddening crowd below. Looking back, that is a huge regret of mine. There I was, within spittin’ distance of who could quite possibly be Kentucky’s greatest treasure. I had the chance to speak to the man one on one and I didn’t. Which really makes me feel like a horse’s ass the more I think about it. I won’t dwell on things that I should have done in the past. If I get started on that I’m liable to go on and on longer than either of us would wish to participate. We live and we learn, right? Time to move on.

I saw an article yesterday claiming that Wendell will be receiving the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award as picked by the National Book Critics Circle. The award is given annually to a person or institution who has, over time, made significant contributions to book culture. Wendell joins other writers like Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison in winning the award. We as Kentuckians, hell better yet, we as Americans should really appreciate what we’ve got in Wendell Berry. His poetry, his stories (fiction and non-fiction), his essays, novels are all special. There’s a pretty good chance that in the 81 years he’s been alive, he’s written something that applies to or hits close to home with all of us in some way. Wendell Berry’s words will resonate through the minds, both young and old, in this world forever. His stories will always tell a story and the meaning and feeling behind the essays he so passionately writes will always remain.

The lifetime achievement ceremony will be taking place in New York. So, I will not be attending. But if I could, I would do things a bit differently than last time. If I were to somehow get the chance to grab just a moment of his time, whether he was leaving the john again and I had a moment or two to speak to him one on one or if it were just a second or two while I shook his hand as just another face in a crowd of outstretched arms, I think I would tell him, “Thank you.” If I had the time to say more I might but I feel like “thank you” means more than enough without saying too much.

I’m glad to see Wendell Berry getting the credit and recognition he deserves from not only his home state but on a national scene as well. He’s been an inspiration and thought provoker for me and many others and will continue to do so as long as words are read. Just do yourself a favor, if you ever get the chance to meet him, don’t do like I did. Because even though I said I’m not going to dwell on such things anymore, I am.

Congratulations, Wendell!

….thank you.

Cody S. Decker

(photo credit: here)

Mission Statement, If You Will

Mission Statement, If You Will

For those of you that may not know me, my name is Cody S. Decker. I’m from the small town of Monticello, KY down around the Lake Cumberland area. I’m a writer and poet and about as far away from being labeled a professional in either of those two fields as one could be. But I enjoy it so I keep on doing it. I live in Lexington now and work at a bookstore to pay the bills. Every morning before work I wake up and do the same thing. Drink coffee and watch the news. Then, once my eyes open all the way and my mind adjusts to being awake I scroll through Facebook on my phone to see what the buzz is. Every single morning I find myself choking down story after story of killings, accidents, disasters, political high praise and campaign lows. Every now and then there will be something good sprinkled throughout but not near enough. Bad news is never a good way to start a good day.

One morning, while sitting on my couch with a hot cup of Folgers in hand, I had an inkling of an idea to do something about this problem. That inkling has stayed around and festered now for about six months. It’s gotten to the point where I have to at least try to do something or it’ll bug me to death.

From that inkling “lexington underline” was born.

This little project of mine is going to start out small. It’s only a blog on WordPress right now but I hope to one day have some print copies floating around. I’m loosely modeling it after the underground newspapers that used to circulate here back in the 70s: Blue Tail Fly being one of them. It’s just me, myself and I as of right now but any help I can pick up along the way will be welcomed with open arms.

I’m going to strive to make this publication different than anything else we have here in Lexington. I will be attending as many events as I can (I have a full time job so availability will be the tricky part) that I feel deserve some sort of recognition and probably wouldn’t receive it elsewhere. Lexington is a growing city and so many cool things are happening around town. There are so many events and concerts and good times that fly under the radar of the other news outlets. Whether it’s due to their lack of knowing about them or just the fact that they may not be “exciting” enough to produce a lot of clicks on a page, I don’t know. But I’m not doing this for clicks. Or money. I’m doing this for fun, for Lexington and for the wonderful people that make up this city. I want to shine a light on the heart of where I call home.  There may be an off chance that I cover something that is covered by another news outlet from time to time but if that’s the case, I’m going to try my damnedest to do it better.

The articles you see posted on this site may not be the typical news story you’re used to reading. I’m going to write the majority of them from a first person point of view. I’m actually going to go places, see things and talk to people then write about my experience in a way that hopefully reads more like an entertaining story than news. If I do an interview with someone, I may write more about where we were and what we were doing at the time than what they actually said. If I go to some sort of function with an open bar or with booze available, I may not remember enough to write a whole story. So I may have to make a few things up, to spice it up a little and fill in the gaps. Who knows? That’s the beauty of what I’m trying to do. No rules, nothing regular, and make it up as I go. I would even like to feature poetry and fiction and any other kind of art. Written or visual. Not only from myself but from you or anyone you know here in town that’s been wanting to get their work out there.

I will be counting on the readers and people around Lexington to keep a sharp eye out for anything coming up. I’m open to any and all suggestions and will try my best to check out as many as I can. So, please, “like” and share lexington underline on Facebook and Twitter to try and get the word out.  Befriend me on social media if you wish.  The more ways I have to connect with everyone the better. I’m going to work on having some fliers made to post up in restaurants, breweries, bars and everywhere in between here soon.

This is going to be a step by step learning process for me but it’s also going to be a hell of a lot of fun. For everyone. I’m looking forward to getting out and about and meeting you folks. New people make for the best new stories.

Here’s to some good times,

Cody S. Decker