GEORGETOWN, Ky. — In my old Kentucky home there’s a new place to drink the foam. In July 2018, My Old Kentucky Foam, a family-friendly craft brewery, restaurant and community gathering hub opened on Main Street in downtown Georgetown.
The concept has been a long time coming for owners Darrin and Synthia Burchell, who bring backgrounds in business, human relations and chemistry into their brewery operation.
Darrin is a former instructor at the University of Kentucky Hospital and College of Medicine holding degrees in chemistry and molecular biology, among others, while Synthia is a former state health account manager for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield along with being a Human Relations manager at UK prior to that.
According to Darrin Burchell, much of the decision for him and his wife to leave their careers centered around the desire for a new challenge.
“We both had good careers, enjoyed what we did and quite frankly were good at it,” said Burchell. “We just had a nagging to see what we could do for ourselves.”
Despite My Old Kentucky Foam not opening until last July, Darrin Burchell wasn’t new to brewing, having brewed for years from home. His intrigue for the craft came 17 years ago while in San Francisco for a speaking engagement.
He recalls stopping by a bookstore one morning on the way to give a talk to purchase Charlie Papazian’s “The Joy of Homebrewing,” which he noticed in a shop’s window.
Throughout the day Darrin Burchell perused the book prior to stopping at nearby Anchor Brewing that evening with his then girlfriend Synthia. While sipping on his beloved Anchor Steam, Darrin Burchell recalled reading that he could craft beers just as good as the one he was drinking then from his home. That thought is what spurred Darrin Burchell’s passion — a mere hobby transformed into a sustainable business.
According to Bar Manager Travis Warnken, My Old Kentucky Foam currently has 20 beers on tap including 14 originals, with a goal of expanding to 17 originals and three ciders on tap. The brewery has six flagship beers — Coal Miner’s Porter, Fire Engine (American Amber), Old Friends (Cream Ale), Big Juicy (Tropical Fruit IPA), Hot Mess (retro Pilsner) and the award-winning Georgetown Brown (Brown Ale), all of which Darrin Burchell says have a foundation in his home-brewing days.
The concoction, aptly named after the city the business calls home, is tailored to fit the specific water chemistry of Georgetown.
“Georgetown has a very hard water source, even for Kentucky,” he said. “You can practically slice it, which makes for fantastic brown beers. The water provides a smoothness and richness that you’d have a tough time matching from elsewhere.”
The brewery has also gone more experimental on several beers, including a Chocolate Stout and a ghost pepper beer.
Darrin Burchell says that My Old Kentucky Foam’s two cardinal rules to follow in crafting their beers are drinkability and sanitation, with him stressing that “cleanliness is even more important than drinkability.” To achieve this, Darrin Burchell and company are very strict and deliberate in what yeast they choose to brew with, opting for more flavorful options that most other craft and home brewers, for which his background in chemistry and molecular biology proved useful.
In addition to serving up signature beers, My Old Kentucky Foam has also partnered with Rolling Oven, who rents space in the venue to cook up pizza and sandwiches for patrons to pair with their drinks.
The brewery also has live music every Friday and Saturday, trivia on Tuesdays and karaoke on Thursdays, with other events scheduled irregularly.
Despite their short time in business, Darrin Burchell says he has much to be thankful for, and cherishes the friendships he’s already made.
“Georgetown has been so welcoming to us,” said Burchell. “They’ve made us feel like we’re a part of them.”
IF YOU GO
What: My Old Kentucky Foam craft brewery with live music and Rolling Oven pizza
Hours: 4-10 p.m. on Mondays; noon to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, noon to midnight from Thursday through Saturday, and 1- 9 p.m. on Sundays
Location: 149 East Main St., Georgetown
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