Taiwan Street Food & Bourbon Aged Beer

Taiwan Street Food & Bourbon Aged Beer

Our beer goes with everything
— Dave Bob, Kentucky Ale & Town Branch Spirits

Taiwan is infamous for its personality-filled night markets that are lined up as far as the eye can see with food stalls that bring the best local specialties right to the street. However, there is one person that is capitalizing on every single flavor and brewing craft beers and spirits to pair with every single flavor at once. Dave Bob-- who was voted Bar And Club Personality of the Year in 2014 and 2015-- is the Senior Brand Representative for Kentucky Ale as well as Town Branch Spirits.

He is not only a foodie at heart, but he is also a big proponent of all-natural, organic brewing ingredients and techniques.

Bob grew up in Vermont, and with that upbringing came a natural infusion of the state’s culture. Organic choices and microbreweries peppered the towns he grew up in, and being creative in the kitchen as well as frequenting food markets were considered normal, everyday activities. From a young age, Bob always had an interest in bartending, but it piqued when a friend of his took over a basement below a bed and breakfast and created one of the first underground bars in the area.

He arrived in China in 2006 and brought with him the concept of country and barbecues. He loved smoking and slow cooking-- which also dates back throughout his childhood-- and actually started his barbecue journey in China with master smoker Adam Murray. This, infused with his love of spirits and craft beers, began a journey that put him where he is today.

Alltech Lexington Brewing And Distilling takes on many different tasks. They brew and distill their own beers and spirits as well as malt whiskies and bourbons. Both their seasonal and year-round beer is barrel-aged in bourbon barrels, which put them on the market in the Asian community. While barrel-aging beer is not a new concept, it was a concept that revolutionized the beer and food culture he had dropped into, and it was actually their own basic IPA that put them on the map.

Alltech is now in thirty states as well as eight countries around the world, and to pay homage to the founder-- Dr. Pearse Lyons-- they are about to launch a brewery in Ireland.

Dr. Lyons is a master brewer who grew up just outside Dublin, Ireland. He was the master distiller for Jameson for quite some time, then took a job offer and moved all the way to Kentucky. For whatever reason, the job in Kentucky didn’t work out, so he went to pursue a Ph.D. in yeast fermentation. He focused his research and efforts into the idea of all-natural organic animal feed and yeasts in order to help farm animals prosper. Not only that, he sought to help the growth of plants naturally in order to help local farmers become more sustainable.

Dr. Lyons went door to door in the little towns of Kentucky trying to spread the word about his research and after years of knocking he finally got his big sale. Everything boomed and grew from there once his research was proven, and the rest is history, so they say.

The original breweries started simply with the original Kentucky Ale. This was the first ever craft beer from Kentucky because the area is really known for its bourbon. The beer wasn’t even given a second thought-- if it was cold and cheap, they drank it. Otherwise, it was all about the bourbon.

This is why it was so odd for their IPA to put them on the map in China. They tried out their line of IPAs just to gauge the interest and conduct some market research, but the taste was so different from what the Chinese culture was used to that they began clamoring for it. Their IPA became so popular in mainland China that they now associate Kentucky with IPA.

Which is something that doesn’t happen. Ever.

There are some signature drinks the breweries and distilleries are trying out on the population that seems to be very popular. They have their own version of a ‘black and tan’, which simply consists of their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout poured half-and-half into a glass. However, their food pairings are some of the most unique ever experienced in China’s craft beer and spirits culture.

Their beers are used by many to marinade meats to slow roast and serve. Their summer-brewed peach barrel wheat goes well with turkey while their town branch bourbon goes wonderfully with a beef roast. However, their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale sit wonderfully within the sinews of a ham roast, which is probably one of their more popular marinating pairs.

However, their pairings don’t stop there. In a little place called Eddie’s Cantina in Taipei, they actually use their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout for their chocolate ice cream!

The great thing about the beers they are brewing is the fact that they pair well with absolutely everything. They work with five-star restaurants as well as Japanese sushi restaurants. You can find them in Italian restaurants as well as Korean-style restaurants. Their flavors are even enough to pair with many different things while still enhancing that which makes it unique.

For example, any spicy foods go well with their Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale without the food hindering the drink or the drink hindering the food. Their summer-brewed peach barrel wheat pairs well with white meats like fish or chicken, but could also pair well with something fresh, like a garden-picked salad.

The great thing about Kentucky Ale is its versatility. They aren’t attempting to tailor themselves to the market, but are simply attempting to encompass the whole of the market in order to embrace both beer lovers and those who are apprehensive about it.

Rest assured, even if you do not consider yourself a ‘beer drinker’, Kentucky Ale has something for you, too.


Rebecca Travis

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