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Titletown Brewing Swifts’ Night Ale

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Some beers are better just because of the story behind them. For instance, while in Green Bay, Wis., recently at Titletown Brewing Co., I noticed the brewery’s version of a Kentucky Common was on tap. Kentucky Common, of course, is a beer style that was invented in the mid-1800s in Louisville, and while it’s an internationally-recognized style, it isn’t one you see outside the Bluegrass all that often.

I asked about the beer, which curiously was called Swifts’ Night Ale, and the bartender told me a group of “birders” who came in often one day helped rescue an owl that had gotten stuck in the chimney of the brewery, which is set in an old train station. As a thank you, a beer was brewed up in their honor, and the group asked that it be named for the chimney swifts that the owl was trying to catch when it got stuck.

Being from Louisville and having written a book about the city’s brewing history, I had to try it to see how it measured up. It was the same mild, light-bodied, and lightly sweet beer I have had often, and the familiar hint of tartness was there in the finish, too. The dark amber beer was a tad more carbonated than most versions I’ve had, as Kentucky Common is a dark cream ale – and cream ales tend to have creamier, less crisp mouthfeels. But overall, it was a solid representation of the style. And I couldn’t help but wonder, given I was in Packerland, whether Paul Hornung might have helped to inspire the brewer to choose Kentucky Common. I guess we’ll never know.