When’s the last time you had a Fehr’s XL brewed right here in Louisville? Oh yeah, probably about 50 years ago, which means you likely never had one unless you are someone’s grandfather. Or great-grandfather. Well, the times they are a-changing. Thanks to local home brewer and brewing history buff Jeff Faith, Fehr’s beer – or at least a version of it – is back and on tap while supplies last at Akasha Brewing Company.
On Sunday, Dec. 11, the brewery held a release party complete with Fehr’s swag like t-shirts, stickers, and such, plus a mini-museum of Fehr’s memorabilia from Faith’s personal collection. Of course, pints of Fehr’s XL, which was brewed to specifications of local pre-Prohibition lagers, flowed like wine. The beer itself was surprisingly complex in its flavor profile, especially given the relatively basic ingredients of six-row malts, rice, Cluster hops for bittering, and then hops from the Noble family for finishing, which is roughly what the staff at Frank Fehr Brewing Co. was using 100 years ago.
Essentially, the new Fehr’s XL (which stands for “extra lager”) is a crisp, light-bodied beer with a cloudy yellow color that offers up bready aromas with a buttery, slightly sweet flavor at first, with the hops rounding out a medium-bitter bite, which is a classic feature of any good lager. At any given time, I got senses of grass and even popcorn in the beer, of which I drank way too many (thank god I had a DD).
Anyway, if you’re interested in trying a solid, accessible beer that your great-granddaddy probably drank with gusto, Fehr’s XL is on tap for a while longer. The hope is it will become a mainstay, as Faith bought a fermenting tank specifically for the beer that now spends its days at Akasha. If only my Pappaw was still around to see this.