Tag Archives: Taste of So IN

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Good for What Ale’s Ya

Fest of Ale brings 100 breweries, beer aficionados to New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater

Story by Mandy Wolf Detwiler | Photos by Danny Alexander

If you’re a Kentuckiana beer connoisseur or just plain like a pint or two on a hot day, there are fewer places to enjoy a brew than the Fest of Ale at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater. Now in it’s 12th year, the event not only brings together more than 100 breweries with beer fans, it also raises money for the WHAS Crusade for Children.

This year’s Fest of Ale will be held 3 to 7 p.m. June 3 at the amphitheater. Hosted by Keg Liquors, there will be more than 250 craft and imported beers to sample. Keg Liquors owner Todd Antz is the son of a Jeffersonville firefighter who spent plenty a day raising money for the Crusade for Children. Looking for his own way to help, Antz spearheaded Fest of Ale more than a decade ago, which raised more than $16,000 for the Crusade in 2016.

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“Last year was our first year at the New Albany amphitheater,” Antz says. “That was a huge change from us over where we had held it in Clarksville before. Just that setting of the river in the background (and) there was so much open space that we were able to set up and use. We’ve learned from that first year.”

Don’t expect random guys pouring small tastes of ales. Representatives from breweries big and small will be on-hand to field questions and talk about their offerings.

“We have over a hundred different breweries represented, and we’re one of the few beer fests in the area that I’ve seen actually brings in the majority of the actual brewery employees themselves,” Antz says. “Through the event and my stores, we’ve just established good relationships spectrum, whether it’s people just getting into good beer, or you’re a hardcore person who’s knee-deep in good beer.”

There will also be a small sampling of vino available.

“We usually have eight to 20 different wineries there,” Antz added. “There will be a good combination of local and national wineries represented. We get as much as we can locally, but then some of my distributors actually come in and pour different wineries as well too.”

Live music will also keep the event, well, hopping. Food trucks are available.

“We suggest to people that you’ve eaten a good lunch before you come out. We see many people make that mistake,” Antz laughs. “Keep well hydrated. It’s not a sprint, and it’s not drink-as-much-as-you-can. I tell people to be choosy. There’s more beer there than any one person can make it through. Look for (beers) you haven’t had before, or experiment with a style you might not have tried before. With 250 different beers available, there’s something there for everybody. I always try to push people outside of their comfort zone.”

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No one under the age of 21 may enter the event, and designated drivers are encouraged and enter free of charge, but are not permitted to sample. Volunteers at the event will also call a taxi service if needed. Fest of Ale is handicapped accessible.

New this year is a shuttle service in conjunction with Mellow Mushroom, which is located in Louisville. For an extra $15 per person, attendees will be shuttled back and forth from the pizzeria’s two locations in the Highlands and on Shelbyville Road.

Tickets to the Fest of Ale are $40 in advance or $50 on site. The event will be held rain or shine. To purchase, visit Keg Liquors at 617 E. Lewis & Clark Pkwy. in Clarksville or at 4304 Charlestown Road in New Albany. Tickets may also be bought online at www.kegliquors.com.

Inside Scoop on Abbey Road on the River Tickets

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Ultimate Ticket to Ride

If you’re a true fan of 60s music, you’ll want to spend every minute at Abbey Road on the River, which comes to Jefferonsville May 25 to May 29. The Ultimate Ticket to Ride tickets will give you access to the festival every day Thursday through Monday. The very best ticket, you’ll be able to see all concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Peter Asher, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia and The Family Stone. The Ultimate Ticket to Ride enables you to have reserved seats in rows 2 through 11 after 6 p.m. plus all-day access to the air conditioned indoor venue, 300 Spring, as well as all late-night activities.

Cost for the Ultimate Ticket to Ride is $219.95 for adults (plus all applicable fees) and $79 for kids under 21.

Note: If you purchase the Ultimate Ticket to Ride package, you’ll get a 20 percent VIP discount at participating merchants. See the list at GoSoIN.com/abbey-road.

Exclusive Saturday Main Event and Backstage Meet and Greet

If you want guaranteed front-row seats, the Saturday Main Event package is for you. Front row seating begins at 5 p.m. for Mark Lindsay and includes all concerts for the rest of the evening at the Main Stage including The Grass Roots, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone and The Family Stone.

6:15-7 p.m. Meet the artists backstage, including Peter Asher, Peter Noone and Mark Lindsay.

Then head back to your seats for shows featuring The Grass Roots, Peter Noone and The Family Stone.

Single Day Reserved

If you can only stay for a day or two, you might want single-day reserved seating tickets. These are valid Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and include all concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Peter Asher, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia, and The Family Stone. These tickets will give you access to the reserved seats in rows 12 through 30, which are available after 6 p.m., and all-day access to air conditioned indoor venue 300 Spring and late-night activities. Single Day Reserved Seats are theater style and are sold on a first come, first served basis. The on-site box office will exchange your ticket for a reserved section special wristband.

General Admission

General admission tickets are available and give you access to all outdoor concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia and The Family Stone on Saturday; Ambrosia on Friday; Jake Clemons and The Love Concert on Sunday. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. General admission seating will be behind reserved sections, where applicable. Lawn chairs and blanket seating.

Discounted general admission tickets are available for purchase at all area Thornton’s for just $20 (regular price is $35) and they include free admission for a 21 and under guest.

Dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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A Taste of So IN | Gospel Bird

Take me to Church

Gospel Bird: more Than ‘Just a chicken Place’

By Mandy Wold Detwiler | Photos by Josh Keown

Restaurateur Eric Morris didn’t set out to open a chicken joint when Gospel Bird landed in New Albany in February 2016. The fledgling restaurant’s owner has a storied history amongst Kentuckiana restaurants, having begun his career as a dishwasher at Mark’s Feed Store, putting in time at Café Emily, serving as sous chef at Seviche, and spearheading the now-closed Loop 22 and the wildly popular Game and Hammerheads.

tsi2“Loop was a menu that I created that was Southern influenced,” Morris says. “There’s a lot of chicken and just Southern food in general. There are dishes (at Gospel Bird) that are pretty much the same as they were at Loop. That’s where I honed in on my own and what I enjoyed to cook.”

After Loop 22 closed, Morris sought a spot for his own restaurant, and “Louisville’s just become so saturated with restaurants,” he says. “It seems like there’s one opening every week. I’m from Louisville and as much as I’d love to have a restaurant there, I kind of saw what was happening in New Albany. It was kind of starting to explode. I saw places like the Dragon King’s Daughter and Quills, and Toast and Wick’s –– all these people that had Louisville restaurants were opening up over here. With The Exchange (Pub + Kitchen) and Feast kind of being the two heavy hitters here that were (helmed) by local boys, you really got to see something different that was going on here … and I wanted to get in early before the boom happened.”

Founded in a large rustic space most famously occupied by The Irish Exit, Morris wanted Gospel Bird to have strong Southern influences right from the start. “My dad’s a big-time hunter,” he says. “And growing up … he’d always take me hunting and fishing from the time I was real little.”

Gospel Bird started with a larger menu and a greater focus on higher-end dining before Morris quickly recognized his clientele as less formal and looking for quality food at a good price. With a farmer’s market just steps behind the restaurant, Morris paired down his menu to a set of staples and chose to add seasonal offerings. “You have a lot more fun, fresh food to play with,” he says. “It naturally builds, because you’re like ‘Oh, man! They’ve got this great eggplant!’ Or ‘These beets or collard greens are coming in.’ Your menu just naturally gets bigger and bigger.”

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With the restaurant’s given name paying homage to the perennial post-church service fried chicken, the dish does take center stage on Gospel Bird’s menu. “The plan was never to be a fried chicken place,” Morris says. “That wasn’t the goal at all. The goal was to be a Southern restaurant. … People around town as we starting building it started calling us ‘the chicken place.’ When we first opened, we only had one fryer. We hadn’t planned on doing too much of that stuff. The more buzz (we got) around town … we realized we don’t want to sell them what we want. We want them to buy what they want. So we kind of became a fried chicken place. That’s been our staple, obviously.”

Did Morris know Gospel Bird was a concept that would work well in downtown New Albany?tsi “Definitely,” he says with confidence. “I’m about to open a seafood restaurant down the street ––Hull and High Water. Kind of the reason I’m moving to seafood is the same reason I did this. It’s filling something that’s not here. Obviously, I wouldn’t come over here and do pizza and burgers, or anything like that.

“As far as some good, high-end Southern cooking, there wasn’t any in Southern Indiana and it’s almost like taking country food to country folk. … People mistake this place as being fancy. You look at the menu (and) a half chicken is massive and it’s $12. When we came out of the gate with the first menu, it was fancy. I had an executive chef in here who was extremely talented –– his resume included places like The Oakroom. We learned our demographic very quickly. We changed our menu nine times the first year. We’ve really learned to hone in on what people expect of us. The first four months we were open, we had two-hour waits and were slammed all the time. Part of that was being a new restaurant in the honeymoon phase.”

It was during last summer that Morris saw his business taper off as customers sought lighter fare as the weather turned warmer. “In the winter months, we do more hearty food, soul food,” Morris says, “a lot of smoked items (like) brisket, roasted chicken, shrimp and grits –– big, hearty comfort foods. And now with spring coming, it’ll be 60 percent different from what it is now.”

The spring menu will feature less fried items, vegetables pickled in-house (including a pickled vegetable shrimp jar) and a beet salad. “There will be a lot of new items on there that are light,” Morris says.

Morris expects the new squash and zucchini fries to sell well at under $7 –– they’ll be lightly fried and tossed with garlic and Parmesan. There will be more seafood options as the weather turns warmer, including Bluefin tuna, oysters, stuffed trout and salmon.

Chicken salad also will be available at $8 with a side dish. “People at lunch seem to really, really love that,” Morris says.

A full bar is available at Gospel Bird. “With Southern food, we’ve got to have our bourbon,” Morris says. “It makes sense all around to have (a full bar) because we can have signature cocktails, and we can cook with it.”

Historic downtown New Albany is restaurant-friendly when it comes to applying for a liquor license, and getting a full liquor one over simply serving beer and wine was easier in Indiana than it was in Louisville. Although Gospel Bird does accept reservations, the restaurant fills up quickly at night. The bar seating –– and signature drinks –– is just an extra component that makes the restaurant attractive to potential diners.

tsi3Morris added a patio last summer to the backside of Gospel Bird; the focal point is a 1968 Airstream that has been converted to a bar. This summer, he’ll add an outdoor turf with lawn chairs, giving the restaurant a casual atmosphere for friends to gather outside and have a drink.

“The idea of this place is that it’s meant to be loud, honky-tonk Southern fun,” Morris says. “Come in with your friends. We have really good food, but we still want to stay true to the southern tradition of people getting together. You get together with some friends, you have some beers, you have some ribs. We’re not a fancy restaurant, and we don’t want to be. We just want to be a place that serves really, really good food that’s inventive but in no way pretentious.”

What’s to eat? Gospel Bird’s appetizers range from $6 to $10, while entrées are priced from $20 to $23. The most popular appetizer is the Idgie and Ruth ($7), fried green tomatoes named after the main characters in the feature film of the same name.

Amongst the restaurant’s signature chicken offerings are Thunder Thighs (two boneless, skinless chicken thighs at $10) and a half chicken (a breast, wing, thigh and leg at $12). For $2 more, guests can enjoy all white meat. The Yardbird ($13) is a fried chicken sandwich with bacon, cheddar, slaw and signature “gospel” sauce.

The cauliflower grits ($5) is one of the restaurant’s biggest sellers, so Morris is adding sweet potato grits using a little ginger and allspice to the menu. “We smoke and cure our own house-made bacon,” so we finish (the grits) with a little bit of chopped bacon on top of it.”

Gospel Bird
207 E. Main St.
New Albany

812.725.1054

Reservations accepted

www.orderthebird.com

Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday-Saturday:

Lunch 11 am to 2 p.m.

Dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.