Gralehaus opened in the Highlands over one year ago, joining sibling the Holy Grale in a morning-to-night celebration of great food and drinks. We caught up with Lori Rae Beck, co-owner with Tyler Trotter of both businesses and the Louisville Beer Store, to discuss upcoming events, the planned B&B aspect of Gralehaus and more.
How was Gralehaus’ first year? What important lessons were learned?
I couldn’t be more proud of our first year! Our crew is solid right now and ourÂ management team, Andy Myers and LesleeÂ Macpherson, are total rock stars! Everything Andy does in theÂ kitchen is done right, no corners cut, and everything he makes is delicious.Â Lesleeâ€™s ability to concoct beverages isÂ unparalleled; whether it be coffee, tea, soda or beer, she always surprises you with her creativity and whimsy. As far as lessons go, I’ve learned so much about coffee, especially from the folks in Chicago at Intelligentsia. Oh, and I also painfully learned what itÂ means to gut a three-story house down to the studs and remodel the whole thing for a hybrid business (laughs).
When will Gralehaus’ upstairs B&B be open to the public?
We are so close, so very soon â€¦ we just did a test run and have a few more things to address … we just want to do it right! They are beautiful, and we can’t wait to share them with our guests.
Tell us about the ongoing “HotÂ SÃ¼nner Nights” series.
Tyler and I love drinking KÃ¶lsch in Cologne, Germany. I mean, who doesn’t want to drink little slender glasses of theÂ freshest ale in the world, one after another, while your kÃ¶be harasses you to drink more and marks your coaster for every beer drank? This is the third season of us doing our best to “imitate” the authentic KÃ¶lsch service in Cologne right here in Louisville. We offer it on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in the Gralegarten starting at 6 p.m., and sometimes, to accompany all that KÃ¶lsch drinking, “Doghaus” pops-up to serve up house-ground sausages.
Tell us about the upcoming dinner with Moody Tongue on August 14, and your relationship with them.
Moody Tongue beers lend themselves so well to culinary application and are designed to do so, with ales like “Caramelized Chocolate Churro Porterâ€ and Lemon Steeped Saison.â€ Chef Andy and brewer Jared Rouben have collaboratively decided to do a “breakfast for dinner”-style beer dinner, where they will be recontextualizing some of our classic breakfast plates and presenting them alongside Moody Tongue in a wholly new form.
What are some of the best pairing events you’ve done?
I’d have to say the famous music, beer, and food pairing event with musician Will Oldham, Sam Calagione – owner of Dogfish Head – and Holy Grale chef Josh Lehman, “Holy Trinity,” at Holy Grale. You would have had to be there to believe me, but I and others were actually moved to tears. Somehow, the convergence of sound and the taste and aroma of food and beer, mixed in with the joy of all those around you, resulted in an unforgettable emotional and enlightening experience.
You and Tyler are going to Europe soon. What do you hope to accomplish on that trip for your business?
The firstÂ part of our trip, we will be zipping through Northwest ItalyÂ visiting some of our favoriteÂ Italian breweries. For the second part, we are being hosted by one of our favorite importers, Artisanal, on a trip to Belgium visiting several breweries that we have never been to before. Things toÂ accomplish? Have fun, drink great beer, learn more and make new friends along the way!
I hear everyone in NuLu and the Highlands will be moving to Portland very soon. When will you open your first Portland location?
Not planning on opening anything new anytime soon. I think it isÂ important to do the best with what you already have.Â Right now, we are just trying to button up everything to the best of our ability and get all three of our operationsÂ running tightly, remaining profitable and being good to our staff and customers along the way. But who knows! WhenÂ opportunity knocks, it is hard to not open the door. VT