THE BEER BEAT: V-Grits, False Idol Independent Brewers, their bricks ‘n’ mortar vegan brewery in development — and the BSB Hangover Hoedown in 2015.


In the seemingly chaotic but ultimately coordinated way life tends to unfold, I’ve been working on a Food & Dining story about the Chef Space kitchen incubator in Louisville, where V-Grits Food Co. is on the verge of “graduation.”

In fact, I spoke with co-owner Kristina Addington just yesterday during the photo shoot.

V-Grits is committed to making every ingredient from scratch, including its plant-based meats and cheeses. Let us show you that you can still enjoy flavorful comfort food, without animal products. Please use us a resource for your own food journey. We will patiently answer and help with any dilemma you may face, from wondering where your protein will come from, to attending family barbecues.

As has been widely reported recently, V-Grits is partnering with a brewery start-up to be known as False Idol Independent Brewers in a bricks ‘n’ mortar shared vegan brewery space at the former (and revered) Monkey Wrench at 1025 Barret Avenue.

You can read more about it by following the link below. False Idol is Shawn Steele’s idea. Shawn is an enthusiastic vegan and a longtime craft beer advocate who has spent the past couple of years assisting our brewing friend Rick Stidham at Akasha Brewing Company, and learning the ropes. He couldn’t have had a finer instructor.

From the moment I first became aware of the V-Grits and False Idol project, while simultaneously embarking on the Chef Space profile, I recalled meeting both Kristina and Shawn at Bank Street Brewhouse for the first time during an NABC event. However, it was fuzzy, so finally it dawned on me to search.


The event was on March 1, 2015, as part of the “Gravity Head at BSB” spin-off during the period of having no regular kitchen on site — the post-Taco Punk, pre-Earth Friends Cafe merger era.

Also for 2015, we continue to experiment with a Sunday afternoon extension of Gravity Head at Bank Street Brewhouse. This Sunday concept isn’t intended to exactly mimic Gravity Head, but to provide a way of gently descending to reentry and the rigors of the workaday world following opening weekend’s excess.

It’s called the 2nd Annual Gravity Head Hangover Hoedown at BSB, and here’s the itinerary (NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse’s Sunday hours are 12 noon until 9:00 p.m.)

• Special guest beers from Starlight Distribution
• Unique vegan pop-up kitchen with V-Grits
• Debut of NABC Oaktimus in bomber bottles
• Return of BSB’s Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar
• NABC’s customary beers of proven merit
• Live music TBA
• Benefiting a great cause: Uplands Peak Sanctuary

Well, those were the daze. Weren’t they?

Of course, this also was the precise time when I resolved to run for mayor, and took a leave of absence from NABC. This temporary expedient became permanent at my discretion shortly thereafter.

Consequently, Gravity Head in 2015 was the last one with my direct participation. I didn’t attend in 2016 or 2017; 2018 will be the 20th anniversary, and if my business partners continue to drag their feet in terms of a fair and equitable settlement, I’ll probably pass this year, too.

Ah, but I digress.

In my mind, the biggest irony of all is that once I decided to withdraw from the business, Earth Friends was brought in to occupy the Bank Street Brewhouse kitchen.

At the time Earth Friends was a vegetarian restaurant, although not strictly “vegan” as such, and as a contrarian omnivore perpetually fascinated by undervalued niches, I actually thought it was a brilliant idea to pair a vegetarian restaurant with a “craft” brewery.

Of course, I can’t speak for the execution of the idea because I wasn’t there. Eventually Earth Friends was wholly absorbed into NABC. Bank Street Brewhouse underwent a name change, and at some point meat dishes were added.

So it goes; so it went.

I strongly suspect V-Grits and False Idol will do quite well with this concept, and perhaps a yearly commemorative Monkey Wrench Ale would be appropriate.

INTERVIEW: False Idol Independent Brewers talk about their new venture with V-Grits, by Phillip Olympia (Never Nervous)

Nothing is quite as exciting to me as getting wind that a new micro or nano brewery is opening in Louisville. When I was told that a new couple of brewers were planning to move in to the space that the old Monkey Wrench used to inhabit, my ears naturally perked up as I became anxiously ready to chase that stick off the porch. It’s been a treat to watch Louisville’s beer scene continue to blossom over the last decade plus, so naturally this was welcome news.

The name of the Derby City’s latest nano brewery is False Idol Independent Brewers and they are partnering with V-Grits, a food truck that offers exclusively vegan street food that has been in operation for the last few years. Together, they plan to offer a truly unique dining and drinking experience under one roof. Expect to see them open in a few months in The Highlands at the intersection at Barret and Winter avenues.

To get a better understanding of what these folks are putting together and what there motivations are, I reached out to False Idol co-owners Shawn and Rebecca Steele and Kristina Addington of V-Grits to see if they’d be up for answering a few questions. Thankfully, they obliged …