Hip Hops: Hew Ainslie, an early New Albany brewer, Scots nationalist and poet

Hip Hops: Hew Ainslie, an early New Albany brewer, Scots nationalist and poet

(“Hip Hops” appears a day early this week.)

As referenced in last week’s column, almost two centuries ago Hew Ainslie, an immigrant from Scotland, became New Albany’s first known commercial brewer. If there were others before him, the pertinent records no longer exist.

Ainslie’s short-lived SoIN brewery was located in the vicinity of the current Hampton Inn, a piece of land that also played host to Paul Reising’s larger, regionally renowned German-heritage brewery (1873-1915).

But who was Ainslie?

The answer is provided by Conrad Selle, a Louisville goldsmith (retired), writer and homebrewer, who almost exactly thirty years ago contributed a biographical sketch about Ainslie to the Fermenters of Special Southern Indiana Libations Society (F.O.S.S.I.L.S.) homebrewing club newsletter. I’ve been reprinting it ever since at various platforms, intent on keeping the memory of this pioneer alive, and thankful as ever for Conrad’s characteristic diligence in uncovering the facts.

For those readers unfamiliar with Conrad’s tireless research into Louisville area brewing, just know that he was co-author, along with the late Peter Guetig, of the essential Louisville Breweries (hence the source material for the Ainslie essay).

In compiling this book, Conrad actually taught himself German so he could translate passages from Louisville’s pre-WWI...Read more