I have never been shy about how much I loved Ei8ht Ball Brewing. (First-ever review here and second review with more photos here.) I didn’t really start drinking beer until a few years ago and it is because of BK and the vast selection at Ei8ht Ball that initially piqued my interest in beer. Suffice it to say, I assumed that my first experience at Braxton Labs — the new occupant of Ei8ht Ball’s former taproom — would be a bizarre one.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. Braxton Labs, the experimental facility recently opened by Braxton Brewing, was a successful marriage between Ei8ht Ball’s former space and Braxton’s flagship Covington taproom. The outdoor patio had been refreshed, with a new wood pergola and picnic tables, plus giant Connect Four and astroturf covering the ground. Inside, Braxton’s great branding covered the walls, there was free popcorn, and, like at Braxton Brewing, also served soft pretzels (with queso).
Now for the beer.
Braxton Labs’ taproom was 40 taps deep — pouring core and seasonal styles such as Storm, Revamp, Twisted Bit, Dead Blow, Summertrip, and Kickback Hard Cider; four experimental recipes including Cucumber Witbier, New England IPA, Coffee Vanilla Milk Stout, and Blackberry Pale Ale (they were out of Cherry Saison at the time); and 29 guest taps by breweries such as Against the Grain, Central State Brewery, Freigeist Bierkultur, HaandBryggeriet, Upland, and more.
My husband and I decided on a flight of four of the experimental beers, which were very good. (They were served in beakers, which was a fun touch.) I especially liked the Blackberry Pale Ale and New England IPA. The Cucumber Witbier was very cucumber-y yet refreshing, while the Coffee Vanilla Milk Stout was good, but it was also a warm day and we were sitting outside.
Though I was admittedly skeptical about Ei8ht Ball’s “replacement,” I think Braxton has done a great job. There was no replicating Ei8ht Ball, but the place looked great, the beer was very good, and the service was pleasant. I will absolutely be back.
95 Riviera Drive
They fill growlers and crowlers, are dog-friendly on the patio, and have food trucks on occasion.
Featured image: Braxton Labs taproom