Bourbon isn't the only libation worthy of its own tourism trail and celebratory events. The craft beer movement is burgeoning in Kentucky. If you want to experience the pleasure of a finely crafted beer, knock back a pint from these establishments or attend one of our state's numerous brew-ha-has.
The Brewgrass Trail
“Respect the bourbon. Drink the beer.” is the motto of the collection of breweries in Lexington, Danville and Louisville that are encouraging travelers to also enjoy a cold brew while touring bourbon country. Its website, brewgrasstrail.com, and Facebook page, facebook.com/brewgrasstrail, are great sources for news about Kentucky’s burgeoning craft beer movement. As of press time, the following breweries were stops on The Brewgrass Trail:
• Against the Grain Brewery, Louisville, atgbrewery.com
• Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Company, kentuckyale.com
• Beer Engine, Danville, kybeerengine.com
• Bluegrass Brewing Company, Louisville, bbcbrew.com
• Country Boy Brewing, Lexington, countryboybrewing.com
• Cumberland Brewery, Louisville, cumberlandbrewery.com
• Lore Brewing Co., Danville, lorebrew.com
• West Sixth Brewing, Lexington, westsixth.com
Modeled after a four-plus-centuries-old beer hall in Munich, Germany, Hofbräuhaus Newport offers an abundance of nearly overflowing beer steins, live entertainment (often energetic polka music) and Bavarian fare. hofbrauhausnewport.com
Brew Newbies and an Old Friend Returns
Louisville’s latest addition to the craft brew scene is Apocalypse Brew Works (apocalypsebrewworks.com), which opened in May 2012. Its taproom—the aptly named Fallout Shelter—is open on Friday and Saturday evenings, and its beers can be enjoyed at many area restaurants.
Construction began in November on the Blue Stallion Brewing Company’s (bluestallionbrewing.com) 7,000-square-foot brewery and tasting room at the corner of Third Street and Newtown Pike in downtown Lexington. It is scheduled to open in March or April.
In 1905, the Falls City Brewing Company (fallscitybeer.com) began brewing in Louisville, where it operated until 1978, when the brewery closed and production was moved to Evansville, Ind. Although the beer declined in quality and reputation over the years, it recently has seen an upsurge in both, thanks to new ownership. Owner David Easterling said the company is still working to get its Louisville brewery operational (Falls City beer currently is brewed in Wisconsin and Nashville), but that the beer would soon be “flowing,” with an American Wheat beer unveiled in March. A tasting room on Barrett Avenue will open soon after Falls City beer is again being brewed in its birthplace town.
Beer Run and Fun
Beer has been a social lubricant for hundreds of years, so join the ranks of history and enjoy a bit of Kentucky craft brewski bonding at one of these events:
• Founded by Lexington native Bradley Kerrick, The Great American Beer Run (americanbeerrun.com) teams up with craft breweries nationwide to host fun run events combined with craft beer pit stops along the way.
• Brew at the Zoo and Wine Too, Louisville – Aug. 24, louisvillezoo.org/events
• Fest of Ales, Lexington – Aug. 30, lexingtonfestofales.com
• Louisville Brewfest – Sept. 20, keeplouisvilleweird.com
• NuLu Fest, Louisville – Sept. 28, nulufest.com
• Highlands Beer Festival, Louisville – Dec. 7, valumarket.com
• Audubon Beer and Wine Festival, Henderson – September 21, audubonbeerwinefest.com
• Turfway Park Craft Beer Festival, Florence – Date TBD as of press time, turfwaypark.com
• Louisville Craft Beer Week – Date TBD as of press time, louisvillebeer.com