Craft Beer Takes Over Louisville, Ky
On Friday the 13th, beer will take over Louisville, Ky. That’s the beginning of Louisville’s annual Craft Beer Week; more than just a beer event, it’s a city-wide celebration of the beverage that proves the existence of happiness.
Jennifer Rubenstein organizes the capstone event, the Louisville Brewfest, where 14 local brewers and other vendors (there will also be wine and bourbon on hand) will present their wares at Slugger Field, the city’s AAA baseball stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Rubenstein said the first Brewfest happened five years ago as an independent event. “We were hoping for 500 people, and 1500 showed up,” she said. “We knew we had something good going on.”
Louisville Brewfest will also include a “brewseum,” a collection of artifacts from the city’s beer history and beyond. From prohibition-era documents to vintage beer signs, bottles and more, this promises to be one of the more interesting aspects of the Brewfest and the craft beer celebration itself.
Paul Young of My Old Kentucky Homebrew, a Louisville-based homebrew supply store, collected the memorabilia along with Liz Vail of Drinkswell, a draft service and supply company. Young said the brewseum will be presented in four parts: Pre-Prohibition (1800-1919), Prohibition (1919-1933), the Pre-Modern Era (1940-1990) and the Modern Era (1990-Present).
“The overall hope,” Young said, “is that people can take a break from drinking and learn a little bit about their city and what exactly beer is.”
The week-long event sponsored by LouisvilleBeer.com features events not just by local pubs and breweries, but restaurants, grocery stores and even a 15-passenger bicycle/pub-crawler called the Thirsty Pedaler. To illustrate, Whole Foods Market will help kick things off with a Friday the 13th craft beer pairings event. Meanwhile, across town, Tony Boombozz Pizza Taphouse will kick off the week by unleashing Kentucky Bourbon Pumpkin Ale on tap.
“If you want to meet the brewers, drink with them and hear some great stories, it is more than worth coming out multiple days, at multiple places,” Michael Beckmann, general manager of Boombozz, said. “I plan on following that philosophy. And anything done to improve the recognition of our Locals, both brewers and people who support the craft beer movement, is a good thing.”
Roger Baylor is founder/owner of New Albanian Brewing Company, with two different locations just across the Ohio River; his businesses will participate in their own unique way, offering not only a Cask Fest on Sept. 13, featuring English-style cask ales, but also an Indie Fest on Sept. 15 during which Baylor’s Bank Street Brewhouse will offer not only New Albanian beers but guest drafts from Great Crescent Brewery, Salt Creek Brewery, Power House Brewing Co., Bloomington Brewing Co. and Big Woods Brewing Co., along with two meads and a cider from New Day Meadery, all from Indiana.
“Given our position on the border with Kentucky,” Baylor said, “and remembering that in Indiana, breweries can self-distribute, New Albanian's strategy for Louisville Craft Beer Week in New Albany is to feature some Indiana craft beers that might not ordinarily be available in Louisville.”
When it’s all said and done, Louisville Craft Beer Week will bring the city together to present well over 60 beer-oriented events. That’s a true takeover.
“Around here,” Rubenstein said, “we always say that beer is a natural thing.”