Now that Louisville Craft Beer Week has come to a close, and before its memories have slipped out of our collective consciousness for a while, I feel it necessary to bring it into the spotlight one last time before that happens. By this time, it should be common knowledge that it was a success. This was the biggest, baddest (the cool sense of the word), and most well-attended LCBW to date, which is truly an amazing thing. Now we just need a way to tally how many pints were consumed throughout the week. Is there an app for that? My two favorite events happen to have marked the beginning and the end of the 9-day week: the Cask Fest at New Albanian’s Bank Street Brewhouse and the LIBA Brewfest at Slugger Field. These two events really put into perspective the enormity of the week, and propelled my thoughts on the subject of local craft beer into an even higher level of respect and adoration.
The Cask Fest event at NABC was an impeccable kick start to the week. An array of 13 firkins and pins from area breweries were tapped and consumed on a beautiful Friday evening. My personal favorite cask of the night was Bloomington Brewing Company’s Ten Speed hoppy wheat with actual grilled pineapple in the cask. It was heavenly. The tapping of the casks happened around 1 in the afternoon and people were already waiting, thirsty for cask ale and thirsty for a week of celebrating craft beer. Every conversation of the evening revolved around beer as well as the onset of the forthcoming week. It was fun conversing with patrons, enthusiasts, and brewers, seeing what events were at the top of their to-do lists. It is always a sight to see when you pool that many like-minded individuals in one space. Giddiness abounded. The event went off even better than expected, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year.
The capstone event, the LIBA brewfest, was a grand way to end the week, indeed. There was a noticeable shift in conversations from the night of the Cask Fest from keen anticipation to fond reminiscence. There was a resounding sense of relief coming from brewers and staff (because we all can’t party like Scott Lykins). The layout of this year’s fest was infinitely better than previous years. In all honesty, I was not looking forward to this fest as much as I should have, mainly due to the overcrowding of this event in years past. This year, however, the entire concourse was opened up and people could meander and not have to rub up against hundreds of other sweaty beer-lovers just to get a sample. My favorite beer of the night was Country Boy’s collaboration with Baird, Angry Amos, a barrel-aged brown ale that was insanely delectable. This festival proved to be another prime example and testament to the fact that beer culture is a thriving industry in our community and that it creates a sense of pride and camaraderie.
The only thing about LCBW that I do not like (gasp) is that last letter in the acronym: W, which obviously stands for Week. Instead, I vote we change the celebration to LCBY: Louisville Craft Beer Year. Instead of LCBW serving as a microcosm of what the local beer scene represents, it should be a thing to be celebrated and supported always. How about gigantic events on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to serve as a beginning and ending to yearlong jubilee (this sounds like a job for AtG). It was truly an honor to be a part of such great events, as well as an honor to witness the love of the product firsthand every day in and around the brewery. Cheers to local beers!