True or false?
- Beer festivals are all the same.
- Beer festivals are one big excuse to get schmammered beyond belief.
- Beer festivals are a good place to sample all of Bud’s new Silver Bullet Gold Platinum 55 series.
If you answered “true” to any of these statements, then we have a problem. It’s now beer festival season and the spring edition of the Valumarket Highlands Beer Festival was a perfect event to kick off the season full-swing. Touting a line-up of both bottles and draft of local, regional, national, and international brews, beer drinkers of every shape and size could easily find some new favorites. Though sampling new brews is always a huge plus, the other important aspect of beer festivals is the fact that they are a place to revel in all things beer with other folks who love beer maybe just as much as you do (though that new Bud series does sound tantalizing).
When I arrived, the crowd was already hundreds deep pouring out into the parking lot; always a good sign. Luckily I was volunteering to pour for Apocalypse Brew Works and got to bypass the herd of beer-lovers. Shortly thereafter, the beers were flowing through the taps as fast as the people flowed through the door. A few noteworthy beers that I had the pleasure of sampling were Apocalypse’s Watermelon Crack, West Sixth IPA, Smuttynose IPA, Boon Framboise, Troubadour Westkust Black IPA, Sterling Pilsner, among a small handful of others. I did have to drive home, after all. One of the best parts about this festival is that it includes as many local brews as possible, as well as offering an array of other world-renowned beers that you may not want to gamble $15 on for a bottle.
Apocalypse’s taps were conveniently located next to West Sixth, Bluegrass Brewing Co., and New Albanian Brewing Co., so throughout the evening, I was able to converse with people in the industry, mostly about beer, of course. I was able to partake in something better than just sampling beers: I witnessed first-hand the sense of community that beer has created here in Louisville. I was always aware of the camaraderie between brewers, bartenders, and other aficionados, but it really stood out to me at this festival. It’s great to see something like beer create community, not competition (cough cough Magic Hat cough cough). I have no doubt that the next Highlands Beer Festival will outdo itself, just like it did this year. See y’all next time.