Why hello there folks. Remember me? Can’t say I blame you if you don’t. It’s been quite the while since I was seen around these parts. Don’t want to bore you with why it’s been so long, so I’ll summarize my life since my last post: crazy work, vacation, vacation, more work, funeral, lost an organ, writer’s block, and another vacation. There you have it. Vacations are fun and work is fine and all, but the writer’s block is what was really kept me away. Putting words on paper (digitally speaking, of course) was never an issue for me but the past several months I simply couldn’t find a reason to write. That was until this past Friday when the Mrs, a few pals and I gave Crescent Hill Craft House (henceforth Craft House in this article) a try. Beer was drank, food was consumed, and my muse was found (shout-out to Justin Thomas at highlandshomeplace.com for letting me use his pic of Craft House).
Craft House, as Mr. Wurth wrote about here, is the brain child of BBC alums Brad Culver, Pat Hagan, and Beau Kerley (guy has a great name) and resides in the old Dark Star Tavern on Frankfort Avenue. The concept of creating a restaurant centered around locally grown/raised/made food and local beer is as en vogue as it is both logical and practical (that’s not a bad thing), though the Craft House seems to have stepped it up a notch compared to others in the area, by having 40 taps of all local brews. Great local food is no stranger in these parts but the marriage of the massive local tap list really makes the Craft House stand out. Well, that and everything else about the place so let’s get to the details.
The craft house is both modern and rustic, with brushed steel and metal mixing with plenty of wood and exposed brick. I’m not going to try and discuss the aesthetics or architecture of the place as I know about as much about architectural style as I do mandarin Chinese, but I can safely say that I loved the layout and vibe of Craft House. We sat at a booth, but I would have been perfectly happy at the long table by the bar or out on the patio (assuming it wasn’t so hot I’d be sweating). It’s just a damn cool atmosphere and I dig that. Big props to the guys for the work they did remodeling.
While I really enjoyed the looks, the food and beer is what really stands out, especially the latter. As I noted earlier, Craft House has 40 taps, every single one of which was filled with a local beer. Even more impressive was that they had didn’t really favor any single brewery, spreading the love between them all. If for some reason you need further proof that the local beer scene is thriving, Craft House should give you all the confirmation your mind (or your liver) can handle. And yes, I consider New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Lexington all part of our local beer scene. Deal with it and if you disagree, just order something from AtG, BBC, Cumberland, Falls City, or Apocalypse. There’s plenty to find in the “only Louisville beers count as local” category.
The food was another standout, and that’s saying something in a city filled with so many great restaurants. After falling in love with fresh cheese curds during our trip to Milwaukee earlier this summer (I may get around to a summer beercation article… who knows), the Mrs. and I HAD to order the fried cheese curds appetizer, especially since it came with a pimento cheese ranch dipping sauce. Your cardiologist may need to be on speed dial, but this appetizer kicked all sorts of ass. With four of us at the table (and all four ordering different entrees and politely sharing), I was able to try the Craft House Burger (what I ordered), the Turk-Chee sandwich, the Shrimp & Grits, and the Smoked Gouda Grits side. Only thing I didn’t get around to trying was the Short Ribs as I was simply too full after sampling all the others. Everything were excellent, though the Shrimp and Grits was my favorite. I know I’m a sucker for a good shrimp and grits, but this dish was right up there with the ones I had in Charleston a few weeks ago. That’s saying something folks.
Craft House is a welcome addition to the Crescent Hill neighborhood which is already full of worthy eateries. The atmosphere and food shine, but the dedication to having all local craft beers on draft is what stands out to me. Many restaurants make great food, but nowhere in the city will you find great food along with this big a selection of our local breweries’ finest. I first heard of Craft House back in the spring and I’m glad it’s finally opened its doors to the public. If my initial experience (and certainly not my last) is any indication, both the local beer community and the foodies should consider themselves lucky. Craft House is a winner and I HIGHLY suggest you check it out soon.