It makes sense that the world’s bourbon capital knows a thing or 2 about beer as well. Louisville boasts a brewery inspired by the end of the world, another that has risen from the ashes, an annual Craft Beer Week and 5 new breweries in the works. Take a free brewing class and buy supplies at My Old Kentucky Homebrew, then savor your creations with individually designed, hand-blown glasses from The Pretentious Beer Glass Company.
Move over, mint julep; there’s a new brew in town. Here are 5 of the best places to imbibe:
“Drink Beer til the End!” advises Louisville’s newest microbrewery, featuring more than 30 small-batch craft beers made from solar-heated water, grain re-use and recycled equipment. The “Fallout Shelter” taproom is open Friday and Saturday nights, with fire and brimstone-inspired brews available including Irish Red Rapture, R.I.P. Rye and Dystopian Dunkle. If the angel in you disapproves, try the St. Christopher Abbey Trippel or donate to the Humane Society at a dog-friendly Yappy Hour.
Falls City has been a Louisville staple since 1905—mostly. The brewery departed the city in 1978, but when the trademark lapsed in 2010, new owners resurrected the company in Louisville and relaunched what had become a low-cost lager with a new flagship, pre-Prohibition English pale ale. Now Falls City is found in establishments around the city, has been the official beer of the Kentucky Derby, sponsors a vintage car-racing team, and welcomes the public to its brewery and taproom just east of downtown.
3. Bluegrass Brewing Company
Louisville’s oldest and largest brewpub boasts 3 locations serving sandwiches and entrees, but its Main Street production facility is where the magic happens with tours and tastings. An American Pale Ale, Dark Star Porter, German Altbier and a Raspberry Mead are always on tap, and BBC even puts Louisville’s bourbon tradition to use with barrel-aged brews. BBC also displays brewing artifacts that date from before Prohibition.
4. Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
Touring sites like the Louisville Slugger Museum? After your visit, stop in for a meal and beer at Against the Grain at Louisville Slugger Field. The former train station is now America’s only operational, Victorian-styled brewhouse with 15 copper-clad barrels, local artwork, and industrial architecture. The lengthy beer menu alone is worth a visit, with titles like Hoppy Ending, Da Butt, Judas Yeast and Pale Pattern Boldness. There’s also a full bar with local bourbons, tacos, spare ribs and beer can chicken.
5. The New Albanian Brewing Company
New Albanian Brewing Company
Yes, one of Louisville’s best breweries is actually right across the Ohio River in revitalized New Albany, IN. NABC is the official beer sponsor of Louisville’s Derby City Roller Girls, so we won’t risk arguing geography with those ladies. Visit NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse and enjoy modern American bistro cuisine, house beers like Hoosier Daddy and Black & Bluegrass, as well as the brewery's all-weather patio and beer garden. Or try the Public House & Pizzeria (3312 Plaza Drive) for 25-plus hand-selected craft beers from around the world, and 250-plus bottled selections of all styles.