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Tap into Great Taste with Craft Breweries in Kentucky




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By Marla Nicole Shivers

Trails in Kentucky come in all shapes and sizes – hiking, biking, horseback riding, world-famous Bourbon trails and the popular Kentucky Wine Country Trails. And now there’s the Brewgrass Trail to accommodate the rapidly-expanding craft beer phenomenon.

In 2011 the Lexington Kentucky Herald-Leader said, “Lexington had one brewery and 2-3 nice places to get a craft beer.” Two years later there were three breweries (with a fourth about to open, and more in the planning stages) and more than a dozen places to enjoy a craft beer. More Kentucky breweries have opened since then, and several of those breweries started expanding their operations in their first year in business!

Brewgrass Trail: “Respect the Bourbon. Drink the Beer”
A map of the Brewgrass Trail includes the following seven Lexington area breweries (notice that some offer tours):

Beer Engine (Danville) – Kentucky’s smallest brewery, Danville’s oldest brewery and has the most craft beer taps of any Danville bar (more than a dozen – of which at least four are home brews)
• Blue Stallion Brewing Co. (Lexington) – Recently-expanded craft brewery that offers “boldly traditional craft beer” specializing in authentic German lagers and British ales
• Country Boy Brewing (Lexington) – 32 taps, half of which are made on site using fresh and local ingredients – like the cult favorite Jalapeno Smoked Porter”
• Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company (Lexington) – Brews the Kenucky Ale, the award-winning beer of bourbon country, as well as the Bourbon Barrel Ale, Kolsch, Bourbon Barrel Stout, and IPA; daily hourly tours, $7 per person
• Lexington Beerworks (Founders Brewing Co.) – First major craft brewery to offer 15-pack cans; 30-50-minute tours available on Saturdays and Tuesdays, $10 per person for the tour, $30 per person for a tour and tasting
Lore Brewing Co. (Danville) – Current brews are Derby Brown Ale (with distinctive notes of coffee and chocolate) and Freya’s Stone Amber Ale (slightly hoppy and caramel, deliciously malty)
• Rooster Brew (Paris) – Set to open in spring of 2014, Rooster Brew is the newest member of the Brewgrass Trail and the first microbrewery in Paris.
West Sixth Brewing Co. (Lexington) – First of the breweries in Kentucky to put craft beer into cans (IPA, West Sixth Amber and the new Lemongrass American Wheat); 60-minute tour includes free samples of their flagship beers

The Beer Scene in Louisville
Craving an artisanal brew in Louisville? Whether you’re a beer beginner or a hard core craft brew geek, there are many flavors to savor from at least half a dozen breweries in Kentucky’s largest city. And according to LouisvilleBeer.com, Louisville expects to gain five new breweries in 2014 to add to the current selection:

• Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse – Here “anything is probable,” six broad categories (Dark, Hop, Malt, Session, Smoke and Whim) with some 8 dozen beers brewed; The Smokehouse includes vegetarian and vegan options on the menu
• Apocalypse Brew Works – Encouraging you to “Drink beer ‘til the end” this brewery with a taproom (dubbed “the Fallout Shelter”) benefits from a combined total of 40+ years of home-brewing experience. Apocalypse creates small batch, fresh award-winning craft beers; tours by request 5-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays
• Bluegrass Brewing Co., a.k.a. BBC (Clay & Main Production Brewery) – established in 2001, BBC offers a diverse collection of craft beers, including specialties and seasonals. Production facility tours available. Check out the other three BBC Brewpubs at St. Matthews, Theater Square and 3rd & Main
• Cumberland Brews Microbrewery & Restaurant – Smallest brewery in Kenutcky, offering Red Ale, Cream Ale, Nitro Porter, Meade, Pale Ale on tap and rotating beers on the small batch system
• Falls City Brewing Co. – Falls City has been a Louisville tradition since 1905. The brewery closed in 1978 but was revived as craft brewery in 2010 and offers an ever-changing selection of premium beers
• Louisville’s two chain breweries, Gordon Biersch and BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, are also great spots to find craft beer in town
• Several more craft breweries are expected to open or have recently opened this year: Great Flood Brewery (Louisville), Red Yeti Brewing (Jeffersonville) and Bannerman Brewing (Clifton)

Click here for a map of Louisville, Kentucky breweries as well as the best places to find craft beer in the Metro Louisville area.

If you find yourself north of Louisville and Lexington, the Hofbrauhaus in Newport offers a traditional beer hall, microbrewery and beer garden.

Beer Events
The Second Annual Lexington Craft Beer Week is on tap for the week of May 12, the same week as American Craft Beer Week. Louisville also celebrates craft beers with a few other festivals: The Tailspin Ale Fest held in February and the Halfway to Louisville Craft Beer Week held in April. And don’t miss the Beer Cheese Festival held Winchester each June. Be sure to check our Calendar of Events for annual Oktoberfest celebrations as well.