Fall is the tits. Not only is it my birthday season and leaves turn pretty colors while the humidity chills out, but September boasts National Bourbon Heritage Month and Louisville Craft Beer Week, which runs Sept. 13-21. More than 70 events are planned throughout the nine days, culminating with the LIBA Brewfest at Slugger Field Sept. 21. I caught up with the man behind LCBW, John Wurth, who also runs LouisvilleBeer.com.
Bar Belle: How did Craft Beer Week come about?
John Wurth: It all started in 2010 by the local breweries and a handful of sponsors. They had about 24 events the first year. In 2011, it was thrown in LouisvilleBeer.com’s lap about three weeks before it started. With our budget of exactly 1 cent, we had little time to promote the 20 events we lined up. We knew in the future, we could blow this thing up. Last year, Scott Lykins and I did blow this thing up when we decided to do a pullout in this amazing alt-weekly called LEO (you may have heard of it). This year, we have around 70 events, seven sponsors, and we bumped the LEO ad up to 16 pages, so this is bound to be the biggest, baddest, beer-iest Louisville Craft Beer Week yet!
BB: Was it hard to get local bars on board?
JW: Last year it was a bit more difficult, because we had to explain what we were trying to do without having something to show for it. This year, I think the bars, restaurants and liquor stores were like, “Why didn’t we participate last year? Oh yeah, we had no idea what those two weird dudes were talking about.”
BB: How did you plan all the activities?
JW: I really wish we could take credit for all of these amazing events. That’s left up to the places that want to hold events. If we had to come up with all of them, there would be like four events — well, maybe four and a half. The other thing we don’t do is “police” events — if you want to have a Stone Tap Takeover at your bar, we don’t care that they’re based in California; you’re helping the cause for the enjoyment of better beer, and in doing that, you’re indirectly helping promote local breweries.
BB: Are you aware that September is also National Bourbon Month? Is there room for both?
JW: Of course there’s room for both! Most of us beer people love bourbon also, so we’ll help them celebrate, too.
BB: What’s your advice for a craft virgin?
JW: Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Beer can be more complex than wine. Not all dark beers are strong or bitter. Every craft beer is not hoppy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Really, that’s part of why we do this LCBW thing. This week is as much of a celebration of our area’s thriving craft beer culture as it is about enhancing people’s beer knowledge. There is a whole lot more to beer than the light-colored lagers we grew up with. We hope this series of events can open the door to tastier beer for the masses.
BB: How much beer will you consume?
JW: Probably just two to three pints … an hour!
BB: Why do you think this fest is important to Louisville?
JW: I think it increases the awareness of what great beers are coming out of our area. Louisville is easily a craft beer destination. I see this festival bringing in a lot of tourism in the next couple years. Louisville’s had some great national coverage about our food scene. What goes better with great food than great beer?
BB: Are you a hoppy man?
JW: Yes, I live a very enjoyable life with my family. Wait a second … HOPPY? Ahh. Yes, I enjoy a hoppy IPA, but I also enjoy sour beers, lambics, ambers, browns, porters, stouts, smoked beers, barrel-aged beers … should I keep going?
Drunk Texts of the Week
• That lesbian needs to shave her whiskers! Wait … is that Keith Urban?
• Life’s too short to drink beer that gives you the shits for 5 days.