Mug Shots

New year, new beer

Contrary to what you may have heard, drinkability is in the palate of the beer holder, and looking at it from the perspective of someone who drinks beer professionally — and has the elevated liver count to prove it — metropolitan Louisville is a good space to be occupying.

No, we’re not Portland, Boulder or Madison. Yes, the local market penetration of craft beer isn’t as deep as it should be. There’s always room for improvement (I won’t mention Louisville Slugger Field by name … oops), but overall, Louisville has come a long way, baby, and if you’re as old as I am and remember what it used to be like here, you’ll agree that it has been a remarkable transformation.

Our five microbreweries remain reason enough for beer enthusiasts to visit Louisville, but the perimeter has steadily expanded. Bars and restaurants of all sizes and types now have good beers from here and elsewhere on tap and in bottles, and most of their owners and managers no longer require a detailed explanation to grasp the concept of a beer list that extends beyond BudMillerCoors.

Such is the pace of local change, and being too often immersed in my own little corner of the beer universe, I’m not always able to keep abreast of new arrivals, both in terms of the beers and the pubs that serve them.

Consequently, I’m beginning the year in beer with an Imperial Stout in hand, a song in my heart and a goal in mind. Once each month in 2009, I’ll visit a different Louisville-area establishment, enjoy a few good beers, and write about the experience in this space. The only rule is that it must be a place I haven’t visited before.

Believe it or not, there are quite a few.

Roger Baylor is co-owner of the New Albanian Brewing Co. in New Albany. Visit for more beer.