As Louisville, and the entire state, comes into its own as a craft beer center, the Kentucky Guild of Brewers took a leap of faith in creating the Kentucky Craft Bash, a Kentucky breweries-only affair that served as a fundraiser for the guild.
It took place this past Saturday, June 24, and the day was perfect. Meanwhile, the setting, Waterfront Park’s Festival Plaza, couldn’t have been more picturesque. Two rows of brewery booths served samples of the Kentucky breweries’ beers (more than 80 in all), and in between was a grassy area complete with standing tables and a tree canopy that provided ideal shade. Other booths and attractions were set up beneath Interstate 64, offering more shade from the sun.
Either the attendance was a bit light, or the spread-out nature of the festival made it seem that way.
“We ended up doing quite well,” said Guild Executive Director Derek Selznick, noting that exact numbers would be disclosed later. The guild represents the state’s craft breweries to promote their interests and growth.
But in speaking with a number of attendees, the Kentucky Craft Bash was quite well received. “This is amazing,” said Louisvillian Larry Williams. “It’s got everything from around the region.”
And that’s kind of the point: What the festival provided for many, if not most, attendees were first impressions of breweries that are far enough outside Louisville’s immediate area that it would require a day trip to fully experience them. A sample of their beers was like a sampler glass of the experience they offer.
White Squirrel Brewing of Bowling Green already distributes in the Louisville market, but breweries like Paducah Beer Works, Dry Ground Brewing, also of Paducah, Jarfly Brewing, Hopkinsville Brewing and many others do not. It’s either road trip to them, or attend the Craft Bash.
As the afternoon wore on — VIP admission began at noon — the crowd seemed to increase a bit, with people still filing through the main gate as late as 2 p.m., but there was rarely a line to any booth, other than the barrel-aged beers serving booth. And even it was only five deep at any given time I stopped by. (On one trip, I scored a creamy, bourbon-laced beer from Dry Ground called Rapture. It was delicious.)
While the brewers I spoke to agreed the attendance seemed a bit light, they also acknowledged that they were pouring beer fairly steadily. Kristy Gambill, co-owner of Holsopple Brewing, was one who noted they’d been pouring steadily.
“I wish more people would turn out to support the guild,” said Falls City Brewing Co. head brewer Dylan Greenwood, who thought attendance was on the light side. “In the cacophony of beer festivals these days, this is the one to support.”
He also noted, however, that he had been pouring fairly steadily. Perhaps the lack of lines and the gorgeous atmosphere will help get the word out for next year. Again, it may all be perspective, because the breweries generally seemed happy.
“It’s one of the best events I’ve been to,” said Monnik Beer Co. co-owner Brian Holton.
And the beer was good. There were a few breweries pouring basic beers, but Ethereal Brewing of Lexington scored with its Hoppy Bier de Garde, Goodwood Brewing of Louisville checked in with a Wee Heavy, and Rock House Brewing of Lexington, a relative newbie, brought its Groupie Cream Ale.
Heck, even the festival’s title sponsor, HopCat, brewed a beer for the festival, a Mosaic IPA, as well as plenty of free swag. And speaking of IPAs, aforementioned Holsopple Brewing shared a delicious Citra double IPA that was dangerously drinkable.
One critique I have is that there were no rinsing stations, and no dump buckets. Let’s hope that changes for next year. But the event surely succeeded in that it will donate a portion of the proceeds to local charity Cure CF. Perhaps next year, with the gorgeous setting and good will, this festival will attract a bit more attention.
Goodwood Brewing expands hours
Summer is here, and Goodwood Brewing wants to spend more time sharing its beer with us. They’ve opened the taproom from noon-6 p.m. on Sundays and will open on Mondays, 4-9 p.m., beginning July 3. Regular hours continue the rest of the week: Wednesday and Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday, 4-11 p.m.; and Saturday, 1-11 p.m.
3rd Turn Brewing
On Thursday, June 29, 3rd Turn Brewing in Jeffersontown is inviting everyone to come and tie-dye a 3rd Turn T-shirt. For $15, you get the shirt and access to five colors of dye, plus all that is needed to tie-dye the sucker. They’ll have medium, large and XL shirts while they last. Let your hippie flag fly. •