Farewell, Louisville Brewfest… hello, Craft Beer Week

I heard rumors earlier this year that the Louisville Independent Business Alliance might discontinue its long-running Louisville Brewfest, but I chose to wait until I heard something official before I began to mourn. Last week, I heard official word that, indeed, one of the city’s oldest beer festivals is no more.

When the festival began in 2009, craft beer was still just a baby in Louisville, and the event featured all of five local breweries. But as time pressed on and more breweries came into the fold, the festival grew, eventually landing at Slugger Field, first in the event space near the third-base side of the stadium, and then expanding into the concourse and the Overlook Deck in center field.

As more breweries got on board, specialty beers became the norm, with food vendors and others — from distilleries to ice cream shops — getting in on the action.

In a statement last week, LIBA said, “We’ve had some amazing times at the Brewfest, and we give a great, great big thank you to all the folks who have supported and enjoyed the event over the years.”

You’re welcome.

LIBA last week also announced it is in early planning stages on another public event that will “give folks another chance to come together to support local businesses and connect with fellow Louisvillians, which is so important to strengthening our community.”

No specific details were provided as to what this new event might be. It probably won’t be a beer festival, but least we will have the memories of walking the concourse at beautiful Slugger Field, sampling beers, visiting the Louisville “brewseum” to check out relics from breweries past, and seeing familiar faces. (I also have vague memories about having my picture taken with a gorilla, but that may have been the beer.)

“Over the last couple of years though, it’s made less and less sense for us to continue,” Jennifer Rubenstein, director of LIBA, said in explaining why the decision was made to move on. “A lot changes over nine years, both with LIBA and the industry. We’ve also grown in other areas that are closer to our mission.”

The good news is that Louisville Craft Beer Week, of which Brewfest was a huge part, will continue on, with LEO Weekly the primary sponsor this year. The “week,” which lasts Oct. 19-29 and encompasses two weekends, offers its usual smattering of daily events at local breweries, restaurants, pubs, retailers, and other businesses tied into Louisville’s craft beer culture.

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Look for more info on specific events in future issues of LEO, as well as on social media. In the meantime, there will be enough beer releases and tap takeovers to keep your palate — and your liver — plenty busy.

Beer with LOTS of Scientists at Against the Grain

Beer With a Scientist has been a regular thing at Against the Grain Brewery and Smokehouse, but on Sept. 13, at 8 p.m., things will get turned up a notch or two. Typically, a special guest scientist will give a short talk, often about chemistry, to a gathering of people as they sip craft brews. This time, there will be a whole bunch of scientists at the brewery.

Essentially, it’s your chance to mingle with scientists from a variety of different disciplines. Organized by Louisville Underground Science and Levi Beverly Ph.D., of UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center, this version of beer with a scientist will have each scientist in attendance give an “elevator pitch” (a two-minute or so talk) about their work. After that, you can mingle as you like, and ask questions.

Hey, it beats talking to the drunk guy at the next barstool, which is usually what you’d be stuck doing.

Monnik to hold Harvey relief fundraiser

On Thursday, Sept. 7, Monnik Beer Co. will spend the day raising funds to assist in relief from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and you can help. The Kentucky Guild of Brewers announced this week that the brewery and restaurant will donate 10 percent of all sales Thursday to the Houston Food Bank, which is providing food and supplies for hurricane victims in Texas and southern Louisiana.

As a nod to Texas culture, a few special menu items will be available that day, including elotes (grilled corn), Texas-style red chili, a grouper cheek po boy, pork neckbones and gravy, and jasmin rice pudding. Monnik is open 11 a.m.-midnight on Thursday.•

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