Falls City taproom opens, brings back canned pilsner

Falls City Brewing Co. officially opened its new brewery and taproom last weekend, complete with a “first toast” with Mayor Greg Fischer, along with members of the Louisville City FC squad, local media and more.

The new taproom is open Tuesday through Sunday and is located at 901 E. Liberty St.

Falls City representatives also dropped a bomb of sorts sure to make your dad and grandpa happy — in May, it will release, in cans, an American pilsner, which might hearken back to the Falls City of the 1960s and 1970s, which many Louisvillians still recall, fondly… or otherwise.

But the beer inside those cans won’t be quite like what your grandfather drank in 1972, according to brewer Cameron Finnis — expect a high-quality, craft pilsner that’s drinkable and has flavor, not a low-quality beer soda, as so many remember from the last days of the original Falls City.

“It’s really just a classic American pilsner,” Finnis said. “We did a couple of test batches; we didn’t want to do anything too crazy – the style is kind of making a return with the craft crowd.”

Will your grandpa like it? “That’s our hope,” Finnis said, adding that “we’re kind of going for that magical middle point” where the basic palate and a craft beer enthusiast can meet and agree.

The beer will carry the same can design as that of the 1970s, and marketing manager Brian U’Sellis told the crowd they hope it will “satisfy those people who long to have that back on the shelves.”

Falls City was revived by a local businessman in 2010, and then purchased by Neace Ventures. The brewery released beers in bottles and on draft before switching to cans last year. The brand has evolved, yet continues to pay tribute to its past. The brewery was founded in 1905 as a way to fight a local brewing monopoly.

A banner unveiled with the new (old) can design at the opening ceremony came with this description: “With Falls City there’s a feeling of comfort and nostalgia. It’s stories of your grandpa working at the old brewery on 30th and Broadway, that red oval sign hanging in your parents’ garage or an old church key passed down from a relative. This beer is a celebration of all those things. A nod to those who came before, worked  hard, and finished off their day with a nice cold Falls City.”

When the brand resurfaced in 2010, there was a mild backlash from those who were confused by the English-style ale presented under the Falls City name. The $4 (at the time) price tag also was a sticking point for many who remembered buying six-packs of Falls City beer for around that price.

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The brand has now come full circle. During the presentation last Friday, Falls City President Shane Uttich likened the almost-century-old building housing the cool new digs to the brand itself, pointing out that at one point the huge facility was derelict, but has been restored, not unlike the brand itself.

Bringing the point home, Fischer was wearing on his lapel a vintage pin featuring a Falls City “can man” mascot that dates back to the 1960s –— the can man once starred in a TV commercial in which he danced and sang about Falls City beer.

“He was strutting back in the day,” Fischer said, pointing to the pin. “It’s fair to say he’s back in action now.”

The new old Falls City American pilsner will be available in retail outlets starting in May, with availability through summer months, according to U’Sellis.

Meanwhile, 12 Falls City beers are available on draft at the taproom, with six-packs of the “core four” beers also available for carry-out.

fest of ale tickets!

Fest of Ale, the popular beer festival in New Albany heading into its 13th year, is right around the corner (June 2), and tickets will officially go on sale next Wednesday, April 11, during a special event at The Exchange Pub & Kitchen in New Albany.

The event is 5-8 p.m. and affords Fest of Ale regulars a chance to save a bundle on tickets, which are $55 day of the event and $45 in advance (online) when they go on sale online Friday, April 13. At The Exchange kick-off event, tickets will be $30, and won’t carry the online service fee. Tickets also will be available at either location of the Keg Liquors for $40, starting on April 13.

The event at The Exchange, located at 118 W. Main St., New Albany, will feature specials on select North Coast and Sun King beers, and 100 pint glasses will be given away. Once again this year, Fest of Ale benefits the Crusade for Children and will be held at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater.

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