Sure, we all miss going to our favorite, local breweries for their latest concoctions and the joie de vivre of drinking with friends and strangers. As Whitney Martin, half of the LEO Beer Me! column, said so mathematically below, “my ability to enjoy beer is diminished by approximately 60% thanks to the COVID buzzkill.” But, beer is the ultimate in portable potables, so put on a mask and hit a brewery. Here are suggestions from our team of suds experts.
Monnik Beer Co.
A seasonal treat, the Voorjaar is one of the many delightful saisons offered by Monnik Beer Co. The body is a bronzed shade of gold, deep-hued but translucent to let the light in. You can catch the ginger and cardamom at the nose, which suggest a heavier presence than the smooth, sublime finish. As we’re all trapped inside with the daily dread of the news cycle, the Voorjaar is a ray of sunshine in the gloom. Clocking in at 5.6% ABV, the Voorjaar is light enough that you can session it, which is a current experience that many of us have — binging the news, then binging a few drinks to relax. This is exactly what you need in trying times: something to knock the edge off of hard days, but that’s perfect for cool nights. —Syd Bishop
Double Mocha Affogato
Nest White Ale
The Louisville Beer Store
To-go beer is all about mood and transitions. Whoever I was 30 minutes ago needs to blur at life’s edges knowing whomever I become two hours from now will be comforted by traditions of Home. Was my day jarring, jagged, deserving a smooth and velvety trip to the tummy, something with enough calories to support a long talk on the porch instead of diving right into dinner prep? Then, I’m looking for Stillwater’s Double Mocha Affogato (6% ABV) and pouring it into a pint glass to savor every toasty cocoa nip. Was my day glorious, maybe even victorious and earning a quick and effervescent diffusion before picking up the next of life’s perfunctory rituals? Then, a crisp, dry ale such as Hitachino Nest White Ale (5.5% ABV) is warranted. Whatever the mood and the transition desired, I always go to the Louisville Beer Store to pick one beer for me and one for my sweetie, who’ll always have what I’m having but prefers something deep, never bitter, brewed to match his pensive soul. Beer, like life, is infinitely enjoyable when enjoyed together. —Megan Campbell Smith
Cecilia Wheat Rye Pale Ale
False Idol Independent Brewers
I miss the taproom. For me, the overall enjoyment of beer is greatly influenced by the taproom’s vibes (30%), the people I’m with (30%), the fact that I’m supporting local (10%) and the actual taste of the beer (30%). Therefore, my ability to enjoy beer is diminished by approximately 60% thanks to the COVID buzzkill. That being said, we can still swig local suds from a growler or crowler. At least for now. Thanks to the huge increase in to-go sales, there is a national shortage of growler and crowler containers, as most of them are being bought up by FEMA. Wait. That’s something else. Anyway, we swung by False Idol this weekend due to the fact it will allow you to bring in your own growlers for fill. The folks there were grateful for our business, were cracking heads on social distancing and explained the well-researched and thorough approach they are taking on sanitizing beer vessels. We got the Cecilia Wheat Rye Pale Ale and the Manna Kellerbier. We enjoyed them both but only remembered to make tasting notes on the first (go figure). Craig said it had a “nice creamy, lacy foam, a subtle hop aroma, and a nice bite on the side of the tongue, with a sweet/smooth finish on the back.” (I just said, “more, please”). —Whitney Martin
Monnik Beer Co.
Growlers in a pandemic. There’s a certain anticipation that goes along with popping the seal off a fresh growler of beer and knowing you have a finite amount of time to enjoy that liquid before it goes flat. For my money, if I’m left sitting on the porch in a pandemic (as I am most days now), my go-to is Monnik Beer Co.’s IPA. It’s my favorite beer in town as an everyday go-to with its crisp body, tropical hop profile and satisfying bitterness on the finish. You know what? Make it two growlers of Monnik IPA. You never know how long this shutdown is going to last, after all. —Kevin Gibson
Ol’ Blue Eyes
Gravely Brewing Co.
Somewhere along the never-ending IPA boom of the past decade, I got a little burned out of heavily hopped ales with the sort of alcohol percentage that could quickly turn your brain into pudding. So I’m glad to see more finely crafted light beers pop up, something that Gravely seems to specialize in. And, right now, that materializes in their Italian pilsner Ol’ Blue Eyes, a crisp, flavorful beer that only clocks in at 4.7% but has an IBU of 35 for some kick. It’s named after Frank Sinatra, and like the music of the storied crooner, Ol’ Blue Eyes is best enjoyed on long and lazy days. And right now you can get a plastic growler of it from Gravely via curbside pickup. —Scott Recker •