Highlands Beer Festival Brings Taste Of Indiana To The Bluegrass State

Highlands Beer Festival Brings Taste Of Indiana To The Bluegrass State

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By Cory Huffman for Indiana On Tap

A message from Captain Obvious: The craft beer scene is growing.

That was evident Saturday, May 16th in Louisville’s Highlands’s neighborhood.

This is the ninth time in seven years that the Highlands Beer Festival has taken place, but the first time it’s been moved outside of the Mid-City Mall located at 1250 Bardstown Road.

Here’s a quick newsflash about Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood – it’s weird. And that’s a good thing. This area encompasses the “hipster” movement as well as any in the country. Think a slightly less weird Portland.

This year the Highlands Beer Festiva,l sponsored by Valumarket, The Back Door, Deschutes Brewery, Sweetwater Brewery, West Sixth Brewery, and Lousivillebeer.com, was moved outside to the side parking lot because of expected crowd numbers.

Taking full advantage of my press pass, my fiancé and I were able to gain entry around 2:30, about a half hour before the official start. Upon arriving, the line was already backed up about a block.

Two tents of beer were setup. One contained local offerings, while the other served beer from national breweries that distribute to Kentucky.

We started in the local tent where the guys from Rhinegeist (Cincinnati) were serving Truth (IPA), Zen (Session Pale Ale), and Cougar (Blonde). Rhinegeist has recently started distributing to Louisville and are poised to make quite the splash. I sampled Zen and Truth, both of which I have had before, and like the times prior, did not disappoint in the least. Upon talking with one of the Rhinegeist Reps, and learning about my love for Cincy, he let me sample Gramps (American Barleywine).

Next up, we visited the Upland booth where we indulged in Coast Buster (Imperial IPA) and Barrel Chested Barleywine aged in Bourbon Barrels from Willet Distilling Company. Both were phenomenal, and having Upland as a representative from Indiana has proven to the Bluegrass State that we know beer.

Tin Man brought Alloy (American Pale Ale), Czar (Imperial Stout), and the insanely popular Damascene (Apricot Sour). Having had the Damascene countless times before (it’s my fiance’s favorite) I was able to witness countless Louisvillians sample it for the first time and hear their feedback. One gentleman said after having it that, “It’s the closest I’ve come to crying, in a good way, since my son was born.”

We Indiana beer fans fully agree.


We then stopped by Apocalypse Brew Works, a local brewery out of Louisville. Apocalypse has become my favorite brewery in Louisville and the beer they brought to the festival undoubtedly gained them more fans (Apollo IPA, Rye IPA, Sour Cherry). The Apollo IPA was fantastic, so good in fact that, after the festival, we drove over to their location at 1612 Mellwood Avenue and grabbed a growler for a Saturday night filled with Wheel of Fortune reruns… isn’t that what engaged kids do these days?

Flat 12 brought Walkabout (Pale Ale), Cucumber Kolsch, and Pinko! Russian Imperial Stout. I went with the Walkabout. It’s popping up all over Louisville and Southern Indiana and that’s a great thing! The galaxy hops provide a fantastic nose on a beer that is insanely quaffable. Hopefully tasters were as impressed as I was and will make their way across the Big Four Bridge to the beautiful new Jeffersonville location. And with the weather warming up, I don’t know how they can pass up the chance to get some more of the Cucumber Kolsch. It begs of warm weather and gathering with friends to relive those stories of yesteryear.

The New Albanian Brewing Company showcased why it’s been a Southern Indiana/Louisville staple for as long as it has by offering samples of Hoptimus (Imperial IPA), Eastern Front (Imperial Pilsner), and Black and Blue Grass (Spiced Belgian). Of course we both had the Black and Blue Grass, as it has become one of our favorite beers in the area. The subtle peppery notes upon the finish make it intriguing and delicious.

“The Indiana breweries showed why the Hoosier State is quickly becoming a mecca for craft beer,” stated Captain Obvious.

I agree.

Even though it was rainy, the hordes of craft beer fans came to celebrate the beer and breweries they love.

Nothing was weird about that.



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