A guide for your next Florida Road Trip for Beer
November 13, 2013 – 11:23 am | No Comment

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A long road has been traversed that involved thousands of miles, dozens of beers and visits to every brewery in Florida from Key West to Pensacola for conversations with brewers, owners and managers.
My book has …

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Craft beer guide to Louisville, a.k.a. Derby City (from the archives)
May 2, 2013 – 11:41 am | No Comment

Louisville, Kentucky equals bourbon, mint juleps and the Kentucky Derby, right? Wrong. The town offers so much more, and the traveling beer geek has plenty of local craft brew destinations to explore.

Kentucky Derby by Nina-001

Photo courtesy of Nina Greipel Photography

We spent a couple of nights in Derby City recently, and with the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby this weekend at Churchill Downs, we thought we’d share some tips for anyone taking a Road Trip for Beer to the Run for the Roses – or really any time of the year.

Breweries

Road Trips for Beer photo by Gerard WalenAgainst the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse. Housed in the southeast corner of Louisville Slugger Field – home of the Louisville Bats, the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds – the brewery boasts that it brews six entirely new beers each month in six categories to put on tap. As if that isn’t difficult enough, each bears a deliciously punny name. We ordered a flight of the six up in April: Wang Dong, We Spelt It Wrong, Golden Sower, Neo Sporran, Mad Maxwell Beyond Valuedome, and Pepperation H. The category names are self-explanatory: Hop, Smoke, Dark, Malt, Session and Whim. Though we didn’t eat there, the food we saw on other folks’ plates looked tempting.  401 E. Main St., 502-515-0174.

Road Trips for Beer photo by Gerard Walen

The chalkboard at Against the Grain.

Bluegrass brewingBluegrass Brewing Co. BBC, as locals know it (slogan: Beer is Food) started in 1993 with one location and now has three brewpubs in Louisville, in addition to its main production brewery at 636 E. Main St. I enjoyed a flight of beers at the brewery’s tasting room, which serves as almost a museum of historical Louisville breweriana, including plenty old signs, bottles and cans from Falls City Brewing Co. Falls City operated in Louisville from 1905 to 1978, and was recently revived. Try their best-selling Bourbon Barrel Stout, if it’s on tap. Multiple locations.

 

The tasting room at the Bluegrass Brewing Co. production brewery.

The tasting room at the Bluegrass Brewing Co. production brewery.

 

Falls City bottleFalls City Brewing Co.  As mentioned above, Falls City was Louisville’s biggest brewery for decades, until it shut down and the naming rights were sold to Heileman Brewing Co. and later to Pittsburgh Brewing, which eventually discontinued production. In 2009, Louisville entrepreneur David Easterling bought the name to return the historic brew to its original roots. It has been contract brewed out of state, but just in time for the 2013 Kentucky Derby, the Falls City Tasting Room has opened in Louisville, where small and experimental batches will be brewed for the residents of the city where it all started. The tasting room opened after we visited, but we had a few of the brewery’s tasty offerings on taps at other establishments. We were especially fond of the Black IPA. 545 E. Barret Ave., 502-410-3508

New Albanian logoThe New Albanian Brewing Co. Though technically not in Louisville, the brewery is headquartered in New Albany, Indiana, right across the Ohio River. If there wasn’t a sign though, you wouldn’t know that you had crossed into another city, much less another state, which is why some call the region “Kentuckiana.” New Albanian operates two locations. We visited the Bank Street Brewhouse, but weren’t able to spend much time there because we had to go to a concert. The other location, which we were advised is the favorite of beer geeks because of a wider selection of bottles and guest taps, is the Pizzeria & Public House. Being short of time, we only tasted the Hoptimus Imperial IPA and the Naughty Girl Belgian Blonde Ale. Both were delicious, and we’ll have to schedule more time on our next visit. Brewhouse, 415 Bank St. New Albany, Indiana, 812-725-9585; Pizzeria & Public House, 3312 Plaza Drive, New Albany, Indiana, 812-944-2577.

Inside the New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse.

Inside the New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse.

Cumberland Brewing. We did not get a chance to visit this Louisville brewpub this trip, but the locals spoke highly of it. Hopheads should really love it because we heard they are not stingy with that key ingredient in their beers. Its menu seems to be standard pub fare.  1576 Bardstown Road, 502-458-8727.

Apocalypse Brew Works. Another brewery that we’ll have to put on the itinerary for our next visit, Apocalypse is proud of its eco-efforts, including its solar-heated water, grain re-use, and use of found and recycled material in building the brewery. In homage to its names, the beers on tap in the Fallout Shelter tasting room sport such monikers as Cream-ation, Fallout Dust, Atomic Dust and Black Plague Stout. It’s been open since May 2012. 1612 Mellwood Ave., 502-495-4843.

Restaurants and Pubs

These are the places we had a chance to visit during our stay.

Holy GraleHoly Grale. It’s housed in a 1905 former Unitarian Church and specializes in Belgian beer and American craft. The spacious outdoor seating area with a German beer garden feel provides a great place to meet with a group of friends for some brews and dinner from the seasonally inspired and locally provided menu of the “Choir Loft” kitchen. Note: They warn that if you’re seeking bourbon or wine, you will find none there. 1034 Bardstown Road, info@holygralelouisville.com.

The Silver Dollar. Bourbons – lots and lots of bourbons -are the focus at this funky pub built in an old firehouse, but beer geeks should be happy with the tap and bottle list as well. Though it stocks some hipster favorites, such as Stroh’s, Schlitz and Old Milwaukee, there are also offerings from craft breweries like Sixpoint, Avery, North Coast, Jolly Pumpkin, Pretty Things and many more. The appetizers and steak I had were pretty damn good, too. 1761 Frankfort Ave., 502-259-9540.

GasthausGasthaus. Founded and run by the Greipel family since 1993, this is the real-deal German restaurant. The baked goods are divine and the mouth-watering entrees are prepared by a team led by Executive Chef Jean-Phillip Schmitt (born in France, raised on German and French cuisine). But the beer – THE BEER . We ordered a Reissdorf Kolsch from Privat-Brauerei Heinrich Reisdorf brewery in Cologne. Served in an authentic Kolsch glass. Fans of German beer shouldn’t miss this. 4812 Brownsboro Center, 502-899-7177.

The Monkey Wrench. This is the kind of place that we never would have found if not guided by a local. Great tap and bottle list, rooftop bar and live bluegrass. Nuff said. 1025 Barret Ave. 502-582-2433.

IMG_1653Sergio’s World Beers. This might be how we would envision beer geek heaven. Start at the front and work your way back. Each room you enter has myriad beers from all over the world on shelves for purchase. The selection of nearly 1,500 beers – not bottles, but beers – might overwhelm even the most knowledgeable among us. The 43 taps are constantly rotated. Of course, you can purchase a Schlitz. It’s $38 a bottle.  Most are much less expensive. Really … words … do not come. Mecca? 1605 Story Ave., 502-618-2337.

Please do not wake me from this dream!

Please do not wake me from this dream!

We were only in Louisville for a couple of days, so please let us know in the comments section about any craft beer spots we neglected to mention.

If you have questions about Louisville or the Derby, you’ll likely find them answered on the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau site.

Also, that striking image of the Kentucky Derby race at the top was shot by local photographer Nina Griepel. Please do not reuse it without permission, but if you need a talented photographer for an event, you can contact her here.

Breweries, News Releases »

Bed, Breakfast and Beer
April 5, 2014 – 11:00 am | No Comment

Guest post by Brittney Oliver

Station Bar at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, MI

Station Bar at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, MI

Station Bar at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, MI

Station Bar at Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, MI

Wine has sommeliers and beer has cicerones. The world of malts and hops is rapidly expanding and more and more microbreweries have been exploding onto the spirits scene. Emerging cults of beer enthusiasts are traveling far and wide to experience the fragility and deliciousness of the craft.

Actually, some of the best places for beer lovers to vacation are at a bed and breakfast. Who knew? Many B&Bs offer fantastic packages and amenities to help travelers create the ultimate brewcation – some of the B&Bs are actually breweries themselves. Enthusiasts will learn about the brewing process, sample various craft beers and even create their very own beer.

So forget the weekend away at the vineyard – this year, it’s all about the brew.

B&B and a Brewery

The Woodstock Inn Brewery in North Woodstock, NH has been crafting award-winning ales since 1995. One of the few B&Bs that owns a full-time brewery, this inn offers the “Brewer’s Weekend” package that includes a brewery tour and commemorative apparel to remember your trip.  The brewery tour showcases the use of a traditional seven-barrel system the helps create their 16 seasonal ales and stouts that you can sample throughout the weekend.

Saturday Night at a B&B Pub

The eco-friendly, Forty Putney Road Bed & Breakfast in Brattleboro, VT offers the “Good Sport Package” – where your in-room fridge is stocked with 6 different local microbrews and hard ciders. This inn also has an authentic Irish Pub, a great spot to sample some of these craft beers with the locals.

Historic Beer Tour

The Bayfront Marin House Bed and Breakfast is a pet-friendly, waterfront B&B located in the historic town of St. Augustine, FL. Take a tour of this historic town and learn how the breweries played a major role in the city’s structuring. For a more exhilarating experience opt for the haunted tour to learn about the city’s paranormal legends that frequent these taverns.

Brew Your Own Beer

Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast in Saugatuck, MI had the beer enthusiast in mind when partnering with the Saugatuck Brewing Company for a weekend filled with “hops.” The Saugatuck Brewing Company provides recipes, ingredients and equipment for making your own 11-gallon batch of beer. For an additional cost you can create a custom label and have the brewery bottle the beer for you. Bottom’s Up!

 

Craft beer guide to Louisville, a.k.a. Derby City (from the archives)
May 2, 2013 – 11:41 am | No Comment
Craft beer guide to Louisville, a.k.a. Derby City (from the archives)

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Louisville, Kentucky equals bourbon, mint juleps and the Kentucky Derby, right? Wrong. The town offers so much more, and the traveling beer geek has plenty of local craft brew destinations to explore.
We spent a …

Brews Cruise will set sale for Alaska
April 4, 2014 – 12:59 pm | No Comment
Brews Cruise will set sale for Alaska

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Cary, NC – April 4, 2014 – What vacation could be better for beer lovers than a cruise revolving around beer? A brews cruise where you can sample beer and share notes with industry …

Beer gifts: A trilogy of craft beer books to make you smarter
December 20, 2013 – 11:42 am | No Comment
Beer gifts: A trilogy of craft beer books to make you smarter

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Beer gift lists proliferate on websites and beer blogs this time of year, and I hesitated to post one because they often are redundant, featuring the same gadgets and novelty items as beer gift …

A new way to keep a beer bottle cold
December 5, 2013 – 11:26 am | No Comment
A new way to keep a beer bottle cold

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Once a bottle of beer is opened, there are few options to keep it cold while you’re drinking it. You can either consume it before it gets too warm, or you use a beer …

A guide for your next Florida Road Trip for Beer
November 13, 2013 – 11:23 am | No Comment
A guide for your next Florida Road Trip for Beer

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A long road has been traversed that involved thousands of miles, dozens of beers and visits to every brewery in Florida from Key West to Pensacola for conversations with brewers, owners and managers.
My book …

Road Trips for Beer just became easier
November 13, 2013 – 11:07 am | No Comment
Road Trips for Beer just became easier

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Beer lovers, your prayers have been answered – visiting breweries just got easier.  Brew Trail (www.BrewTrail.com), the ultimate compilation of brewery information, has gone online and promises to make beer tourism a one-stop …

Great American Beer Festival 2013: We’re on our way
October 8, 2013 – 6:13 pm | No Comment
Great American Beer Festival 2013: We’re on our way

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It’s time to check another one off the Road Trips for Beer bucket list: a trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
I’ll be at three of the festival’s four sessions: Thursday night, …

Top five fermented grogs fer the pirate in ye (updated)
September 18, 2013 – 12:00 pm | 8 Comments
Top five fermented grogs fer the pirate in ye (updated)

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Avast, me hearties! Don’t ye forget that September 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
In honor o’ this most momentous event, Cap’n GerARRd o’ Sea Voyages for Beer will list th’ top …

Guidebook to Northern California Breweries is released today
September 1, 2013 – 1:24 pm | No Comment
Guidebook to Northern California Breweries is released today

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We’ve been on a hiatus here at Road Trips for Beer – don’t worry, we’ll be back soon – but I wanted to quickly post that Stackpole Books released today another in its series …

Dave & Buster’s offers road trip respite – with games!
July 31, 2013 – 1:26 pm | No Comment
Dave & Buster’s offers road trip respite – with games!

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Sometimes a little rest and recreation is in order while on a Road Trip for Beer, especially if you’re taking side trips while on a family vacation.
And if blowing things up, racing cars and …

Plot your medal-winning Road Trips for Beer with The Roaming Pint
July 18, 2013 – 6:24 pm | No Comment
Plot your medal-winning Road Trips for Beer with The Roaming Pint

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We wanted to point our readers to this very cool graphic created by our friends at The Roaming Pint, the travel/beer blog run by RV nomads Brian and Maria who are making a point …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for July 19 to 23, 2013
July 18, 2013 – 1:48 pm | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for July 19 to 23, 2013

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First, Road Trips for Beer apologizes for those of you who submitted your festivals for last week’s Weekend Beer Festival Forecast. To keep it as timely as possible, I compile most of each one …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for July 5 to 7, 2013
July 3, 2013 – 11:13 pm | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for July 5 to 7, 2013

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What do beer festival organizers do on a long Fourth of July weekend? Apparently stay home and barbecue.
As is typical around the holiday, the schedule is light. Three U.S. fests on our calender, two …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 27 to 30, 2013
June 26, 2013 – 9:00 am | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 27 to 30, 2013

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Whew! Things are hot, eh?  Especially when you’re talking about the growing number of beer festivals. Three of the festivals listed are in their first year, and several more are in their second or …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 21 to 23, 2013
June 21, 2013 – 5:06 pm | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 21 to 23, 2013

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The summer solstice falls on Friday, meaning this is the first Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for Summer 2013. As summer beer festival season kicks off, it becomes even more important to remember to two …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 14 to June 16, 2013
June 14, 2013 – 9:56 am | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 14 to June 16, 2013

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Hello Road Trips for Beer readers! Before we get to this weekend’s festivals,  I have a favor to ask you. I’m in the running to win a beer blogger contest to the CanFest in …

Add Snowmass to your last-minute beer trip itinerary
June 7, 2013 – 11:33 am | No Comment
Add Snowmass to your last-minute beer trip itinerary

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Unless you live in Colorado, it may be a bit late to make a last-minute decision to attend the 10th annual Snowmass Chili Pepper & Brew Fest today and Saturday.
But if you can, do …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 6 to 9, 2013
June 6, 2013 – 11:55 am | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for June 6 to 9, 2013

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This is the first weekend of the 2013 hurricane season, and Tropical Storm Andrea is making sure we know about it. Right now, the fast-moving storm is forecast to sweep across Florida and up …

Please take pity and help send me to CanFest
June 3, 2013 – 9:49 pm | No Comment
Please take pity and help send me to CanFest

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(UPDATE: The link for the contest is now live. Please click here and vote for Road Trips for Beer. Thank you).
Third time’s the charm, or three strikes and I’m out. It could go either …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 31 to June 3, 2013.
May 30, 2013 – 9:37 pm | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 31 to June 3, 2013.

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Asheville Beer Week, Philly Beer Week and Detroit Craft Beer Month are all happening this weekend. These multi-day celebrations of a region’s craft beer scene present an excellent opportunity for Road Trips for Beer.
It’s …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 24 to 26, 2013
May 22, 2013 – 11:08 am | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 24 to 26, 2013

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The Weekend Beer Festival Forecast publishes each Wednesday to alert beer road trippers about beer festivals and other brew-related events during the upcoming weekend.
Click on the links to learn more.
If you would like your …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 17 to 21, 2013
May 17, 2013 – 11:01 am | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 17 to 21, 2013

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We hope everyone is enjoying American Craft Beer Week 2013. What better way to finish it off that attending a beer festival to rub elbows with fellow beer geeks and the folks that make …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 10 to 13, 2013
May 8, 2013 – 8:30 am | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 10 to 13, 2013

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With plenty of beer festivals this weekend, it sure will be nice to get back to real life and not have to worry about missing an awesome craft beer happening, right? Wrong.  American Craft …

Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 3 to 6, 2013
May 2, 2013 – 5:34 pm | No Comment
Weekend Beer Festival Forecast for May 3 to 6, 2013

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Two big events happen Saturday. The 139th running of the Kentucky Derby and Star Wars Day on May the Fourth (get it, get it?) Our advice is to find some great local beer to …

Smartphone BAC device nears release
April 29, 2013 – 8:28 pm | No Comment
Smartphone BAC device nears release

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We received this news a few weeks ago, but it’s a product we’ve been following since first hearing about its development.
A California company, Breathometer Inc., has developed a Breathalyzer device that will plug into …