Beers For All Occasions

An Experiment in Social Drinking

Sergio’s World Beers

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Have you ever found a person, so dedicated to what they do that they do that they make you want to work harder for what you believe in? A person so in love with what he or she does that they never seem to have to really work? The founder, owner, and operator of Sergio’s World Beers is such a man. His passion for beer began at the ripe age of 14, has carried him around the world, and has landed him in his personal sanctuary in Shelbyville, or to the Louisvillians, “East Jesus Nowhere.” Sergio’s World Beers is located at 2412 Shelbyville Rd., and can be found online at http://sergiosworldbeers.com. The website is really a wonderful resource, with a complete beer list, a menu, and comprehensive driving directions. We highly recommend that you check it out before taking the drive.

 

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We must admit, that when we were told by a reader to go visit Sergio out in Shelby County, we were reluctant to make the drive. We felt that we hadn’t done enough work in Louisville to warrant an out of county excursion. So, we put it off for a few months to develop the blog. However, last week we found ourselves sans excuse. The trip would have to be made, because Sergio’s was demanded with the swiftness. As we drove the 30 minutes from Louisville to Shelbyville, in my car full of twenty-something intellectuals, conspiracy theories abounded. First, we wondered if this was an elaborate joke designed to see how far we would go in the name of beer. As the trip progressed through the Kentucky back country, some of us were pondering lynch mobs, while others were concerned about getting shot. Visions of sawed off shotguns and nooses danced through our heads. However, upon arrival we realized that the reason we had driven over the river and through the woods was not because Sergio’s is really in East Jesus Nowhere, but rather because directions on an iPhone don’t include shortcuts or brief backtracks. For all of its marvelous qualities, even I have to admit that the iPhone doesn’t actually have cognitive skills. We suggest using the directions posted on Sergio’s website for a faster and less daunting expedition.

 

 

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We almost passed Sergio’s up, rolling down US 60 at fifty-five miles-per-hour, waiting for our technology to tell us that we had arrived in civilization. The partially burnt-out neon sign declares Sergio’s a restaurant, while the other sign reads sports bar and grill. Truth be told, it looks sort of like a restaurant, or a sports bar. Nothing from the exterior told us that we had just arrived in our version of the promised land. As we walked through the large front room, toward the much-smaller bar room, something began happening to us. We were transported from Shelbyville, Kentucky to somewhere far more European. For the true beer enthusiast, the sight that we beheld was nothing short of a religious encounter. Shelves of beers covered the walls, like a library of brews. Beer bottles sat on top of the refrigerators, they were lined up along the bar, and they formed pyramids in the halls. What immediately looked like a shrine to beers gone by is actually the selection of offerings at this holy land of alcohol, almost 900 in all, with deliveries of new selections arriving regularly.  Allow me to just impress upon you that you could go to Sergio’s everyday for two years and six months and never have the same beer twice. Overwhelmed? Good, let’s move on.

 

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Behind the bar, in his personal pulpit was the bishop of beers himself, Sergio Ribenboim. A native of Brasil, Sergio began his love affair with beer in Germany with a beer affectionately called “bacon in a bottle.” Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock is the epitome of a genre called “smokebeer”, in which the malt is smoked much like meat. Imagine this gentleman as a teenager, sitting in a small German village, sipping his first smokebeer, and you begin to understand what drove Sergio to create this shrine. As he tells you stories from his life, Sergio regularly pulls obscure beer bottles down from the walls, illustrating his life story in brown glass. From each of his travel destinations, he brings back bottles, and allows you to smell the empty glass, and so be transported to Germany, Holland, Belgium, and France.

 

 

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 A master at the recommendation, Sergio seems to take what you’ve said you like in a beer, be it hoppy or malty, light or dark, and add your personality into the equation, producing a beer recommendation that is not just what you like in beer, but what you didn’t even know you loved. When I told him that my current favorite is Magic Hat #9, he produced an apricot beer from the Pyramids Brewing Co. in the Pacific North West that I had never even heard of. Needless to say, it puts the #9 to shame. When another of our crew declared her love for dark ales, he gave her a beer with a wine finish that she swore was the beer she had always been looking for. If you’re open minded, this shaman will give you the beer of your dreams.

 

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To compliment your dream beer, Sergio can whip you up a variety of cultural food. Because of the Shelby County location, at least 70% of Sergio’s sales must be in food to keep that liquor license, so be prepared to eat while you’re there. This is no real burden however, when you consider that he has one and two dollar menu items, and that the food is incredible. The menu is international as you may expect, and the kitchen doesn’t close until Sergio leaves. There are several complete, many coursed dinner menus available, and, of course, each course comes with its own beer. While we were there, Sergio plied us with a series of home made foods like his shrimp ceviche and brownies, both of which were perfect.

 

 

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Adding to this multicultural atmosphere, Sergio’s is decorated with flags from around the world, and is literally papered in empty six pack boxes. The low ceiling, the walls, the halls, and the bathroom are all covered in these colorful containers. Also, like pilgrims crawling on their knees to Mecca, the patrons of Sergio’s tend to be from elsewhere. They drive in to pay homage at the temple of beers. As we spoke with Sergio, we learned more about the selection than anyone could ever guess from looking around. For example, the beers lining the bar are selections that you can only get there, and the black and gold tap is a draught beer that costs $500 for a small keg. As you take all this in, it should come as no surprise that Sergio’s World Beers is listed among the best bar destinations in the world, on www.BeerAdvocate.com, with an A+ rating on that site.

 

 

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As a writer, I have to say I was absolutely humbled by this man’s love for his work.

While I know that this article reads less like a bar review than a love story, I would suggest to you that these beers are not just for the love of beer. These beers are for passion, in all of its many forms.

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April 11, 2009 Posted by | Out of County | , , , , | 9 Comments