Beers For All Occasions

An Experiment in Social Drinking

BBC St. Matthews

Local microbreweries are a point of fairly intense debate between the beerologists- you see, I’m a BBC girl, whereas my partner swears by Cumberland. To clarify, I don’t dislike Cumberland and she doesn’t dislike BBC, but when it comes down to allegiance, we’re divided. After much discussion, we’ve determined that it’s purely an issue of what you drink. I like my beer dark and she likes it light. Though I occasionally befriend an IPA, more often than not if I can see my hand on the other side of the glass, I want to ask the beer, “Will thou leave me so unsatisfied?”
I’m sure you know there isn’t one Bluegrass Brewing Company in this town, but rather three. There’s one in St. Matthews just before Shelbyville Rd splits into Lexington Rd and Frankfort Ave, one at 4th and Broadway, and one on Main St that only serves beer. You may not realize there’s also one in the Cincinnati Airport (which is really in KY) and one in the Indianapolis Airport (which is really in IN). Why Standiford Field doesn’t have one is a mystery. Today, we’ll be discussing the big mamma jamma- St. Matthews.
As a general rule, I’m not a fan of St. Matthews. I know that’s bold to just say it and I’m sorry, but it’s not my scene. BBC, however, has a different feel that puts me a little more at ease- not to say it’s totally devoid of east-enders, but they tend to have enough of a hippie flair that they’d fit in at the hideaway. Granted, there are more Dave Matthews hippies than Grateful Dead hippies this far east, but I can handle that.
Though the parking lot is certifiably ridiculous in that you can’t really circle if there’s not a spot and you can get in if you’re heading toward Frankfort Ave, but not if you’re heading away from it, there is parking a-plenty and it’s safe. There are also quite a few bars close if you feel like a crawl- Dutch’s, Brendan’s, Diamonds, Saints, and Gerstle’s are all just a stumble away.
Once you get inside, take note of the flippin’ gorgeous tin ceilings. BBC boasts not only two bars, but also a fantastic smoking patio and a stage for live music, which happens often. The place is totally clean and the staff is friendly, albeit super-busy most of the time. There’s also a dart board and an ATM in house (fear not- they take cards anyway).
The food is fantastic as this place is as much a restaurant as it’s a bar- try the fish and chips- but don’t let that take the spotlight away from the beer. If you haven’t put it together yet, BBC beer is brewed in house, though it must be noted that the ones you pick up in 6-packs at ValuMart are brewed at the Main Street location, not St. Matthews. Of course, a true Louisvillian will sing the praises of anything made in Louisville, be it Derby Pie or Disco Balls, but this praise is certifiable. BBC has won 5 Bronze medals and 3 Gold at the Great American Beer Festival with the Baltic Porter being the most recent Gold winner (also note that the Oktoberfest has won the most across the board). They also have award-winning root-beer.
In the realm of specials, I must first tell you about the Wort Hog Club. Those mugs hanging on the wall- they belong to Wort Hogs. You pay a $40 membership fee ($15 per year after the first) and get a special mug that holds 5 oz. more than non-Wort Hogs get for the same price. Then, on the 3rd Sunday of the month, you get to go to a special tasting.
If you’re not a Wort Hog, there are still tons of deals at BBC. There’s a Happy Hour Monday-Friday 3-7 and also during all U of L, UK, and NFL Games (there are 16 TVs here with every sports channel you can dream of). During Happy Hour wings are 35 cents and beer is $2.75 (Which is also the deal all day Tuesday). Thursdays mean a hand-pump cask (which usually features something hoppy) and samplers are $7.50.
If you want to take some home (and you do), you can get a growler for $11.50 ($8 to refill). Half kegs are $99, 1/2 kegs are $55, and 1/4 kegs are $35 (with a $100 deposit).
A Louisville classic, BBC has provided Louisville with delicious beer for 15 years (I’m partial to Dark Star). If you’re like me and you like your beer dark like coffee, get the to the microbrewery- these drinks are for you!

June 12, 2009 Posted by | St. Matthews, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cahoot’s

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Once upon a time, before Headliner’s Music Hall, Louisville had a legendary music venue. Tooligan’s  brought in great bands in its time, but has been known for the past 13 years by another name, almost as legendary in certain circles, Cahoot’s. Located at 1047 Bardstown Rd., Cahoot’s is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Irish Triange, Pheonix Hill, and all the activity North of Grinstead too. You can visit their MySpace here, but be warned it is not checked often. Now Cahoot’s is a neighborhood bar, frequented by a circle of regulars and the overflow of Bardstown Rd. insanity. Be prepared for a crowd on the weekends, and at least one bar fight, but a pretty quiet atmosphere through the week.

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The beautiful thing about Cahoot’s is that its like the Mag Bar of the Highlands. Its dirty, smells like vomit and shame, and all the same rules apply. The jukebox is good, there are 3 pool tables, Pac Man, Foosball, and one our all-time favorites, a cigarette machine.  The main difference here being, Cahoot’s serves food. And not just bar food, real food. And they serve it until 3 AM to keep your drunk ass from driving anywhere. When we talked to the bar staff, they assured us that the live music of the previous era is making a comeback, so make sure you check their MySpace for upcoming events.

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Cahoot’s has nightly drink specials, which are the same from week to week. You can get a Bud or a PBR for $1.50, and they have drink specials every night. On tap, Cahoot’s has all the standards, plus one BBC beer, and the Jager is kept in the deep freeze (we thought it was special that they even had a deep freeze). Its worth mentioning that Cahoot’s has two bars, one in the front and one in the back, which makes getting a drink during the busy times that much easier. The outdoor seating is limited, but covered and there are lots of group booths inside so that no one gets left out. We called them drinking forts, because the backs of the benchs are so high.

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Although the crew at Cahoot’s mainly kept to themselves, these beers are for them, and for their chest pieces, long may they wave.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | The Highlands | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stevie Ray’s Blues Bar

Located between at 230 E. Main Street is Stevie Ray’s, bringing live music to Louisville six days a week since 1994, and they can be found online at www.stevieraysbluesbar.com , where you can view daily drink specials and concert calenders. Parking is primarily on the street, but ample, and the neighborhood is convenient to both Downtown and the Highlands/Eurotown vicinity. 

Billed as the only venue in Louisville bringing you local blues bands, Stevie Ray’s is a music haven. They were voted the 2007 LEO Reader’s Choice for Best Blues Bar, so you know the decor is musically themed, with exposed brick, old posters, guitars and a bonafide dance floor. They have a great singer/songwriter open mic night on Mondays, hosted by Louisville’s own Tenia Sanders, complete with an in-house sound guy. The night we were visiting there was a Felktastic (hearts, stars, and rainbows Michael!) blues band playing, featuring an ensemble cast of local blues greats. Music starts at 7:30 PM on the weekends, however it must be noted that there is often a cover to hear the bands, and that they don’t take reservations or presell tickets.

Originally a workshop, Stevie Ray’s is named for the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan, a bit of music trivia that the general manager called a, “tip of the hat.” They have a beautiful, hand-carved wooden bar that is large enough to successfully serve the masses, and they’ve managed to maintain an industrial vibe, without losing any sophistication, all of which reminds us pleasantly of the Monkeywrench. There are lots of tables, in addition to seating at the bar, most of which are oriented toward the stage for your musical enjoyment.  They don’t have a draught line in house, so all their beers are bottled, and primarily they only serve the staples, although they do keep one BBC brew on hand (the Nut Brown). They also carry some wine, and it goes without saying, plenty of liquor. The vibe is really mellow, with dancing on the weekends and none of the fighting we see at some of the downtown joints. For our fellow smokers, we invite you to experience the Voodoo Garden, a walled courtyard complete with seating and wall murals, where you are invited to bring your drink with you.

The management at Stevie Ray’s would like us to extend to our readers an invitation to come out, dance, drink and listen to some really great, regionally-based music. Dedicated to re-urbanization, they’re trying to bring a younger crowd both into the bar and into the neighborhood, but they need you to come and have a drink. 

While never ones to rain on a parade, we have to say that these beers are for the blues, regardless of where they find you, and for the legend of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Downtown | , , , , , , | Leave a comment