The latest Louisville brewery opened its doors Saturday for a NuLu Fest soft opening. Akasha Brewing Company co-owner Rick Stidham said he anticipates the brewery will begin opening for regular hours this coming weekend.
Akasha, located at 909 E. Market St., had four house beers on draft Saturday along with a few guest taps. The spacious taproom is an inviting space, with plenty of tables and about 18 bar seats at a long, L-shaped bar.
A window looks into the brewery, trimmed in barn wood provided by Kentucky Wisewood and installed by Drunkwood; the body of the bar and other trim is also made of reclaimed barn wood, which is an interesting contrast to the otherwise modern decor.
Akasha opened at 11 a.m., and by 1 p.m. the bar seats were full and several people had gathered around a few of the tables in the bar area. Some even brought food to eat at the bar from nearby Feast BBQ.
The entire wall behind the bar is a chalkboard, where bartenders scribbled the available beers along with a list of available merchandise, from growlers to glasses. The four beers available on Saturday included an American pale ale, a gose, a saison and a sour-meets-hoppy “American Pale on Brett.” All Akasha beers were $5; most were 16-ounce pours, but higher gravity beers come in 12-ounce pours.
The American pale ale is a moderately hoppy, crisp and easy to drink beer with an unexpected hint of tartness; balance-wise, it was right on the money for the style. Meanwhile, the gose is another tart, easy-to-drink beer with a mildly earthy tone to it. The saison is a classic Belgian-style ale with plenty of fruit character. All the beers I tried were crisp, clean finishers.
But the American Pale on Brett was the talk of the taproom. It had a beautiful aroma and an acidity to the lightly sour flavor that had the place buzzing — including Stidham, who said the beer was simply a batch of the American pale that was moved into a tank that had held a bretted beer, which refers to a beer that has been brewed with brettanomyces, a form of yeast that tends to create a sour or “funky” flavor. (These beers are also sometimes called “wild ales.”)
While the beer was a single batch, Stidham said, “We’ll have something like it again.”
He also said likely the next beer to be tapped will be a cherrywood smoked porter, he has a pair of dark saisons currently aging in barrels, and another gose is on the way. Stidham has said he will focus on funky beer styles as a way of differentiating Akasha.
The brewery has 24 taps, so there is plenty of room for more beers. One of the guest taps available on Saturday afternoon was a Moody Tongue Sliced Nectarine IPA, and later in the day the Akasha Facebook page reported several others, including a Dark Horse Fore Smoked Stout.
Stidham said Akasha will likely be closed every Sunday and Monday, with weekday hours probably being something like 4:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the brewery will be open until 11 p.m., and Stidham said he anticipates opening earlier on Saturdays as well (possibly 1 p.m.).
However, don’t expect Akasha to be open again until Friday at the earliest.
“We’re playing it by ear,” Stidham said. “We still have some work to do on the brewery.”
Nevertheless, Akasha makes one more place in town where beer lovers can get a fresh brew. The brewery’s location in NuLu is almost a sure bet to make it a well-traveled location for NuLu diners.