Derby City BrewFest set for May 6, adds bourbon barrel beer competition

Derby City BrewFest banner

Going into its second year, Derby City BrewFest will graduate to the next level — this year, in addition to beer tastings and live music, the Oaks Day festival also will hold a bourbon barrel beer competition.

This competition, which will be judged by certified BJCP judges, will include 20 area brewers who have created a beer and then aged it in Four Roses bourbon barrels. (Four Roses is the sponsor of the contest and this year’s BrewFest.) Beers will be judged prior to the festival, but attendees will be able to sample the beers and vote in a People’s Choice category.

“The bourbon barrel competition seemed to be the next logical step,” Pat Hagan, Derby City Brewfest founder and Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) owner, says of the May 6 event. “Few things are more representative of Kentucky than bourbon, and to do it on a weekend when the world is focused on Louisville thanks to horse racing makes it even more logical. We even have Four Roses Bourbon as a sponsor.”

“We are honored to play a role in BrewFest again this year, and we’re really excited to taste the Four Roses Bourbon-inspired beers the brewers create,” said Brent Elliott, Four Roses master distiller, in a press release.

The festival, which takes place on the KFC Yum! Center Plaza, also will pay homage to Kentucky Common, a beer style that was invented in Louisville in the 1800s and was the brew of choice for 80 percent of Louisvillians for decades. Several breweries will have their versions on hand for tasting.

In addition, the event will feature more than 100 beers from 28 local and regional craft brewers, including all Kentucky Guild of Brewers (KGB) members. Wine samples will be available to attendees from Little Kentucky River, and Four Roses will provide bourbon sampling. Once again there will be live local music all evening, including Quiet Hollers, Jericho Woods, Carly Moffa, the Uncommon Houseflies, Hot Brown Smackdown and Whiskey Bent Valley Boys.

Another addition to Derby City BrewFest this year will be locally made trophies for bourbon barrel contest winners by local artist Wayne Ferguson, whose work ranges from Gallopalooza to brewery tap handles. Ferguson also designed and sculpted the Worthog mascot for BBC, which is on display at the brewery’s St. Matthews location.

Hagan points out that Derby City BrewFest is one of the more affordable beer festivals in the region, with ticket prices starting at $15 for general admission. Tiered pricing goes as high as $75 for VIP tickets, with the varying levels including different perks — from a souvenir glass to varying numbers of food and drink tickets. For example, the online order special for $20 includes admission as well as $20 in food and drink tickets along with a tasting glass and souvenir lanyard.

Hagan calls it a “party for the people.”

“Not only is Brewfest a great way for people to sample some of the region’s finest craft beers,” Hagan says, “it’s an Oaks night party for the people, where they can relax after a long day of racing, drink some really good beer, listen to great music, and enjoy a laid-back, casual evening.”

For those wanting the full-bodied experience, the VIP package will include access to two VIP areas, 50 drink tickets, indoor and outdoor seating, plus indoor restrooms, with early entry at 4 p.m. (general hours at the festival are 5-11 p.m.). Food in the VIP area will be provided by World of Beer, and there also will be tastings of limited-edition and pre-release beers, wine and spirits.

There is a “Thurby” kick-off party on Thursday, May 5, at BBC Bourbon Barrel Loft, 300 W. Main St., featuring an evening of food, drinks and live music. The party will feature hard-to-find beer, Four Roses bourbon and Little Kentucky River wines, plus a door-prize drawing.

This post was originally published by Insider Louisville.

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Spring brings sunshine, flowers, baseball — and beer festivals

Derby City BrewFest posterAh, spring, when the death of bleak winter doldrums gives birth to happiness anew: sunshine, flowers, baseball.

Beer festivals.

No, seriously, Louisville has become quite the hot spot for local beer festivals, and this spring is looking like a good one, with some returning favorites bearing happy new wrinkles and a new entry making its debut into the lexicon to coincide with Derby.

It’s still a bit early, but we figure it’s never too early to welcome spring’s sudsy bounty. Get your calendars (and your livers) ready.

Craft Beer Extravaganza for Thunder Over Louisville

Saturday, April 18

2-10 p.m.

Don’t just have a festival — have an extravaganza. This annual event returns with its prime Jeffersonville view of Thunder Over Louisville (at Rocky’s Sub Pub and Buckhead Mountain Grill), plenty of space and lots of great beer.

Of course, the Craft Beer Extravaganza also features food, restrooms that aren’t phone-booth-shaped and made of hard plastic, a private viewing area and live music from Juicebox Heroes.

The cash bar will feature dozens upon dozens of craft beer including Stone IPA, BBC’s Louisville Lager, Alltech Kentucky Bourbon Ale, Flat 12 Walkabout IPA, Founder’s All Day IPA and lots more. And don’t forget that this event is just a few blocks away from Flat 12 Bierwerks’ new Jeffersonville taproom, not to mention Red Yeti Brewing on Spring Street.

Tickets start at $50 for general admission. Beer on.

Derby City BrewFest

Friday, May 1

5 p.m.-midnight

New this year is the Derby City BrewFest, which will focus on local and regional beers, particularly celebrating a beer style that was invented in Louisville known today as Kentucky Common. This is a beer that was created in the 1800s and was the brew of choice for 80 percent of Louisvillians for decades.

Twelve breweries will brew their versions of this unique beer style for the festival, and they’ll set up on the concourse at the Yum! Center on Derby Eve. Food and merch will be available, and visitors will be able to get a history lesson in the form of a “brewseum” — featuring Louisville brewing artifacts — and more.

In addition to the Kentucky Common, breweries from Against the Grain to New Albanian to West Sixth will have their brews available. There also will be local music featuring the Villebillies, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Grateful Derby, Jericho Woods and the Uncommon Houseflies. Admission tickets are $10 and drink tickets will be $2 each.

Highlands Beer FestivalHighlands Beer Festival

Saturday, May 16

3-7 p.m.

This event has been successful to the point that its digs in Mid-City Mall were getting a bit confined. Luckily, the little mall smack dab in the middle of the Highlands also has plenty of parking, and that’s exactly the new destination for the Highlands Beer Festival: the side lot just across from the Back Door.

The festival, hosted by ValuMarket, again will feature 200-plus beers from breweries all across the region and beyond (seriously, this fest has an impressive list every year). Admission is $5, two-ounce pours are $1 each, and proceeds will go directly to the Bluegrass Center for Autism, a worthy cause to be sure. The first 500 admissions get an official Highlands Festival 2015 pint glass.

This is the same night as the Bardstown Bound Beer Tour (no, this is not a coincidence), which starts at noon at ValuMarket, hits Dragon King’s Daughter and O’Shea’s Irish Pub, crosses the Ohio River to touch down at Flat 12 and Buckhead’s Mountain Grill, returns to Gordon Biersch and then lands back at the beer festival in time for riders to enjoy the last couple hours. Tickets for the tour are $25 in advance or $35 day of.

Oh, and following the festival, there’s an after party at the Back Door. This could get ugly.

Keg Liquors Fest of Ale

Saturday, May 30

It’s a special edition of Keg Liquors’ Fest of Ale this year: the 10th anniversary. That’s right, for 10 years now, Todd Antz and friends have been serving up the best beer and wine while also raising money for the WHAS Crusade for Children.

Each year, this fest gets just a little better, and Antz says to expect a couple extra features this time around as well. He’s still planning, but he says the Sour Shack — an area featuring sour and funky beers exclusively — will be back. And visitors will also get to enjoy a high-gravity area with beers packing 10 percent ABV and higher, in honor of the 10th year.

Food will be available, as always, and the laid-back setting never changes. Ticket prices and details will come soon, Antz says, so hit the link above to follow the updates on Facebook.