A few years ago, Sterling was a strong, pseudo-local brand here in Louisville, going head to head with the “big three” of Falls City, Fehr’s and Oertel’s in the fight for space in our grandparents’ refrigerators and livers. Sterling was a product of the Evansville Brewing Company, which had ties to Louisville by way of an Oertel’s connection; John F. Oertel would purchase his brewery from the widow of a man named Charles Hartzmetz, whose brother, Charles, moved to Evansville to open Evansville Brewing Company.
But I’m not here to tell you that.
The Sterling Brand, all these years later, is owned locally these days, and they debuted a pilsner beer a couple of years back that now comes in a super-cool, wide-mouth can. It isn’t bad, even if at times the price points have been a little steep.
The other day I was watching football with my pal the Bar Belle at Diorio’s in the Highlands and noticed Sterling was on special for $3 a pint. And then I noticed that it was not the pilsner, but something called 1863 Session IPA. My first thought was, “I didn’t know there was such a thing as a session IPA in 1863.” Later, however, I looked it up and realized that Sterling was established in 1863.
Anyway, I ordered one. It was served very cold, and it was clearly highly carbonated. In fact, had I not watched her pour it, I would have sworn it came from the Miller Lite tap right next door. I tried the nose and found nothing there. Heck, it even smelled like a light beer. And then I tasted it, and what I found was that it is very much in the neigborhood of beers like Founder’s All Day IPA. Very light in body, which caters to the Corporate Light drinkers, but with a nice, sharp hop bite at the very back of the palate.
I can’t sit here and tell you it’s a great beer or even that I’ll order another one. But I do think it will serve a purpose, or at least it can. It wasn’t bad, just nothing terribly special. But for $3, at least you’re helping a local business owner (even if the beer is actually brewed up north). And hey, the green tap handle is pretty cool looking too.