Louisville’s Forecastle Festival has quickly become one of the must-see music festivals of the summer. Since its humble beginnings in 2002, it’s done nothing but grow, drawing roughly 75,000 fans to Louisville’s Waterfront Park and bringing in a top-notch 2016 lineup including Death Cab for Cutie, The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, and more. Simply put, Forecastle’s put Louisville on the summer festival map.
What’s also grown, though, is Louisville’s craft beer scene. In a state known for its bourbon, Louisville breweries continue to pop up and thrive with no sign of slowing down. Simply put, there’s a lot to check out in this mid-sized town, and a lot more at Forecastle. If you’re out and about and looking to take a break with a good local brew, consider some of my Louisville favorites:
Against the Grain
In addition to being a stone’s throw from Forecastle, Against the Grain hosts the official kick-off party on July 14th. Attached to Louisville Slugger Field, it’s easily one of Louisville’s most eclectic breweries. With a great line-up of beers and an impressive (and vegetarian-friendly) food menu, they’re a perfect spot to grab drink beforehand. Check out the local art while you’re there, and maybe even ask about the local soccer team, whose supporters call AtG home.
What to Drink: Tropical Drank (Stout)
I get it. A stout might seem like an odd recommendation for a music festival. Tropical Drank isn’t your everyday stout, though. Inspired by darker beers from tropical spots such as Sri Lanka and Singapore, its fruity, chocolate flavor is perfect.
Akasha Brewing Company
Akasha is a little newer to the Louisville brewery scene, but their ever-growing line of beers has quickly put them on the map. While not as close to Forecastle as AtG, they definitely aren’t far. A mile-long walk will put you right in NuLu, where, in addition to Akasha, you’ll find some of Louisville best restaurants and shops. Their spacious taproom is a great place to kick back and relax for a while, and they have a library of board games to play if you’re looking for take a break from the festival scene.
What to Drink: Gose
If you couldn’t tell from my July’s Books + Brews, I’m a little bit of a sucker for goses. Akasha’s offered a few different ones since they opened, and, while I can’t tell you which one they’ll have on this weekend, they’ve all hallmarked what I love most about the style. They’re all salty and tart, and they’re light enough to be the perfect sit-down beer if you’re looking to relax for a bit.
Louisville purists will tell you this isn’t a Louisville brewery. And, technically, they’re right. Flat12 is nestled along the other side of the waterfront, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, but that shouldn’t stop you from going. They have a gorgeous taproom, not to mention a comfortable patio that overlooks the Ohio River, and they’re easily accessible via the Big Four Bridge (which, conveniently, is part of Louisville’s Waterfront Park). Jeff’s a little quieter than Louisville, too, which might be a welcome break as the weekend continues.
What to Drink: Cucumber Kölsch
I’ll be honest with you. If cucumbers aren’t your thing, this might not be the beer for you. Its powerful cucumber smell accompanies earthy and fruity flavors, and it’s light, fresh, and ample-bodied — perfect if you’ve been making your way around Forecastle all day.
Have a favorite Louisville brewery not on this list? Let me know in the comments!