For several years, Louisville Craft Beer Week celebrated beer with various events around the city, but as time went by, it veered away from promoting local breweries, focusing more on beer-centered events at area restaurants and bars with little attention to local beer.
Last year, local breweries essentially weren’t involved.
But this year, thanks to the efforts of breweries in Louisville and craft beer enthusiast David Satterly, we will have a Louisville Beer Week that will be focused on beer brewed in the city.
Satterly, creator of the Kentucky Beer Network, said the event has dropped the word “craft” to differentiate it from its predecessor, with which the new week of celebrating local beer has no real connection. And along with a name change comes the new local focus.
In other words, the emphasis will be on “Louisville beer” as opposed to just “beer” going forward.
Expect brewery collaborations, tap takeovers, trivia events and more, happening each night starting Friday, Oct. 26, and wrapping up on Saturday, Nov. 3.
With no funding and little help other than the participation of the breweries, Satterly, 25, moves forward using baby steps, initially just to re-establish the nine-day celebration as something different from it what it had evolved into.
Specifically, he envisions Louisville Beer Week slowly growing into something closer to Lexington Beer Week, which Satterly is using as inspiration.
“They do a fantastic job with it,” he said. “That was a big driving force. I thought, ‘Why in the hell can’t we do something like that even remotely close?’ ”
The breweries wanted Louisville Beer Week to happen, and Scott Shreffler of Mile Wide Beer Co. is the one who approached Satterly to gauge his interest in taking on the project.
“He’s young, he’s got passion, he’s got drive,” Shreffler said of Satterly. “He knows how to execute.”
Satterly has guided brewery bus tours as part of his Kentucky Beer Network, which is part of what gave Shreffler confidence. The fact Satterly is well-known in the Louisville brewing community was a factor as well.
“It’s good to work with people you like,” Shreffler added.
Satterly said one objective is getting the breweries more in touch with one another. Because brewery owners and brewers work so hard at their business, he said, it can be difficult for them to visit and hang out at other breweries — a practice that Satterly believes is more common in Lexington, which helps unite the scene.
He also wants Louisville Beer Week to recognize neighborhood breweries like Old Louisville Brewery, Apocalypse Brew Works and Holsopple Brewing equally with the larger breweries and bring them together as equal parts of the whole.
To help bring the breweries together, they were paired randomly to collaborate on beers that will be released at various events during Louisville Beer Week.
Against the Grain will brew with Goodwood Brewing, Apocalypse Brew Works with Gordon-Biersch, and Old Louisville will work with Monnik on a special beer, among other team-ups.
The first to be announced was Seether, a German-style lager gose made with Himalayan sea salt, from Gravely Brewing Co. and Cumberland Brews.
One notable event will be on Monday, Oct. 29, at Holsopple Brewing in Lyndon. That one is Homebrewing for Dummies Day, which will teach aspiring brewers how to turn provided wort into finished beer with a brewing kit. In addition, Monnik will host a different event every day during the nine-day celebration, from tap takeovers to a Kentucky Proud release.
The week will begin with a pub crawl in Jeffersontown on Friday, Oct. 26, and close with an event for brewers at Tyler Park. Along the way, activities will include a release of special Kentucky Proud beers, a silent disco at Monnik and trivia at Falls City and more.
“This is going to be about celebrating our breweries and our scene,” Satterly said, “which keeps growing and moving forward. We’ll see what response we get and grow from there.”
Asked what he would like Louisville Beer Week to be five years from now, Shreffler said, “I hope it’s around in five years, because that means the Louisville craft beer drinking community has embraced it.”