I already love festivals, but there's an extra special place in my heart for any festival that treats local favorites like Bluegrass Brewing Company, Cumberland Brews & The New Albanian with the same respect as Guinness and Shiner. This Little Festival That Could has been growing noticeably every year. You can now find more than 40 breweries slinging over 150 kinds of beer all collected in one place. If you're the kind of person who has earned a Polaroid on the wall after trying every single beer served at your bar of choice you should go ahead and take Monday off because you'll still be hung over. Everyone else can pace themselves.
This year they've added five wineries to the mix. Believe me, I'll be checking out their wares on Saturday. You may recall I've been a bit unimpressed with regional wines (Chambrocin being the great exception. Gosh - a grape that actually grows well in our soil makes a tasty wine? Shocking!) I want - nay, NEED - someone to impress me. I want to shop local, but only if locals can produce a $10-15 product that's just as tasty as the big boy wineries.
This isn't a problem with local beer. Friends who visit me from out of town are regularly impressed with what they've tried from The Great Trifecta of BBC, Cumberland, and New Albanian. I'm curious to see which of them will come out on top at this year's festival.
The Fest of Ale takes place at St. Anthony's Catholic Church. Because the lay brothers are merciful men, they'll be serving burgers, brats and the like in order to help soak up some of the frothy goodness in people's stomachs. The point of this is to enjoy a laid back afternoon of beery delights, so everyone who attends is invited to bring your own lawnchair and camp out for the afternoon. There'll be live music and a silent auction in case you need a distraction between sampling the beers.
Just in case your designated driver is seduced by a couple samples, let me take this opportunity to remind you about City Scoot. They'll drive you home in your own car for a smidge more than the cost of a cab. Yes, really. Trust me, I've seen their scooters fit onto the back of a Mini Cooper.
Look for me on Saturday. I'm the green haired writer for Louisville.com. Stagger up after your fifth round and let me know which beer you think is best. I'll share the results of my unscientific poll after the festival.
Considering how much you get to sample, tickets are a very reasonable $30 at the door.