Our country is inundated with billboards and commercials featuring young, attractive people living life to the fullest, assisted by that alleged nectar of life: the pale yellow mass-produced lager beer. Growing up, I was told that beer tastes like urine. To one uneducated on the subject, such as I was, there is no beer beyond Budweiser, Coors, or Miller, and yes: it tastes like your toilet.
This is the beer for the weak, the bland, the uniform. This is the beer for those uninterested in taste; they merely need a bubbly vehicle for their alcohol, delivered in a shiny can. This is the beer for people who don’t know that four simple ingredients - water, yeast, hops, and grains – can be manipulated and shaped into an unbelievably diverse symphony of flavor and texture that can, in fact, move your soul like music.
This is the reason for the craft beer movement. Louisville celebrates liquid art with Craft Beer Week, which begins this Friday, the 16th, with the 2nd annual Craft Beer Cask Festival, taking place at the St. Matthews location Bluegrass Brewing Company (3929 Shelbyville Road).
Cask ale differs from traditional keg beer in that it is unfiltered and unpasteurized and served without additional carbon dioxide or nitrogen pressure. Carbonation is achieved through a secondary fermentation in the cask; as a result, there is a lower level of carbonation, but a smoother, more pure flavor. Also, since the beer is unfiltered, yeast remains in the cask; a little cloudiness in the glass is common (and nothing to be afraid of).
This is an event not to be missed. Attendees get a souvenir glass and all-you-can-drink beer from breweries such as Dogfish Head, Left Hand, Great Lakes, and Schlafly, among others, as well as the more localized Cumberland Brews, New Albanian, Upland, and, of course, Bluegrass Brewing themselves. The festival runs from 6:00 to midnight, with live music starting at 9:00. Tickets are $30 and can be obtained at any of the three BBC locations. Come out, grab a pint or two (or three [or four]) and taste the superior alternative to cheap, bland dishwater.