Story and photos by Remy Sisk
It’s becoming a clearer and clearer fact that Louisville has a rapidly developing beer scene. From those that have been around for a few years and are only more robustly expanding, like Against the Grain, to those that are newer on the scene and making a hoppy smash, like Great Flood, there is an eclectic variety springing up all over the city. Mint Julep Tours – a local company that specializes in local and regional tourism – has just recently established a tour that’s open to the public called Brew in the Lou, an experience designed to illustrate the rich beer vitality of the Derby City.
Brew in the Lou takes place Thursday, Friday and Sunday afternoons from 2 to 6 p.m. and sees guests visit three different local breweries where they’ll get tours of the facility and enjoy discussions with the brewers as well as flights and tastings. Though this tour has just recently been made available to the public, Mint Julep Tours is no stranger to planning beer excursions.
“We’ve been doing beer tours for several years for our custom groups where we create the day’s itinerary from scratch and do all the planning and reservations for them, but we really wanted to be able to showcase those types of experiences to the general public,” describes Fun Enthusiast Chasta Feller. “With all of the craft breweries that are coming up in Louisville and across the state, we really wanted to be a part of the Brewgrass Trail and really grow with the breweries. We’ve got some exclusive stuff set up tour-wise that we’ve been doing with the breweries, but being able to open that up to the public – it’s so great to have the opportunity to do those behind-the-scenes experiences.”
On a recent afternoon, I enjoyed the Sunday edition of Brew in the Lou featuring Monnik Beer Co., Against the Grain and Great Flood Brewing Company (the Thursday and Friday tours hit Goodwood Brewing Company, Mile Wide Beer Co. and Apocalypse Brew Works). The first stop was the relatively new Germantown brewery and restaurant Monnik. We started with a brief tasting featuring four different beers before venturing back into the brewery itself.
Co-owner Brian Holton showed me around the space – a full beer brewery tucked into a neighborhood in Germantown – and spoke knowledgeably on the scientific beer production process as well as Monnik’s own take on the industry. The space itself is gorgeous and decorated with an array of building-original as well as reclaimed materials.
The next stop was Against the Grain, whose massive new facility is located in Portland. Marketing and Media Maven Katie Holck led us through the brewery and was able to discuss one of Against the Grain’s more distinct qualities: the packing artwork, which is primarily created by local artist Robbie Davis. As the brewery does all of its own canning, empty cans waiting to be filled are stacked stories-tall, illuminating the space with pops of bright colors. On the day I visited, there was actual canning happening, which was a rare sight to see and additionally impressive to really be shown that this internationally acclaimed brand is entirely operating out of Louisville.
Our final stop of the day was Great Flood, which is headquartered in Shelby Park. Co-owner Matt Fuller regaled us with the inspiring story of how he, along with two friends from college, started out homebrewing beer but kept growing and growing to be where they are now. Their facility is just as well-equipped as any and also is able to do its own canning. Big plans are in the works for the up-and-comers, but Fuller was quick to re-emphasize how grateful they are for the growth they’ve already seen.
The day ended as we returned to the Mint Julep Tours headquarters on Mellwood Avenue. As we arrived back, it became increasingly clear that this tour and others – for a less booze-fueled experience, they have also added a Louisville sightseeing tour – are perfect not only for visitors but for locals themselves. The Brew in the Lou tour, along with Mint Julep’s other offerings, fully proves that Louisville is a place that is prime for constant exploration. VT
Mint Julep Tours