The Bluegrass Brewing Company (bbcbrew.com) currently has three locations in Louisville. The first one, BBC East in St. Mathews, opened its doors in 1993. Followed by the 4th Street location, which served its first beer in 2006, and the most recent addition, the BBC at 3rd & Main, cutting the ribbon in 2010.
The Bluegrass Brewing Company makes very solid brews and it was actually their Summer Wheat, at this location no less, that got me started on this craft beer journey, so this particular spot holds a very special place in my heart. The BBC also gives us Kentuckians a little something to be proud of when it comes to craft brewers and craft brewing, therefore I am always willing to support what they have to offer.
I have had the opportunity to visit the 4th Street location (660 South 4th Street) numerous times and I have enjoyed every visit.
This particular facility is very nice and clean. They have both indoor and outdoor seating with retractable glass garage doors separating the two seating areas. The bar is accessible from either vantage point, which creates an enjoyable atmosphere. They, like most brewpubs, have a chalkboard display that has a list of the brews on tap for the evening. They offer samplers so as to get a taste of everything and this pub also serves a wide variety of spirits and domestic beer in the bottle if you happen to be visiting with a friend who is not a craft beer drinker. They have a small selection of merchandise and will also let you purchase 6 packs and “bombers” of some of BBC’s most popular brews.
I happened to be there on a Thursday night (opening night of the 2011 NFL football season) and the brews they had on tap were:
– Nut Brown
– Dark Star Porter
– American Pale Ale
– Raspberry Meade
– Summer Wheat
– Bourbon Barrel Smoked Stout
The pub also has the option for growler fills of anything they have on tap.
I took my seat near the bar and decided to order a bit of food and sip on my first beer of the night. They have a wide selection of sustenance, but I decided to keep things relatively simple by ordering the beer battered fish sandwich on wheat bread along with BBC’s original recipe tarter sauce. I chose to keep my sides to a minimum by choosing only a pickle and hand cut, homemade, BBQ potato chips. The price was adequate and the portion was more than satisfactory. The service was prompt and most importantly, the food was excellent. But, I didn’t come here to focus on the food. I wanted the beer!!!!
I decided on the Altbier with dinner. It’s a classic German Amber Ale with an ABV of 4.19%.
This brew had a very nice amber color that had a light tan head with not much size, retention or lacing. The aroma and taste had a decent waft of caramel malts and toasty goodness. It paired well with my meal due to the fact of the low ABV, medium mouthfeel and ease of drinkability.
After I finished my meal and sucked the last drops of the Altbier I decided to move on to another brew. But what? After pondering for a few moments, I decided on the APA.
This brew had an ABV of 5.79% and 55.2 IBU’s. It’s brewed with both American and English hops.
It had a nice, light amber/dark orange color with some burnt orange highlights showing through. Once again, the slightly off white head was minimal in size, low in retention and sub-par with the lacing. The aroma had both a floral and “earthy” hop tone. Some citrus (peach) and grassiness with a touch of caramel and butter. Not bad at all. The taste was more of the same with substantially more caramel malt and “earthy” goodness. Plenty of bite and a nice tinge of bitterness. The mouthfeel was medium, quite dry and left a little flavor behind for me to enjoy.
My third and final beer of the night was the Bourbon Barrel Smoked Stout. An 8.5% brew that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on.
This brew was black in color with some noticeable ruby highlights swirling at the bottom. Like all of the beers I received this night, the tan head was meek looking with little retention time and obscure lacing. The brew had an unmistakable aroma of smoke intermingled with the Kentucky Bourbon. Most definitely some dark fruits and roasted malts were detected also. The taste profile was very similar only that I thought the smoke stood out a touch more. I liked it. The mouthfeel was medium and dry with a quick burn followed by a soothing warmth. The flavor did not completely coat the mouth like I thought it might, but that was ok as the beer was still very tasty.
As always, I enjoyed my visit to the BBC 4th Street location. It’s, for sure, a place I will continue to frequent when I happen to make the trek to Louisville. I would recommend that if you are in the area to swing by one of the three locations and enjoy the atmosphere. Sure, it’s still a relatively young brewery/brewpub, but the beer is decent, the food is good and it just makes for an all in all good time. I hope they continue to grow and expand. I know their distribution area is not that grand, but maybe over time it will become more readily available. I also like the fact that not only do they keep the old standards on tap year round, but they also have a specialty brew that changes with the seasons…… just like the “big boys”!!!!!!
Thanks for reading everyone. Until next time…..