Saturday, April 23, 2005

BBC Taproom's reopening to coincide with Thunder Over Louisville.

Louisville’s annual celebration of phantom male potency, otherwise known as Thunder Over Louisville, will bring a half-million people to the banks of the Ohio today in the orgiastic expectation of a chauvinistic middle finger of an air show and a garish fireworks extravaganza that will allow them to forget – if only for a brief span of time – that there’s a NASCAR race in Phoenix.

For beer aficionados in the Louisville metropolitan area, Saturday, April 23, is important for reasons that go far beyond bread and circuses for the benumbed locals, because the BBC Taproom (and Louisville Breweriana Museum) reopens today.

The Taproom had been closed during the past winter as BBC Brewing Company underwent a management metamorphosis and welcomed new investors. There has been an obvious revitalization of the whole enterprise, with bottles reappearing on store shelves and new flooring being installed at the Taproom itself.

Outsiders confused by the various incarnations of BBC should take comfort in knowing that locals find it just as difficult to understand. Here’s the way it looks today.

Bluegrass Brewing Company
The original BBC brewpub (1993) is located on Shelbyville Road in the St. Matthews neighborhood on Louisville’s east side. The brewer is Jerry Gnagy, and the beer lineup includes classic BBC styles (American Pale Ale, Dark Star Porter, et al) as formulated by original brewmaster David Pierce, as well as Jerry’s own rotating seasonals and even a few holdovers from Tim Rastetter, who served as a consultant for a brief period circa 2002-2003. Food is served seven days a week, televised sports and live music are constants, and there is an attractive outdoor seating area.

BBC Brewing Company
Located on the downtown Louisville site of the now defunct (circa 2002) Pipkin Brewing Company, BBC Brewing is a production brewery wholly separate from the original brewpub from which it was spawned. This split came about as a result of what can only be called a civil war between brewpub and brewery investors, circa 2002. Eventually a settlement was reached, and now BBC Brewing kegs and bottles for off-premise sales, with original brewmaster David Pierce producing versions of his classic styles similar to, but distinct from and in the case of the Curmudgeon’s favored APA superior to, those still brewed in St. Matthews. No food service is offered at the Taproom, but visitors are invited to bring their own snacks and meals or consult a handy guide to local eateries that will deliver to the Taproom.

BBC 4th Street
The newest BBC outpost (2005) is a partnership between Bluegrass Brewing Company (St. Matthews) and Third Avenue Café, with the latter in control of the kitchen. Currently there is no brewing on site, with the beer coming from Jerry’s brewhouse in St. Matthews, but with brewster Eileen Martin (late of Browning’s) on board as a manager, this could change in the future.

Congratulations to David and Chris (his assistant) on the Taproom’s reopening, and we'll be bringing the bicycle over soon.

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