Monday, July 11, 2011

Read my essay about the new, launching on August 1.

My friend John Campbell, whose local career in good beer has included stints at Falls City, NABC, BBC and Schlafly, has teamed up with John Wurth, principal at Hatch Creative LLC, to launch on August 1, 2011.

Currently, there’s a place-setter page featuring the testimonial I happily wrote for them, which should explain everything about what they seek to do. Since postcards were being handed out during LIBA’s Louisville Brewfest, I trust there’s nothing wrong with me repeating the essay here. I intend to reintroduce my former LEO column at this new location, although Mug Shots as a title is retired along with the position.

Can anyone think of something else?


Some time around 1996, Rich O’s Public House was on sufficiently firm ground after four years of ceaseless nurturing that I finally could afford the luxury of a weekly day off.

Surrounded on a daily basis by beer, beer and even more beer – back then, most of it imported, but with what eventually would be termed “craft” beers gradually seeping in from the coasts, Colorado and Michigan – one might be forgiven for seeking work-free recreation in some completely different field, perhaps fishing or bicycling, maybe doing odd jobs around the house.

Not me. What I wanted most of all was to find some other establishment in the metro Louisville area that also served good beer, to go there, relax, and enjoy a busman’s holiday.

Where to go? For a brief time, I made an effort to collate the available information and to provide an Internet listing of the like-minded for viewing at the FOSSILS homebrew club web site. With a degree of grandiosity in retrospect, I called it, “The Good Beer Guide to Louisville,” after the Campaign for Real Ale’s listings of pubs in the UK serving real ale.

The local brewery choices were limited. The forerunning Silo Brewpub was around for a while, and BBC was a keeper. Oldenberg Grille and Hops! were short-lived, as was Pipkin Brewing. Certain other pubs, beer bars and free houses on my weekly rotation survived, and thrive to this very day: Baxter Station, Rocky’s, O’Sheas’s and Irish Rover spring immediately to mind. I patronized them whenever possible then, and still do now.

A bit further along, breweries began making up ground. By 2000, Cumberland Brews had arrived, and shortly thereafter, Browning’s, located in Louisville Slugger Field. BBC split into two, NABC began brewing, and in shortly thereafter in America there was a shot heard around the world: Craft beer, an inspiring, non-violent velvet revolution of sorts, and just the sort of innovative phenomenon that we all can be patriotic about and celebrate on a 4th of July weekend.

But my well-intentioned efforts to maintain a “Good Beer Guide” ended long before the surge. There wasn’t enough time for someone drinking beer professionally and growing his own business to keep up, and while I judged this fact a fine problem to have, indeed, it did little to quench my thirst for information.

In 2011, there are many more of us than before, and now more than ever, we need such a comprehensive source, especially with new metro area breweries on the horizon.

In 1995, when it came to finding good beer in metro Louisville, the number of primary options was restricted to the fingers of one hand. In 2011, ten digits won’t get you past the epicenter of Baxter Avenue.

In 1995, I’d settle for a tattered, mimeographed sheet of paper with penciled-in street directions. In 2011, I need a comprehensive web site, a one-stop shop – a place where updates are timely and information is fresh. Coincidentally, this brings me to, which intends to be precisely the kind of joint we need, and a guide to all things craft beer in Louisville.

Features will include news, videos, podcasts and a bi-weekly column by me, Roger A. Baylor. There’ll be maps and reviews of local brewpubs, beer bars, and retail stores. Handy local brewery information, including directions, hours of operation, specials and seasonal releases, are a staple, along with a local and regional beer event calendar.

Stay tuned for more. Speaking personally, I’m delighted to have another chance to inflict my beer opinions on the Louisville area drinking public. I’d tell you more, except that somewhere, it’s already happy hour.

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