Kentucky is usually known for bourbon, not beer. According to the Brewers Association, as of 2014, Kentucky only had 18 breweries and ranks 41st for breweries in the US. Despite a slow start, Kentucky is set to have a banner craft beer year in 2015, with more breweries in the startup and planning stages set to come online this year in cities like Lexington and Louisville.
This list ranks the top 10 craft breweries in Kentucky in order of the social media presence. From one of the oldest, pre-prohibition breweries in Kentucky to some of the newest breweries to hit the scene, these craft breweries are ushering in the new generation of craft beer in Kentucky.
West Sixth Brewing is a production brewery and taproom in Lexington, KY with a desire to create the best beer possible and be an integral part in building a great beer culture for their town. West Sixth’s taproom and beer garden provide a rotating variety of local beers and their production brewery churns out four flagship beers – an IPA, Amber Ale, Lemongrass American Wheat and the Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter – plus seasonal selections like this fall’s DankeChain Oktoberfest.
Giving back to the community of Lexington is also a big part of what makes West Sixth Brewing unique. The brewery has committed to giving back 6% of their net profits to charities each year and they host monthly “Sixth for a Cause” events at the brewery that partner with a different non-profit each month. The West Sixth Community also supports a variety of clubs and activities, including the West Sixth Running Club, West Sixth Yoga and the West Sixth Pedals and Pints Bike Club.
Country Boy Brewing opened in Lexington, KY in 2012. The brewery uses fresh, local ingredients like fruits, vegetables and hops to create flavors like the cult favorite Jalapeno Smoked Porter. You can also sample some other favorites, like the Cougar Bait American Blonde Ale or the Shotgun Wedding Dark Brown Ale, at their taproom just down the street from the University of Kentucky’s world-famous Rupp Arena. There, you can find 12 dedicated Country Boy taps and 12 alternate taps for carefully-selected guest beers from around the country.
Against the Grain Brewery is located inside Louisville Slugger Field in the heart of downtown Louisville. The brewery is known for the unique flavor profiles, including smoke beers made from smoked malt from Scotland to Germany. You can find Against the Grain beers across the country and as far away as Denmark! Visit their brewpub to sample smokehouse classics with a unique twist and sample some of their award winning beers including 14 brews currently on tap. We’re fans of the Hop ‘N Fresh Out the Kitchen, Citra Ass Down and the Kentucky Ryed Chiquen.
Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. produce the Kentucky Ale family of beers, as well as bourbons and ryes, in Lexington, KY. The brewery is a premier barrel-aging brewery, thanks to its location in the heart of bourbon country. They’re known for their Kentucky Ale, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and Kentucky IPA. If you’re in the Lexington area, you can experience a behind-the-scenes look at their beer and spirits production at the only location on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in which you will get to sample beer as well as bourbon!
Falls City Beer has a long and storied history in Louisville. The brewery got its start back in 1905, and went through various closings, reopenings and changes in ownership dating back to prohibition. The brewery reopened a few years ago with an aim to bring back the pride and prestige the brand enjoyed 50-70 years ago and to be part of the good times of a new generation of beer drinkers. Falls City focuses their efforts on two hoppy brews: Falls City Pale Ale and Falls City Hipster Repellant IPA.
Blue Stallion is a craft brewery focused on authentic German lagers and British ales located in Lexington. The founders of Blue Stallion saw that beer fans in the US don’t have a lot of access to the traditional beer styles of Europe and decided to focus their efforts on those styles using traditional brewing techniques and ingredients. Visit their taproom to sample some of their beers including the Munich Dunkel, German Pilsner and Hefeweizen. You can currently find Blue Stallion beer across the state of Kentucky.
Braxton Brewing is a brewery and taproom in Covington, KY designed and built to remind them of where they came from – the Midwestern Garage. Stop into the 1,000 square foot garage in the middle of the taproom to sample one of their five year round beers: Storm Golden Cream Ale, Sparky Hoppy Wheat Ale, Crank Shaft IPA, Dead Blow Tropical Stout and Trophy Hull Melon Hops.
Bluegrass Brewing Company got its start in 1993 at their original location in St. Matthews and to this day is the oldest microbrewery and brewpub in Louisville. In 2006, the second location opened at Theatre Square on 4th street downtown and their third and newest location opened in 2010 across the street from the KFC Yum Center Arena. Visit their locations to check out their always available selections like the Altbier Amber Ale or the Luna de Miel Raspberry Meade.
Great Flood Brewing Company began in 2012, when the founders began the mission to learn the art of craft brewing. They opened their brewery to the public in Louisville on the corner of Douglass Loop and Bardstown Road in 2014 and the rest is history. Great Flood brews up a variety of hop-heavy beers, including two IPAs – Tomahawk, the most bitter IPA they’ve made to date, and Guardsman, featuring Warrior hops – as well as the Defiant double IPA which uses four different hops to create a complex flavor.
Goodwood Brewing was started by three of Louisville’s oldest brewing veterans who have been running production breweries in the area since 2001. Now branching off on their own, they’ve rebranded the renowned BBC Bourbon Barrel Stout as the Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout and created a new brewery to support its success. Goodwood takes extra steps to wood-age beer and use the same pure, limestone water that is used to make bourbon as an homage to the region’s distilling legacy. You can taste the difference in their signature Bourbon Barrel Stout, as well as the rest of their selections: Bourbon Barrel Ale, Brandy Barrel Honey Ale, Red Wine Barrel Saison, Louisville Lager, Walnut Brown Ale and Pale Ale.