Brewer: Cumberland Brews
Location: Louisville, KY
A.B.V. – 4.4%
Price: – $3.50 / glass
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to travel to Louisville, KY with my wife Julianna to cheer her on in her first 10k. She hit her goal finish time, I rooted her on until I was hoarse, and we both had a good time. While checking out places to eat in this magical city, I discovered that there were several microbreweries located within a few miles of where we were staying! And, as it so happened, while driving back to our hotel to pack up after the race we passed this little brewery and both of us decided it would be a shame to leave without sampling at least all of the beers they had to offer!
The restaurant was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Super good food and awesome local/vegetarian options for us to choose from. They also offer a pretty extensive beer list brewed in-house, and it’s the only place you can get them. I was really excited to try the beers here because it’s about as micro as a brewery can get aside from home brews, and that always gets me excited – I love to be able to talk to the brewer of my beer or the farmer of my food or the cutter of my hair. However, I have to say the beers I had were not what I expected. I tried three, loved one, liked one, and hated the last. The Irish Stout wasn’t bad and Julianna definitely struck gold with the IPA. But since the stout is one of their seasonals, I thought you should hear about it.
The look of this stout was spot on – black as night with a thick head you could float a bottle cap on. First sip for me was actually very good. This beer is a bit thinner than a Guinness, but the flavor is definitely there. It’s a unique take on a stout in that the roasted barley flavor takes the lead and doesn’t quit. It’s a very dark, very toasted flavor that Julianna correctly noted “tastes like toasted sesame seeds.” I also was pleasantly surprised to be able to taste the flavor of the local water in this beer. Taking a sip of my water and a drink of the beer, I could definitely taste the influence of one on the other. It’s a unique flavor profile that definitely riffs on the stout formula without deviating from it – a good unique offering.
However, halfway through this beer, something began to nag me. It took a few more sips to pin it down when all of a sudden it hit me: I was waiting for something more, and wasn’t getting it. No sweetness, no caramel notes, no full stout mouth-feel… just roasty toasty (sesame?) barley.
Taking a proverbial step back, I realized that even for a lover and searcher of big flavors and intense experience, simplicity is a good thing every once in a while. As I reclined a bit further into my wire outdoor patio chair, this beer and I shared a mutual sigh, happy and content with life at that moment. Simple, man.
I would definitely recommend this place and this beer for the experience, and if you go make sure you try several beers because you will find one you like. Just be aware, this is a stripped down beer experience… the kind that everyone needs now and again.