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Bourbon isn’t the only beverage in Kentucky…there’s something else brewing in Louisville! Production of craft beer in Louisville, Kentucky is on the rise. Evidenced by the growing number of Louisville breweries with taprooms, beer lovers can get fresh craft brew straight from the source.
Find out what all the buzz is about in the best breweries in Louisville, KY!
Craft Beer: Louisville, KY History
The history of beer in Louisville can be traced back to the mid-1800s when there was an influx of German immigrants. Along with their food and traditions, they brought their beer making skills.
Beer gardens blossomed across the city. The only problem was – with the warm weather and a lack of refrigeration – they found it was difficult to make typical German lagers in Louisville.
To quench their thirst, they created a special Louisville beer – called Kentucky common beer – that was, essentially, the first experimental craft beer in Louisville.
The corn-based beer was cheap to make and easy to drink. By the late 1800s, the beer business in Louisville was booming.
Prohibition, refrigeration and pasteurization changed the beer industry. Louisville, which was once as big a beer city as Milwaukee and St. Louis, fell out of the game. Microbreweries of the 80s and 90s came and went. Today, however, the Louisville beer scene is once again in full swing and it’s more creative and delicious than ever.
Interested in learning more about the Louisville Beer History? Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft is a detailed account of the brewing history. Check it out!
8 Best Louisville Breweries for Craft Beer
On a recent trip to the city, we were on a mission to seek out the absolute best breweries in Louisville. We were excited by the number of breweries located in the city center (and were thrilled that many of them were within walking distance of our Nulu accommodations!).
We were coming from Covington, KY, where we had already identified a few taprooms in Louisville we knew we wanted to visit. Other top recommendations came from locals and diligent research.
Our “Craft Breweries: Louisville, KY” list is not arranged in any particular order; we enjoyed each of the breweries for different reasons (which we detail below).
To help you find your way to the best craft beer taprooms in Louisville, we provide a helpful Louisville map at the end of this blog post.
Need more tips of what to do in Louisville? Use our guide to The Best Things To Do in Louisville, KY!
#1 Goodwood Louisville Craft Brewery
We love breweries that incorporate regional ingredients and local traditions into their beers – and Goodwood does both.
Committed to making quality craft beer with local influences, the Goodwood Louisville brewing company uses limestone water (the same as most distilleries use to make bourbon) and then they age their beers in wooden barrels for an additional flavor enhancement.
The first time we tried Goodwood was at a Covington, KY restaurant – and it was love at first taste. So, it was with great anticipation that we visited the Goodwood Brewing Company taproom situated in the heart of the revitalized Nulu District…and it didn’t disappoint.
The historic warehouse features a cozy taproom, a fun game room and helpful bar staff that are eager to pour beers to please your palate.
At Goodwood, they produce their lineup of tried-and-true brews, plus a range of creative barrel-aged beers. In addition to the beer, Goodwood makes their own bourbon, too.
The taproom is also one of the Louisville Breweries with food – so you can drink and nosh at the same time. The menu features traditional pub grub and tacos; we highly recommend the heaping platter of nachos that are topped with delicious beer cheese.
#2 Against the Grain Brewery Louisville
Against the Grain embodies the classic craft beer spirit. Experimental and fun, they are devoted to making craft beer in Louisville, KY that tastes better. And they are succeeding!
First and foremost, they make seriously good beer. With witty names and an interesting cast of characters gracing their cans, however, the humorous side of Against the Grain shines through.
Established in 2011, Against the Grain churns out exceptional beers in a range of styles. They produce a core lineup, but they are not shy about mixing it up with unique and exciting concoctions.
ATG beers are found on bar menus and shops around the city – but we think their Louisville Brewery location is the best place to get a taste.
The brewery – also a BBQ smokehouse – is housed in the city’s old, brick train station (that is part of the city’s minor league baseball team’s stadium, Louisville Slugger Field). The spacious beer hall is the perfect place to sip a pint.
Against the Grain does have a second location in Louisville – the Public House – which is a brewpub located on the popular Bardstown Road.
#3 Gravely Brewing
Mashing up a love of beer and music, Gravely Brewing – a family-owned venture – is one of the best breweries Louisville, KY.
Dubbing itself the ‘Worlds First Music Brewery,’ Gravely is on point with the music theme. Antique stereo components decorate the bar, the industrial chic space is used to host live music events and they even pair their core beers with the songs that inspired them. (Seriously, take a listen on their website!)
Best of all, at least for craft beer fans like us, is that the beer is simply phenomenal. Featuring a huge and diverse beer list, they truly make something for everyone.
Plus, the tasty suds pair well with the onsite food truck, Mayan Street Food.
While it’s fun to sit at the bar and chat with the knowledgeable staff to get great beer recommendations, don’t forget to head up to the outdoor deck for the spectacular Louisville skyline view.
#4 Mile Wide Beer Microbrewery, Louisville, KY
It’s hard not to fall in love with a place like Mile Wide Beer, where it feels like you are drinking beer in your friends’ basement. Only, at Mile Wide, the beer is fresh and it’s good. Really, really good.
Tucked away on a side street in a spot that once served as the city’s very first brewpub (as well as a former biscuit factory), it’s worth the effort to find this gem.
The lineup of beer at Mile Wide is what you would expect from a brewery that is dedicated to making great beers. They serve up several IPAs, but impress with unique smoked beers, too. Casual and comfortable, patrons can feel like part of the beer making process, too, as there is a window into the brewing room where excellent Louisville craft beer is produced in the tanks.
With the onsite brick oven pizza restaurant and pinball games in the back room, Mile Wide is an easy place to kick back and enjoy life for a few hours.
#5 Falls City Beer Brewery Louisville, KY
A craft beer Louisville tradition, Falls City Beer is a Kentucky brewery that dates to 1905. The original Falls City Brewery had a roller coaster ride of ups and downs through a successful start to surviving prohibition and then comeback years, but eventually went belly up in 1978.
Fast forward to 2010 when the brand was revived – but with a sharp focus on crafting even better beer than their forefathers. Falls City Beer may have strong ties to the past, but their beers are innovative and forward-thinking.
Nestled on a residential street in the Nulu neighborhood, the brewery offers a comfortable indoor space and an outdoor beer garden. It’s like a favorite corner bar, but with fabulous, fresh beers on tap.
The friendly, welcoming bartenders are helpful with recommendations and will gladly let you taste a few samples to make sure you get a beer that you like. (But, if you ask us, we’ll tell you that the Hipster Repellent IPA is the best of the bunch!)
#6 Ten20 Brewery Louisville, Kentucky
The Ten20 Butchertown brewery is, without a doubt, one of the best Louisville breweries – and it just opened in 2020!
From the outside, Ten20 has a modern, industrial appeal…but then you step inside the expansive 12,000 square foot taproom and are greeted to a modern atmosphere that is styled with chic decor.
The bar at Ten20 is top-notch. With 15 handles, they tap their own craft beer – plus their line of hard seltzer. Oh – and they make excellent craft cocktails, too.
Ideal for large groups with varying tastes or intimate beer conversations about ABV and IBU, Ten20 is a winner all the way around. Be sure to check their event calendar for open mic, yoga and salsa dancing!
#7 Akasha Brewing Co.
The founders of Akasha started their adventure in beer with home brew kits – and it became a passion that grew into a legit brewing business.
Their in-house microbrewery production can be viewed from the taproom, where they boast 24 taps. Sours and stouts were prominent during our visit – in addition to some intriguing styles that were new to us.
At Akasha, they also brew a lager from one of the historic Louisville craft breweries, Fehr’s City (circa 1872), using a pre-prohibition recipe.
Located on Market Street in Nulu, Akasha Brewery has a prime location between two of the district’s best restaurants – Feast BBQ and Grind Burger.
#8 West Sixth Brewery Louisville
One of the coolest craft breweries in Louisville, KY, West Sixth is actually a Lexington native – but they opened a small-batch brewery in the ultra-hip Nulu Marketplace.
The multi-level, multi-room brewpub offers ample seating and a huge selection of brews (beers brewed in-house are even marked for those who want to truly drink local!). Heavy on the IPAs, they create a full range of traditional and creative beers – and the friendly bar staff is quick to give tastes.
West Sixth is one of the Louisville breweries that offers brewery tours and tastings – as well as other fun community events, like yoga and a running club. While they don’t serve food (except for a beer cheese snack that is delish!), there are many nearby eateries that deliver to the taproom.
More Craft Breweries in Louisville, KY
Our list of the Best Louisville breweries features the brewery taprooms in the city that came highly recommended by fellow craft beer fans. That said, there are a few more breweries near Louisville, KY Downtown that we want to mention.
Old Louisville Brewery
Located right in the middle of the Old Louisville district near Central Park, Old Louisville Brewery is a neighborhood brewpub. The Old Louisville craft brewery taps their own beers – plus a selection of brews from other brewers in Kentucky and across the USA.
Apocalypse Brewery Louisville
A sustainable, small-batch brewery that opened in 2012, Apocalypse Brew Works is one of the highly touted breweries in Louisville. Offering 14 rotating taps in a range of styles, they brew something for everyone!
Bluegrass Brewing Company
Bluegrass is the Louisville, Kentucky craft brewery that is considered by many to be the pioneer of the recent craft beer revolution in the city. The original Bluegrass Brewery opened in 1993 and there are now three locations in Louisville (including a downtown West Main Street location) – so you can likely find a BBC that is close to your accommodations.
Monnik Beer Louisville, KY Brewery
Established in 2015, Monnik is one of the Louisville breweries that operates as a brewery and restaurant. Monnik Brewery is located in the historic Schnitzelburg neighborhood – and reviews say it hits the mark on both the beer and the food.
3rd Turn Brewing
Located about 10 miles southeast of downtown, 3rd Turn is one of the breweries in Louisville, KY that gets rave reviews – both for the ambiance and the beer. The 3rd Turn brewpub is located in an 1878 church and has 20 brews on tap.
Gallant Fox Brewing Co
Gallant Fox Brewing is situated on trendy Frankfort Avenue – and is both a craft beer brewery and a bourbon bar. Their hefty lineup of house beers includes both American and European styles.
New Albanian Brewing Co
A New Albany, Indiana pizzeria and craft brewery, New Albanian Brewing Company has been brewing beers since 2002. The New Albanian beer tap list includes their flagship beers, as well as regional favorites and beers from around the world.
Craft Beers Bars in Louisville, KY
Craft breweries are excellent for tasting fresh brewed beer from the source, but there are Louisville craft beer bars that feature craft products from brewers around the globe.
Sergio’s World Beers, located in the Butchertown district, offers more than 1,000 craft beers – including an astounding 40 on tap – from breweries near and far.
World of Beer Louisville, KY, which is located in a suburb east of the city, is a restaurant chain, but still features great beers, including many brews from Kentucky breweries.
Map of Louisville, KY Breweries
Use this link to Google Maps for an online interactive Map of the best breweries in Louisville, Kentucky.
Louisville, Kentucky Breweries Events
In addition to the breweries in Louisville, Kentucky, there are a few more ways to experience the city’s fun beer culture!
Louisville Ale Trail
The Ale Trail encourages people to taste the best beer in Louisville! With your Louisville Ale Trail Passport, you go to the featured Louisville breweries, collect stamps and earn rewards. The Passport costs $10 – and you can order it online or pick it up at one of the participating breweries.
Louisville Beer Week
Louisville Craft Beer Week happens the last week of October to celebrate local beer! Find details and associated events on the official Facebook Page.
Louisville Craft Beer Festival
With so many breweries in Kentucky – and Louisville, specifically – there are several Louisville craft beer festivals to celebrate and drink good beer!
The Old Lou Brew Craft Beer Festival takes place in August in Central Park. Back to Brew is a Zoo event for adults. With strong German roots, it is no wonder that there is a big Oktoberfest in Louisville as well!
The Kentucky Craft Bash is a big summertime craft beer festival at the Waterfront that features more than 60 Kentucky brewers.
Louisville Beerfest is an indoor craft beer event that takes place during a winter weekend, usually during February.
Louisville Beer Tours
Visitors (and locals!) can get a formal introduction to the Louisville beer scene on a guided Beer Walk. Tour participants visit 3 local breweries for a behind-the-scenes look and plenty of samples! Reserve Your Space here!
Where To Stay in Louisville, KY
If you are traveling to Louisville and plan to visit multiple breweries, we recommend staying in a central location, where several of the best craft breweries in Louisville can be reached on foot.
We think the best place to stay in Louisville for brewery hopping is the Nulu District.
The stylish AC Hotel by Marriot is perfectly situated in the heart of the city and just a short walk from our 8 favorite Louisville breweries. Check rates and availability for your stay!
Travel to the Best Beer Cities
We have a passion for craft beer – and we seek it out in cities around the world…then share our insider tips with you, our loyal readers!
Beer Cities in the USA
Use our guides to some of the best craft beers cities in America! In the Pacific Northwest, cities like Portland and Seattle are big hits with craft beer enthusiasts – but smaller destinations, like Bend, Oregon, Spokane and Vancouver, Washington won’t disappoint either!
Worldwide Beer Cities
We have been able to seek out craft beer enclaves in cities around the world – and we want to help you discover them, as well!
Wellington, New Zealand was one of the first craft beer cities we fell in love with abroad – but Sydney, Australia, Paris, France and Reykjavik, Iceland have fun craft beer bars serving up tasty brews. A top destination for any beer lover is the beer-loving city of Amsterdam – and London has heaps of craft breweries along the Bermondsey Beer Mile. That said, some of our favorite craft beer experiences have come in seemingly unlikely spots like Riga, Latvia, Budapest, Hungary and Zagreb, Croatia!
Weekend Travel Getaways
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