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    The first ever craft beer festival was held in the heart of downtown Jeffersontown this past weekend. From the looks of the crowd and people gathered around under the pavilion area on Watterson Trail, I would say it was a big success.

    The beer fest was scheduled from 2pm-6pm on Saturday under the high clouds and sunny skies of one of the warmest days of the year so far. Some 40 or so breweries and wineries were in attendance to offer samples of their beers, some locally crafted and hopping with tastes of summer.

    Breweries that were set up included Alltech, Angry Orchard, Blue Moon, Cumberland Brewing, Falls City, Flat 12, Goodwood Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, Great Flood, Highland, Leinenkugel's, Magic Hat, New Albanian Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Samuel Adams, Shiner, Sierra Nevada, Southern Tier, Sterling, Sweetwater, Tin Man, Traveler Beer Company, Upland, Victory, West 6th Brewing Company, and Woodchuck Ciders. Three local wineries included Elk Creek, Old 502, and Forest Edge. Jeffersontown's Louisville Coffee Company was also set up with their handcrafted blend of iced coffee. Attendees were also filling their palates with foodie bites to eat from local food trucks Smokehawgs BBQ, POLLO- a Gourmet Chicken Joint, Meltdown Ice Cream, and Red Top Gourmet Hot Dogs.

    Each attendee was provided a commemorative tasting glass and a tasting card to sample beer, wine, and cider. Most everyone took the necklace provided, placed their card through the loops, and added a string of bite size pretzels to it to clear the taste buds after each sample. Some specific brews I jotted down to remember tasting were:

    New Belgium IPA, Leinenkugel Honeyweiss, Lakefront Brewery New Grist (gluten free), Shiner's Ruby Redbird, Magic Hat #9 and Dreamcatcher, Flat 12 Bierworks Cucumber Kolsch, Woodchucks Hard Cider and Gumption, Sweetwater Blue, Sterling Pilsner, Falls City Pale Ale, Apricot Cider Tin Man, Highland Brewing Co Gaelic Ale and Lost Cove, Rebel IPA Rebel Rouser Double IPA, Angry Orchard Summer Honey Cider and Green Apple, Traveler Beer Co Curious Traveler and Illusive Traveler, New Albanian Black n Bluegrass and Naughty Girl, Cumberland Brews Red Ale and Cream Ale, West 6th Heller Heaven, Double IPA, Lemongrass Wheat. I tried all three wineries and sampled some dry, white and some sweet, reds. They were all delicious in their own ways.

    Event planners made sure drinking was responsible. They had Designated Driver tickets for sale for $10, and UBER offered attendees a first ride free (up to $20). The event's entertainment was provided with local music by Carla Zee and Holy Smoke and The Bluesbenders. The event was highly attended as far as I could tell, and it was organized in part by the event planners who run Tailspin Ale Fest in the winter at Louisville's Bowman Field. The only aspect of the event I would have liked to have seen improved for next year is more seating with chairs and umbrellas and perhaps some more high top tables or even picnic tables scattered around. The back street alley behind the pavilion was closed off, and more seating could have been set up in that area perhaps to give attendees a place to chill and relax. With it being so hot and directly under the sun, I would have preferred some more covered areas to sit, with a huge tent-like area set up or something of that nature. But overall, I was happy, my husband and I had a kid-free date day, and the many people I saw gathered around us were having a great time. Living so close to downtown Jeffersontown myself, my husband and I walked to the event and I personally love that kind of feel to an outdoor event in town. 

    As I was leaving, I stopped over at the 3rd Turn Brewing booth to chat with the guys who are setting up this brewery right in the heart of Jeffersontown. I spoke to one of the guys who is helping restore the old Moose Lodge space that the brewery has bought at 10408 Watterson Trail. They are tearing down walls and reconstructing the entire space inside the walls of this old church, that dates back to the early 1900s. I am really excited about this new local business coming to J-town. They are turning it into a taphouse and will be crafting their own brews, and will be bringing in food from local Jeffersontown restaurants to be served as well. They're working with the city and chamber to create an outdoor beer garden of sorts along the alley-way next to the building, and they're uncovering a lot of history with each step they take inside the walls. Stories have been uncovered, even that the building may be haunted! Stay tuned to 3rd Turn Brewing via Facebook and other social media. They are hoping to open in the fall right around Gaslight Festival time.

    Kudos to The Chamber Jeffersontown for putting on this first ever event in J-town. I was very pleased and think it's great for the city to bring people downtown for an event such as this. I predict many people left the event on foot and walked to some of the nearby Jeffersontown restaurants for a bite to eat afterwards and some more summertime fellowship. The Summer Craft Beer Fest was part of a kickoff to summer in Jtown, with the annual Summerfest happening the day before at Jeffersontown Veterans Memorial Park. Summerfest is a FREE family-friendly event that takes place the first Friday in June with free food, DJ and music and children's activities, an outdoor movie, and a display of fireworks at the end of the night.

    Cover photo courtesy of The Chamber Jeffersontown‎ Summer Craft Beer Fest Facebook; others by Erin Nevitt

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    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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