As a boy growing up in Louisville, Kentucky I was surrounded by numerous vices. Back in the early eighties the city was known for horse racing, cigarettes, whiskey, and weed. If you wanted to get twisted it was the place to visit. Toss in the local Fall’s City Brewery, plus the fact that the bars did not close until 4 am, and the town birthed many a hazy mornings for me.

I escaped its evil clutches when I first headed towards Alaska to slay salmon and hike in the wilderness. From there I ended up in Colorado where I have spent the last twenty years embracing life in the stratosphere. Climbing, skiing, and biking have replaced the craziness of my youth, but I still find myself looking east wondering about the homeland I left behind. Deep inside, I will always be a southern boy.

So imagine my joy when I found out that one of my hometown’s best craft beers was now available along the Front Range. Instead of reaching for a beaker of bourbon when the homesickness descended, I could now crack a cold one and reminisce.

Where once there was one brewery in Louisville now there are over fifteen, mirroring a trend happening across the nation. Against the Grain I would argue is the best in the city, and one of the best in the South. Founded by four buddies focused on continually experimenting with fermentation, the brewery has a list of over 200 different beers that might pop up on tap at any given time.

Mirroring the founders anti-establishment vibe each of their beers sport some of the best artwork in the business with labels mocking anything, and everything. They really are works of art.

A quick visit to several of my favorite liquor stores enabled me to head home with three different four-packs of hometown heaven.

Their 35K Stout is a full flavored beast just bursting with malts, cocoa, and coffee flavors. At 7.0% ABV this milk stout is just as good as Lefthand’s legendary Milk Stout. If you run across this brew in your favorite liquor store immediately buy it and toss it in the cooler before your next trip to A-Basin.

The Brown Note is an American take on a British brown. The hefty doses of oats and specialty malts used in the brewing process leave this brew overflowing with flavors of caramel, chocolate, and toffee. Best of all it only has 5.0% ABV so you can sip this one all evening without worrying about tipping over.

Lastly is ABeer. Maybe one of the more interesting session beers I have had the pleasure of trying in a while. From the moment you crack the can you are welcomed with the beautiful hops forward scents emanating from the can. It pours crisp and golden hued, and is a pleasure to sip. Just complex enough to make you curious, but not so dense you spend all of your time wondering what’s in your glass.

So there you go, a love story about some fantastic brews from my hometown. Keep your eyes peeled for them the next time you are scouring the shelves in your favorite liquor store.

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