First up, let’s check the Early Bird Beer Fest Watch, always a crucial task when the swallows come back to Capistrano (or the Cardinals return to newsworthiness).

The 7th annual Kentucky Craft Bash takes place on Saturday, June 29 in Louisville at Waterfront Park’s Festival Plaza. It’s the non-profit Kentucky Guild of Brewerslargest annual fundraiser, a gig where brewers and brewery staff are on hand pouring beers, providing attendees a chance to meet the people who do the work (labor theory of value, peeps).

The five-hour festival features 50+ breweries from across the Commonwealth, providing festival goers the chance to try beers from breweries they may not normally visit outside of Louisville and Lexington, like Hopkinsville Brewing Company and Alexandria Brewing Company.

Early Bird Tickets are available through April 15 at a $5 per ticket reduction compared with regularly-priced tickets (which remain available through June 28).

Early Bird Tickets: (March 1-April 15) General Admission $50, VIP $60 … VIP tickets are limited to 500 and include an hour early admission to the fest, an edible pretzel necklace, and more.

But prior to Craft Bash, there’ll be the 2024 renewal of 502 Beer Appreciation Day on Thursday, May 2 — that’s right, just before the vaunted “First Saturday in May,” as administered by the energetic folks at Louisville Ale Trail to “celebrate Louisville’s vibrant beer culture and its deep-rooted connection with the legendary Kentucky Derby.”

Did you know that before the mint julep claimed its spot as the iconic Derby drink, Kentucky Common beer was the go-to choice for race-goers?

502 Beer Day not only pays homage to the long-standing tradition of local beer at the Kentucky Derby but also highlights the thriving and innovative beer community that continues to flourish in our city.

In addition to events and special $5.02 tappings from participating breweries around town, we will be set up at Ten20 Craft Brewery (1020 E. Washington Street) from 4-8pm for our LEGEND Membership program launch party, special beer release (more details soon), and drawing for Louisville Beer Week 2024 brewery collab pairings! And don’t forget about the annual 5:02 PM toast.

But wait, did someone mention Kentucky Common? Avail yourself of a refresher course over at American Craft Beer: Born in the USA: The Kentucky Common Beer.

There are a very few internationally recognized beer styles that originated in in America. The Kentucky Common is one of them. Sometimes called a “Common” or a “Dark Cream Ale,” (it) is an indigenous beer that was born in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1850’s and remained an immensely popular style in that river town until Prohibition.

For those of us who inhabit the ever shrinking perimeter known as traditionalism, who react to slushy/smoothie “beers” by reaching for our glare sickness bags, the term “Dark Cream Ale” denotes the very highest of recommendations. For the rest of you, there’s always TikTok (but let’s leave prohibitionist sentiment out of it, shall we?)

Roughly two weeks ago the intrepid local journalist Michael L. Jones broke the story of another new brewery planned for Louisville: Plans filed for new brewpub (at Louisville Business First), and as seems to occur more often than not these days, the understandable imperative of its backers to publicize a forthcoming project, thereby giving LBF readers their pulsating fix of real estate $$$, doesn’t always specify the beer details we’d like to see.

But patience is a virtue, and “Hip Hops” is content to wait for further information.

Hull Street Brew Pub is planned for 524-532 Baxter Ave., near Gravely Brewing, according to a rezoning application filed with Louisville Metro Government in early March. The property at 524 Baxter Ave. was previously home to Alliance Machine Tool Co. Inc. The plans call for a building with more than 9,000 square feet of space for the brewpub, a nearly 6,000-square-foot event hall and three short-trm rental units with 11 bedrooms.

A machine tool firm? Heavy metal works just fine for me. I can only hope for a localized clone of Old Engine Oil; hopefully they won’t be buying their wort from a bulk discounter in Council Bluffs.

In closing this week’s new roundup, let’s visit with our Post-Pandemic Opportunism Department. Way back in January, Goodwood Brewing + Spirits was compelled to close its downtown Indianapolis location at the former Ram brewery after two and a half years in business, and now it also has shed the Columbus, Ohio branch (an erstwhile Biersch): After just over two years, Kentucky craft brewery closes Columbus location.

The moral of the story? You win some, and you lose some, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Me? I’ll be pulling for Purdue this weekend.

Cover photo credit: Kentucky Guild of Brewers.

Previously at Hip Hops:

Hip Hops: Liteweights ascendent, or the Empire of the Wet Air (1975 – 2024)

Roger Baylor is an entrepreneur, educator, and innovator with 42 years of beer business experience in metropolitan Louisville as a bartender, package store clerk, brewery owner, restaurateur, writer, traveler, polemicist, homebrewing club founder, tour operator and all-purpose contrarian.
As a co-owner (1990 – 2018) of New Albanian Brewing Company Pizzeria & Public House in New Albany, Indiana – founded in 1987, 1992, 2002 and 2009 – Roger played a seminal role in metro Louisville’s contemporary beer renaissance. He was beer director at Pints&union in New Albany from 2018 through 2023.
Roger’s “Hip Hops” columns on beer-related subjects have been a fixture since 2005 in Food & Dining Magazine, where he currently serves as digital editor and print contributor. He is a former columnist at both the New Albany Tribune and LEO Weekly, and founder of the NA Confidential blog (2004 – 2020). Visit for more.