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Best Local Beers – 2013

I sent an email this morning to Cresant Smith and John King asking them to send me their top five local beers. After a few moans from John King, I got both of their selections within 2 hours. That’s service right there. Either that, or they already knew what their favorite Lexington, Louisville, New Albany beers are.

I, however, took a bit more time because I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 5, and since it was my idea, I made up the rules and had to put in a tie for number four.

John Wurth’s Favorite Local Beers

5. Cumberland Brewery Roasted Pumpkin Ale
I have always claimed that I do not like pumpkin-flavored items. Be it muffins, cookies, lattes or beer. This year, apparently my palate has changed. As far as beers, Southern Tier Pumking, Schlafly Pumpkin Ale rank among my favorite national brands. But locally, Cumberland Brewery does this seasonal beer right. It’s not over the top pumpkin-wise, but the roast of the pumpkins comes through and makes this a beer that I look forward to each year.

4. New Albanian Bonfire of the Valkyries / Country Boy Jalapeño Smoked Porter (TIE)
Smoke them if you have got them. I love smoked beers, and when Bonfire rolls off the line at NABC each year, I definitely grab a bomber or two. The great artwork (as usual) sets the tone for this dark, smokey beer of proven merit. As much as it’s a copout to have a tie on these lists, I couldn’t hit “Publish” on this article without mentioning my favorite local(ish) Jalapeño Smoked Porter. I love pepper beers, I love smoked beers, I love Porters (plus, it’s my wife’s maiden name!). How could I not be in love with this Lexington beer? (Is it too late to add Against the Grain’s Get Your Southern Heart On for a 3-way tie? Shit.)

3. Bluegrass Brewing Company Bourbon Barrel Stout
This should a staple in any self-respecting beer geek’s fridge. It’s something we take for granted around here. But pretend for a minute that this is from a tiny brewery far away and they only brew half a barrel per year, then you too will fall in love with this beer all over again.

2. West Sixth IPA
Back in April, this Lexington beer took the title of “Best Beer in Kentucky” in our Beeracket that we ran in tandem with the NCAA “March Madness” Basketball Tournament (or b-ball tourney, as I call them). The public voted and it was a well-deserved win. This beer is the perfect IPA. Plus it comes in convenient can form.

1. Against the Grain Bo & Luke
What hasn’t been said about this flagship (can I claim this as their flagship?) beer from the dudes at Against the Grain? It’s a complex, thick beer that’s perfect to style. Add to that the smokiness from the smoked malt and bourbon flavor from the Pappy Van Winkle barrels, and you’ve got my number one pick for Louisville’s best local beer.

Click on to the next page for Cresant’s picks…

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