Sept. 7 marks National Beer Lovers Day. Not only is the event occurring today, it just so happens to be on a Friday. For many Daviess County residents, especially those who rejoice when that clock hits 5 p.m. on a Friday, this “holiday” might be right up their alley.
A day dedicated to celebrating all things beer gives beer-drinkers a deeper, more meaningful reason to try something new.
According to a March 2017 study, 5,300 craft beer breweries were operating in the U.S., representing 12.3 percent market share by volume of the overall beer industry.
The varieties of craft beer styles are seemingly endless, and the artistry is evolving more with every new brewery that opens, and with every existing brewery that continues to create new things.
At Mellow Mushroom, located on 2nd Street in downtown Owensboro, a customer can choose from 32 draft beers, most of which are constantly cycling in and out due to popularity and consumption. The list of cans and bottles to choose from is even longer. General Manager Derek Stone says there’s a type of craft beer for everyone.
“Our sales staff are very educated in craft beer,” says Stone. “IPAs sell the best here, and then stouts and dark beers.” Stone added that Mellow carries craft beer ranging in alcohol by volume (ABV), meaning some are stronger than others.
“From the low to the high, our [craft beer] goes as low as 3 percent ABV all the way up to 17.5 percent ABV,” said Stone. “You get much higher than 17.5 percent, you have to ask, ‘Is it really beer at that point?’”
Mellow Mushroom hosts a pint night almost every Thursday at 6 p.m., highlighting a specific brewery by interchanging a few of their kegs and offering several styles of beer from a single brewery. Those who purchase a featured beer receive a free beer glass from the brewery. This past Thursday, the restaurant featured Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, Florida.
“They were just released to sell in Kentucky last month,” said Stone. “We couldn’t get their product until then. We were excited to give everyone something new to try.”
Cigar City pint night beers included an American pale ale called Guayabera (5.5% ABV) and a slightly more bitter, slightly boozier American IPA called Jai Alai (7.5% ABV).
“Craft beer drinkers will drink anything,” said Stone, laughing. “In Owensboro, most craft beer drinkers range from 25 to 45-years-old.” Stone added that most craft beer consumers don’t just drink one. “They’re drinking a lot of beer,” he said.
CYO Brewing is a 2nd Street bar that primarily focuses on craft beer. According to head bartender, Vance Hardesty, the founders of CYO realized the market was there for a craft beer bar, before deciding to open in March 2015.
CYO offers 30 beers on tap, and between 50 and 60 in bottles and cans. According to Hardesty, half of the bar’s draft beer comes from Kentucky breweries.
“Even people who ask for lighter beers, they’ll see other things, and they’ll see the name, and they’re interested in it,” he says.
Hardesty himself prefers ambers and reds when it comes to craft beer. Ambers and reds stand as the middle-ground of beer, a good balance of hops and malt, which Hardesty finds appealing. “Lagers and pilsners are very similar in body style,” he says.
While Hardesty agrees with Stone that IPAs reign most popular at his bar, Hardesty prefers a New-England style IPA if he goes that route. Hardesty says the three most popular beers they serve on tap at CYO include the Goodwood Louisville Lager (a lighter American lager), Bell’s Oberon (a wheat ale–classically, a summer beer), and Country Boy Shotgun Wedding (a vanilla brown ale aged in bourbon barrels).