Country Boy Brewing, Georgetown
Spring is in the air and the Lemonade Lager is on tap at Country Boy Brewing. This refreshing beer—emphasis on fresh as all Country Boy beers are made in-house from the highest quality ingredients—is one of the brewery’s seasonal brands, served alongside flagship faves, including Shotgun Wedding and Cougar Bait.
The brewery, a consistent first place winner in Kentucky Living’s annual Best in Kentucky reader write-in contest, has locations in Lexington and Georgetown, the latter being the first purpose-built brewery in Kentucky since Prohibition. Its taproom has a large outdoor patio overlooking rolling farmland, a full-service restaurant with barbecue smoked right outside the brewery and a relaxed community atmosphere.
Flywheel Brewing, Elizabethtown
Great flavors with Kentucky flair made on-site and sipped in a taproom full of repurposed local wood. If you’re looking for a taste of Elizabethtown in a glass, served up by a warm and knowledgeable staff, you’ve found it at Flywheel Brewing.
“It has an accessible flavor profile suited to just about any taste,” says Aaron Hawkins, who owns Flywheel Brewing with partners Josh Durham and Ashley Willoughby.
The atmosphere is both familiar and fresh with “just about the right combination of rural and urban aesthetic,” Hawkins says. Brews like Decapitated Monk-y and E=MC Hammered show off the owners’ sense of fun. The experience? Relaxed joie de vivre for all who enter.
Paducah Beer Werks, Paducah
Adding a neighborhood pub vibe to Paducah’s historic downtown and Lower Town districts is Paducah Beer Werks, an award-winning brewery located inside a former Greyhound Bus station, and on the West Kentucky Brewery Hop. PBW’s specialty is making and serving its own small-batch brews, plus spotlighting Kentucky craft brews and those from around the world.
“Where else can you visit such an iconic landmark from our state’s colorful past, surrounded by the visual arts and music from local artists, all while tasting the beers that have more trophies than a Triple Crown thoroughbred?” asks owner Todd Blume. “A day spent in PBW’s fully renovated bus depot is a once-in-a-blue-moon chance to celebrate all things Bluegrass.”
Sawstone Brewing Co., Morehead
The owners and the team behind the beer at Sawstone—Derek Caskey, Nich Hollan and Blake Nickell—have brewed up a half-dozen flagship flavors, including Kentucky Common, a dark cream ale with roots dating back to mid-1800s, when Kentucky and German and Irish immigrants were trying to replicate the beer of their homelands. It is considered an American classic.
The taproom is in a corner building in downtown Morehead, sharing city views as well as sweeps of Daniel Boone National Forest from its patio. Visitors are free to watch the brewers do their thing on Sawstone’s three-barrel system or head to the game room upstairs for a hand of cards, a round of darts or a TV binge session.
Scout & Scholar Brewing Co., Bardstown
“We are an orange in an apple orchard,” says Tyler Vaughan, general manager of the only brewery located smack-dab in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon Country.
Brave? Undoubtedly. Bold? That’s where the craft beer, seasonal menu and sleek beauty of the brewery come in.
While many guests comment that this is the “fanciest” brewery they’ve seen, the decor is not where Scout & Scholar wants to find its fame. Rather, it’s the beer and a menu meticulously planned by certified Chef Clayton Elliot, who collaborates with Head Brewer Lee Northcutt to incorporate the beer as well as local bourbon to bring the experience full circle.