It is no secret that bourbon dominates this state, but the craft beer industry is growing in Kentucky. I want to shed light on this amazing industry and what it means for Kentucky.
We can all agree that February is the worst month of the year, correct? The NFL is over, March Madness doesn’t start for another month, Valentine’s Day is the worst holiday of all time and it’s still cold.
Thankfully for craft beer lovers in Kentucky, there is one thing to look forward to in February, Tailspin Ale Fest.
Tailspin Ale Fest is a winter warmer beer festival held at Bowman Field in Louisville. The event will be held next Saturday, February 16 at 3 pm – 7 pm (2 pm -7 pm for VIP).
Tailspin founders Trevor Cravens and Tisha Gainey knew the historic and iconic airfield would be the perfect location for their winter warmer.
“In my experience, some of the best festivals I’ve been to around the country have as much to do with where they took place as much as they did with what was going on at the event,” Cravens said.
Bowman Field was established in 1919 and is one of the longest continuously operating general aviation airports in the United States.
“We love making it [the airfield] a focus of the beer community for a day,” Cravens said.
Unlike the past five years, no part the festival will not be held inside one of the hangers. Everything will be “outside” under 40,000 square feet of tents with lots (and lots) of heaters.
A beer festival outside in February? Cravens believes that’s the best part.
“We absolutely embrace that it’s outdoors. We kind of think that’s part of the fun, that’s part of the attraction,” Cravens said.
“I would be the first to tell you that doesn’t mean you don’t have to dress warm for the weather. Thankfully we’re in Kentucky. Just because it’s February doesn’t mean it has to be too cold. It’s been 14 degrees at Tailspin and it’s been 68 degrees at Tailspin.”
The weather and location aren’t the only two things that make this beer festival unique.
“Honestly, what truly makes Tailspin stand apart from any event we do, and this is important to craft beer enthusiasts, brewery participation. Ninety-eight percent of the breweries represented at our festival will have a brewery representative.”
“And that’s really important to us and people who’ve been to beer festivals,” Cravens continued. “No one can talk about your beer as well as you can.”
Many of those representatives will be from breweries across Kentucky. Kentucky breweries will have their own area at the festival called Kentucky Heritage section. Cravens put the Kentucky breweries next to each for more than geographical reasons. He put them next to each other because there is a solidarity among them.
“It’s comradery for them. They all know each other. They all want to be around their friends. It’s also a strong statement about what’s happening in Kentucky beer. In the past and probably even now some people look at our state and think it’s lagging in beer, but the truth is there is a lot of really really good beer coming out of Kentucky.”
According to a study by C+R Research company, Kentucky has the 2nd largest brewery growth during the past four years. Kentucky experienced a 43% percent growth in the number of breweries since 2015. Kentucky currently has 1.6 breweries per 100,000 residents at least 21 years old.
And, as you can expect the Kentucky Heritage section is always the most popular at the festival.
“That particular area is usually one of the more crowded sections of the event. People like to know what’s in Kentucky that I can’t get here [Louisville]. We do have some breweries in other parts of Kentucky that aren’t heavily distributed in Louisville. So they get a chance to come up and show off what they’re doing.”
Tailspin will be serving over 250 from 75 breweries across the country. The festival will also feature photo-ops with pin-up girls, a silent disco, a Magnolia Photo Booth, the Bourbon Barrel Beer Bar and the Cider & Sour Bar.
“We don’t have a lot of flagship beers,” Cravens said. “We spend a lot of time and a lot of resources procuring the beers for the festival. A lot of them are, like I said it’s a winter warmer, so a lot of them are bigger beers, barrel-aged stuff and higher ABV. That is in itself what makes Tailspin a special event.”
There is something for everyone at this festival. Beer lover or not, you won’t want to miss this winter warmer. Get your tickets now!