While attendees mixed and mingled at the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair and admired the impressive wall of beers entered into the Commonwealth Cup, Dr. Pearse Lyons took the stage to prepare to announce the second Commonwealth Cup winner. Craft beer fans were intrigued to learn about a brewery several hours north of Lexington, The Dayton Beer Co. located in Kettering, Ohio, that took home the Commonwealth Cup at the second Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fest.
The competition is the only professional beer competition in Kentucky and boasted 350 beers from 20 countries. Beer was the name of the game for the day, beyond the excitement of the competition announcement, with many delicious brews being sampled by a wide range of craft beer fans with sampling glasses in hand, some sporting pretzel necklaces.
New to the Kentucky craft beer festival scene was Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing and Cigar City Cider & Mead. Their brews, Jai Alai IPA and Cowboy Dan’s Holiday Extravaganza, tantalized taste buds. Some of favorites from the fest included a pale ale, Zombie Dust, from Three Floyd’s and a limited release red ale, Debs Red, from Bell’s Brewing.
Kentucky favorite breweries including Against the Grain brewery, Country Boy Brewing Co., West Sixth Brewing and more all poured classic as well as unique brews and chatted with beer fans.
From the new Kentucky craft distillers area came bourbon, brandy and even absinthe. The absinthe came from Louisville’s Copper & Kings Distillery and boasted a liquorice flavor. The company also produces vapor distilled lavender, citrus, and ginger versions.
Patrons also enjoyed sensory sessions with Mark Phipps and Ken Lee, master brewers at Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. The two longtime brewers offered their insight into malts, hops, and brewing the perfect beer.
All in all, the fest drew 51 national and local craft breweries boasting 180 craft brews, with special tappings every 15 minutes that brought lines to popular booths. The fair will return next year due to popular demand and likely grow even more in its third year – we hope Kentucky’s craft beer fans will join us!