401 East Main Street, Louisville, KY
“I’m going to Against the Grain.” This is our roommate Nick’s most common answer whenever we ask where he’s going out for dinner or drinks. After months of hearing his repeated raves, we decided their happy hour may be worth trying. The three of us, plus a few friends, ended up downtown around 5 pm one sunny Monday afternoon ready to enjoy ATG’s array of microbrews.
As recent followers of their Facebook page, we were well aware of their deals. Because of the in-your-face status updates keeping the buzz alive, the two enormous banners only subtly remind. We can’t reiterate enough how much we appreciate efforts towards happy hour visibility.
Pro #2 is the sense of familiarity their beer menu offers without sacrificing variety; they regularly rotate a different beer in every one of the six genres seen above (making us understand why Nick never tires of the place). Plus, each category is personified by a unique character, adding to the youthful charm of ATG’s atmosphere.
With such a diverse array of options, everyone easily found a beer that fit their tastes. The London Balling under the Whim category, for example, was the perfect match for our out-of-town guest who wanted the ultimate Kentucky drinking experience: an English style barleywine aged in Angel’s Envy bourbon barrels.
Even regularly priced at $4.50, these beers are a reasonable deal for a locally owned brewery. But we wish they offered some relief for their high priced appetizers, some of which rival entree costs. This being said, ATG offers some interesting smokehouse spins on traditional pub fare, but be warned that their menu may not appeal to the masses. Their menu caters specifically towards those with smoke-friendly taste buds.
A breakdown of our 3-star rating:
We commend Against the Grain for filling the glasses of local beer enthusiasts, who prior to its October 2011 opening lacked a brewer-owned brewery experience. We also thoroughly enjoy the simultaneously sunny and shady outdoor patio, accommodating even the largest of groups. However, our experiences at ATG have shown us that this spot will appease most everyone, without leaving anyone particularly delighted. If we want a cheap special on local brew, there are a few other places (Cumberland Brews and BBC) that trump ATG’s $3.75 happy hour. On the other hand, in comparison with other microbreweries, their variety and quality stands out.
Jasmine Ashton and Megan Feil, April 10, 2012
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