1576 Bardstown Road Louisville, KY 40205
We were first introduced to “cumbies”, which our friend Maria affectionately called it, during our 2009 Louisville visit from our home state of North Carolina. Walking into the first floor dining area, surrounded by tattooed female servers and antique beer can decor, we thought Cumberland Brewery perfectly matched our impression of the Highlands. Ordinarily, we might have seen the laid-back service as inconvinent but having a good time in a new place took our minds off that sort of thing. Distracted by the excitement of exploring a new city’s staples, we hardly noticed the food and beer, which we’d now describe as merely decent.
After living in Louisville for over a year, only a few blocks away from Cumberland Brews, we often bypass this middle of the road brew pub unless friends in the neighborhood suggest meeting there for a beer. It’s nothing special, but not terrible either.
We’ve come to expect that the food will always appear more eclectic on the menu than it ever does on our plates. The highlights of their happy hour food offerings are on Wednesday and Thursday when you can get a bison burger and a quesadilla, respectively, and a beer for ten bucks. While both are certainly consumable, it’s the price that makes it worthwhile.
Cumberland brews offers solid variety in their beer menu, which changes periodically to include seasonal options. Perhaps this is because they have small and large batches. We understand that a microbrewery of such a small size is not going to deliver the same level of consistency as its larger or commercial competitors, but after dozens of visits to Cumberland it’s clear that consistency is not on their list of priorities.
Even the brews they always have on tap taste very different from one visit to the next. On a few occasions, we’ve had to break our personal code of ethics and send the drink back. However, there is one similarity between many of their beers: each one we’ve tried, ranging from the dark porters to the pale ales, lacks the body, flavor and richness we expect from them. Wheat beers at Cumberland seem to be a close relative to water. Granted, some days they are better than others.
Perhaps it’s the inconsistencies that keep us coming back to Cumberland, which has become somewhat of a constant in our lives as Highlands residents. Even if it is a constant disappointment we’ll invariably end up there every now and again.
A breakdown of our 3-star rating: While their beer and food continue to underwhelm us, an area that Cumberland Brews does excel is in their wide selection of specials. They offer lengthy happy hour during the week and an all day one on Sunday. Drinks are even discounted an additional dollar on Tuesday evenings. In addition, a few of their weekly specials also involve food which is always a delight to discover. In comparison to some of the other local microbreweries, Cumberland has by far the best deals in town. However, we can’t ignore their subpar quality and service.
Jasmine Ashton & Megan Feil, May 22, 2012
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