empty bar

Bars are closed! Say it ain’t so …

empty bar

Art by Kris Tremblay (Twitter: @h00tcom)

Beginning today at 5 p.m., ALL Kentucky bars and restaurants will be shut down due to this horrendous and sinister coronavirus, which should not even be allowed to share a name with a beer! The mere idea of bars closing is something I never thought I’d have to live through, unless I time-traveled back to 1920 when Prohibition started.

And St. Patrick’s Day is Tuesday! The horror!

Carryout, drive-thrus and delivery options are still available, but how does that help me at happy hour?

Luckily, we’re Kentuckians, and our private bourbon collections are museum-worthy. Plus, I know you’ve been hoarding wine, beer and other spirits since Trump took office, so we will survive.

And hey, they didn’t shut down liquor stores, so at the moment, there’s still a supply to your demand.

The time for you to take up bartending is now. Jump in there and start mixing ingredients like a mad scientist! Trust me, when the bars open back up, you’ll have a new appreciation for our hard workers who shake, stir, strain and maintain quality and consistency with each and every drink.

In the meantime, here’s a suggestion on how to support to your favorite watering hole: Go online and buy gift certificates from them (if that’s an option). That applies to all local businesses, including your favorite local bourbon tour company named after a popular Southern cocktail (shameless plug).

I’m not a thoughts-and-prayers type of gal, but if that’s what it’s gonna take, then Amen! It’s gonna be a long week inside the Bar Belle’s Bourbon Bungalow.

Wash hands, be smart, support local businesses

It’s a mad, mad world, y’all. I’ve always wondered how mass hysteria would start, like in the case of a zombie apocalypse or “The Handmaid’s Tale” premise. And now we know.

I’ve never made a meme before, or whatever they’re called, and frankly I’m getting tired of them. But I learned a long time ago from Punky Brewster that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Anyway, most of you might be content to isolate yourselves and binge on Netflix and toilet paper. But some of us are social creatures, and we refuse to let fear win. Yes, we will take every precaution necessary and wash our hands 80 times a day and bathe ourselves in Purell like it’s Dundee Dip.

Truth is, our local businesses need us right now. And it just so happens that I need a drink. So Saturday afternoon, despite the St. Patrick’s Parade being postponed, I will still patronize the bars and restaurants on Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road because I believe it’s my civic duty as The Bar Belle to do so. I even thought of a name: Corona Crawl 2020.

I extend the invitation to anyone who wants to join. And I also will not judge you if you don’t, as long as you don’t judge me if I do. We all operate under free will, and if my will is craving green beer (I mean Guinness), then so be it.

Be safe, be smart, tip well and wash your damn hands!

#supportlocalbusinesses #keeplouisvillelit #barbellelou #coronacrawl2020

A scene from the Tailspin Ale Fest

It’s winter … let’s drink beer! Louisville is lucky to have the Tailspin Ale Fest

A scene from the Tailspin Ale Fest

Even vikings like the Tailspin Ale Fest. | Courtesy of Tailspin

I admit I was skeptical at first. A beer festival in an outdoor airplane hangar in the middle of winter?

Thankfully my love of beer trumped all those minor concerns like not losing toes or fingers, not catching a cold and, you know, not freezing to death. So I ventured out to Bowman Field that very first Tailspin Ale Fest seven years ago, and I’ve been back every year since!

Sometimes it has rained, sometimes it has snowed, but a majority of those winter Saturdays it has actually been rather mild — kind of like what we’re experiencing now. I can be a winter person if it stays in the 40s and 50s. That snow shovel can stay snug in my shed for all I care.

So this year’s Tailspin Ale Fest has actually been pushed back a week or two to Saturday, March 7, but it’s at the same location — Louisville Executive Aviation Center at Bowman Field — and at the same time — 3-7 p.m.

The reason I’m mentioning this now is that I hear tickets are going fast. So I wanted to make sure all my fellow beer buddies stop dragging their mugs and get to securing their tickets online. It’s only $50 (plus some fees), and you get samples of more than 250 beers from all over the country, including our own beloved breweries like Against the Grain, Monnik, Mile Wide, Goodwood and on and on.

Scene from Tailspin Ale Fest

Proof that it was warm one year, because I was wearing a T-shirt! | Courtesy of Tailspin

In fact, there will be more than 75 breweries represented this year including some you’ve heard of and some you’ll take on a first date. Maybe it’ll go well, maybe it won’t — but at least you’ll have a story to tell at the bar.

It was at Tailspin when I had my first rendezvous with CiderBoys Pineapple. Shoo … the memories were great, but she never called me back.

If you think I’m kidding about the tickets running out, the VIP tickets have already sold out.

If you’ve never been and you like beer, I can guarantee you’ll have a blast with hundreds of fellow hop heads — including myself. And if you’ve gone before, I already know you have your tickets, and dammit, I bet you got VIP!

Other fun activities during the fest include a silent disco (kinda weird), the Magnolia Photo Booth (my favorite), live music and lots and lots of food trucks and pretzel necklaces.

And even cooler, if you want to save yourself an Uber or Lyft ride, there are even shuttles available from several locations around the city for $15 (there and back) that also include a pint and some snacks! And by all around the city, I mean all around the frickin’ city! Here’s the list:

  • Middletown
  • Jeffersontown
  • Paddock Shops
  • St. Matthews
  • Germantown
  • Highlands
  • Downtown
  • South End
  • New Albany

Beer ya later!

Barrel Roll text

The Barrel Roll goes down Saturday, Nov. 9, in Paristown

Barrel Roll text

Expect lots of tastings!

On Saturday, Nov. 9, Paristown will be the place to be as the annual Barrel Roll rolls into the neighborhood, offering attendees with a smattering of beer, bourbon, beer aged in bourbon barrels, wine, gin, brandy, tequila, cocktails, food, local music and much more!

I haven’t been to a Barrel Roll, but that will change this year, because the lineup looks so enticing! The event is a fundraiser of sorts hosted by the folks who put on the annual Tailspin Ale Fest.

They set out to honor the humble barrel and all it does for spirits, and it sounds like everyone will have a great time getting acquainted with that concept. In fact, I may need many samples to truly learn how the barrel departs those wonderful flavors to various liquids.

This year, proceeds go to The Paristown Salon, a nonprofit influenced by the French Salons formed throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Live music includes performances by the infamous Carly Johnson and Small Batch Brass.

The Barrel Roll will take place Saturday, Nov. 9, from 2-6 p.m. at Christy’s Garden in Paristown, which is located on Brent Street near the Old Forester Paristown Hall. Tickets are now on sale, and you may even get lucky and score an early bird special! Click on this link to go grab some! They start at $65.

Also related, the Bourbon City Cruisers tuk tuk will be there, and you might spot me on the news Tuesday morning driving one around, maybe taking a reporter or two for a ride. Tune in to WLKY and WDRB! Woot!

White Claw

Today’s Reason To Drink

White Claw

Clawed.

Several of you have asked what my thoughts are on this White Claw hard seltzer phenomenon, since it’s spreading around our nightlife like mono at a teenage summer camp. I admit I’ve dabbled with the Claw and find it to be just an updated — although that doesn’t necessarily mean better — version of Zima.

The Claw is light and refreshing — packing a little more tantalizing zest than a bottle of Bud. It’s also a trend, and trends tend to have a limited shelf life. Just take whipped cream vodka as an example.

I don’t hate the Claw, but I do notice a more heightened hangover the next day when only consuming Claw instead of my standard Michelob Ultra or Bud Light. Can that be because of the difference in ingredients? One being beer and one being malt liquor?

I don’t recall terrible hangovers with Zima, but then again I was guzzling them when I was in my 20s — a time when hangovers were something old people complained of, when Clinton was in office, and when I pretended to like boys. All was right in the world — well, except for the boys part.

I figured it out, though, about a decade later.

But back to the topic at hand — or should I say Claw? Raspberry is the best flavor, the can MUST be crushed upon finishing, and it’s not a bad alternative to light beer.

Will I replace my beloved bourbon and beer with the Claw? Never.

Is the Claw better than Zima? Hell no.

Am I surprised it’s taken off like it has? Nope — everyone is looking for the next big thing.

But if you want to know what I really think: You can’t Claw all day if you don’t start in the morning!

Today’s Reason To Drink

koozies

Free koozies!

I’m hosting a happy hour tonight at Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, and I know you’re gonna join me!

I’m giving away some beer koozies from my personal collection, so get there early if you want first dibs. It goes from 5-7 p.m., and Merle’s is on the corner of Main and Second streets.

Word.

Oh yeah, there are lots of drink specials, including a $5 Old Fashioned and a $3.50 Margarita. Bueno.