401 E Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202
While it might be a little bit of a walk from the more popular bars along Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville, Against the Grain is not a place to be missed. Situated inside the ball park, it’s got a gigantic patio and a cool taproom stocked with very memorable can art. So for that reason, people love to come here for the beers. Would you be seriously missing out if you did? Yes. Because that barbecue is really something. They smoke beers, they smoked meats, and all-around make for a really delicious experience.
The barbecue should be discussed first. You absolutely need to get a meal here.
- Ribs: Cooked until they are fall off the bone, and then smothered in a very interesting tangy sauce that has a little bit of vinegar in a little bit of sugar. Definitely good on their own.
- Brisket: Thick cut, with ample amounts of gristle. The meat is so soft and fall-apart. And that smoky bark really adds a lot of flavor. You don’t need that much barbecue sauce to enhance it.
- Mac & cheese: Baked a skillet and talked with breadcrumbs, a few kinds of cheese come together here. Great when shared.
Then of course, there are the beers. Per its name, the bar is predisposed to smokey drinks. But there is often a good variety on tap:
- Aunt Claudine’s Salty Melons: A very memorable summer drink, evoking grilled watermelon. The fruit flavor hits you first, followed in short order by a little bit of salt to elevate it. Then you get that smoke as a finish.
- Gegen den Strom: A traditional German style smoked beer, this one was brewed as a partnership with Freigeist, based in Stolberg. Smoke is aggressive on the front, but the full body is there.
- Bloody Show: An orange pilsner. Lighter body and a steady citrus note hits you all the way through.
True to its place attached to a ballpark, it’s kind of got a sports bar feel, but more importantly, a big patio that makes spending a lot of time here really enjoyable. Kind of a place where you might want to hang out for awhile, especially in those warm months. Really, it’s not that bad of a hike from the other places in downtown where things are happening.
A brewery that does good beer is a must, but it’s surprising how few even attempt to pair good food alongside it. This would be one of those wonderful exceptions. It’s worth a meal.
- A lot of the beers here come in cans, so you can walk out with a few of these — or a growler full, of course.
- The taproom usually has a balanced selection of a few different beers, many seasonal, to sample. They do offer flights of six beers, often a very different six, and that’s good if you like variety.
- Food here is absolutely a must. The smoked meats are very on par with the smoked beers.