Louisville’s own Hunter S. Thompson was a fan of good beer. That’s why Dennie Humphrey thought a local craft beer fest would be another fitting tribute to the gonzo journalist.
And thus, Beer and Loathing in Louisville was born as a sort of halfway-to-Gonzofest companion event to the local annual tribute to Thompson that was created in 2010. Beer and Loathing will take place Nov. 28 at the Ice House.
Gonzofest organizers are working with the Kentucky Guild of Brewers to make the event happen; expect plenty of local and regional craft beer, wine by Old 502 Winery, food, live music by BoogieJuice Funk-n Horn-Band and plenty more. The proceeds will help fund Gonzofest; in addition to honoring Thompson’s legacy with the events, the hope is to ultimately create a statue of Thompson.
Humphrey, Gonzofest co-founder and owner of The Monkey Wrench, believes this can happen by growing Gonzofest.
“I see people getting their picture taken with it,” Humphrey says, adding that he hopes the statue can be placed somewhere of importance, like the waterfront or someplace downtown. “Someplace it can be seen.”
Another attraction at Beer and Loathing will be a Hunter S. Thompson look-alike contest, with the winner getting two free tickets to Gonzofest 2015 as a grand prize. Imagine an Ice House filled with Hunter S. Thompsons — tipsy ones, at that.
Beer and Loathing has another goal of sorts as well, and that is to entice Bill Murray, a friend of Thompson who portrayed the writer in the 1980 film “Where the Buffalo Roam,” to attend Gonzofest 2015. Mention the wild possibility of Murray showing up to the festival dressed as Thompson, and Humphrey appears to get chills.
“Awww, man,” he says.
“That would be amazing,” adds Lauren Hendricks, who in charge of promoting Beer and Loathing.
Humphrey wants to grow Gonzofest for the obvious reasons, but he also knows it can be huge culturally, which helps the city in addition to honoring Thompson’s legacy. At the same time, he doesn’t want to upset the grassroots nature of the festival and how it began, which basically was just a group of friends deciding to do it.
So, the talk of sponsorships and such must be handled delicately.
“Hunter would not be down with anything like this,” Humphrey says. “We know this.”
At the same time, the festival and its intentions have outgrown its previously small environs: “It’s way bigger than The Monkey Wrench,” Humphrey says. “I don’t mind my name being related to it, but it’s way bigger than this little spot.”
With assists from the city and the Louisville Downtown Development Corp., Gonzofest looks poised to see more growth. Beer and Loathing is a step in that direction. At the 2015 event, Humphrey hopes a rendering of a Thompson statue — possibly with fist raised and a typewriter under one arm — can be unveiled. And hey, maybe Bill Murray will even show up.
Meantime, we have one more way to honor the father of gonzo journalism and another reason to drink local beer.
“We’re behind any event that helps promote Kentucky beer,” says John King, executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers. “And this particular event is unique.”
Beer and Loathing in Louisville will run from 5-8 p.m. on Nov. 28 at the Ice House. General admission tickets are $45. VIP tickets are $75 and include 4 p.m. entry, special beer tastings, food vouchers and a VIP lounge. Designated driver tickets are $10 and included unlimited non-alcoholic drinks. The Monkey Wrench will host an official after-party featuring the music of Johnny Berry.