I’ve gradually been chasing the Lexington side of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, one visit at a time. Most recently I ventured to Woodford Reserve, one of my favourite Bourbon brands, and took a tour of their distillery in Versailles. First I got a bit lost but it serendipitously led me to the Castle of Versailles, Keeneland, and some awesome craft and artisan centers.
My tour guide Russell had a wonderful slow burn sense of humour with the right mix of history and movement. There is not a significant amount of walking but you will not be bored into place for long periods. It was lovely to learn the history and methodology of the Woodford way, stories about the surrounding area, and the tradition of honouring those who distilled before you. The distillery is hidden in between neighbouring horse farms and rolling hills on a beautiful property, and a bus will transport you to and from the the main buildings. Staff provides an audio guide with unused headphones, which is appreciated during those loud moments inside the working sites. And of course you will engage in a bourbon tasting at the end of the tour. After over an hour of inhaling every variation and process of mash and grains, I could hardly wait.
After the tour I pressed on into Lexington proper to check out the downtown area. I came into town to visit some friends and party at their show later on that night, but the day was early and I had a few more places I wanted to see.
Pies & Pints has the best Cuban sandwich with smoked pork and ham on toasted garlic butter baguette, mustard vinaigrette, pickles, and cheese. I opted for the antipasto salad instead of fries, and colour me impressed. P&P carries multiple local and regional craft beers and the staff is attentive and friendly. I met a new friend who asked to join me for a fun conversation sitting at the bar. We drank a few beers and watched the game, and I learned that Lexington locals are basketball fanatics in contrast to football fans everywhere else.
Crank & Boom uses local products to make delicious and booze-infused ice creams to die for. I ordered two scoops- Bourbon + Honey and Coffee Stout, but they had around a dozen or more additional flavours and you can try four for $12. They have several specialty desserts and booze float drinks. Absolutely worth the price, which I have heard a lot of fuss about.
C&B is located in the Distillery District on Manchester Avenue. Park in one place and make your rounds, if you feel like getting dinner at Middle Fork, drinks Ethereal Brewing or The Break Room, taking a craft beer or distillery tour at Barrel House Distillery, Pepper Distillery, or Town Branch or check out the newest venue in town, The Burl. Parking is behind the buildings and can be a little tricky if you have not visited before, just drive a bit further past toward downtown and you will see a painted sign on the right directing you to a large shared lot with free parking.
Next up: Four Roses.