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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kentucky - Backroads, Breweries, and Bourbon

I've driven through Kentucky many, many times - and skirted around Lexington, appreciating the beauty of the white fences that stretch along I-75 as it rolls through "horse country."  But one of the great treats of being "soccer mom," is getting to spend some time in an area I haven't really explored before when the team is traveling.  We really enjoyed our weekend in Lexington and the opportunity to get off I-75 and get a real look at the backroads and byways of a beautiful part of this state (when we weren't at the soccer games, of course!).

On Saturday, the team and entourage (read: devoted parents) were invited to the home of last year's assistant coach for a picnic lunch.  En route, we ran into a flooded road which detoured us onto a back road giving us a wonderful ride by some incredible horse farms such as the one above.  When we finally arrived to our destination, we found ourselves driving up a long lane to "an old Kentucky home" at another horse farm - a beautiful house, with sprawling lawn and welcoming shade trees, perfect for the hot afternoon picnic.  Everyone enjoyed a quick tour of the barns and visiting with the horses - especially the newest ones.

Over lunch, we heard that a couple of the parents had just come from a tour and tasting at one of the local bourbon distilleries.  A few more pictures and off we went...but alas, we arrived fifteen minutes after the tours ended for the day.  All was not lost as we realized we were but a few miles away from a local brewery - Plan B.

Alltech's Lexington Brewery and Distilling Co. is home to several craft brews as well as its own bourbon, whiskey, and coffee liqueur.   Due to time, we didn't take the official tour (where you can do tastings for everything) but only did tastings for the beers.  Definitely some surprises!  I really liked their light brew - which was not a surprise for me (I always prefer a pale ale) - but this one, Kentucky Kolsch, had more taste to it than most of the pale ales or light beers I've tried.  One of the brewery's all-time favorite crafts is their award-winning Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale - they take their regular Kentucky Ale and age it for up to six weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels.  Hubby and I both loved this one - and this is one that came back with us.  The other brew that made the cut and made the return trip with us - and this one was a big surprise (neither one of us had actually used a ticket to do a tasting for this one - we were hanging around afterwards talking with the guides and they insisted that we try it) - was the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout.  I never touch a dark beer and hubby rarely drinks a stout, so as I said, neither of us even thought about trying it.  But when our guide found out we hadn't tried it, she explained that because the bourbon barrel adds a hint of caramel and vanilla, the taste isn't like a traditional stout but has a finish like a coffee.  Skeptical, we both tried it - wow, she was right!  Astonishingly, right!  A perfect beer for a cool fall evening.
So, no bourbon (other than "infused" in the beer) for us this trip.  But, I think we will return sometime to follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail - in honor of Nana (one highball everyday at 5 o'clock - bourbon and ginger ale - just one.... :) ) -  now that we know our way around.  What a beautiful part of the country!  Oh, and hubby has decided on his Christmas present - he wants a set of the stout snifter glasses ;)

P.S.  As "soccer mom,"  I would be remiss if I did not share my favorite "save" of the weekend.  :)



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