Barton Distillery

Barton Distillery

Day 2 of the tour, we only hit two distilleries today but we have two bars to share as well. First stop of the day was Barton Distilleries, makers of Barton 1792 and Very Old Barton Bourbons. We learned that they make eight varieties and they bottle for other distillers from around the world in their very impressive bottling facility. We enjoyed this tour; it was a little more industrial than others, which was kind of a nice change. We were taken through the entire process, including tasting some of the “white dog” spirit that came straight from the still. I hate to say it but I liked it more than their finished spirits. It is a little sweeter in taste and on the nose, super smooth being around 140 proof and had a slight taste of corn. I really hoped they would sell that but unfortunately they do not.

Barton Distillery Rack House

Barton Distillery Rack House

Jim Beam Distillery Visitor Center

Jim Beam Distillery Visitor Center

Next stop was Jim Beam. We missed the big tour, which took you on a bus through their vast facility. However, we did a walking tour that was free and included a tasting. The tasting room was very modern, and had19 spirits to choose from. It was pretty state-of-the art and included self-serve dispensers, like you’d find in a modern wine shop. It probably come sin handy when servicing the 1,000 patrons that typically come through daily. The only negative was that you only get two tasting per person. Kentucky has some crazy liquor laws. However we were also surprised to learn that two of our go-to bourbons, Basil Hayden and Knob Creek, were made by Jim Beam. Needless to say we got an education on bourbon and especially the different packaging bourbon comes in.

We had a very nice lunch at their smoke shack. We tried the pulled chicken sandwich and baby back ribs. Both were super tender and event tastier after we add the Jim Beam bourbon barbeque sauce on to them. The ribs were pull-off-the bone tender. Who would think a snack bar at a distillery would be this good? Worth grabbing a bite if you hang out.

Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

Next we headed off to Louisville. A trip is to Louisville is not complete without a trip to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. We mad haste into the arena to place a bet, watch a horse race or two and enjoy the customary mint julep.

It was a holiday so the city was pretty dead but managed to get to a couple of places that we had heard about. First was the Old Seelbach Bar at the Hilton Seelbach Hotel. It was opened in 1874 and has been written up a number of times over the years. The bar itself was nice but the hotel was gorgeous and decorated in Gatsby-era decor. We grabbed a couple of cocktails and moved on. It was neat seeing the place where Al Capone was known to have hung out and being a part of the history surrounding it.

The Silver Dollar Bar

The Silver Dollar Bar

We certainly appreciate the bourbon heritage Kentucky has to offer but as food enthusiasts have quickly discovered, it’s a bit of a food desert. Las stop of the night was The Silver Dollar Bar. They have a huge selection of spirits and something like 130 varieties of bourbon. We enjoyed a number of craft cocktails and sampled a few of their appetizers. These guys know how to fry. We really loved their fried oysters and fried pickles. They are part of the Louisville Urban Bourbon trail.

Tomorrow we head towards Lexington, Kentucky for more distilleries.

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