Only 1 more day to go and it’s the weekend for us!!! The internet works better when 200 campers leave. So to continue on with last Thursday’s journey, we went to Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, KY for their tour (cost $7.00). It was a beautiful drive thru horse farms to get to the distillery, which is also a National Historic Landmark. The tour was excellent, as we were able to see a few things we have not experienced before.
One nice part of the tour was everyone was given headphones, so we could clearly hear what the tour guide was saying. He started out discussing what makes a bourbon, and the 5 sources of flavor (grains, water, yeast, copper pot distilling, and aging in barrels). Woodford Reserve has one recipe, and one bourbon, all distilled in small batches.
Woodford Reserve is the only distillery in Kentucky that triple distills their bourbon, which creates a smoother taste.
We were able to watch an employee hand stamp all their barrels with their logo, as well as the date, as they were filling the barrels while we were there.
After the bourbon goes thru the 3 copper pot stills, it goes into a barrel. The barrels are then sent down what looks like railroad tracks, to the only surviving limestone aging warehouse in the United States.
Inside the warehouse are hundreds of barrels, just waiting for the right time, usually 6-8 years.
When the master distiller determines the bourbon in the barrels has reached its full maturity, those barrels are taken from the warehouse and brought into the bottling area. An employee uses a lift to place the barrels on a trough, and then drills out the barrel stop, rolls the barrel over, and the bourbon drains out.
You can see the bourbon pouring out of the barrel below on the right.
The bourbon then goes to these large tanks for filtering, mixing and then on to bottling.
The tour was great, and we really enjoyed the Woodford Reserve bourbon. Plus, we got to keep the RV friendly acrylic glass that our sample came in!
After Woodford Reserve, it was off to our final stop for the day, at the Town Branch Distillery in Lexington, KY. This distillery is new to the Bourbon Trail for 2013. They have both whiskey, and craft beer.
We toured both the brewery, and then the distillery, which is only operating part-time now, as it is new. The brewery uses an old 1940’s bottling machine for their beer. It reminded me of an old episode of Laverne and Shirley.
Their bourbon was okay, but they had excellent craft beer. The best that we tasted was Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. They take their Ale beer, and then put it into used bourbon barrels, for 6 weeks of aging. It was one of the best tasting beers we have ever had. They said they are now selling their beer in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. So if you have a chance to purchase their beer, I would recommend it! It comes in a 4-pack, and was a bit pricey down here at $11.99. But it was very tasty.
They also have a Kolsch-style beer, regular Kentucky Ale, and a hoppy IPA. We also liked the Kolsch-style beer (can’t be called just Kolsch, as it was not made in Germany). It was a lighter style of beer.
All in all, it was a good day working our way around Kentucky. Only 2 more distilleries to go, to complete our passport.
Quote for the day: “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” Lucille Ball