Louisville, I knew I would love you before I got to you. And you did not disappoint. Except, well maybe the crap hotel I stayed in, but that’s not your fault. Other than my not-so-great hotel and location of the Days Inn, Jasper and I fully enjoyed our 4 night stay in Kentucky (3 in Louisville/1 in Lexington).
After getting to our hotel (I say that loosely), which was under construction and had not so pleasant desk staff, we headed back downtown (a mere 15 min drive) for lunch/dinner at Against the Grain – which has a very large dog friendly patio and is situated between the Louisville stadium and the newly installed Angel’s Envy distillery. Sometimes, in my attempt to spend less money, I order oddly. Sure I’ll have the $4 cup of Kentucky Burgoo (a hodgepodge stew of mixed meats), it was good, but a little odd for a warm day. And to accompany that I order sides of Brussel sprouts and beans… the beans were a bad idea – too much sauciness with the soup. But the sprouts were to die for in the best way possible. And instead of the more expensive Old Fashioned, I had the Spiced Manhattan (chai?!).
We followed up our dinner with a walk through downtown, and a gotta say it was pretty cute. Walkable with a lot of charm.
For my time there, I booked 3 different distillery tours/events. I found that booking through Mint Julep was rather expensive ($130-$150) and took all day. So I made my own way. Also to note, none of the facilities are dog friendly – so either you’re stuck tag-teaming or leaving fido at the hotel (if possible)
- Evan Williams – They set up a tour downtown Kentucky, so no driving needed. The basic tour costs $10 and it’s a great little history/distillery process lesson. Lots to learn, and I’m glad I did this one first because it was the most thorough. At the end you taste 3 bourbons (8 yr, single barrel, and 12 yr), single barrel was my favorite, but what do I know :). Plus you get a bourbon ball – mmmm.
- Angel’s Envy – Their new distillery and tasting room opened at the end of 2016. It’s really gorgeous. For this I bought the $45 tour and cocktail class. Where Evan Williams showed and talked about the process, Angel’s Envy had it in action – we even got to taste the mash at different stages – that was a new one for me. We tasted 3 ‘bourbon’ whiskeys at the end, and of course, it was accompanied by chocolate as well (they age their whiskey in used barrels – so no longer can they call it bourbon). For the class, we made an old fashioned, which was lovely. And ate small bites prepared to complement the cocktail.
- Copper and Kings – The week I was in town was the Kentucky Bourbon Affair, and there were lots of events and dinners hosted at individual distilleries around town. Most were on the pricier end, but I found one for $50 that included dinner, a few drinks, and a tour (most interestingly, they sonicly age their brandy). The food was South African inspired Braai (Boerewors – seasoned sausage w/ spices and pepper relish, Tjop – lambchop with spices and salsa verde, potato salad & grilled corn). I made lots of friends, and stayed until 11 or so. Definitely great experience.
One friend I made while visiting offered to take me to Churchill, and since Saturday was my checkout day, Jasper needed to come as well. We got the backstage look, and also utilized Jasper’s calling as a support animal to bring him through the gates – he was well behaved, mostly just snuggling in my arms. Sadly, our bets did not land us in any winner circles with champagne sprayed all over us (oh wait, that’s nascar). But it was a great end to the lovely time in Louisville. Before leaving, I stopped in Lexington, though it ended up just being for breakfast before continuing northeast to Ohio.
Stayed at: Days Inn Louisville Central University & Expo Center – 3 nights for $209.34 + $25 for Jasper’s full stay (semi-dog friendly; not recommended)
Ate At: (1) Against the Grain – $4 Burgoo, $4 fries, $3.5 bakes beans, $3,5 Brussel sprouts (in retrospect, I should have got a side plate (4 for $13), $10 Spice Manhattan; dog friendly (2) Proof on Main – $13 Grilled ham & Cheese, $10 False Flattery cocktail; (3) Nachbar – $5-7 per beer, very dog friendly, great local bar with patio; (4) Ramsi’s Café on the World – $12.75 Faithful Falafel, $7.50 Dizzy Ginger Cocktail; (5) doodles – $9.25 Biscuit and Gravy w/ cheese grits (can never get enough) – these were perfection, $2.25 coffee, dog friendly