2012 was the second year I visited Kentucky for the Bourbon Festival. Just like 2011, it was a hoot. This time around (see my previous post) I was able to hit the entire Kentucky Bourbon Trail in one trip. The combination of the two made it that much more enjoyable. Because I was sloppy about taking photos this second trip, I am going to borrow some photos from 2011 for scenery, but not events. We wandered into town and as usual started in the Bardstown center of downtown to get our tickets and passes and whatnot. The building is beautiful and the people are friendly as can be.
Also, this is a famous place, in case you were wondering and I'm sure you were:
In 2011, I rode a turkey barrel.
Oh, so many... YUM!!!
The first night at the Bourbon Festival, we always eat dinner at the Old Talbott Tavern, seen here flanked by chuckleheads:
While waiting for our table, I found my signature hat (supplants my signature University of Michigan hat):
For an appetizer, my buddy Ritch (right-hand chucklehead above) suggested Kentucky "burgoo." It's a stew-soup thing. It was absolutely delicious and I wanted to eat it the entire time I was there. But, I had to save room for bourbon, of course. Oh, and steak:
Throughout our feast at the Old Talbott Tavern, we were sampling bourbon, of course:
This year we sampled Michter's, Wathen's, Jefferson's Reserve, Rowen's Creek Small Batch, and Noah's Mill Small Batch. Every single one of them was delicious. The biscuits made great palette cleansers, too.
After dinner, in order to get to the main Bourbon Festival happenings, we walked past the Jailer's Inn Bed & Breakfast. So, we took photos.
And we took more photos...
And then there's the obligatory shackles photo that EVERYONE was doing when they passed this place:
I won't even attempt to say what night we did which thing, so I'll just talk about what I remember from a given night, sparked by photos I'm finding in iPhoto. I'll have the events correct, but probably not the actual night it happened.
One of the nights, we hung out TWICE upstairs with the Angel's Envy party people in the historic Spalding Hall building in the center of the Bourbon Festival. It was dimly lit, had great music playing and they were serving their new Angel's Envy bourbon, which is finished in ruby port wine barrels. It was so smooth and sweet. Absolutely delicious.
In 2011, we took the guided ghost tour because Ritch is big on ghostly things and it sounded like fun. A lady with a little mini amplifier and a fast-food-drive-thru headset talks you through all the stories as you walk around downtown. It's a hoot!
It winds up in a graveyard that is old as dirt and VERY cool!
Eventually, we wound up downstairs at the Spalding Hall building for drinks and dinner. The bar side has sooooo many bourbons to choose fro, of course. Here's a photo of my buddies Dan and Ritch enjoying tea. OK, it's bourbon. The three of us hope to expand our troupe to more for 2013.
Bardstown is a little town and it's beautiful. The center of town where the Bourbon Festival takes place is quaint and the people are friendly. Here's Ritch being a tourist:
If you haven't been to a Bourbon Festival, you have to do it at least once. Even if you're not a bourbon drinker, it's still fun. It's like the alcoholic version of the squash festival from the 80's movie Doc Hollywood. The town it great. The food is fantastic. The music is awesome. The people are super. The proximity to so many incredible distilleries is priceless. Get there. I'll be there with a slightly larger contingent than previous years, I think. I'll be tweeting like usual, so look me up.