Road Rage: Lexington KY Brew Trip

Welcome to my second installment of Road Rage! Where I talk about breweries that I visit while on the road! This time my girlfriend and I took a trip down to Lexington, Kentucky to see a concert at Rupp Arena. Lexington is so close to Cincinnati yet I’ve never really ventured down there before. Of course while we were there we had to hit up some breweries and get some good eats in the process. Keep in mind that I didn’t have the time to get to every brewery in the area and plan on visiting others next time we do make it down there. Also please remember my beer notes are not super detailed as I like to talk about beer in a way that I would chat with a friend about it. I don’t find a need to get all technical. If I like it, I like it, and if I don’t, I don’t. Simple as that. We all have different tastes and I totally respect that.

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On Friday before the concert I sent out a distress signal on Facebook asking my friends where were there some good places to get some grub in the Lex. Many of my friends went to UK so I started getting answers quickly. The one that stood out to us was Joe Bologna’s, a pizza joint in an old converted Jewish Temple. We love pizza and we love cool old buildings so it sounded like a winner to me! They had an average selection of craft beer, but did carry Country Boy, a local brewery there in Lexington. We were told that we had to try the bread sticks so we got a couple for an appetizer…yes only two as they were MASSIVE. I honestly should have snapped a photo, but I didn’t think about it as my stomach was ready for food. Not long after we ordered our pizza it arrived steaming hot. We got bacon, red peppers and green peppers and it was amazing. We are pizza fanatics and we definitely put them up in our top ten favorite list.

After eating some excellent pizza I pulled my phone out to see where the closest brewery was and luckily enough Country Boy was only a few blocks away. We paid the bill and headed out into the sunset.

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Now my only experience with Country Boy up until this point was Shotgun Wedding, a vanilla brown ale that you can find here and there around Cincinnati. I do remember liking it so I was excited to get to check their taproom out.

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The brewery is a little off of the beaten path, but not too hard to find. As we entered the inside was a little dark with a large bar and a decent sized indoor seating area. It really felt like we just walked into a little hole in the wall bar on a side street, but don’t get me wrong it was definitely welcoming.

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They had quite a selection on tap and I of course had to start off with a flight. My girlfriend started off with her favorite, a sour. So here’s what we tried:

  • lexingtonrh-7Stampin’ Ground Stout – I’m normally a big stout fan and this one did it for me. Not the best stout I’ve had and far from the worst. Nice roastyness to it.
  • Raspberry Cider – Nice and refreshing. I’m personally not a huge cider fan, but this one was good. My girlfriend loved it.
  • Living Proof Wild Red – You know me…I’m not a fan of sours and wild beers. Girlfriend said it was pretty good. I of course wasn’t a fan, but I’m a little bias.
  • Amos Moses – Interesting brown ale with some nice hop notes. Very similar to my beloved Gnarly Brown by MadTree.
  • Barrel Aged Chocolate Milk Stout – When I saw this one I knew it would be at the top of my list to try. It was definitely different as I wouldn’t have thought a BA Milk Stout would be as good as this was, but I liked it. Nice and chocolaty with a nice barrel aged finish.
  • Peanutbutter Stout – I keep running into these wherever I go and I have yet to find one that beats Listermann’s Nutcase. Tailgate in Nashville came close. This one was nice and creamy with some good peanutbutter and chocolate notes, but at the end of the day I’d go with the home team here in Cincinnati. I would definitely reccomend it though!
  • Bumpkin Ale – I love me some pumpkin beers…don’t judge me. This one as rather tasty. Nothing off the wall here.

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After the first round we decided to wander out back to their bier garden which was super impressive. The space was small, but it was shaded by hanging hop vines…how cool is that? Picnic tables and bourbon barrels provided seating and table space and the outdoor bar, that wasn’t open, was made out of the back of an old Chevy pickup truck. Supper classy Country Boy I loved it!

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Overall Country Boy was a great spot and when we return to Lexington we will definitely be back.

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Next stop right before the concert was West Sixth. Who needs to tailgate when you have West Sixth right down the street! You’ve probably seen plenty of their beers around Cincinnati including their Cocoa Porter, IPA, Lemongrass Wheat and Amber. Recently their seasonals have been making their way up here as well. Side note: Their Heller Heaven Douple IPA is awesome, grab yourself a six pack.

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The brewery is a little off the beaten path just like Country Boy, but not too far and it’s in a beautiful brick building with art along the sides. There’s outdoor seating that wraps all the way around the corner of the building with huge open garage doors that welcome you to more seating inside and the taproom.

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As we walked in we were greeted with a view into the brewery which was full of barrels probably filled with some delicious creations. I honestly had no idea they had such a huge barrel aging program. Luckily they had some Barrel Aged Pay It Forward Cocoa Porter for sale so of course I had to grab a bottle. I haven’t drank it yet, but expect a post about it when I do!

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The taproom has a homey feel to it. Inside they had tons of seating including some comfy chairs. We spend most our time outside in the wonderful weather as we waited to head over to the concert.

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Here are a selection of the beers that we tried:

  • Bourbon Barrel Rye Stout – This was super balanced across the board. Awesome chocolate, coffee, toffee notes you would expect from an imperial stout with some amazing bourbon and rye notes to round it out.
  • Sixfold III American Farmhouse Ale – This one had a nice hazy golden color to it. Pretty refreshing for the most part. Not my top favorite style of beer, but I enjoyed it on a nice warm day.
  • Transylvania Tripel – Another style that I’ve not been a huge fan of in the past, but it is indeed growing on me. This was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I am branching out from my comfort zone more and more as I progress with Raging Hop and I love it!
  • Meadoweiss – I have quickly found out that I have been developing a taste for Berliner Weisses and it excites me. This is going to be my gateway into more funky beers. I thought this one was pretty rad.
  • Smithtown Brown – Pretty standard brown ale, but super tasty. Nice go to beer for sure.
  • Smoldered Pumpkin Ale – By golly West Sixth makes a killer pumpkin ale! Hit’s all the right notes with me. Good pumpkin taste and lots of yummy spices to boot.

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Overall we absolutely LOVED West Sixth. They are close enough to home to warrant a visit more often than not, but far enough away to wish they were closer. We had some awesome beers that we couldn’t get out hands on up here in Cincinnati. I only wish they sent some more of their brews our way!

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On our second day we didn’t want to spend much time lollygagging around so we decided to stop at Alltech Brewing on our way out. Their Kentucky Burbon Ale has always been a favorite of mine, especially when you mix it with a vanilla porter like Breckenridge’s.

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Alltech is a little more on the industrial side of brewing in my opinion. They aren’t like the big boys, but they sure do feel like it when walking through the brewery. Sadly the only way to enjoy their facilities is to hop on a tour, but the plus side is you get to not only try their beer, but their bourbon from their Town Branch brand as well. As we moved along the tour our guide explained the beer making process and how they age their beers in their own barrels from Town Branch at another facility across the highway. We made our way to the tasting room to grab a few beers before heading off to the distillery. I opted to save most of my tasting tokens to try some bourbon because when in Kentucky you have to have some bourbon right?

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The distillery part of the tour was the most intriguing to me as I didn’t know much about the process at all. It was really cool to see their huge open air wooden tanks that allowed wild yeasts to help the fermenting process along. We were even allowed to try some of the raw distillers beer. It didn’t have a great taste, but it was fun to try.

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Alltech was a fun stop on our way out of town and I would totally suggest you check it out. Hey, it’s a stop on the bourbon trail so you might as well right? We forgot to get our passports as one day we would love to take a trip on the bourbon trail, but I guess that means we have to stop here again eh?

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Lexington was a hell of a fun time and we plan on making our way down there in the future. There were a lot of smaller breweries that we didn’t get to visit, but I am excited knowing that I will get to explore them someday. For now I thank you for taking some time to read about our adventure! Cheers!