Not Just a Bourbon Town
I needed a road trip in my life. Cabin fever had set in and getting in the car and just driving somewhere new will help with that. I didn’t want to go too far since I wanted to be back for the Bearcats game Sunday against Wichita St. Luckily, Lexington, KY isn’t that far away from Cincinnati and they have a blossoming beer scene. In an attempt to me more millennial I booked my first Airbnb. A pretty cool castle on what I’ll call the east side of town.
Lexington doesn’t have the number of breweries that Cincinnati has but the places I went were impressive. I tried to make it to a variety of them and total I hit four different breweries on my visit.
First up on the list is West Sixth Brewing. Located, you guest it on W Sixth St. If you’re reading this and from Cincinnati you’ve heard of these guys before. If I remember right they even participated in the 50 West Punch Out last year. They’ve been around for a while, 2012, and have a solid reputation. I love their double IPA Heller Heaven, it’s actually one of my favorites. (They had it on tap!) I learned that they have a second tap room open on Main St and they even have a farm you can visit in the warmer months of the year.
The taproom was big but filled with people. Have I mentioned that I decided to visit Lexington the same day #1 Tennessee played #5 Kentucky in Rupp Arena? Needless to say, the city was hyped so any place with booze was packed. The building they’re in is huge and shared with a host of different businesses. One you can walk right into is Smithtown. A seafood, burger, and salad place. West Sixth had so many beers on tap as well as specialty bottles and cans to go. I had a flight and picked some beers to go. The highlight of the flight was Sixthanator Doppelbock. Maybe I have Bockfest on my mind but this beer did it for me. It’s sweet, malty, and smooth. I still have a couple of cans left that I bought to go and looking forward to trying this week.
If you’re in Lexington its a must try.
Pivot was the last stop of the day. It was closer to my room and a place I didn’t plan on stopping because I had never heard of them before. According to Untappd they’re a Cidery that also brews beer. I didn’t know this going in but it was a nice change of pace. I didn’t get to try any ciders because their beer list was to intriguing so, of course I got a flight. The Bad Penny IPA was easily my favorite. The tap room is a small cozy place, maybe sitting 60 people. (I might be way off on that number but it’s not big) They have a huge patio area but that wasn’t an option this weekend. It was cold.
Pivot seemed like more of a neighborhood brewery where visitors like myself don’t often end up. The people were super cool and very helpful. There wasn’t a seat available when we walked in but we ended up sharing a table with some locals who were giving us the inside scoop to all the places around town. I didn’t see any bottles or cans available to go so unfortunately I don’t have anything to try this week at home but I’d definitely stop again when I’m in Lexington.
Ethereal Brewing has been creeping into the Cincinnati market lately. At least if you’re close to Cappy’s in Loveland. I love the name and was very excited to visit the brewery and taproom to see everything they had to offer. It was my first stop of the trip because of that. The place is in the Distillery District giving it a great location that’s also close to downtown.
Ethereal is a pretty big place with two different rooms of seating in the taproom. They had a lot of different beers on tap as well as bottles of core and specialty beers to go. I was a big fan of their Throwback pilsner and Wanderland IPA. Wanderland was arguably the best IPA I had on the trip. I bought a Priory of Shadows bottle to take with me. I’m waiting to crack that one open! It’s a barrel aged milk stout with vanilla. Let’s be honest though I’m not going to wait that long.
Everyone will know of this place soon.
Mirror Twin Brewing
I was told to visit Mirror Twin from a friend of mine a couple months ago. I trust his recommendations so I had to make a stop and see what it was all about.
Mirror Twin has a really unique concept in that their head brewer himself is a Mirror Twin. Meaning he and his brother are mirror images of each other, one is right handed and the other left handed. They took that concept and applied it to some of their beers. For example, their beers Citranomical and Mos Def are mirror twins so they took the recipes and “twinned” them by brewing two identical beers but changing one ingredient (using different hops, yeast strains, grain.) You can order 8oz of each for the price of one to taste and compare.
Additionally, Mirror Twin has two “identical” buildings right next to each other with a parking lot in the middle.
My favorite beer of the trip also came from MTB, Big City Slams. It’s a blonde stout with strawberries and chocolate. I’ve had blonde stouts before but not with the complexity of this beer. I wish I would have gotten a growler of it honestly. I did get a specialty bottle of their rum barrel aged Porchata I’ll try soon though.
This place is super cool and everyone there was really into helping you find your favorite MTB beer.
Overall I had a great time in Lexington trying as many beers as I could while I was in town. I hit up four breweries but would have liked to stop at Country Boy Brewing, Blue Stallion, and Rock House but ran out of time. All four offered something unique to them. I’ll be anxious to see what the beer scene looks like in a couple of years. Especially, since they’re competing with a rich bourbon heritage. Come to think of it I would have imagined that the breweries would have offered more BA beers with all the barrels in the city and state but I guess they really hard to get ahold of for everyone.
When I go back I’ll pick a weekend that isn’t so crazy so I can spend more time talking with the people behind the bar. It wasn’t really an option on this particular Saturday with BBN out in full force.
The haul I took home with me was a pretty good score.