Since the Kentucky Derby was yesterday, it just seemed fitting to post our latest blog highlighting our recent trip out to Kentucky! “The Kids,” Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter, had never been to this part of the country before, so when Deschutes Brewery announced that they’d be expanding into the “Bluegrass State”, we were all on board.
We started our trip in Louisville. Upon check in to our hotel, we found out that there was so much to do in this friendly mid-west city. After a “Hot Brown” & a “Derby Pie” at the Brown Hotel, we decided to set out to see the sights.
We started out downtown at the Louisville Slugger Museum. The museum and factory is located on “museum row” and here, you can see how these famous bats are made on a tour, check out historical bats from the most famous baseball players like Babe Ruth, feel bats of different weights and materials, and take a swing in the batting cages. Black Butte Porter hit two home runs and left with a small souvenir bat to send home to his other beer friends in Bend. We stood next to a 6-story bat outside the museum weighing 68,000 lbs. Although its the world’s largest bat, its hollow inside and made of steel. A great first stop on our tour of Kentucky.
Our next sight downtown was the Belle of Louisville. This steamboat is currently owned and operated by the city of Louisville, Kentucky and moored at its downtown wharf. Originally named Idlewild, she was constructed with an all-steel structure and asphalt main deck and the steamboat is said to hold the all-time record in her class for miles traveled, years in operation, and number of places visited. Idlewild operated as a passenger ferry between Memphis, Tennessee and West Memphis, Arkansas for a while and also hauled cargo such as cotton, lumber and grain. During World War II, she was outfitted with special equipment to push oil barges along the river and served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River. She’s seen and heard a lot on the river but after the war, in 1947, she was sold and renamed Avalon. By 1962, Avalon had fallen into disrepair, and was purchased at an auction for $34,000. She came to back to Louisville and was re-christened Belle of Louisville and was then restored to her current state. Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter boarded the ship for a tour. Although they saw lots of historic photos and furniture, they enjoyed the bright red paddle wheel best at the back of the ship. It reminded them of how our bottles are filled on our bottling line.
Next up, we had to check out the location where the Famous Kentucky Derby was held each year. Churchill Downs, is a Thoroughbred racetrack in Louisville that can currently hold 120,000 people and is a sight to see the first Saturday in May. Folks dressed in their best enjoying the tailgate of the year wait for the “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.” The location which opened back in 1875 was a great spot due to its central location along Louisville and Nashville Railroad tracks back in the day which allowed for easy transport of horses. The Derby is all about traditions. Families have been coming to The Derby for generations to enjoy the company, beautiful horses, races, beer, food and of course, the Mint Julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint and a sugar syrup. Mirror Pond Pale Ale had never had a mint julep so after our tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum, we set out to find the best mint julep in town.
“The Kids” wondered if they’d fit in with all of that great Kentucky Bourbon so we set out on the road to Lexington. As we began driving through the state we noticed several brown signs on the side of the highway steering bourbon fans to distilleries where the “good stuff” is made. Since we had several events in Lexington that night, we didn’t have much time but were able to stop by Buffalo Trace for a tour and photo shoot and then we headed out to the Capitol Building because we heard there was a great story behind this place in Frankfort, KY.
From 1792 to 1830, two buildings were used as the capitol, both of which were unluckily burned down completely. In 1830, a new capitol was built and was used until 1910. Kentucky’s current Capitol is the fourth permanent building since statehood in 1792. It was built to replace the earlier 1830 capitol, still standing in downtown Frankfort, which had become inadequate to accommodate the growing state government. A long and bitter quarrel among Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort over which city should be Kentucky’s Capital finally ended in 1904, when the legislature voted to spend one million dollars for a new capitol to replace the 1830 capitol on the old public square in downtown Frankfort. The architect’s design was far too immense for the original site, so the present site in south Frankfort was chosen instead.
Ground was broken in 1904 and on June 2, 1910 Kentucky’s New Capitol was dedicated. This interesting story of how the Capitol came to be reminded “The Kids” of all of the other state capitol buildings they’ve seen on their travels. They then reflected on how lucky they were to be able to travel to different states and meet all of the amazing people of this fine country.
Although their sightseeing journey was brief, they have decided to plant some roots down in Kentucky and will be around from here on out. You can find “The Kids” at many watering holes, restaurants, bars, bottle shops, and stores near you by using our beer finder tool at: www.deschutesbrewery.com/find.
Oh, and if you were wondering, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter are getting along marvelously with their new “Bourbon” friends.