Kentucky isn’t just about bourbon! The Bluegrass state is home to some tasty beer too. On this Kentucky adventure, we’ll take a tour of the breweries in Lexington.
Both Louisville and Lexington are less than an hour and a half away from me, which makes for an easy day trip. While I like Louisville for the overall fun (and awesome concerts at the YUM Center) it holds, I think I prefer Lexington when it comes to the beer.
So on a random Saturday morning I had no plans and really wanted to wear a derby-style hat (it was horse racing season). Impromptu trip to Lexington it is! I found five breweries that sounded good and hit the road. Well, Andrew hit the road while I took a nap in the car, per usual.
Pause for a short commercial break: While I prefer you read on, I’m going to start a new “cheating” section for those with short attention spans. If you don’t feel like reading my full blog, scroll to the end for my official order of faves which takes into account both beer and atmosphere.
For those of you who really care, let’s continue 🙂
West Sixth Brewing
Outside of the awesome photo West Sixth provides (as pictured above), they also have a great taproom space to chill both indoors and out, as well as some of the best beer. It got a little crowded with people going on brewery tours, so I’d recommend sitting in the garage space instead. I could see myself hanging out here on a normal Saturday afternoon if I lived closer.
While there I tried the following, in order of preference:
- Half Bite IPA (drink it all day!)
- Heller Heaven Double IPA (drinkable for a double)
- Magic Beans Coffee Stout
- Second Fiddle Simcoe
Overall, I enjoyed all of their beers. On other occasions, I’ve also had their Meadoweisse and Brown Ale which are pretty good.
Blue Stallion Brewing Co
Next up we went to Blue Stallion, which was a couple blocks away on West 3rd (get it, West Sixth on 6th!). We went more out of convenience since we don’t typically like German beer. My biggest regret of the day is not getting the Oskar Blues Coffee IPA they had as a guest tap. Seriously, I still think about it. When we were in Asheville (my next blog), we couldn’t even get this beer at their taproom. Anyway, back to Blue Stallion.
Their space was pretty large but a bit like a restaurant as opposed to my chill/industrial preference. They had a room up front and another bar area in the back which was made for giants. I’m not kidding, I think the bar was 5 feet tall and I could barely reach over it. If anyone reading this knows the answer, seriously, what’s up with that?
Once I managed to retrieve my flight, I tried:
- Kama Sumatra
- Lil RBF
- Patch Kids (too yeasty)
- Donnelly Red Irish (not my style)
Kama Sumatra was actually pretty good. I gave it a four, however I wasn’t huge fans of the others or the overall atmosphere. I probably wouldn’t recommend this place to someone unless they’re a big German beer fan.
This was a super cool brewery in what I called an “industrial strip mall”, which doesn’t do it justice. It was a bunch of old abandoned factories (I think) that were converted into different restaurants and shops. We were super confused and had no idea what we were getting into when we drove by, but once we pulled around back we discovered a bustling little town. Find a parking space was a bit difficult and we may have parked illegally, so be warned!
Like the rest of the place, the Ethereal space was awesome. It had huge ceilings, brick walls and an area in the back with murals. Plus a Big Ass Fan. I don’t do well in hot breweries during summer.
- Ancient Bone Saber (nice Saison)
- The Abstractionist (sour brown)
- Wanderland IPA
- White Ale Witbier
- Lambda Oatmeal Stout
Overall the beers were decent to good, but I definitely dug it more for its space. That alone is a must-see! Plus, there’s Crank and Boom next door, an alcoholic ice cream shop that serves boozey sundaes/shakes and ice cream flights.
Country Boy Brewing
While I liked the beer better at Country Boy than I did at Ethereal, the atmosphere here didn’t do it for me. The taproom was in a small, dark garage-like building that was on the dingy side. Spoiler alert: this is usually a big factor in my rankings as I like to enjoy the space I’m hanging out in, which is the only reason I dropped it below Ethereal. Their beer however was great!
They had quite a few choices available in the taproom, so I ended up having 2 flights. Yum! I tried:
- Little Black Train (straight up espresso)
- Living Proof: Strawberry Ginger Sour (tart!)
- Black Gold Porter
- Last Year’s Was Better
- Cliff Jumper IPA
- Alpha Experiment Galaxy
- Golden Stout (not the best light coffee beer, but tasty)
- Infinite Sadness Barrel-Aged (Whoa- “not man enough for that” was my actual statement)
Like I said, beer was great, just not a personal fan of the space… but do not skip this place! I would not expect Country Boy to have a sleek, modern industrial design. I am clearly not their demo, being neither country nor a boy 🙂
Mirror Twin Brewing
My last stop of the day was Mirror Twin. This had the opposite atmosphere and was right up my alley. Light, sleek and modern. Check! They also had some pretty solid music playing. The beer was better than average but nothing to write home about however. I think I may have enjoyed their beer names much more than the beer itself! I mean check these out:
- D’s Nutty Brown Ale
- Mos Def
- Whoops… I Tarted
- Double D’s Melons
If you didn’t laugh at any of these, we can’t be friends. So overall, decent place to hang out and drink, but it wouldn’t be my go-to stop on a limited Lexington trip timeframe.
So, what’s the verdict for your next trip? My overall Lexington brewery rankings are:
West Sixth. Ethereal. Country Boy. Mirror Twin. Blue Stallion.
I hope you didn’t cheat. If you did, shame on you. Also, you missed some pretty pictures.
Thanks for reading!