Kentucky Brewgrass Trail offers beer and beer-themed food for travelers

Kentucky Brewgrass Trail: Excellent craft beer plus

Lexington has long been known as the Horse Capital of the World in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region but here, alongside the famous distilleries of the Bourbon Trail, I discovered several new microbreweries featuring excellent craft beers on the fledgling Brewgrass Trail Their motto proudly printed on their coasters says it all, Respect the bourbon, drink the beer.

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Lexington Kentucky

West Sixth Brewing Company

I began my tour of the Brewgrass Trail with a stop at the West Sixth Brewing Company housed in the old Rainbo Bread Factory near Transylvania University in Lexington.

Owners Ben Self, Joe Kuosman, and Brady Barlow greeted me at the door of what they now call the Bread Box to show me how they have converted the old building into not only a microbrewery but a community destination with an artists studio and gallery, retail shops, and even space for the local women's roller derby to practice.

They also plan on being the first Kentucky microbrewery to can their beer for distribution in an effort to go green. But most impressive was their commitment to the neighborhood by pledging six percent of their profits to be donated to local charities.

Country Boy Brewing

Country Boy Brewing Company is located in an old baseball batting cage facility. Owners Daniel Harrison and Evan Coppage showed me around the facility and how they had furnished their tasting room with local barrels, doors, and other salvaged wood to create a very homey, unique bar for patrons. I bellied up to the bar where I enjoyed a flight of their handiwork ranging from dark stouts to light ales. Whatever your taste is in beer, Country Boy has it.

Danville Kentucky

Danville's slogan is It's Better Here and it has been named by Money Magazine as one of the Top 10 places in the country to retire. I was soon to find out why. Danville is located in Boyle County which had historically always been "dry" but the law was changed a few years ago and now several new stops on the Brewgrass Trail are located here.

Beer Engine

The Beer Engine was my next stop in downtown Danville and here I found a small microbrewery tucked away behind a theater that conjured up visions of what the old fashioned speakeasy must have been like during Prohibition. You definitely have to know where to look for Beer Engine but once inside you had the feeling of being at a private club where the regulars all know your name. Owner Brian Holton's fulltime job is an emergency room nurse but his love for brewing has him working around the clock to put out some of the finest craft beers I've tasted.
If You Go Pay your respects to my favorite Kentucky bourbon, Maker's Mark, and enjoy an elegant meal at Jonathan at Gratz Park Inn. I ordered the Maker's 46 roasted salmon served on a lightly smoked charred oak stave preceded by a warm Brussels Sprout slaw featuring house cured Maker's Mark barrel smoked bacon, cabernet soaked cranberries and warm, coarse ground mustard dressing. Exquisite! For dessert, they brought me a slice of chocolate cake complete with a candle and chef Jonathan Lundy's own homemade ice cream.

These are just a few of the growing numbers of establishments on the Kentucky Brewgrass Trail and I encourage you to visit their website and choose your own itinerary. For more information on all the attractions, lodging, and maps of the Bluegrass region of Kentucky go to Visit Lexington and Better In Danville

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Mark Bradley has always had a pent up desire to see the world going back to the time he saw his first movie travelogue at the tender age of ten years old. At the turn of the new millennium when it suddenly dawned on him -- it was time to see the world. He says "I pledged to visit all 50 US states by my 50th birthday in 2005" and did so with his final four states coming into view as he followed the Lewis and Clark Trail on the bicentennial of their epic journey. With five continents and fifty states in his rearview mirror, he looks forward to continuing to explore all this big, beautiful world has to offer.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Updated: December 8, 2016

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