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Posted: 6/21/2003 4:22:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/21/2003 4:53:53 AM EDT by Greywolf2112]
Well, guys - I am back! The wife had planned out a unique vacation that we just completed and thought I'd tell you all about it. Best vacation I've had in a long time. It all started out with us leaving Knoxville at about 1800 Wed. night. My wife had never been to many midwest states before and since we both love zoos, beer, and bourbon we thought she had planned out a 3 day trip that involved all of the above. We traveled to Cincinatti and arrived at a perfect Holiday Inn Express off the interstate - it had just been built and was one of the nicest hotels I've stayed at (and I worked for Marriott for 8 years and am VERY picky when it comes to hotels). We then proceeded to go downtown to a microbrewery/brewpub we had read about on pubcrawler.com (Barrelhouse Brewing Company). But first, we had to drive down Vine street to get there - OMFG! Guys, for those of you who live in OH I feel SO sorry for you that you can't legally carry concealed. My wife and I were literally crawling in our skin at the scene laid out in front of us. It was like we were in some shithole 3rd world African country. My hand kept twitching for the heat - very disconcerting. Very run down neighborhoods with the rare house that someone obviously did care about, trashed cars, gangs of "bucks" hanging out, welfare mommas with their broods standing on the corner drinking 40s - very depressing. So, we arrive at the Barrelhouse Brewing Company intact and definately in need of a few pints. We walk in and are stopped at the door. The guy says, "$18.00" - WTF? Well, seems they have some guitarist playing tonight and we have to pay a cover. Now, my wife had checked their "up-to-date" website that morning and there was no mention of this. So I patiently explain to this guy that my wife and I had driven from Knoxville to try their highly rated beers and food, and that we aren't hear to listen to the guitarist. In fact, I could hear him in the background and he sucked. Probably why there were so few people in there as well. Well, he insisted that we couldn't get in without paying the cover. I explained to him the simple economics of the situation - let us in and we'll spend a good $30+ dollars (plus a nice tip for our server) on their products. However, if you insist on the $18 cover, we'll spend ZERO dollars here and go elsewhere. He then said, "Well, there are other bars down the street you can go to." Hmm, really want to keep our business, eh? So, we kindly told him to fuck off and left. OK, now we're pissed and still in need of beer. So we go to Kroger and get some of my favorite "cheap, high alcohol content, I'm embarassed to like it" beer - Steel Reserve! We go back to the hotel and drink a bottle and decide we are hungry. Now, my wife had read about this Cincinatti institution called "Camp Washington Chili" - open 24/7 and known for having awesome chili in the land of chili. So we hauled our butts over there and had some AWESOME food. Chili cheese coneys and Cincinatti style chili (chili, beans, vidalia onions, served on spaghetti). The chili had a slight curry spiciness with cinammon - a little sweet, but very tasty. And they used shredded beef in it. It truly was amazing, and the service was incredible and the prices were out of this world, very reasonable. (continued)
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 4:51:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/21/2003 4:59:31 AM EDT by Greywolf2112]
So, the next morning we get up and go to the Cincinatti Zoo. We'd heard a lot about this zoo and decided to check it out. WOW! I've been to about 30 zoos in my life, and my wife has been to about 15 others that I haven't been to. We both agreed that this was the best one we've ever been to. INCREDIBLE. Beautiful botanical gardens, lots of animals, many of which I've never seen in captivity. And their breeding progam is incredible, as almost every cage we saw had babies in them. It was well worth the modest admission price and we had a great time there. Next, it was off to Louisville KY for more beer - this time, we arrived and went to a place in New Albany, IN (right across the river) to Rich O's Public House, home of the New Albanian Brewery. Now, let me tell you guys something - I am a beer and pizza Connoisseur - I've drunk literally hundred of different beers and tried a good 6 dozen different restaurant pizzas around the world. This little place was cozy, had a great friendly atmosphere, and had the BEST pizza I've ever had. Bar none. And their beer was amazing as well. They had a huge selection of tapped and bottled beer as well, but their own beer was simply amazing. And the staff and brewmaster were very friendly. We also were amazed at how many "regulars" there were - everyone knew each other's names when they walked in. We sat next to a very nice couple in their late 40s who were older versions of us! We talked with them for hours over many brews and had a great time. The brewmaster invited us back the next day for a tour and to sample some brand new beers he was putting in the keg that day. After we left there we went to Louisville to the Bluegrass Brewing Company - another great brewpub we'd been to once before about a month ago (we were in Louisville for my Grandmother's funeral). We arrived about 15 minutes before they started charging a cover for a band from Australia, and sat at the bar and had a bunch of small samples of their beers. All of them were very good - we also had an order of their berr-battered onion rings - OMG! Best onion rings we've ever had, and they had a very sweet ketchup (their own) as well as a horseradish-mayonaise for dipping - very good. We stayed for a few hours and the band they had was incredible - and so as we were leaving I went up to the band's manager who was taking the money at the front door for cover charges and asked him what the cover was - only $5, he says. So I tell him that even though we didn't pay it when we arrived because we were early, we enjoyed the band so much that we're paying it now! :) Needless to say he was very appreciative of that. The next day we went back to Rich O's Public House (New Albanian Brewery) and got a nice tour of the brewery and got to sample their brand new beers. In fact, I had the honor of getting the first pint of their Bourbon Daddy beer. Amazing beer - it is a stout that has been aged in used bouron barrels from Labrot and Graham distillery (they make Woodford Reserve bourbon) - you could definately taste the bourbon in the beer and it was heavenly. We also had their breadsticks (moist, chewy, yeasty and not crunchy or hard at all) and a buffalo wing pizza (imagine buffalo wing meat, mozarella cheese, chopped celery, and blue cheese dressing on a pizza crust). Then it was off to Frankfort KY - and the mecca of bourbons, the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Little did I know that it truly was the mecca - I had recently tried Buffalo Trace Straight Kentucky Whiskey and liked it a lot, but nowhere near as much as Old Rip Van Winkle, Eagle Rare 10 year old, or my favorite of all time, Eagle Rare 17 year old Single Barrel. Imagine my surprise when we get there to the distillery and discover that Old Rip Van Winkle AND Eagle Rare are made there as well - schwing! We take a wonderful and informative tour, discover some interesting things out about bourbon we never knew, and of course got to sample! They also produce a vodka there called Rain, that was out of this world! I usually don't like vodka straight, and I've tried all of the top brands. But this stuff was truly amazing. So of course, we had to buy a bottle :) Go to www.bestbourbon.com - all of the bourbons they make are shown there - no wonder their distillery is so huge! Then it was off to Rebecca Ruth's Candies - back during prohibition this lady bought an old bar and started making liquor candies, like bourbon balls and mint julep chocolates. Needless to say, their candies were incredible and we stocked up on a bunch. And then we hopped in the car and headed back home. Mission accomplished - had a great vacation, saw some neat things, ate some great food, drank some awesome beers, and met some very nice people. We will definitely do this again soon, especially since it is so close to home.
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 4:59:35 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 5:03:06 AM EDT
You freakin alcoholics! [:D] Sounds like you had a busy vacation. Good times, good food, good beers. You can have all that driving though. I'd rather sit in the shotgun seat and sleep.
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 5:05:31 AM EDT
Thanks, guys - and HEY! We are NOT alcoholics. We are drunks - alcoholics go to meetings :) I was even going to take pics of the beers and food we had, but thought that might be a little weird :) Seriously, though - anyone in the area or going to be in the area need to go to those brewpubs I mentioned and the Buffalo Trace distillery - great time. And the Cincinatti zoo is just simply amazing.
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 5:24:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 5:44:15 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Greywolf2112: I was even going to take pics of the beers and food we had, but thought that might be a little weird :)
View Quote
Are you serious?? We love food and beer pics!
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 4:24:31 PM EDT
I found the link to the Camp Washington Chili menu - and the serving sizes are huge! And they really pile on the cheese - the pictures don't do justice to what you get. [url]http://biz.cincinnatiexchange.com/cgi-bin/ePages3.filereader?3ef4f62f00e41354271dc0a80139065a+E­N/catalogs/108324[/url] Also, here is the website for the Buffalo Trace distillery - [url]www.buffalotrace.com[/url] Also, the site for the candy place - [url]www.rebeccaruth.com[/url]
Link Posted: 6/21/2003 5:36:53 PM EDT
I have to say that you have good taste in liking the BBC. My immediate family all live in or near Louisville. (I'm the only in my immediate family to escape ) and I swear by the place. Buffalo Trace is good as well, but I'm partial to Makers Mark or Woodford Reserve. Good report though, makes me glad that I'll be going back to visit the daughter in a couple of weeks.
Link Posted: 6/22/2003 5:50:08 AM EDT
Today we're off to Nashville to drink the excellent beers at Bosco's - wife has never been. Sweeet! What a vacation :)
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