The best local food and drink of the Bluegrass State will be collected under one roof at the first-ever “Savor Kentucky” tasting event Friday, Nov. 1 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The event will be held at the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park as part of the first-ever Kentucky Gathering, which is built around the world-class equestrian competition of the Alltech National Horse Show Oct. 29-Nov. 3.
According to a news release, admission and food sampling is free, but a $10 ticket at the door is required for beer and bourbon tasting. Drinkers will receive a commemorative 5-ounce pilsner glass as well as sampling tokens.
Savor Kentucky will highlight Kentucky’s rapidly growing craft beer scene, its notable locale as the birthplace of bourbon, and its increasing variety of local, high-quality cuisine. Participants can delight in a plethora of beer and bourbon samples from nine Kentucky breweries and seven Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries, as well as 25 other bourbons from across the state.
Expect food and drink pairing suggestions with delectable fare from five Kentucky food vendors. Attendees interested in becoming discerning beer and spirits tasters can participate in hourly open Sensory Sessions both days with Master Brewers and Distillers from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company. Craft beer enthusiasts can also interact with all participating brewers on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 4-7 p.m., when the brains behind the brews will be available at their event booths in the Savor Kentucky area to talk shop.
Participating craft brewers will each showcase two of their brewery’s best craft beers at their booths, as well as one of their specialty brews at the tasting bar.
Participating Kentucky breweries include Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse, Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co., Apocalypse Brew Works, Bluegrass Brewing Company Brewpubs, Bluegrass Brewing Company Production Brewery, Blue Stallion Brewing Co., Country Boy Brewing, Cumberland Brewery and Falls City Beer.
These breweries will feature a variety of craft brews, including Country Boy’s Shotgun Wedding (one of our favorites sipped at this year’s Louisville Brewfest), and Against the Grain’s Kentucky Ryed Chiquen (introduced and consumed during U of L’s 2012 Final Four run).
Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries, including Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Town Branch, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve, will offer samples.
For the enthusiastic bourbon connoisseur, the extensive bourbon bar will also gleam with the bottles of more than 25 other Kentucky bourbons available for sampling.
All of these delicious libations can be paired with the mouthwatering creations of five Kentucky food vendors, including Bourbon Barrel Foods, Critchfield, Enoteca’s Wine + Market, Red State Barbecue and Wallace Station.
Pairing recommendations will be posted so attendees can enjoy optimal food and drink combinations. Food samples will include Kentucky classics such as country ham, beer cheese, and jam cakes, as well as modern twists on old favorites such as beer cheese grits, Lyons Farm® beef, pickled okra and mint julep brownies.
“Savor Kentucky will celebrate the depth of talent of our Commonwealth’s local food artisans, distillers and craft brewers,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech. “Anyone who knows me knows I am passionate about brewing and distilling, as well as celebrating local entrepreneurs, so I’m excited to showcase the best of Kentucky’s food and drink before a national audience.”
Savor Kentucky will also feature live music from local artists, including Central Kentucky country music artist Dillon Carmichael. Steps away from the Savor Kentucky area, meals from Irish-themed restaurant Pearse’s Place will be available for purchase, including the Irish staple, fish and chips.
For convenient transport, free trolleys will run hourly to the Arena from downtown, and on-site free parking just steps from the Arena will also be available.
Free shuttles to Alltech Arena from the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion downtown will run on Friday, Nov.1 from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Tickets for the beer and bourbon sampling portion of Savor Kentucky are available at the door of the Alltech Arena for only $10. Other free entertainment includes family-friendly fun in the children’s play area just outside the Arena with bouncy castles, pony rides, face painting, interactive educational exhibits, and more.
For those already hungry, the Kentucky Gathering’s Dine Lexington! Restaurant Week from Oct. 25-Nov. 3 around town in Lexington is another great way to enjoy delicious local cuisine. More than 30 locally owned restaurants will be featuring special $25 fixed price menus during the special week.
Along with specialty meals at an affordable price, restaurant week patrons can also receive half-price admission to the Alltech National Horse Show Oct. 29-Nov.3 with a receipt from a participating restaurant. The list of more than 30 participating restaurants and their specialty menus is available here.
To stay up to date on the latest developments regarding Savor Kentucky and the weeklong Kentucky Gathering festival that celebrates Kentucky’s magnificent horses, unmatched hospitality and rich culture, visit www.kentuckygathering.com.