A couple of weeks ago, W-‘s brother invited us to come tour the Jim Beam American Stillhouse with him and their father. I’m not a big bourbon fan, but W- is and it sounded like an entertaining way to spend a Saturday. Plus I’m just never going to turn down an excuse to avoid laundry 😉
W- and I met up with the other half of our group in Bowling Green, KY, and then we carpooled the rest of the way to Clermont, KY. Upon arrival, we discovered the full tours were sold out for the day, but they still had plenty of mini-tours available, which included a free bourbon cocktail and a post-tour tasting room. We had an hour before our tour time, so we went ahead and partook in the free cocktails. Like I said, I’m not a huge bourbon fan, but I got something called The Devil Went Down to Georgia ice tea, which was amazingly delicious! It consists of Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon, DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps Liqueur, and ice tea. Even non-bourbon lovers will be a fan. As an unexpected treat, the distillery lets you keep the glass in which they serve you the cocktail, and they’ll even wrap it up for you for free to avoid an accidentally shattering scenario.
Cocktails in hand, we walked around the property for a bit and looked at some of the exhibits, including Jacob’s Well, which was named after Jacob Beam, and the statue of Booker Noe, who was the grandson of Jim Beam and himself the Master Distiller for the company for over 40 years. Afterwards we availed ourselves of the food at Fred’s Smokehouse, which is a cafe on the Jim Beam property. I personally recommend Noe’s Nachos with the brisket, which was a yummy treat, but not so much that I felt stuffed and groggy during the tour.
Fifteen minutes prior to tour time, Jim Beam has everyone line up with their tickets at the back of the first floor of the store. From there, you board a bus with your tour guide, who starts explaining the history of the company and its Master Distillers. We were driven to a building where we got to see examples of how bourbon is made, and brave souls even got to taste some of the not quite yet fully distilled bourbon (I declined, but W- partook and said it tasted like a giant mouthful of hops). After the tour, the groups are taken to the tasting room via bus where everyone gets another smaller commemorative glass to keep, plus a ticket for three free samples. I tried to give my ticket to W-, but he insisted I keep it for myself, so I tried some of the sweeter offerings. My favorite was the Jim Beam Maple, which was described by our tour guide as “drinking a shot of maple syrup with a touch of bourbon.” It’s still definitely bourbon, but a touch more palatable for someone with a sweet tooth, like myself. If you don’t drink at all or aren’t interested in the distilling process, the tour is probably a waste of money, in my opinion; however, even if you just dabble, then it can be a fun experience.