Love wine, craft beer and bourbon? It’s time to hit the road and head to Shepherdsville-Bullitt County. Home to four award-winning wineries, a craft brewery and two distilleries, Bullitt County’s Wine, Whiskey and Ale Trail is the perfect blueprint for a fun two days in the heart of Kentucky.
Whether you want to tour a historic bourbon distillery or sip on fruity wines while enjoying a vineyard view, Shepherdsville-Bullitt County has it all.
Kick off your ale trail adventure with breakfast at Hillview Family Diner. A favorite with the locals, this no-frills joint in Hillview serves up some deliciously good grub, from eggs and bacon to homemade biscuits and gravy. Be sure to stop by for lunch if you’re in the area – the burgers and fries are out of this world.
Your first stop is Brooks Hill Vineyard and Winery, just a short 15-minute drive west. Known as the little winery on the hill, this winery offers a modest selection of flavorful, barrel-aged wines. Relax in the outdoor tasting area (reservations required) and sample the Estate Reserve with notes of plum, black currant and blackberries. Or try the reds and whites like the Sauvignon Black and Riesling. Don’t skip the dessert wine, the port-style Chocolate Razz. This wine blends the flavors of raspberry and chocolate – perfect for sipping or pouring over ice cream. If you visit on Saturday nights, the winery hosts live music at the pavilion.
Before you leave, pick up your Wine, Whiskey & Ale Trail Passport Brochure. You’ll want to get it stamped at all seven stops on the trail for a special gift!
Next on the agenda is Gallant Fox Brewing Company. Located in downtown Mt. Washington, this brewery serves up a variety of rotating beers on tap, over 150 bourbons, classic cocktails and a mouthwatering food menu. Relax inside or grab a seat in the outdoor beer garden and try the Light Bullitt Lager or Nutty By Nature – a peanut butter milk stout. If you find the bourbon offerings overwhelming, order a flight of three pours. Feeling hungry? This is a great spot to grab lunch. Enjoy classic pub grub, such as cheese curds, burgers and hot dogs. If you have a sweet tooth, the strawberry and cream cheese churros topped with caramel and chocolate sauce are a must.
End the afternoon at MillaNova Vineyard and Winery, also located in Mt. Washington on Gentry Lane. Home to Italian-inspired (and award-winning) wines, from fruity reds and dry whites to sweet dessert flavors, this winery is nestled on 22 acres of picturesque green space. Sample a glass or bottle inside the charming tasting room. Or, take a glass outside to the covered pavilion and take in the stunning vineyard views. Try the Sweet Falls of Niagara – it’s packed with grape flavor and hints of florals. Or sample the Sinful-Leah with notes of raisin, spice and plum.
Round out the day with an early evening tasting at Wight-Meyer Vineyard & Winery. Tucked away on 16 acres along Pine Creek Trail, this winery features award-winning wines paired with gorgeous views of rural Kentucky. Explore the vineyard, relax on the covered patio or enjoy a six-wine tasting in its cozy tasting room. Sip and savor flavors such as Amy’s Apple Pie (it tastes like a slice in a glass) or the popular Black Diamond Red with hints of blackberries. During the growing season, the winery puts on quite the show with live music performances on select nights.
End the day back in Shepherdsville for dinner at Cattleman’s Roadhouse, serving burgers, steaks, seafood and a fantastic salad bar. If you’re visiting on a Saturday, the Shepherdsville Country Music Show is an after-dinner must-see. As the longest-running live country music show in Bullitt County, this concert showcases classic country, oldies, rock, and gospel in a 390-seat showroom.
Your morning begins with a bourbon tour at James B. Beam Distilling Co. Considered the gateway to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, this distillery features 225 years of bourbon-making history. There are several tours to choose from, including a warehouse tour, cocktail-making class, culinary tasting experience, or a 20-minute tasting. The main distillery tour, “Bourbon The Beam Way,” offers 75 minutes of behind-the-scenes bourbon-making and ends with a tasting of some signature flavors like Basil Hayden®, Knob Creek®, and Jim Beam® Bourbon Cream. As you explore the grounds, you’ll learn more about the life and legacy of Jim Beam and his family.
Your bourbon adventure continues with a laid-back tasting experience at Four Roses Warehouse and Bottling Facility in the Cox Creek countryside. Take a bourbon-tasting class and sample unique recipes, such as Four Roses Small Batch and Single Barrel, featuring notes of plum and cherries. Tour the grounds and learn about the bourbon aging process – you’ll even take home a signature tasting glass. Before you leave, stop by the gift shop and pick up bourbon-scented candles, kitchen accessories and other goodies for the road.
Take a detour from your bourbon excursions and explore the 16,000-acre Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest. First, eat lunch at Isaac’s Café, which offers a fresh and seasonal menu of salads, sandwiches and soups made from ingredients grown in the on-site garden. Try the Nutty Bird; this visitor’s favorite loads up smoked turkey, bacon, cheese and sunflower seeds between two slices of fresh-baked sun-dried tomato bread.
After lunch, take some time to explore the grounds. Check out a few of the walking trails (there are 40 miles worth). The Big Prairie Overlook Path is a short five-minute walk along a paved pathway showcasing gorgeous views of Bernheim’s Big Prairie and the “Let There Be Light” statue that marks the final resting place of founder Isaac W. Bernheim. Check out the Forest Giants Trail for a longer hike, home to three towering Forest Giant sculptures made from recycled wood by Danish artist Dambo Winther. Snap a photo with Mama Loumari, Little Elina and Little Nis! Bernheim also features a variety of public art displays, a sensory garden, and if you’re looking for a thrill, check out the Canopy Tree Walk. You’ll take in the surrounding forests and prairies while suspended 75 feet above the ground.
For your final stop, head across the street to the Forest Edge Winery, home to the most renowned winemaker in the state, Raymond “Butch” Meyer. Stop in for a $5 tasting of six of their award-winning wines, from the Kentucky Cabernet Franc with hints of raspberry, strawberry and oak to Raymond’s Reserve – a blend of blackberries, currant, black cherry and vanilla. You can also order wine slushies from the bar. You don’t want to miss the winery’s special events, from Yoga & Wine to live music and Murder Mystery Dinner experiences.
Wrap up the afternoon at the Bullitt County Visitor Center, where you can turn in your completed Wine, Whiskey & Ale Trail Passport Brochure to redeem your complimentary souvenir glass!
Spend your last evening in Shepherdsville with a delicious dinner at Cluckers. Chow down on a chicken-themed menu featuring mouthwatering dishes, such as chicken and waffles, savory wraps (try the buffalo chicken) and fresh salads.
Alternatively, check out Fish House Bar & Grill for fried seafood, ranging from calamari and shrimp to catfish nuggets and clam strips. If you’re here on a weekend, stick around after dinner for live music.