Go Beyond Bourbon with Bourbon & Beyond, September 22-23, 2018
If, like me, you’re often disappointed at the food and music options at most whiskey festivals (how much bagpipe-and-drum can one consume?), I think I’ve found the solution for both of us. Bourbon & Beyond, the world’s largest bourbon festival, returns for it’s second year September 22 and 23. The event will combine a world-class bourbon festival with an equally impressive music and culinary line-up in the heart of bourbon country: Louisville, Kentucky.
Bourbon & Beyond is a slightly larger affair than your average spirits festival, spanning two full days in Louisville’s Champions Park. Held during Bourbon Heritage Month, the festival is foremost a celebration of the craftsmanship behind award-winning bourbons and master distillers. The centerpiece of the event is the Big Bourbon Bar, which will be pouring more than two dozen bourbons personally selected by the festival’s bourbon curator, renowned bourbon authority and best-selling author Fred Minnick (his books include Bourbon Curious and Whiskey Women, among others). Fred is also, not surprisingly behind the offerings at Fred Minnick’s Mini Bar, which will feature craft bourbon selections from Hartfield & Co., MB Roland, Old Pogue, Wadelyn Ranch, and Wilderness Trail. For the dusty hunters out there, famed Louisville honky-tonk The Silver Dollar will be operating The Hunter’s Club with vintage bourbons dating as far back as the 1930s, as well as plenty of rare contemporary offerings. You’ll also get the chance to rub elbows with more than 30 bourbon celebrities, from Julian Van Winkle (yes, that Van Winkle) to former Four Roses Master Distiller and Bourbon Hall of Famer Jim Rutledge. Add to all that a multitude of “bourbon experiences” like bourbon workshops from Stave & Thief Society, Jim Beam’s Tiki Barrel Bar, and a speakeasy sponsored by Rabbit Hole along with more than 30 bourbon and food-focused seminars, and two days seems like not nearly enough time.
While bourbon is clearly the focus here, there’s also one or two musical headliners that you may have heard of, like Sting, or John Mayer, or Robert Plant, or Lenny Kravitz, or Sheryl Crow, or Counting Crows. You know, folks just getting their break in the music business. You’ll also need something to soak up all that bourbon, and while dried out buffets and cheese and crackers are the options du jour at most whiskey festivals, Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio along with a dozen other nationally recognized food talents will be in charge of the grub. Come hungry!
It’s probably an understatement to say that Bourbon & Beyond is not going to be your average whiskey festival. I mean, last year 50,000 people attended. Have you ever been to a whiskey festival with 50,000 people? Have you ever been to a whiskey festival where Sting was playing and they were serving Top Chef-quality food? Me neither. Get your tickets now. I’ll see you there!