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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

The Capital, Frankfort Loop, Thursday, October 13, 2022

This was the coldest morning of the trip, a little above freezing. We have bike bags so we could layer up and store them later as the day warmed up. We started every morning with a Route Rap. This day it was the rope route on the ground. You can see the hills, water, and coffee stops along the way. Because we were in Kentucky, the leaders thought it would be fun to have a mini derby on bikes. Two leaders biked along with two guests. One of the guests won the "Kentucky Derby" by a nose and it was fun!

The morning continued as the previous day with rolling hills bordered by horse farms. We traveled through the small town of Versailles on our way to the capital.

I knew we would be touring the Key and Castle distillery in the afternoon, but we also passed by it on the way to lunch. After passing the distillery, we biked onto a road that was closed to all traffic except bikes or walkers. That was quite enjoyable and we would be able to do it again on the way back.

Off in the distance, we could see the state capital building. Frankfort is one of the smallest state capitals in the US with a population of 29,000. Lunch was at a small cafe in the center of Frankfort.

We had pre-ordered our sandwiches and could get a hot or cold drink for our meal.

Below are some of the sights along the way such as the state capital and Versailles. The guides are great at taking pictures for us, but they also like to photo-bomb them too. On the way back to the distillery, we encountered a deer along the side. I think we scared it.

For the rest of the afternoon, we toured the Castle and Key distillery, founded by Colonel Taylor in the early 1800s. We started outside the main building at a limestone Roman artisan well. It is actually in the shape of a lock and key. Bourbon distillers flourished until 1919 when Prohibition began. A few distilleries were granted permits to bottle existing stocks of medicinal whiskey. In Kentucky, only 6 distilleries were granted a permit, so they partnered with another company until 1933 when Prohibition was repealed. In 2014, Castle and Key bought the Old Taylor Distillery and production began in 2018.

Next, our tour entered the building so we could see the distillation process. The middle top photo is the scale hoppers that measure the bulk materials. The photo on the top right is the roaster. The bottom row shows the Bourbon mash. Mashing is the process that creates and extracts both fermentable and non-fermentable sugars from the grain. These tanks were 11,150 gallons. Although there is no law regarding the water source to make bourbon, all of the distilleries that we visited agree that Kentucky limestone water is the best. Limestone water has a high pH value which aids fermentation. The final picture at the bottom right is the column still.

Then we went back outside to walk over to the storage and tasting areas. According to federal law, bourbon barrels must be unused and made from charred oak. As you can see, Mark enjoyed his tasting!

After the tour, we took the shuttle back to the Kentucky Castle. Dinner was at 6:30 pm at a local restaurant, Honeywood, in Lexington. When we returned to the room, the temperature had dropped to 54, but it was clear and there were plenty of stars in the sky.

Postcard from the Kentucky Castle. We stayed in the front left turret.

Route map of our day, 35 miles and 2000 ft elevation.

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