Rye whiskey to be focus of 2nd Village Anchor Whisk(e)y Five dinners

We love our bourbon here, but the sun doesn’t rise and set on Kentucky Nectar only.

And the folks at Village Anchor aim to continue teaching that with the second of five Whisk(e)y Five dinners set for July 6, at 6:30 p.m. On the heels of a June Scotch-paired dinner, rye whiskey is the spirit accompaniment for this meal.

Susan Reigler, whiskey writer and certified executive bourbon steward, returns as the tasting guide for the dinner that also will showcase chef Henry Wesley’s paired menu. Given that most Louisvillians are likely bourbon-first fans, Reigler starts the evening with a baseline taste of Kentucky nectar before moving on to the featured sipper.

The evening’s feast includes:

  • *Surf and turf vol-au-vent; foie gras pâté; smoked rainbow trout mousse, pickled onion, hard-boiled egg, crispy caper; paried with Jim Beam Black 86 proof (the bourbon starter), Old Overholt 80 proof and Woodford Rye 90.4 proof
  • “Composure” – summer vegetable composed salad of sweet corn and peppers in cilantro, asparagus and pearls in sage, baby carrot and baby beets in rosemary mâche in lemon; High West Double Rye 92 proof
  • Sumac-encrusted Kentucky bison strip loin, smoked sweet potato purée, roasted heirloom cauliflower, baby carrots, pomegranate molasses, vanilla expresso demi-glace; Willett Rye 100 proof
  • Guajillo-brown butter flourless chocolate torte, strawberry-peppadew compote, mint gelée, Chantilly cream; Bulleit Rye 90 proof

The cost of the rye dinner is $75. If reservations are made for more than one dinner in the series, the cost is $65 per dinner. Reservations may be made by calling 502-708-1850 or by emailing Merritt Mowery at merritt@bellenoble.com.

Upcoming Whisk(e)y Five Dinners are scheduled for:

  • July 27 – International whiskeys
  • August 17 – Irish whiskeys
  • September 7 – Bourbons from beyond Kentucky

2 food truck owners suing Louisville over anti-competitive vending rules

A pair of local food truck owners are suing the City of Louisville over a law that restricts where they can park their vehicles and conduct business.

According to a news release, local food truck owners Troy King and Robert Martin will hold a press conference with the Institute for Justice (IJ) today to discuss lawsuit, which challenges the constitutionality of the city’s “150-foot proximity ban.” The law bans food trucks from operating within 150 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, even when the truck is on private property. Plaintiffs claim the law turns large swaths of the city into “no-vending” zones for food trucks. King and Martin claim the proximity ban unfairly protects restaurants from competition.

In 2014, King purchased his first food truck, Pollo, which serves chicken and waffles, fried chicken tacos, chicken gyros, and fried chicken sandwiches. A city inspector threatened to tow his truck because King was serving customers within 150 feet of Cravings ala Carte (located at 101 S. 5th St.), a restaurant that also serves chicken dishes.

Martin’s truck, Red’s Comfort Food, sells specialty gourmet hot dogs and sausages. In 2015, a city inspector cited Martin for selling food within 150 feet of Down One Bourbon Bar, located at 321 W. Main St.

According to the news release, the IJ will assist in the suit, adding that IJ has won similar court battles as part of its National Street Vending Initiative.

Royals Hot Chicken hosting Brewed Food Louisville dinner Sunday

Royals Hot Chicken (736 E Market St.) chefs Ryan Rogers and Andrew McCabe will welcome the experimental food lab, Brewed Food, and Denver-based chef and certified Cicerone, Jensen Cummings, on Sunday, June 25, at 6 p.m., for a collaborative beer dinner. According to a news release, the innovative five-course menu will be paired with beers from Goodwood and New Belgium Brewing Company and incorporate brewing ingredients from both breweries.

The dinner is part of a national tour organized by Brewed Food lab. Cummings founded the company to promote craft brewing as a culinary art and core philosophy of cooking. He utilizes beer yeast to create unique food fermentations and incorporates ingredients such as hops, wort and spent grain into dishes. The goal of the Brewed Food tour is to share these techniques with chefs across the country. Cummings will be visiting Seattle, Atlanta, and Cincinnati in addition to Louisville.

The Brewed Food Louisville menu includes:

Reception: Goodwood Walnut Brown Ale served with koji-aged venison tartare; plum-infused wort, chocolate meringue, porcini, Zeus hop; and New Belgium Le Terroir served with sourdough blini; hopped yogurt, malted tender belly bacon, sour mash roe

First course: New Belgium Abbey & Voodoo Ranger IPA served with wort broth ochazuke; torrified wheat, grain soy, nukazuke, shio koji sashimi

Second course: Goodwood Barrel-Aged Saison served with Cara 45 malted barley risotto; fermented corn milk, special bacon, shaved oysters, centennial hops

Third course: New Belgium 2017 La Folie served with pork char sui; lop cheong, barrel-aged hoisin, spontaneous dragon fruit

Fourth course: Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout served with s’mores; spent grain cracker, yeasted Simcoe Hopmallow, mushroom powder

Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased by clicking here.

Edwards’ 5-year dream opens as MozzaPi in Anchorage

To anyone who’s eaten a pizza from the mobile MozzaPi wood-fired in the past few years, last week’s opening of the brick-and-mortar pizzeria by the same name in Anchorage is a long-deferred dream come true. If you read only to the end of this paragraph, know this: The Neapolitan-Sicilian hybrid pizza is exceptional and like none other in the area. You must eat it to believe it.

Five years ago, creator, co-founder and pizzaiolo Tom Edwards had his eye on a site in the Highlands where he planned to open MozzaPi. But when the cost of turning the building into a restaurant exceeded his budget, he shelved the idea and refocused on his burgeoning grain mill, flour and bread bakery, Louismill. All the while, he sorted out where MozzaPi would go before settling on an empty lot in Anchorage where Old LaGrange Road meets Ridge Road.

Tom Edwards, creator and co-founder of MozzaPi. | Photo by Steve Coomes

Tom Edwards, creator and co-founder of MozzaPi. | Photo by Steve Coomes

“It had been so long since we started thinking about MozzaPi that I was to the point that I wasn’t going to do it unless I could walk there it from home,” said Edwards, an Anchorage resident, who’d also traveled for years as a business consultant. “I didn’t want to drive all the way to the Highlands to work every day, and I didn’t want to put it in a strip mall, either. I wanted a place with character.”

He also wanted to build it—with his own hands. Having built his current and the prior home, as well as much of the furniture inside, Edwards was joined this time by his sister, Lori Himmelsbach and her husband, to construct a building that resembles a locomotive shed in a rail yard. All the wood, concrete and masonry work was done by the trio, while outside trades managed the plumbing and electric.

“And that’s one of many reasons it took so long,” Edwards said, grinning. “But we did it.”

The sweet onion marmalade pizza with sausage, bourbon-infused cherries and fresh-chopped rosemary.

A sweet onion marmalade pizza with sausage, bourbon-infused cherries and fresh-chopped rosemary. The charred spots on the crust are intentional and called “leoparding” by pizza makers.

Edwards also build the four-ton oak-fired oven, its stone deck, masonry dome and shaped its copper exterior. He said the ideal baking temperature is around 850 F, though it could burn as hot as 1,000 F.

MozzaPi’s sour dough is made from a blend of 70 percent Italian 00 flour and 30 percent of local white winter wheat ground on location by Edwards. To speed service, personal-size dough circles are par-baked and held until orders come in. The kitchen tops the pizza to customers’ specs and brings them to the oven, where Edwards finishes them.

Using what he termed a “utility peel,” Edwards maneuvered pizzas and sandwiches deftly across the oven’s deck to toast their sides evenly next to the fire. It’s a culinary reality show guests can watch from any seat in the house.

Currently, MozzaPi is open for limited hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for coffee and baked goods (get the chocolate chip cookies made from rye flour), and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for pizza, sandwiches and salads. Beer wine and spirits are available as well. (No menu online yet.)

“We’ll add dinner when I’m confident we’re ready,” Edwards said. “We don’t want to give anything less than a great experience, so we’ll wait until we’re able to do that.”

Butchertown Pizza Hall opens today

You can tell Allan Rosenberg is happy to be back in pizza and in command of his own place. His smile is as wide as the New York-style slices he and wife, Shelly Rosenberg, began serving Monday at their new spot, Butchertown Pizza Hall, on Story Ave. in Butchertown.

Several years have passed since Rosenberg opened a trio of Papalino’s pizzerias across the city, and with their gradual demise, many bemoaned the loss of solid pies made simply and well.

But with the closing of Hall’s Cafeteria last year, the Rosenbergs saw a chance to get back in the pizza game—literally through the window of their home, where it shares the same lane as the legendary plate lunch spot. The two buildings are so close, he could crawl if necessary and still make good time.

The dining room at Butchertown Pizza Hall.

The dining room at Butchertown Pizza Hall.

“I’m not sure if I could make it any easier,” Rosenberg joked. For several months after the 2016 closure of his last restaurant, Fontleroy’s, he worked as chef de cuisine at Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh. Now he’s in command of a quartet of brand new Marsal stone deck pizza ovens. “Maybe if we lived upstairs, yeah, that would be easier.”

But that arrangement wouldn’t work for long since the Rosenbergs plan to use the current finished space for private parties and live music, and by next spring they plan have converted its roof into an outdoor lounge with a bar.

“Don’t you think that will be cool?” he asked, eyes wide. “There’s so much potential here.”

Butchertown Pizza Hall is targeted toward a wide-ranging but not terribly disparate demographic: families, shift workers at the JBS Swift plant across the street, and late-night crowds looking affordable, sharable pies and inexpensive beer. Though craft beers are on hand, the bar is out loud and proud of its low-budget, big brewery lagers like Old Milwaukee, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The bar at The Hall.

The bar at The Hall.

“When you’re drinking beers that cost $2 to $3, and having a couple of slices, you can get out of here for around $10,” he said. Spinning around to reveal the back of his standard staff T-shirt, which reads, exactly, “Great Pizza, Shi**y Beer,” he added, “We like good stuff, too, but we want this to be as relaxed as possible. There’s nothing serious about this.”

The menu is simple: a plentiful range of pizzas, wings, salads, hoagies and desserts. Pizzas are customizable with a couple dozen toppings and cheeses, and 10 signature pizzas are available. All run 14-18 inches. There are daily slice specials ($3.50), such as a $7 lunchtime deal for a slice, two garlic knots and a soft drink.

But it’s not all about eating. There’s a nice game room with old school favorites like Ms. Pacman, Mortal Kombat, air hockey and tabletop shuffleboard, as well as a full, but limited bar. No fat-washed or hopped whiskey cocktails here: just the basics.

For now, it’s open daily during the week from 10:30 a.m. to midnight, and if business warrants, 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Deep details on upcoming Bourbon & Beyond announced today

The following press release providing details on September’s Bourbon & Beyond event, was made available today by Danny Wimmer Presents. It is the longest news release I’ve ever seen, bar none. It’s so stuffed with details about this combo-bourbon-food-and-music festival that I’ve left it largely intact to ensure the key details remain. So here goes, read on. It appears to be taking shape nicely.

In honor of National Bourbon Day, Danny Wimmer Presents is ecstatic to announce its highly anticipated Food & Beverage Partners for BOURBON & BEYOND, an incredible all-in-one bourbon, food, and music festival that celebrates the craftsmanship, soul and spirit of Louisville, Kentucky.  Taking place for the first time on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24, glasses are being raised across the country to toast the exceptional talent that is making this festival unlike any other.

Danny Wimmer Presents newest venture, the inaugural Bourbon & Beyond, is a showcase featuring the best bourbons, master distillers, national and local chefs, bartenders, musicians, and many other artisans. Along with nationally celebrated Louisville chef, Edward Lee and best-selling author and acclaimed bourbon authority, Fred Minnick, this talented trio has brought these partners together to blend the best elements of a bourbon festival, a food festival, and a music festival into one all-encompassing celebration.

Attendees of the Bourbon & Beyond Festival are sure to be blown away by the overwhelming group of talented chefs, famed restaurants, interactive demos, panels, outstanding dishes and exciting epicurean events taking over Louisville this September.

  • Chef & Restaurant Partners: BOURBON & BEYOND’s Chef Partners include renowned local and national chefs and beloved Louisville restaurants to deliver one-of-a-kind delectable creations. National Chefs to make appearances throughout the weekend are Tom Colicchio, Carla Hall, Edward Lee, Chris Cosentino, Amanda Freitag, Jose Salazar, Cosmo Goss & Erling Wu-Bower, Kevin Ashworth, Anthony Lamas and Anthony Falco, just to name a few. Local restaurants include Baxter’s 942 Bar & Grill, Boss Hog’s BBQ, Doc Crow’s, Gospel Bird, Seviche, The Manhattan Exchange, Whiskey Dry and many more.
  • PARTIES: A ticket to Bourbon & Beyond grants access to all the parties throughout the festival.
    • The Big Easy Boil presented by Southern Comfort: Chef Anthony Lamas hosts the Big Easy Crawfish Boil where guests can choose between Chef Lamas’ Latin Flavor or the NoLa Crawfish King’s traditional recipe. Featuring New Orleans inspired tunes from DJ Johnny Sidell.
    • Tiki Barrel Bar:In addition to serving up outstanding tiki libations, renowned bartenders and cocktail book authors Jane Danger & Alla Lapuschik demonstrate how Bourbon is taking over Tiki. Featuring tunes by Coat Check Pool Party DJs.
    • Southern Soul BBQ: Chef Kevin Ashworth & Stacie Stewart of 610 Magnolia & Milkwood demonstrates the art of southern cooking & Maker’s Mark cocktails at this soulful inspired party. Featuring tunes by Derby City Soul Club.
  • LIVE Cooking Demos and Inspiring Panels:
    • Unfiltered & Uncut:Chef Tom Colicchio + special guest:  Unfiltered & Uncut
    • B&B Talks:“Break The Bootlegger featuring Julian P. Van Winkle III & Edward Lee”: Join Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery president Julian P. Van Winkle III and Chef Edward Lee for a discussion of identifying authenticity and the real cost of counterfeiting in bourbon, and beyond.
    • Love & Fried Chicken with Carla Hall
    • Why Rye?: Anthony Falco + guest discuss the journey of ancient grains and what they mean to the art of pizza and distilling.
    • Taste Trifecta:  Chris Cosentino, Edward Lee & Mathew Landan (of Haymarket)
    • Young Guns: Erling Wu-Bower & Cosmo Goss, move over Jon & Vinny! (I know we can’t print that but you get my drift)
    • B&B Talks: “The Wonder Women of Whiskey”: From distilling to distributing, branding to bartending meet a few of the women who are leading calling the shots in the bourbon business.
      • Marianne Barnes, Master Distiller, Castle & Key Distillery
      • Jane Bowie, maturation specialist, Maker’s Mark
      • Jane Danger & Alla Lapuschik, authors, “From Rhum to Whiskey”
      • Allisa Henley, Master Distiller, Sazerac Tennesse
      • Andrea Wilson, GM & VP, Michter’s Distillery
      • Moderator: Susan Reigler, author, “Kentucky Bourbon Country”
      • The B&B Supper Club featuring Edward Lee & Chris Cosentino, Hosted by Jefferson’s Bourbon: Following in the footsteps of the completely sold-out B&B Supper Club hosted by Angel’s Envy featuring Tom Colicchio , we are proud to announce The B&B Supper Club featuring Chris Cosentino & Edward Lee. This 30-person ultra-exclusive dinner on Sunday gives you a stellar view of the stage.
      • The Chicks & Champs Gospel Brunch: Traditional, Hot or Karaage, attendees to choose their favorite fried chicken style and sip sparkling wine with Cosmo Goss & Erling Wu-Bower on Saturday and Carla Hall on Sunday.

Curated by Fred Minnick, Edward Lee, and Chris Cosentino, Bourbon & Beyond has partnered with some of the best Kentucky bourbon distilleries to offer a rich taste of Kentucky and Bourbon with unique tasting experiences directly with the Master Distillers and their exceptionally crafted spirits.

  • BOURBON DISTILLERY PARTNERS:These acclaimed associations and distilleries will all be featured and showcased during the festival: Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Angels Envy, Barton 1792, Jim Beam, Bulleit, Boone County Distilling Company, Four Roses, Maker’s Mark Distillery, MB Roland Distillery, Michters Distillery, New Riff, Brown-Foreman, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Kentucky Peerless, Rabbit Hole, Smooth Ambler and Limestone Branch Distillery. Other spirits and beverages to be featured include Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort and more to be announced soon.
  • Master Distiller and Bourbon Celebrity Appearances:Appearances from Bourbon Celebrities include:  Julian P. Van Winkle III of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley and Master Blender Drew Mayville of Buffalo Trace Distillery, Master Distiller John Hargrove of Barton 1792 Distillery, Distiller Allisa Henley of Sazerac of Tennessee, Kaveh Zamanian of Rabbit Hole Distillery, Master Distiller Marianne Barnes of Castle & Key Distillery, Jane Bowie of  Maker’s Mark, Andrea Wilson of Michter’s, The Henderson Family (Wes, Andrew, Kyle) of Angel’s Envy, Trey Zoeller of Jefferson’s Bourbon.

Attendees will also get the opportunity to immerse themselves within the Kentucky bourbon world even further, from hidden speakeasies to immersive events such as:

  • The Big Bourbon Bar: Presented by the Louisville Courier-Journal, this larger than life activation will include a 20,000- sq. ft bar serving expertly crafted bourbon cocktails featuring the following, exclusive Bourbon partners: 1792, Angel’s Envy, Barrell, Basil Hayden’s, Blade and Bow, Bloody Butcher’s Creed, Buffalo Trace, Bulleit, Coopers’ Craft, Eagle Rare, Eighteen 33, Four Roses, Hartfield & Co., Jefferson’s, Jim Beam, Kentucky Peerless, Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, MB Roland, Michter’s, O.K.I., Old Forester, Rabbit Hole, Smooth Ambler, W. L. Weller, Woodford Reserve, and Yellowstone.
  • The Haymarket Hunter’s Club:A bourbon hound’s dream come true with experimental, rare, and hard-to-find bourbons.
  • The Brown-Forman Cooperage:Brown-Forman is the only major spirits company in the entire world to make its own new barrels, and Bourbon & Beyond is very excited to partner with The Brown-Forman Cooperage to offer festivalgoers the experience of witnessing the historic art of barrel raising and featuring Old Forrester, Woodford Reserve, Coopers’ Craft and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole Speakeasy: Rabbit Hole invites you to go Down The Rabbit Hole into an exclusive bar hidden off the beaten path featuring cocktails by Proprietors LLC, the team behind Death & Co. That’s all we can say for now – figuring out how to get in will be entirely up to you!
  • Booker Noe’s Small Batch Bar:Booker Noe was a sixth-generation master distiller who grew up at a distillery in the heart of Kentucky. He was born to bourbon. He actually coined the term “small batch.” And if you can find Booker Noe’s Small Batch Bar, you’ll be one of the lucky guests to taste and experience what Booker believed in: Like bourbon, life is best enjoyed in slower, smaller batches. Head here and enjoy some Basil Hayden, Knob Creek and Baker’s.
  • The Smooth Ambler Saloon:Hidden somewhere on the grounds of Bourbon & Beyond is The Smooth Ambler Saloon, a speakeasy featuring Old Scout bourbon cocktails. Stay tuned for details on how to get in!
  • Bourbon Workshops:Access to bourbon’s best and brightest in a series of free and intimate distilling, bartending, pairing, and cooking workshops.

Along with the world-class musical performances happening throughout the weekend and on the two main music stages, Bourbon & Beyond’s BIG BOURBON BAR will also include bluegrass music all weekend long curated by The Bluegrass Situation and featuring The Steel Wheels, Mipso, Town Mountain, Love Canon, NewTown, The Tillers and Reva Dawn Salon. Bourbon & Beyond’s Resident DJ’s also join the mix with Coat Check Pool Party DJ’s, Craig Pfunder, Derby City Soul Club and, Johnny Siegel spinning all weekend long at the parties.

They join the headliners of the weekend Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, Steve Miller Band, Band of Horses, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark Jr., Paul Rodgers, Amos Lee, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, G. Love & Special Sauce, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, ZZ Ward, Nikki Lane, Shawn James & The Shapeshifters, Fantastic Negrito, Kiefer Sutherland, Dave Cavalier, bluegrass favorites curated by The Bluegrass Situation, and more.

The Bourbon & Beyond Festival is sure to be the most unforgettable and inspiring experience of music, food and bourbon yet. Like the flames that char the barrels, the hearth that nourishes our appetites, or the heart of an incredible beat, soul and passion will radiate throughout the Bourbon & Beyond festival.

For tickets and more details on the full line up of Food & Beverage Partners, please visit BourbonandBeyond.com.


Village Anchor launches Whisk(e)y Five exploration dinner series Thursday

The team at the Village Anchor Pub & Roost is partnering with spirits and travel writer Susan Reigler to create a dinner and whiskey exploration series dubbed Whisk(e)y Five. The goal is to expand local bourbon lovers’ knowledge of the broad whiskey spectrum by pairing international whiskeys poured neat and served alongside executive chef Henry Wesley’s food.

The first in the series is a Scotch dinner scheduled for Thursday, June 15 at 6 p.m. The meal will showcase three single malts from three different regions of Scotland and two blended whiskys (the Scotts don’t spell whiskey with an “e” like all others elsewhere do).

Reigler will set guests’ baseline with a pour of bourbon to establish a flavor contrast with the Scotches that follow. Reigler has done food and whiskey cocktail pairings, but she expects these straight whiskeys pairing will enlighten the palates of those eager to learn their virtues.

“What I’m hoping to do is help people pay attention to the flavors already in those whiskeys so they can learn how they’re amplified with food,” said Reigler, also the author of multiple books on spirits. “They’ll also see how the whiskey helps the food.”

The evening’s menu includes:

  • Smoked salmon mousse on crostini; bourbon-braised pork belly with pickled red cabbage; flight of Old Forester 86 proof, Chivas Regal 10 Year and Johnnie Walker Black
  • Arugula and watermelon salad with Laphroaig 10 Year
  • Roasted lamb chop, rosemary fingerling potatoes, poached pear and roasted broccolini with Talisker 10 Year
  • Buttermilk panna cotta with spiced apple Chantilly cream with Glenlivet 12 Year

The cost of the Scotch dinner is $75—a figure that would total less than the actual cost of tasting all those whiskeys at a bar—plus tax and gratuity. Reserve two or more dinners for a cost of $65 each, or really broaden your palate while a lot by reserving your spot for the whole series at a cost of $295—just $59 per dinner. The remaining dinners and their dates are:

  • July 6 – Rye whiskey
  • July 27 – International whiskey
  • August 17 – Irish whiskey
  • September 7 – Bourbon from states other than Kentucky

Call 502-708-1850 to reserve your spot, or email Merritt Mowery at merritt@bellenoble.com.

The Bar Brainpower of Josh Durr; Before and After Fest of Ale Prep with Todd Antz and Eric Morris

Our plate is full of news here at EatDrinkTalk, home of the city’s finest restaurant and bar podcast. First up we have two ice cream items. We’re pulling for the guys at Comfy Cow, who have been experiencing mechanical problems at their commissary, leading to shortages at their local shops.

Of course, they’ll soon have ice cream competition in Nulu when the Louisville Cream store opens next month. Owner and ice cream maker Darryl Goodner’s product just received Southern Living Magazine’s “Best Southern Made Products” award.

News that River House and Levee have opened their dock service means that a whole lot more people can enjoy the scenery there, including those arriving by boat. Entrepreneurs Scott and Jennifer Benningfield have signed an agreement with Fourth Street Live! that will give their Thirsty Pedaler 16-passenger bikes a prominent storefront and parking space.

There’s a special farm-to-table dinner coming up at the Jeptha Creed Distillery May 30. It will be hosted by Volare’s Josh Moore, who will be serving food directly from his farm.

Our first guest is mixologist Josh Durr, who Steve points out is one of the smartest bar experts in town. To celebrate the Fest of Ale event coming to New Albany June 3, Rick sat down with founder Todd Antz and Gospel Bird chef-owner Eric Morris to talk about the one of the largest local beer fests and the after-party.

In our Copper & Kings favorites segment, Rick tried a vegetarian omelet at the always-reliable North End Cafe. Steve’s choice was a spicy beef dish from Nam Nam in St. Matthews. His drink preference was a recently re-released Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength whiskey. And at Bonefish Grill, Rick tried a Wild Orchid Hawaiian Martini.


Josh Durr


Todd Antz and Eric Morris at the Gospel Bird

New Higher Proof Expo offers hands-on learning at Kentucky Bourbon Affair

The 2017 Kentucky Bourbon Affair, dubbed a whiskey fan’s “fantasy camp,” has added a new day-long workshop packed with unique educational and tasting sessions led by top industry professionals, capped with a vintage spirits appraisal from one of the country’s top collectors.

According to a news release, the Higher Proof Expo will be held on Saturday, June 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott East, the official host hotel for the annual Kentucky Bourbon Affair showcase.

The Expo features 18 exclusive learning sessions, lunch and pop-up experiences with the best of Louisville and Kentucky’s food, drink and retail for the Bourbon aficionado. The one-day pass is $99 with access to four sessions. Seating is limited.

“Higher Proof is a deep dive into the history, techniques, science and lore of Kentucky Bourbon culture,” said Adam Johnson, senior director with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association that coordinates the KBA. “The whiskey you’ll be tasting is alone worth the ticket.”

Tickets are on sale at www.kybourbonaffair.com.

Sessions include:

  • A breakdown and sampling of the four unique recipes that Four Roses Distillery used this year to craft its Limited Edition Small Batch honoring brand ambassador Al Young’s 50thanniversary, hosted by master distiller Brent Elliott.
  • Diageo’s Orphan Barrel program shares barrels of delicious and rare whiskey, hidden away and nearly forgotten in the back of rickhouses. Diageo’s master whiskey educator Doug Kragel will take you behind the scenes at this private tasting with the tales and secrets of these rare selections.
  • Experience the bold flavors and discover the subtle notes of country ham through whiskey as Andrea Wilson of Michter’s Distillery and Steve Coomes, author of “Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke,” team up to take your flavor detectors to the next level. Learn the art of complementing and enhancing flavors through pairings of whiskeys, cocktails, cured American hams and Art Eatables chocolates in this delicious and fun seminar.
  • Join Heaven Hill’s national whiskey brand ambassador, Bernie Lubbers, as he reviews the origins and history of the acclaimed Parker’s Heritage annual series of American Whiskey, including samples of the 24-year-old Bottled-In-Bond offering and three no longer available prior editions.
  • Discover the secrets and science of MB Roland’s dark-fired whiskey with co-owners Paul and Merry Beth Tomaszewski. Taste and compare samples of fired and non-dark fired distillate to gain a real appreciation for how this smoking process influences MB Roland’s products.
There will be no shortage of whiskey to taste at the Higher Proof Expo. | Image courtesy of Kentucky Bourbon Affair

There will be no shortage of whiskey to taste at the Higher Proof Expo. | Image courtesy of Kentucky Bourbon Affair

“With all the classes offered, I don’t know how people will be able to choose,” Johnson said. “Luckily, you can’t go wrong. Every one of these sessions is top-notch.”

View the full lineup by clicking here.

The event is curated by Stave & Thief Society, the official Bourbon Certification Program of the KDA, which sifted through dozens of submitted presentations to select the most exclusive experiences for attendees.

The Expo also is offering a vintage spirits appraisal from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with Bill Thomas, owner of the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C., one of the country’s foremost experts on dusty bottles and Bourbon memorabilia.

KDA President Eric Gregory said vintage spirits are a hot topic right now, with Kentucky leading the way. The state legislature passed a new law this year that allows consumers to sell vintage unopened bottles to licensed retailers beginning Jan. 1.

“We’ve had so many calls from people who have found full, antique bottles or Bourbon paraphernalia in their grandmother’s attic and want to know what it’s worth,” Gregory said. “This is the perfect opportunity to learn the history and value from the experts themselves.”

Tickets are still available to several events at this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Affair, which runs from June 6-11 in Louisville, the official host city. Events include behind-the-scenes access at the world’s most iconic distilleries, nightcap events featuring top chefs, bourbon barons and master distillers, rare tastings, souvenir bottles, and much more.

But wait, there’s more! Make a day of it at the Marriott East by attending Whisky Live, starting one hour after the Higher Proof Expo. In addition to an ample supply of bourbon, this extensive international whiskey tasting event, sponsored by Whisky magazine, will feature a wide array of Scotch, Irish and Asian whiskeys for sampling. Want your palate and whiskey knowledge expanded? Don’t miss this. Find ticket information by clicking here.

Podcast 55 WITH Coffee King Leo Fante, and Bringing Bravazzi to the ‘Ville with Sarah Ross

The best restaurant and bar podcast in the city is back with a refreshing serving of news and personalities. First up, be on the lookout for mushroom-blended burgers at your favorite restaurants. Last week, Rick sampled four of them at Harvest, which hosted the kickoff for a nationwide James Beard Foundation sustainability initiative to reduce meat consumption by adding ground mushrooms to ground meats.

Steve reports that a new national study shows indie restaurants gaining market share vs. chains, though he suspects those operations aren’t making more profits because there are so many new players.

Watch for Highland Morning in St. Matthews to expand, and after years of planning the owners of Mozza Pi are planning a June opening in Anchorage. Last weekend, the Buy Local Fair was planned for Sunday, but on Friday, organizers listened to weather forecasts and canceled the event over severe weather concerns. As you’d expect, Sunday afternoon turned out gorgeous.

Rick’s guest is local coffee legend Leo Fante, who opened his unusual coffee shop on Grinstead Drive 11 weeks ago. The shop is a coffee lover’s dream, with special roasts made in-house, a nice menu and, yes, alcohol.

Steve calls the Bravazzi Hard Italian Soda he sampled “the best adult soda I’ve ever had.” So he talks with Sarah Ross, the company’s co-founder, who was in town promoting helping launch the product here. Tune in to hear all this and more on EatDrinkTalk.


Leo Fante


Sarah Ross