Greeley Stampede

Monday afternoon we headed off with Wild Horse John and Saginaw Sue to the Greeley Stampede in Colorado. The grounds were jumping with carnival rides, vendors and bars. John had organised great seats with a good view to the arena, the chutes and the bull riding when they made the arena shorter.

 

It was a well organised smaller rodeo with some great action throughout the course of the evening with events like Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding! Steer Wrestling, Tie Down Roping, Team Roping, Barrel Racing, Bull Riding and I think the highlight was the little kids doing the Mutton Bustin'. Hilarious! They would bring in a sheep, bucking and carrying on, grab a kid (rodeo riders in the making), get the kid situated on the sheets back and have hem hold on for dear life for as log as they could. One little cowboy in his lime green chaps rode the sheep just about the full length of the arena and of course won.

 

The rodeo announcer interviewed him after and as they say, kids have no filter when they are little and just tell it like it is.

Announcer: 'where did you get those chaps from?' Mini 5yr old cowboy in the sweetest voice: 'online'. The announcer was a little lost for words and then 'would you like to win a new pair of boots?' Mini cowboy: 'yes'. Announcer: 'would you give Miss Rodeo Colorado a kiss for a new pair of boots?' Mini cowboy: 'no!'

Haa haa haa, priceless, needless to say the boots were his prize for winning so he still got them and I think Miss Rodeo Colorado was just a little heartbroken lol!

 

The 5th generation of Beutler's (3rd, 4th and 5th generations to be precise) Bennie, Rhett and 11 yr old Jake rode the arena and Jake helped out rounding up stray steer's throughout the steer roping and the finale with the bronc's. The family from Elk City, OK are stock contractors and provide the horses and bulls for rodeos across the nation.

 

Had a blast, thanks very much John!

Kat xo

 

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Tennessee

Moonshine, whiskey, cowboy boots and more.(cue singing)'…..rocky top, you'll always be, home sweet home to me….good Ol' rocky top, rocky top Tennessee….'

Through Sevierville we had to stop at Dolly Parton's statue, this was her home town and as we had decided to forego the Dollywood theme park, I just had to have a picture with Dolly! (Singing with Dolly).'..in my coat of many colours, my mama made for me…'

 

We got into Pigeon Forge yesterday, acquired some boots, went to the Christmas Place!…..wow, think this one beats the Leavenworth one, even the Denny's diner next door is Christmasfied! Yes I just made up that word, well it is!…(with eyes wide and sing)'….jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock….'

 

Found the same decorations as last year, now we can update one with Miss Chelsea on it and what the heck, got one done up with the grandkids names on it, in the order they came! Lol!

 

…..found a place to stay and headed down to 'The Island'.

(Singing again)'….wasting away again in Margaritaville, searching for my lost shaker of salt…..' oh yeah! Well actually before we got to Margaritaville we went to the Ole Smokey Moonshine distillery and marvelled at all the different flavours before doing some taste testing. Lucky they only give it to you in small thimble sized cups.

 

We were started off with the Blue Flame 128 proof! Woah, doesn't that catch in your throat! Wash it away with the Margarita moonshine and continue with all sorts of delectable flavours!

 

Now to Margaritaville for dinner and beer, talked with some people from here and Memphis. One on a work trip to Sydney later this year.

 

From there we headed to the Smoky Mountain Wheel and took a ride to see the light show from above.

 

Today we headed down to Gatlinburg, walked around the street and little shops, took the Sky Lift up the hill to check out the view.

 

Into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, winding our way through 17 miles of gorgeous trees and running streams. Didn't get to see any bears though.

 

Soon Mother Nature will wave her wand and all of this will be a spectacular winter wonderland.

Kicking back West towards Tullahoma.

Kat xo

Annnnd I've still got Rocky Top stuck in my head!

 

Kentucky Gold!

After we finished in Dayton yesterday, we headed South and took a slight diversion through Carrollton and onto an intersection on the highway at Clermont and Bardstown, Kentucky.

Heading East to Bardstown (totally not knowing where we were going at the time) we happened into Bardstown only to realise we were destined to be in this spot!!!

Bardstown, after all, is the heart of Bourbon country, we are right in the midst of the Bourbon trail, including Jim Beam, Four Roses, Barton 1792, Heaven Hill, Willett and Makers Mark distilleries. With other famous ones further away.

Staying at the Bardstown Parkview Motel for the night, caught up on the blog from the past few days, worked out adjustments for patterns for a certain town suit (Crossdraw Jac), pinned some corsets ready for stitching and started writing a couple of articles.

This morning we headed 'downtown' to the Visitors Centre, seeing some amazing old buildings, this area has been here since 1780!

 

We first went up to the Civil War Museum, a beautifully displayed collection according to civil war eras. They have so many fantastic prices from this period it is incredible. This rivals the one we saw in Baxter Springs a couple of years ago.

 

The Bardstown Village, a recreation using original buildings from the surrounding area is amazing, just didn't get to see in all the buildings as it was raining!!

 

Back up the hill to see the 'Women of the Civil War' Museum and War Memorial Museum, both with much interest and artefacts as well.

 

From here it was back down through town (we had walked about 2 blocks and usually a block is a mile), heading to the car and to the tavern. Well it was lunchtime!?!

The Old Talbott Tavern is amazing! 125 varieties of bourbon is there claim to fame, however this beautiful old building and the tavern have been in existence since 1797.

 

We tried the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale which is spectacular at 8.2%abv and coupled with their signature BBQ pulled pork sandwich is divine. Christie was amazing, sharing some history with us.

 

The Jesse James bourbon was only named and brought to the tavern because Jesse James once stayed here. There are also bullet holes in the walls upstairs where he fired off his gun.

Some bourbons may have catchy names but really only for naming and if less than two years are not actually a bourbon anyways.

We took a quick trip up the stairs of the tavern and there it was, bullet holes from Jesse James gun after a loss or feud during cards into the now, very charred murals.

 

We hit the road and headed out to the Four Roses distillery. Why did we pick this one you may ask? Well, as far as we knew, it wasn't that commercialised, we liked the look of the bottles and….we just had to try something different. For $5 each for the tour, it was very interesting and well worth the stop.

Our tour guide was Debbie, last run for the day, so really we had a personalised tour with only the two of us on it.

The Four Roses brand came about in the 1880's (or some time thereafter) so named after the southern belle he married when she turned up to a ball with four roses on her corsage. (That's the story in a nutshell, there's more too it and more romantic than my account)

 

Apparently around 1958 it was purchased by an overseas company, however in 2003 and later years it was repurchased. Now all labels are made and bottled in the US again.

The distillery is in Lawrenceburg, the distillate is sent here for barreling and bottling. Before its trucked out, the sampling there is confirmed with the original before sent here, sampled again here to confirm. It is barrelled at 120 proof. Barrel aging occurs for 5 years. The white oak barrels are used once only.

 

The nozzles are where the distillate is put into the barrel. It takes 45 secs to fill and a poplar wood bung put in. Poplar, provides no weight or colour to the bourbon. It is then stencilled with barrel head information. Ie: their brand name, tax number, county number etc. Two tankers, 280 barrels a day. Then out into the rick houses for ageing.

The charred inside of the barrels are from a 1 to 4 level. Once used, some barrels get shipped off overseas for whiskey to be aged in. The barrels are made in Lebanon, Kentucky and Missouri.

Chill filtering occurs for the yellow label and single barrel where the fatty acids are filtered out. 66% of flavour will come from barrel and 100% of the colour will come out but you will lose colour when filtered, so to avoid losing too much colour they soak the filters in bourbon and ash also! Smells bloody divine.

Bottling now is mostly automated but the single barrel bottles are still finely labeled (by hand) with the 'mapping your barrel' markings. Like a latitude and longitude marking of where the barrel was stored in the rick house.

As the Japanese market is still number one, different labelling is provided for the 80 and 86 proof that is shipped out to them.

 

They try and bottle out, same as quantity in. Approx 200 bottles from ea barrel, 280 barrels a day!!

There are 20 rick houses, 4 new ones coming, hold 24,000 barrels, each sits on 1 acre of land. The moats are so if one was to catch fire and roll out, it will only go into the moat, same reason for having buildings set so far apart. Single level 6-7 degree difference in natural or ambient temperature, if taller than they can get a 37 degree difference. Mother Nature is the only thing governing the barrel control on ageing.

Ahhhhhh, the smell as you walk into the rick house! Look down the walkway, yes it's a walkway! 69 barrels in length.

 

Yes, the barrel handler guys, actually walk this narrow walkway down the rick and make sure they are bung side up.

 

We had 3 samples of bourbon at the end of the tour, you get to keep the glass and of course we bought a couple different bottles and souvenirs.

 

From here we did a quick trip to the Jim Beam factory, took some pics and I know his would be a sensational tour too but we've done the Jack Daniels one and really wanted to do something different. No offence, as we do drink it often.

 

Here's cheers! With whatever you're drinking!

Kat xo

 

 

http://fourrosesbourbon.com

Http://jimbeam.com

 

St Louis, Missouri

The Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in other words Budweiser! Amongst other brands they produce or own.

What a way to finish off the afternoon, arriving into St Louis, Missouri and taking the 4.10pm tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, in the historic Soulard area.

We booked the Day Fresh Tour that takes you on the 'Seed to Sip' with other bits in between. Visiting the Clydesdale paddock and stables, the beechwood aging cellar, the historic Brewhouse and the packaging facility.

 

Upon arrival, where would we be without a visit to the Biergarten while waiting for the tour to start?! I chose to sample the Blue Point, Toasted Lager and Jack the Hoegaarden (the lighter coloured one)

 

The Budweiser horse team consists of 70 Clydesdales, 50 of which are located here at St. Louis. Grants Farm, just a short distance away, is where the Clydesdales are raised. They eat around 20-25 quarts of grain feed a day but I think he's had a bit too much beer today!

 

Into the stables we go, an old building trimmed in red and green against the beautiful red brick exterior with its stained glass windows.

It takes about 5 hours to prepare the hitch for parades etc. and they first performed in 1933.

 

The Dalmatians were introduced in the 1950's to protect the deliveries on the hitches.

 

The beautiful chandelier, all 600 pounds of brass was installed after being acquired at the 1904 World Fair.

The smaller stalls are original to the beautiful 1885 building. I am blown away and we are only on the first stop of the tour.

Next we headed to the aging cellars. A pleasant to cool 50F/ all year round.

Beechwood chips are procured from the local areas, cooked up to remove any other flavours and then used 3 times over before removing, washing and mulching.

These aging tanks, if you drink a beer every 24 hrs would take you 137years to drink one tank. 1.2 billion 12oz beers per tank!

 

On to the process – Barley, rice, hops, water and yeast. Your 5 main ingredients to making a bud!

The rice gives the beer the crisp clear colour we see in our first sample for the tour.

The recipe today is the same as it was in 1867, in particular the yeast recipe, guarded with only 5 individuals having knowledge of its full potential.

To give you an idea of beer strengths, Bud Light stays in the mashing process for about 4 hours where normal Bud is only in for 2 hours. This is the process of breaking down the carbs and sugars, more calories in the short, less in the longer process obviously.

Next was up to the third floor of the brew house. Oh my god, the chandeliers, tiled artwork and architecture in here are exquisite! The 3 storey chandelier is all hops flowers.

 

During the prohibition era, the 'elephant' atop the pillar, was actually the logo for their yeast product on the back there was a warning about what not to use it with and how not to brew beer. Lol! During the prohibition time, to keep the company running they produced everything from barley malt syrup, bakers yeast, soda to ice cream! In fact 20 different products kept their company running during that time.

 

Opposite the brewery was an elementary school building until they decided that perhaps it wasn't a good idea to have a school opposite the brewery. It was their headquarters office until they outgrew it.

 

'Bevo' the fox featured on all 4 corners of the packaging warehouse is based on the fox from Grimms fairytale, who always knew where to find good food and drink at all times!

 

Up to the 3rd floor of the packaging warehouse. After rinsing and sterilising, the bottles are filled within 1/10th of a second to ensure purity and crispness to each.

750 bottles per minute!

At 24 beers per case, all cases are sent down to Mississippi River for storage. Housing half a million cases at any one time, say production was stopped and STILL, it would only take the whole Mid West to drink the whole warehouse dry in a mere 18hrs!

 

At the conclusion of the tour we received the freshest bottle of beer you'll ever get, bottled this morning around 3am! Room temp at moment so needs to go in the fridge.

Two free beers on tour plus a free ticket for a 16oz beer in the beirgarten after.

 

Luke and Allie were our tour guides. On their summer break this was their first year of tours, rotating between the different tours and the gift shop. If you're over 21 they can work the bar as well. They were sensational! What a job, 4 days a week, I think I could handle that easily! Although you wouldnt get any samples!

$10 bucks, holy hell, was so worth it! If you are ever in St.Louis, you really must do this tour!

Ahhh, life is good, cheers!

Kat xo

http://www.budweisertours.com

 

Lynchburg, TN

We arrived in Lynchburg at lunchtime, we are in Jack Daniels country. Moore County …….a dry county! No drinking where Jack lives!

We went to the Visitors Centre and grabbed some info and headed on up to the Jack Daniels Distillery and booked in for a “Tasting Tour”. This place is gorgeous in itself, sitting amongst trees and creeks.

A short walk back to the town square so we could grab lunch at The BBQ Caboose Cafe before walking back and viewing museum type displays before getting on the tour.

Whilst in the square we checked out the old Moore County Jail. Probably the last and most infamous dealings in the jail was the last Sheriff, Ronald Cunningam had to leave as attempts on his life were carried out as he was hot on the trail of runners of drugs and smuggled guns.

The men's jail cells are upstairs and later cells were added downstairs for women. In 1856 The Pauly Jail Building Co commenced and made jail cells and thought to get patents out on their designs. They still make components for detention centres now.

On to THE Tour. So much history and interesting facts about the Jack Daniels distillery and I hope I was listening attentatively.

We started with the learning of how they get the coal for the mellowing process. Enter the Rickyard, using Sugar Maple trees, they create these stacks and put them under the hoods. Spraying them down with Jack Daniels – because you don't want to use anything else that can distort the flavour or adds petroleum products etc. – the rick's are then burnt for 1 – 11/2 hrs to create charcoal.

Charcoal is used in the mellowing process and takes out acids and fusel oils allowing the whiskey to mellow and make it smooth. It even smells good in the charcoal bay! To get it even and ensure a precise filtration the charcoal goes through a grinder to get consistent 'pea gravel' size charcoal.

The building on the hill? 7 stories high and is one of 80 barrel houses. This building alone houses $13.5mil of whiskey. Local, state and federal taxes equate to approx $13 per gallon to get it out of the barrel. Australia ranks 5th biggest consumer of JD.

They have their own fire brigade in case of fire and have not lost any whiskey to fire yet!

Iron free, cold water from the spring to make whiskey. When Jack was 6 he move out of home and moved in with a neighbour who was a minister, preached on Sunday made whiskey through the week. Jack found Cave Springs running and all whiskey made from this water since 1866.

This is what ya call, Jack On The Rocks! Haa haa haa not my line but Josh the tour guide! And that IS the name of the statue.

The marble statue in the Visitor centre is correct in height but his shoes aren't correct he wore a size 4 men's shoe and it would have toppled over so they carved it with size 12's. The bronze statue foot is correct but height is 5'7″ 5″ taller than Jacks actual size but the sculptor liking Jack Daniel honoured him by making him taller.

The mash – A mixture of corn barley rye is brought in as whole grains, it's ground down on site and then mixed with cave water and yeast, set down for 5 days and then is run through the still to get the whiskey out.

Stills run constant and run 35-40gal of whiskey a minute. There are 64 mash tanks 40,000 gal mash per tank. that produce 8000gal of whiskey from one tank every 5 days. Takes 5gal of mash to produce 1gal of whiskey!

Spent mash is around 28% protein and is sold off as by product for cattle growers in the region.

Charcoal mellowing, 75 vats of 10ft of charcoal makes JD Tennessee sipping whiskey. The smell is sensational!! All JD starts the same, it is the ageing in the barrels that changes it.

(Side note here only some areas can you take photos, and could only type this stuff out when not in those buildings, any spark from phones camera flashes etc because of fumes could ignite!)

Barrels are made from white oak. A good/experienced cooper can raise 250 barrels a day. Then they are toasted to caramelise the flavours that come out of the wood. Vanilla, caramel, oak all comes from the toasted charred insides of the barrels. Hence giving those oak and vanilla tones to the whiskey.

53 gallons of whiskey in each barrel and are stored in barrel houses. None are climate controlled it's controlled by Mother Nature, hot, the oak expands and soaks up the whiskey as the weather turns cold it releases the whiskey again. The expanding and contracting allows the scents from the barrels to infuse into the whiskey.

Barrels are used once and then tested to see if they still have traces of liquor in them if they do, they will be sold off to other whiskey makers for their ageing process. If they don't make the cut, they are sold down town in the square for use as furniture, pot plants etc. and they do have some sensational items made from the barrels!

The traditional black label is done with around 170-200 barrels of whiskey mixed in together.

Single Select however will be one barrel, and bottled purely from the 1 barrel approx 240 bottles!! Each barrel can taste different as well. There is a single barrel society and for around $9000 you can buy your own barrel, the gold barrel tack means they have bought more than one, when they have bought 7 they change the badge to a gold barrel with a red 7 on it.

The revenue office (opposite the bottling plant) housed 2 officers up until 1986, when the liquor industry was deregulated they were removed from site and it was made into a nurses station, since 1988 it is now the sampling room and the black JAck Daniels flag flies on the day someone is tasting their own purchased barrel.

It was bottled in a square bottle “a square deal” as it became known – getting a square deal on his whiskey as they were used to clear moonshine or whiskey. The 7 still unknown, lucky number, his height 5'2″, 7 lovely ladies he supposedly had.

Select barrels are used for single barrel select and are stored in the very top floor of the barrel house. 90% are rejected even after being selected to be a “select”. There are of course 7 taste selectors in the distillery.

Sensational!!

All bottling is done in Lynchburg, no bottling is done anywhere else. All here and then exported all over the country and indeed all over the world.

During prohibition time Lem Motlow and his wife owned and ran the hardware store on the square. When prohibition ended Tennessee remained a dry state. Lem, not happy with this ran for election in legislature and was elected to office and managed to get prohibition raised for the state and could therefore start producing Whiskey again.

Aren't we lucky Jack Daniels nephew continued the tradition and pushed for this? We would be without some sensational whiskey that's for sure!

This was an awesome experience, thoroughly enjoyed visiting Lynchburg.

Cheers and here's to Jack! Bottoms Up!

Kat xo

PS more pics will be posted on Facebook, but you get the drift if you are a Jack Daniels fan or just want to see how things were back in the day and how some places, company's and people refuse to give up traditions!!

http://www.jackdaniels.com

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynchburg,_Tennessee