It’s no secret that many fans of bourbon flock to Kentucky annually to have an experience on the Bourbon Trail™. And while those outings are almost certainly rites of passage for visitors to the Bluegrass state, there are many new and cool options to check out as well. Thanks to the Bourbon Boom of recent years, downtown Louisville is hopping with many distilleries that have opened brand-specific fronts on Whiskey Row. While those are all fantastic and informative stops, keep in mind, they are brand specific and will only share their side of the story. However, if you’re looking for a new and totally unique experience in the heart of Kentucky’s biggest city, you’ll have to check out Sour Mash Tours.
This new venture tout’s itself as Louisville’s Only Guided, Walking Bourbon Tour. The brainchild of husband and wife team, Andy and Danielle Huenefeld, and their friend Dillon Miles, Sour Mash Tours is entering its second year of operation. This experience allows locals and visitors alike an opportunity to taste a variety of brown water expressions at three different watering holes all within walking distance. “Danielle and I were in Denver a little while back and took a walking beer tour.” Andy said. “We would try different craft brews while the tour guide gave us information about the area of town we were in. We were having a great time but I couldn’t concentrate on much of what was being said because my wheels were just turning. I thought if we don’t do something like this in Louisville, someone will beat us to it. I mean, what a great way to show off the many great neighborhoods around Louisville as well as all the cool bars!”
Over the course of a two hour outing, in one of Louisville’s notable neighborhoods (choose between NuLu, Butchertown, or Whiskey Row), guests will visit three different drinking establishments while sampling at least nine different bourbons. Priding themselves on being brand-neutral, the team at Sour Mash Tours offers carefully curated tours that lead guests through a sensory experience that appeals to the novice and enthusiast alike. Patrons are given a score card and are encouraged to write down tasting notes for each sample. To help guests identify what they may be sensing, Sour Mash Tours employs the Bourbon and Banter Flavor Wheel.
A recent addition with Sour Mash Tours is Bullseyes and Bourbon: throwing axes and drinking bourbon (doesn’t get more Kentucky than that!). Teaming up with Flying Axes, your group can spend an exciting hour trying to throw bullseyes and then mosey up the street to begin your bourbon sampling experience.
During the Fall if you’re a local or are in town and interested in watching a Louisville City FC (LCFC) match, you can do a little pregame bourbon sampling. The Sour Mash Tours crew has partnered with Against The Grain Brewery and Restaurant and LCFC to provide a unique before-the-match experience at Slugger Field.
So the next time you’re in, or around, Louisville and have a few free hours, do yourself a favor - drink bourbon, take a tour, and learn about the rich history of some of the revitalized downtown neighborhoods.
Born and raised in Newport Beach, California, Matt Evans married a native Kentuckian and has called Louisville home since 2007 – after stops in Washington D.C. and Durango, CO. His love affair with bourbon started as an attempt to learn more about his adopted hometown (and get in good with his in-laws!); the pursuit has developed into a full blown passion. Through the Stave and Thief Society, Matt is certified as an Executive Bourbon Steward. He has certifications from the Filson Historical Society’s Bourbon Academy and the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Academy. He also has served as Master Distiller for-a-day at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience under the tutelage of Artisanal Distiller Charlie Downs.Matt’s day job is instructing 7th grade World Geography, and he is the proud father of two daughters. During the summer, Matt teaches bourbon history courses at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state. Read Matt's full profile.