Cue the Boys II Men…

Alright…  It is not quite the “End of the Road” just yet, but it might as well be.  The West Virginia Power season has exactly 13 games left as I write this offering.  Our first road trip this month was to Asheville, which is a phenomenal foodie city on the rise.  I opted to send my summer intern on the trip.  There are a few great options within a short walk of the hotel in Asheville: Hickory Tavern, Neo Burrito and Brixx Pizza to name a few.  If I sent him to Lexington, the only option is a house made out of butter and grease and waffles.  So he got Asheville…  and wasted it on cheap pizza and roast beef sandwiches.

Lexington is just a short trek from Charleston, so I borrowed my wife’s Subaru (37 mpg as opposed to my Toyota’s robust 22-ish) and took off for the “Horse Capital of the World.”  Along the way, I stopped for lunch near the Barboursville Mall.

Can't resist this place.

Can’t resist this place.

I’m still going low-carb, so no burrito for me.  I went for a salad with carnitas and verde salsa.  This should almost make up for the time, about a decade ago, when a friend and I drove 90 minutes to get Chipotle, each had a burrito there and then spent $80 on more burritos to take home.  That is no joke…  We really did that.

From there, it was on to UK-land.  The Power and Legends played a four-game series at Whitaker Bank Ballpark and split.  The Legends took game one, limiting the Power to just two hits.  West Virginia saved the offense for games two and three, pounding out 15 and 18 hits and scoring a collective 22 runs between Friday and Saturday’s wins.  Lexington won the finale 8-1.

Willie’s Locally Known has been one of my favorite spots to eat all season, but with one more three game trip here later this month, I did not visit this time through.  Instead, I found a Greek place on Friday for lunch called the Athenian Grill.  This is a top ten restaurant according to TripAdvisor.  

Eat there... if you can find it.

Eat there… if you can find it.

I opted for the meatballs in marinara with a Greek Salad.  Keone De Renne, our hitting coach, went along for the ride.  He said he might not eat since he had Waffle House two hours earlier.  I almost didn’t notice that he finished his gyro long before I was done eating.  This is a hole-in-the-wall-if-you-blink-you’ll-drive-right-past-it kind of place, but well worth finding.  Finding the Athenian Grill online is easier than finding the actual restaurant.

On Saturday, with all of my work taken care of after lunch Friday, I had time to tour and relax.  I toured the Alltech Lexington Brewing Company.  Alltech sounds like the kind of place that makes beer and spirits, right?  The chemical company works primarily with yeast and animal feed, animal supplements and animal health products.  It was the yeast that lead to brewing.  They would showcase their yeast by using it to make beer at conventions and trade shows.  And so Lexington Brewing Company was born.

photo 3 (3)

How beer is made...

How beer is made…

The brewery is only 14 years old, but offers six craft brews that have drawn a cult following.  Three of their beers are aged in old bourbon barrels.  The barrels are stored in a large freezer and the wood shrinks, thus releasing bourbon that seeped into the oak.  LBC makes a bourbon ale, a coffee stout, and, seasonally, a pumpkin barrel ale (plus three other non-barreled brews).  Find out more about Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and LBC.

Craft brews selections from Lexington Brewing and Distillery.

Craft brews selections from Lexington Brewing and Distillery.

For $7, you could take an hour long tour and sample four of their ten products.  In addition to the beer, they have a distillery in the plant that creates four spirits: a whiskey, a bourbon, a rye whiskey and a coffee/ bourbon liquor.  I sampled two beers and three spirits (a fellow guest was getting a little too Harry Caray along the tour).

Wheel. Of. Bourbon.

Wheel. Of. Bourbon.

How spirits are made...

How spirits are made…

Each of their four brands of spirits go through the distilling process.

Each of their four brands of spirits go through the distilling process.

Pretty fancy digs for a booze factory.

Pretty fancy digs for shine making…  Wait.  This kind is legal.

After the brewery tour, I headed over to Red State BBQ.  This is the top restaurant on TripAdvisor.  It was very good, but Willie’s has still not been beaten.  The short story behind the name is that when the proprietor was watching election returns, he quipped to a friend that all the best barbecue comes from “red” states.

I vote delicious.

I vote delicious.

Five different sauces were available, I indeed sampled small amount of each with my low-carb lunch: brisket, pulled pork and green beans (ordered cole slaw but didn’t want to waste room actually eating it).  I swear I did not inhale the BBQ at RedState.

On Sunday before the last game of the series, I made sure to stop by one of my Lexington favorites.  

We meet again.

The Windy Corner Market is just five miles from the hotel… out in horse country.

What I really wanted was to go back to the brewery and get another one of their Bluegrass Sundowns.  The coffee liquor is mixed with hot water and heavy cream to make an Irish Coffee… minus real brewed coffee in the drink itself.  But with a game that Sunday afternoon, I didn’t want to sound like this guy:

The ZOOperStars Harry Canary at Appalachian Power Park.  And yes... he "sings."

The ZOOperStars Harry Canary at Appalachian Power Park. And yes… he “sings.”

I’ll never have another bad day.

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