Distilleries are popping up everywhere. We have a number of them now in Virginia and one is pretty close to Charlottesville. Last weekend Nancy and I drove out to nearby Ivy to check out Ragged Branch Distillery.
“They make their own bourbon and raise their own cattle for steaks,” Nancy explained on the drive out.
Bourbon and steaks? How can you go wrong?
Bourbon has always been my liquor of choice. Like most, I enjoy fine bourbon – sippin’ whiskey as they say. But I usually settle for a mid-brand like Ancient Age, Ezra Brooks or Early Times.
As we entered the main room our hosts explained they would be having “tastings” in the adjoining room and we signed up. It was $9 each for Nancy and me to each get a sample of the three bourbons that Ragged Branch produces. All were good, but I liked their Signature blend best.
This is high quality bourbon – in the Maker’s Mark category.
This is the kind of bourbon that if your college roommate – who you haven’t seen in 40 years – was coming by your house, you’d go to your liquor cabinet and…. pour him a glass of Early Times and keep the Ragged Branch for yourself. Screw him. He wasn’t that good of a roommate. Now if the Pope stopped by and wanted a shot, well, maybe. This is really good stuff.
Ragged Branch is owned by Alex Toomy. It is a genuine farm-to-table operation They use grain which has been grown on the farm and they grow, grind, mash, distill, age and bottle on the premises. The bourbons are aged in new 53-gallon barrels with a 33 char.
The operation includes a bar and a small restaurant. They serve drinks and offer burgers and their farm-raised beef on a beautiful patio overlooking the scenic acreage.
The beef, by the way, is not only corn fed, it’s bourbon mash fed. Beef like this is melt-in-your-mouth tender and exploding in flavor. The hamburger is scrumptious and they offer a wide selection of steaks.
If you have a Sunday afternoon to kill, this is the place. They are closed Monday through Wednesday but are open on Thursday from noon till 6, on Friday and Saturday from noon until 7 pm and on Sunday from noon till 6. The address is 1015 Taylor’s Gap Road, Charlottesville. Call them at 434-244-2600. Their web site is RaggedBranch.com.
If you fancy a fine glass of bourbon, this is your kind of place.