The Wine Bar Bourbon Distillery Series continues!

The Pappy Van Winkle tasting last Saturday was, in the humble opinion of the Bourbon Boss, a perfect combination of bourbon, banter and bonding (and beef!). The 17 lucky souls that participated were inquisitive, knowledgeable, passionate, and by the end of the evening, best friends. We’ll keep trying to shoot for that lofty standard with the next installation of our Distillery Series in March (date to be set soon)— the Heaven Hill Bernheim Distillery Vertical.  As we’ve done with other distillery vertical tastings (Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam, Stitzel-Weller), we’ll pick 5-6 premium offerings produced by a single legendary distillery (Heaven Hill) and weave a story that connects the history and makeup of these storied brands. As always, great yarns and characters abound. Some of them true!

So to start with, my early uninitiated impression of the Heaven Hill brands was set by some very cheap (and rough) vodka I was exposed to in my youth— I therefore assumed way back then that Heaven Hill spirits were all “bottom shelf.”   But this was an assumption born of youthful ignorance.


No better way to debunk that silly notion than to enjoy a glass of Elijah Craig Single Barrel 18. Maybe this shows up at the tasting…

So join us for another journey through a stellar bourbon lineup including quality brands such as the aforementioned Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Henry McKenna, Old Fitzgerald, Larceny, etc., and learn about the shared heritage between Heaven Hill and Pappy’s Stitzel-Weller and the Jim Beam family.  And as always, we’ll end with the best beef filet on the mountain by Chef Hope!

Watch for email announcements and Facebook posts, or go to for information on this and other upcoming events.  And come peruse the Wine Bar’s extensive bourbon list (including Pappy Van Winkle, while very limited supplies last!).

We’ll keep the posts coming and welcome comments and questions, and remember, Wine Bars can be great Bourbon Bars too!

– The Bourbon Boss

The date is set!!

The much anticipated Pappy Van Winkle tasting is set for Saturday January 20 at 6:00. 15 lucky participants have been selected by lottery and winners will be notified by phone (see the MSWB Facebook page for the live video). If your name was not drawn, don’t despair— you’re on the backup list and still in the mix if others can’t join us.

While still on the topic of Pappy and its origin at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, click on the link below to read about the history of E.H. Taylor and the newly excavated and restored elements of the O.F.C Distillery.

“Honest whiskey at an honest price”

Gotta love those old time slogans. This one is the original marketing slogan for Rebel Yell, another wheated bourbon that is part of the W.L. Weller legacy at the historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, KY. This bourbon, widely viewed as a low-end bourbon, was originally targeted at consumers in Southern states (not so subtly!). However, this line of bourbons shares a lineage with Pappy Van Winkle, and the Small Batch Reserve is an award winning whiskey. If you can find a bottle, give it a try and let me know what you think!

Pappy Tasting

The date has been set for the tasting/dinner– Saturday January 20. The 10, 12, 15 and 20 year, plus a surprise selection (impossible to upstage the main event!) to start things off. And dinner will feature a bison ribeye flown in from an Oklahoma ranch especially for this event. The lottery drawing to pick the lucky 15 participants will happen tomorrow, and all entrants will be notified of the results.

This is only the latest of a long running program of bourbon tastings at the Wine Bar that feature interesting selections according to a theme– distillery verticals (like the incomparable Buffalo Trace offerings), finished bourbons, “antique” bourbons, barrel proof bourbons, etc. Future tastings (typically every other month) will be posted here and announced via the Wine Bar’s regular email blasts. The bourbon, conversation, atmosphere and food combine for a memorable evening! Regular participants are eligible for the Wine Bar’s exclusive Bourbon Club, with all the rights and privileges accruing thereto!

Wheated Bourbons

So while we’re on the topic of Pappy, there’s another wheated (secondary grain is wheat in place of rye) bourbon that’s decent, widely available and relatively inexpensive: Makers. I’m generally not a huge fan of Makers (for reasons we can debate) but Makers 46 is pretty solid. A “Barrel Finished ” bourbon. A very good bourbon for the price.

Welcome to Mountain Bourbon!

This is the post excerpt.

This is the inaugural post for the bourbon community of the Main Street Wine Bar (the MSWB) in Stahlstown, PA, in the heart of the spectacular Laurel Highlands. The purpose of this blog is to highlight the bourbon program at the MSWB and to explore advanced topics around the production, distribution, and consumption of Kentucky (and only Kentucky) bourbon. We’ll also feature upcoming bourbon tastings and events at the MSWB like the Pappy Van Winkle tasting coming in January (see breathtaking picture below!). We I nvite spirited (pun intended) debate and conversation on all things bourbon. And only Kentucky bourbon. Because why would you drink bourbon not from the motherland!