By: Rob Shomaker, Certified Cicerone®

The tram zips through the Toyota manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Kentucky. Rolls of steel come in,
finished cars leave. Over eight million square feet, more than 11 million cars produced since 1988,
approximately 8,000 team members—each of which would smile and wave as our tour passed by. The
sheer size of the facility combined with the precision and execution of the work was mesmerizing. I
could feel the pride of the team members, their dedication to quality and efficiency, the sense that they
were a part of something greater. Truly inspiring.

Toyota was not why I was in Georgetown, Kentucky. While I knew Toyota had a manufacturing facility in
Kentucky, I didn’t realize it was there. Just north of Lexington, to those of us in the craft beer
community, we know Georgetown due to Country Boy Brewing’s selection and their recent expansion. A
beautiful, built from the ground up brewery and tasting room. A 50-barrel brewhouse, a single 200 and
multiple 100 and 60-barrel fermenters, a canning line, a large  and well thought out tasting room, not
far from Toyota. On that frigid Thursday afternoon there was snow on the ground and a good crowd at
the bar.

This. This is why I came to Georgetown, Kentucky.

There’s more to Georgetown though, much more. I’d encourage you to visit Country Boy Brewing and Toyota and stay a while. You’ll be glad you did.

First, check out Fat Kats Pizzeria — award winning pizza, unique selection and craft beer on tap. It is just off of I-75 in a small spot that you’ll pass right by if you blink, they make good use of their space and you can tell it is frequented by locals. If pizza isn’t your thing, head downtown where, for a moment, you’ll think you’re on a movie set.

The homes surrounding the area are large Victorian-era mansions that are being brought back to life and are nothing short of beautiful. As you head into town, Galvin’s on Main has an extensive menu and a very good craft beer selection. Try the jalapeño poppers and the Philly Cheese Steak or one of their awesome burgers. It’s probably best that you don’t order their fries  —they looked hand cut, steak-fry style. You won’t stop eating them until they are pried away from your salty little paws.

If you want something a little more unique, Local Feed is a great restaurant that employs the farm-to-table concept. Being an old ice house, the space itself is full of character but the experience itself will be on your plate. While the set menu is awesome (get the side of mac-n- cheese), check out the specials board which, while I was there, was more extensive than I expected.

Local Feed also had several local beers on tap such as Country Boy and West 6th, which is just down the road in Lexington. The prices here are also exceptionally affordable given the offerings. I’ve seen higher prices for much less. I had the hanger steak and the mac-n- cheese, which I would gladly go out of my way to enjoy again.

After dinner, head over to Sláinte Public House. The creation of Matt and Ashley Nunn, this public house was inspired by visiting pubs on the couple’s 10-year anniversary trip to Ireland. Upon their return, the two set out to create this type of a space in Georgetown. Ashley found the historic building on East Main
Street that the two purchased. The history of the building is just as interesting as the public house itself.

The house is the combination of two structures, the earlier of which was built in 1790 when Kentucky was still part of Virginia. The rest of the house was built in 1840 by George Algair. George also purposely built a space on the second floor as a public meeting space. The local catholic church held mass there until their church was built. Now, the same church has returned and holds various committee meetings there throughout the week.

There’s a warmness to this public house, a place where you can feel comfortable, come as you are and engage easily with others. While Matt credits Ashley’s eye for the layout and décor he notes that their logo clearly illustrates their intent — conversation over beer with the head of the beer in the shape of a word bubble. While this is easily facilitated for some, board games are provided as well as various events throughout the week to encourage engagement with one another and the local community. There are frequently local artists’ works present and musicians on the calendar.

Perhaps my favorite creation is their “old fashion face time” events where you turn your phone in at the bar, get a discount on your tab and are encouraged to have “face time” with one another. The Sláinte Public House feels like being in the center of the town, warm and welcoming. You’ll also find a great beer selection. While Guinness, Smithwick’s, Country Boy Cougar Bait and a selection from Blue Stallion Brewing Company and West 6th are staples on the first 5 taps, the other 11 are carefully selected from
the best beers in the country. You won’t be disappointed with this stop.

This spring, a second brewery will open in downtown Georgetown, My Old Kentucky Foam Brewery. While their award-winning Georgetown Brown will get the taps flowing, their 7-barrel system will keep plenty of beer on tap. With a brick oven going in as well, this will be another great place to stop and check out. While it was under construction during my visit, I look forward to returning.

Finally, as you head out of town, hit the Bluegrass Liquor Box for some beer to go. I found a nice growler wall and a lot of excellent choices in a small space. Don’t forget to grab some cans of Country Boy Brewing before you head out the door.

Georgetown certainly possesses pure small-town charm with awesome food, great beer and stellar people. At a mere 3 hours from Knoxville, it’s an easy trip. Be sure to put this stop on your radar and stay a while!