My Amazing Bourbon Trail Road Trip – Part 2

In My Amazing Bourbon Trail Road Trip Part 2, Texan at Liquid Lonestar heads to Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.

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In Part One of my Bourbon Trail Trip, I covered the logistics of the trip, including my gadgets, the car, and the route. In case you missed it, you should read it first before continuing with this part.

As outlined in the map and the trip stops, we left San Marcos, TX and drove to Dallas, TX to stay at a relative’s house for the night. Getting to Dallas was easy and is really the starting point for the trip. Staying at a relative’s house saved some $$$ as we did not need a hotel that night. Driving from San Marcos to Dallas was somewhat routine for us, so it did not feel like we were on the trip yet, but we did enjoy being out on the open road and getting familiar with the Mitsubishi Outlander we rented. You know … how to turn on/off the lights, the wipers, and of course, setting up the phone connectivity for maps and Android Auto.

My Meta Smart Glasses were awesome, and I mean awesome, for capturing photos and videos on my trip!

On the second day, we headed to Little Rock, Arkansas. Now we are on our way to fun! As with most of our driving days, we drove for less than five hours (most legs were around 3-4 hours) so we had time to detour or stop somewhere on a whim. The trip was generally scripted, but we had lots of open time to explore at a moment’s notice.

Our first trip detour took place as we were coming up to Sulphur Springs, Texas. Sulphur Springs is a small, quaint town worthy of a stop if you are nearby. We knew nothing of it, but the name sounded like it must have something to offer. While there are parks and museums you can visit, we chose to just head downtown to the town square explore.

Meta View

We walked the quaint downtown streets and spent a little time in the town square. You see, the town square is unique as it has something other towns don’t: cool restrooms. Yes, you read it right: cool restrooms. These restrooms are unique and sit just within the town square on a couple of sides with a soundstage across from them.

What makes these restrooms cool is they are large, mirrored cubes. They have toilets and sinks like you would expect, however, if you were sitting on the toilet, you would not expect to be looking out over the square watching a person 3 feet away on the outside playing lawn chess! Yes, these mirrored cubes are two-way mirrors! It is strange to be sitting (or standing) in one of these and seeing everything around you like you were out in the open! I think all restrooms should be like this! Great job to you folks in Sulphur Springs, Texas!

After we finished our exploration of Sulphur Springs, we got back on the road and made our way to Little Rock. Nice drive but it rained most of the way. We checked into the Four Seasons Hotel in Little Rock (gotcha! There are no Four Seasons Hotels in Little Rock, just a Four Points, so we had to settle for a Holiday Inn). We headed downtown about fifteen minutes away for dinner where we had already scoped out a nice place right across the street from the distillery we were visiting.

The restaurant was Rock and Roll Sushi.

The entire restaurant (you guessed it) was decorated with music and rock and roll themes. The menu was extensive, and we ordered sushi and saki we couldn’t get at home. It was fantastic! We loved the meal and the atmosphere, and the service was excellent as well.

With full stomachs, we headed across the street (in the rain) to Rock Town Distillery. We had reservations for a tour but went early to sit inside and enjoy the venue. We sat at the bar and enjoyed some drinks.

My wife had a mixed drink while I had a glass of neat bourbon, which was excellent.

At 7:00pm, we started our tour. Lucky for us, we were the only ones on the tour, so it was truly a personalized tour for us. Our tour guide was excellent and went through the distillery’s history first, before we headed inside to the barrel room. Here are a few titbits of information about the distillery:

  1. It opened in 2010 becoming the first legal distiller in the state of Arkansas
  2. It sources its ingredients from Arkansas farmers
  3. Rock Town Distillery has an extensive range of products, producing regular and flavored vodka (its biggest seller), Gin, liqueurs, and of course, bourbon.

Inside was much like many of the barrel rooms you would find in a Texas distillery; one that produces about the same amount of whiskey. The fermenters, still and bottling areas were normal for a local distillery. And of course, several batches were in progress.

Following the tour, we went to a tasting room where we had the standard tastings, plus many more.

My wife, not a bourbon drinker, was able to partake in a completely different tasting of vodkas, gins, and other non-bourbon spirits. In the end, I ended up walking out with a bottle of Toasted French Oak Barrel Finish Bourbon. They offered it in a cask strength version as well, but I fancied this one the most.

I captured a lot of videos on the road with my Dash Cam. This was the best value and quality I found for my needs.

Overall, I was very impressed with Rock Town Distillery; both the venue itself and their products. If you are in the Little Rock area, you should make this stop.

After a good night’s sleep, we made our way from Little Rock, AK to Memphis, TN. We had been to Memphis once before on a quick overnight with a college football team and ended up staying in the same hotel as before (Sheraton) which gave us a bit of Deja Vue. But it was nice to know the lay of the land. After checking in we made our way to Beale Street where we would meet our bus for a city tour.

We had not realized until we got to Beale Street that it was June 1st, which is the first day of Pride Month! Even during the middle of the day, it was crazy. Well, crazier than usual I suspect. “People watching” and a beer at Alfred’s on Beale was on the agenda while we waited to board the bus.

The 90-minute tour, offered by Backbeat Tours, was the “Memphis Mojo Tour: The Best of Memphis” and it was fantastic. The tour guide is actually a musician, and blends (good) music with his narration of the different sites to see and history of Memphis.

We hit all the key spots in Memphis including various recording studios such as Sun Records, previous homes of musicians, concert venues, and of course the location where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. It was a fantastic tour and I highly recommend it if you have never done a deep discovery of Memphis.

Following our tour, we headed down Beale Street for an early dinner, and headed to Silky O’Sullivan’s. The place was big (huge, actually) and busy with both indoor and outdoor seating. And of course, live music and live goats.

That evening, with Memphis now under our belt, we nestled in for a good night’s sleep at our Sheraton. Next Stop: Nashville, TN.

About the Author

A native of Texas, Ken “Texan” Pierce is a renowned alcohol aficionado with decades of experience in the Texas wine, whiskey, and beer industry. With a vast number of alcohol production resources right in his back yard in the Texas Hill Country, Ken has made it his mission to promote and advance the Texas winemaking, distilling, and brewing industry across the country.  Ken holds certifications from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) for wine and is a Certified Texas Wine Ambassador. His ability to identify tasting notes and pairings makes him a respected authority within alcohol enthusiast circles. When he’s not reviewing the latest craft spirits, you can find Ken playing his guitar, trying to sing, and sipping on a Texas libation.

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