Holiday & Winter Fun Await at West Fork Whiskey Co.
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
More and more people are hearing about West Fork Whiskey Co., the 30,000-square-foot agritourism facility that opened in August across the street from Grand Park. It’s one of the largest craft whiskey distilleries in the country, and also offers a great deal more. For starters, it includes the Mash House, a family-friendly restaurant that runs weekly specials and is open for lunch. There is also Stave, a speakeasy cocktail bar with an intimate atmosphere, perfect for relaxing with friends while sipping top-tier cocktails. Plus, West Fork has retail space, an event center and an education center.
“Many folks think this is a whiskey bar, but there’s so much more,” says Kevin Boyd, marketing director at West Fork Whiskey Co.
Mash House recently kicked off an all-day Sunday Funday brunch that runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The menu includes a Chicken and Corncake Waffle – juicy fried chicken served with honey butter and glazed in maple syrup. It’s a cornmeal waffle because they like to highlight local farmers and products. Therefore, they make a lot of “corn-forward” products.
“We’re all about the corn,” Ray says.
The Mash House Fries are tossed with parmesan cheese, herbs and seasonings and can be served poutine style (adding gravy and egg). Then there’s the Grand Park Breakfast Platter, with the name serving as a nod to their neighbors. It includes egg and choice of bacon or bourbon sausage, potatoes and toast. The mouth-watering French Toastella is buttered French toast topped with peanut butter and Nutella. The Classic Breakfast Sandwich is a monstrous egg frittata with bourbon sausage and cheese, on an English muffin.
“The menu is really a fun mash-up, no pun intended,” says Megan Ray, program manager.
Every day of the week offers something fun at the Mash House, starting with BBQuesday from 5p.m. 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
“We have a pit master from Tennessee who works here,” Boyd says. “He gets out there at 6 or 7 a.m. and starts smoking meat in our smoker in the parking lot. Our pit-smoker special starts around 5 p.m.”
The middle of the week is a great time to visit because on Whiskey Wednesday it’s $5 off all bottles at the carryout bottle bar, and $8 for an old fashioned. For entertainment, there is Live Jazz from 6:30-8:30pm every other week in Stave Lounge. Thirsty Thursday has an $8 beer and a shot, called “The Dave,” and Half Off bottles of wine followed by live music at the Mash House from 6-8PM.
“We want people to come grab a drink and appetizer, then stay for live music and dinner,” Ray says. “Families love the Mash House early in the night, and young professionals and empty nesters take advantage of the evening hours.”
Not only did the Mash House team just put out their new winter menu with tons of new tasty food choices, but the Stave team also just released an extensive makeover cocktail booklet that includes 20 to 25 drinks.
“We have one of the best cocktail programs in Hamilton County because there’s something for everyone, and you don’t have to be a whiskey drinker,” says Boyd, noting that they have their own gin that they call East Spoon, which is a play off of their name. “We are a whiskey distillery but we have to have gin, so to poke a little fun, we came up with East Spoon.”
This is a great month to shop, as West Fork has gift card and package deals available that you can personalize. Check out their winter apparel including sweatshirts, T-shirts and beanies with the West Fork patch on it.
Their bottle bar is in the retail center as well. Guests can sample whiskey or purchase flights. “It’s try before you buy,” Boyd says.
The idea is to come get lunch and shop. It’s also a convenience. Say you’re on your way to a holiday party, and you can pop in and pick up a gift for a white-elephant exchange.
Check West Fork’s website and social media pages for community calendar updates, because Santa will be making some appearances in the event center.
“We are planning to have pictures with Santa as well as cookie decorating,” Ray says. “The kids can decorate a cookie while parents enjoy a whiskey cocktail.”
In the new year, they plan to kick off a West Fork Whiskey winter cornhole league. The games will take place on Wednesday evenings to coincide with Whiskey Wednesday. Participants are invited to come out and enjoy a cocktail or meal, then play in a competitive league.
“It’ll be official with teams registered and wearing West Fork T-shirts,” Boyd says. “If you are interested in playing head to West Fork’s website calendar for team registration.”
At West Fork Whiskey, they have limited bourbon and whiskey releases (typically two each month). These are unique single barrels, not just their standards, and they can only be purchased on-site at West Fork Whiskey.
“You can’t find these bottles at Meijer or Crown Liquors,” Boyd says. It’s all part of a line called WFX, which simply means Westfield Exclusive. “We pick our favorite barrels – ones that customers don’t have access to. If you want the best stuff, you’ve got to come on-site, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.”
The big takeaway is that West Fork is not just a restaurant, nor is it just a distillery and bar.
“We are community-driven, with all sorts of activities, events and programming for all ages and demographics,” Boyd says.
For instance, they have just launched a behind-the-scenes tour of their new facility. Guests get to walk through the distillation processing and production area, then finish the 45-minute tour in the education room with a tasting of the West Fork Whiskey line.
“It’s really unique and super fun,” Ray says.