Mention the word “bourbon,” and of course our thoughts turn to Kentucky. But just across the Ohio River, the Hoosier state has been working hard to establish its own foothold within the thriving industry. The latest effort is West Fork Whiskey Co.’s showy new $10 million facility in the idyllic rural cornfields of Westfield. It sits about a dozen miles north of Indianapolis, and it’s a real beauty.
The distillery initially launched in 2015 in downtown Indy, distinguished by its dedication to using only Indiana ingredients from grain to glass. The owners intend to keep the original tasting room open while shifting distilling operations and storage into their new 30,000-square-foot property. The 12+ acre Westfield site should allow plenty of room for future growth; West Fork has its eyes on becoming the largest craft whiskey distillery in the Midwest, and one of the biggest in the country.
Just across from the massive Grand Park Sports Campus (home of the Indianapolis Colts summer training camp), the West Fork outpost also includes the sleek Stave cocktail lounge, event space, and the family-friendly Mash House restaurant manned by renowned Indy chef Carlos Salazar.
How’s the juice? Tasty. At a recent sampling, we had an opportunity to try four chill-filtered products—the High Corn aged bourbon (99% corn, 1% malted barley) rising to the top of the heap with a sweet caramel nose, tasting notes of buttery oak and vanilla ice cream, and a velvety mouthfeel. The High Rye (73% corn, 27% rye) delivers a pleasing punch of holiday baking spices and smoky dried fruit. A little more tempered, the Wheated bourbon (73% corn, 17% wheat, 10% rye) would make an excellent fall sipper around an autumn campfire, and the smoothly approachable 80-proof House blend is just a good all-around selection with hints of cinnamon and fruit.