J. H. Bards operates a small tasting room and retail shop where you can enjoy a drink or two and pick up merchandise and spirits. Besides their regular line up, limited release whiskies are also available at times. Per VA ABC regulation, the tasting room can only serve a maximum of 3 ounces of spirits to an individual per day. This limits your options to one flight of three 1/2 ounce samples and a cocktail, or two cocktails. There is also a maximum of four spirits that may be sampled, so ordering two flights for more variety is not permitted. Sometimes I think the State Revenuers just make this stuff up on a whim.
We will typically enjoy a couple mid-afternoon cocktails at the tasting room before heading out for dinner. Their smoked Old Fashioned made with rye and a house prepared cherry is a favorite. Even though I am quite fond of my own Old Fashioned recipe, I've been converted into keeping their Blackstrap Old Fashioned Syrup on hand. The J. H. Bards Rye is often my choice for my home Old Fashioned as well.
We diversified a bit this last trip and decided to try one of the summer drink recipes offered, their interpretation of a Painkiller. This one is made with bourbon instead of the classic rum, nutmeg, and pineapple coconut syrup. We found the Painkiller very tasty and refreshing, but we still switched back to our favorite Old Fashioned for our second round.
Each time we've visited one of the owners, Jayson or Jason, has been doing the serving in the tasting room. They are very knowledgeable about whiskey and the Blacksburg area in general and we've had some enjoyable conversations.
After our drinks I picked up more of the Blackstrap syrup and a replacement for my recently emptied bottle of rye. Also available this time was a limited release finished bourbon made in collaboration with the local Beliveau Farm Winery. It's a four year bourbon aged in port barrels from the winery. I decided to bring a bottle home and look forward reporting on it in the future.
When visiting the New River Valley region, I suggest adding J. H. Bards to your itinerary.