From the Civil War to Prohibition: Ft Defiance and MB Roland Distillery

Entrance to Ft Defiance

Entrance to Ft Defiance

Let me go on record saying that close friends are always welcome at my place and I’m lucky enough to have one such friend who decided to come and visit.  Of course I couldn’t let her down, so I planned a weekend that was jammed packed.  The next couple of post will be about our adventures over President’s Day weekend.  So let us travel in time a bit and visit places that history merges with scenic landscapes around Ft Campbell.  Driving between Clarksville, TN and Pembroke, KY, this was an easy way to keep busy on Saturday.

50th Tennessee Reennactment Group in a cannon fire exercise.

50th Tennessee reenactment Group in a cannon fire exercise.

First stop, Ft Defiance in Clarksville, TN.  On Saturday Ft Defiance celebrated the 152nd anniversary of the surrender of Clarksville.  The men of the 50th Tennessee Reenactment Group worked hard to put together a thoughtful presentation with a live cannon firing.  There was a small camp ground set up and the men were dressed in traditional Confederate army uniforms.  The women actors that participated in this were cleverly inside the museum, though sadly missing from the depiction of camp life.

Display inside the Ft Defiance museum.

Display inside the Ft Defiance museum.

The museum itself is smartly planned out and filled with interesting local artifacts.  Under different large photographs you can listen to an oral history of people who lived here during the Civil War.  The outside of the building is surrounded by rolling hills and a spectacular view of the Riverwalk.  I could only imagine that in the summer it would be a peaceful place to grab a picnic and enjoy the outdoors.

But here is the part that really left an impression.  While walking up to the camp site, the wind began to pick up.  It was in that moment that it really hit me just how cold, wet and miserable camp life must have been for those defending Clarksville.  The small hills and limited resources provided little shelter from the elements around those Soldiers.  And yet even with this adversity, battles were fought and lives were lost.  It certainly made me pause and admire the bravery and courage of all those that fought.

Views from Ft Defiance.

Views from Ft Defiance.

Fast forward to our next stop that encompassed the roaring 20s with flapper dresses, mobsters, and ragtime music.  What do all these things have in common?  Prohibition and moonshine.  MB Roland Distillery pays homage to this with their craft distillery that produces bourbon, whiskey and moonshine.  An easy 10 minute drive from Ft Campbell, this distillery blends the old and new with this new business on an old Amish dairy farm.  Along with trying out their various liquors, I would highly encourage you to take a tour of the place to learn more about the process of making their liquor and where things come from.

Inside the gift shop.

Inside the gift shop.

Feeling a little ambitious?  Grab up one of their free passports which you can get stamped at various craft distilleries in the Kentucky area.  Finish getting all your stamps and you’ll be sent a certificate and a mint julep cup (I am convinced the certificate should have “certified professional drinker” on it).

So quick run down of the moonshine I tasted while there.  The “apple pie” moonshine was different from what I expected.  It had a hard apple cider taste which went down smooth.  Their “true Kentucky shine” had a real kick to it.  It was like doing a shot of tequilla silver but only better.  And now onto my favorite moonshine they had there – pink lemonade.  This goes down smooth and has a fun sweet summer taste.  A couple of shots of this the next night had me giggling while sharing with friends and having a great time.

Where the moonshine gets made.

Where the moonshine gets made.

Let’s wrap this Saturday afternoon up with a few more details.  The staff there was fun, approachable and answered all our questions.  They do have bottles filled with “True Kentucky Shine” that have local military unit’s insignia engraved on the bottle (did I just see a possible unit fundraiser?).  And lastly, I can’t wait for their Pickin’ on the Porch series to kick off.  Live music, moonshine and relaxing outdoors.  Just the idea of it makes all this cold weather a little warm.

Barrels of burboun.

Barrels of bourbon.

So with all that said, I still have a lot to cover.  Check back next Thursday and I should have my next post up about this past weekend.  Hope you are feeling inspired and take advantage of the great weather we are suppose to have this weekend.

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7 thoughts on “From the Civil War to Prohibition: Ft Defiance and MB Roland Distillery

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