The Great American Ice Cream Tour Part 2

From Ohio, we headed south toward Kentucky with a few stops for the person in the car who thought maybe I said whiskey trail and not ice cream tour…well on a road trip I guess there should be something for everyone.

Having had such good luck finding Algamesis Bros in Cincinnati, I decided to make a point of reading up on the local ice creameries in each city and making a game out of it for the rest of our trip.

Upon arrival in Lexington, we were need of a quick dinner. One of the ice cream places on my list was in something called The Distillery District. I wasn’t sure what this meant, but there seemed to be a craft brewery, a distillery or two and some cool shops. We opted for this one and wow were we impressed. It was in here that I learned one of the most profound lessons of our entire journey:

Find the best ice cream joint and you’ll probably find the coolest part of town too.

We walked into Goodfella’s Pizza around 5pm, no line at all. We ordered and got down to the business of satisfying the maniacs before they completely lost it. It was 6pm when we finished and there was a line around the block just to get in to the place. There are times when eating early really pays off.

After dinner we moseyed over to the Barrel House Distillery and while I’m no whiskey expert, this one had a great taste. We sat outside sipping the whiskey while the kids did sticker books. A random lady complimented my mom-ing skills because the girls were coloring and interacting with us instead of looking at screens and my day was basically made.

After a while we got in line at Crank & Boom. Crank & boom is the only ice cream place on the tour where I feel like I made a mistake with my order. We were still novices at the time and so I hadn’t developed a real rhythm for finding the tell tale flavours. I ordered a scoop of Kentucky Blackberry Buttermilk. Having had a cone at lunch, I opted for a cup. It was very good but I think they have some really innovative flavours that I missed out on. I wish I had ordered a flight or at least one of their sundaes. This is a major regret, so I hope one day we’ll visit again.

The next day after a quick catch up with my PUMA peeps about some upcoming work, we headed to downtown Knoxville, Tennessee and Cruze Farm’s Ice Cream. Cruze Farms uses a small herd of Jersey cows and has a really nice story. Famous in the region for red gingham and cute farm girls, they are also 5th generation farmers with a woman at the helm. I was a bit apprehensive at first because it’s soft serve. I have a soft spot for soft serve but typically it’s difficult to compare it to regular ice cream. The place is super cute and the menu is massive. While it’s true that a lot of sweet people work there, I was excited to see such diversity in the group. It’s was a bit of Americana that really is colourful like America. I ordered a Sassy cow–sweet cream in a cone with a chocolate dip and salty caramel on top. It was delicious. Cruze has four locations and they are all different. It is a Knoxville tradition that should not be missed.

That afternoon we arrived at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park where stayed put for nearly a week. Exploring the old growth forests, hiking to the waterfalls and looking for bears didn’t leave us with a tons of time to hunt for ice cream but we did find some at Mad Dog’s Creamery and Brewery in Gaitlinburg. The cones were freshly made and the ice cream was great. Creamy, good texture, nice sized chunks. Ordering is always a bit of an adventure with the little ladies. Anything that has to be done quickly or on command is difficult when you’re little I guess. The employees at Mad Dog didn’t seem to be particularly entertained by us. I think I always expect people who work in ice cream shops to be as excited as we are. And come to think of it, for the cost of ice cream in the USA these days, maybe they really should be excited!

In Tennessee we realised that to truly test the flavours of various creameries and make a fair comparison, you’ve got to have a control flavor. Because Big Sister almost always orders strawberry and Little Bean will eat nothing but chocolate, we hit our stride.

Don’t miss the final leg of our tour through Virginia, DC and PA for the 3rd edition of 2021’s Great American Ice Cream Tour.