Saturday, June 15, 2013

Who Likes Whiskey?

I can't believe it but I do! I never thought I'd become a whiskey person but I'm well on my way. I guess when I'm drinking whiskey sodas out at the bar, that'll be the real determining factor, eh? For now, I'm working my way through different kinds and trying to find one that's 'me'.

During one of my recent trips back to NYC, we had a bunch of friends over to Allison's place and Lee Kwan brought a bottle of Redbreast, one of the smoothest, most delicious Irish whiskeys I've had yet so far in my path toward whiskey all-knowingness. It's made by the same folks who do Jameson but it's so much better, truly. Take a second to click that link and read the article, it's super interesting! It explains all the nuances that make Redbreast just a wee bit better than others.

One of my absolute favorite parts of living in Colorado is the wide array of beer and spirits that are locally made. People are very serious when it comes to brewing and distilling and I truly love the "small batch" mentality. If you can believe it, I owe this love to my sweet mom! She's one of the first people who ever got me into beer (good beer!) and, to this day, she and I exchange new finds as much as possible. She's so much fun to taste test with and, lucky for me, I'll get to do that with her in person come July! I can't think of a better person to brewery hop with me in Denver than mom. Does anyone realize how awesome that statement is?

Getting back to small batch talk, I was pretty stoked to do the Stranahan's tour this past weekend with my friend, Mindy. Stranahan's is the first ever Colorado-born whiskey and each batch is truly unique and different. While I can surely be a creature of habit and want things the same way sometimes, I unquestionably love the character and distinction that comes with something handmade that can never be done the same way twice. This is the gospel preached at Stranahan's and I loved it! I had no idea how small their distillery was and it made me like it even more. As an aside, they have a super fun bar area as well where Mindy and I waited and drank beers before the tour.

The cutest Irishman named Anthony led the tour and it was quick, informative and really fun! He explained how their wash stills worked and how the copper not only conducts the right electricity, but it holds onto any impurities that will pull away from the product itself:
That still holds 750 gallons. Traditional distilleries use stills that hold up to 31,000 gallons. "Small batch" has a whole new meaning for me now.

We got an unexpected treat on our tour, too! Twice every year, Stranahan's releases a very limited supply of their aged, reserve whiskey called Snowflake. People literally wait in line for a full day to buy it and we happened to be there on the day it went on sale. Just for fun, they allowed anyone on tours that day to sign the barrel that the batch for 2017 will be aged in. I totally love that kind of thing, it's just a neat, novelty kinda thing to do:
We visited the aging room afterward and it kinda brought me back to Italy in a way seeing all the barrels:
It was a happy day followed by more beers and laughs at Three Lions, my new favorite neighborhood spot. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, friends. Not at all.

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