Today we racked a 5 gallon keg of a new beer that Timperial and I brewed together. Our Imperial Cranberry Saison is not completely done yet, but with Thanksgiving making an appearance in less than 48 hours, we needed to pull a young version to compliment our Turducken.
As I tasted the young, incredibly sweet saison, I couldn’t help but wonder what this beer would taste like after sitting in a white wine or zinfandel barrel. Barrel-aged beers are all the rage these days. Adding a woody, boozy, tart flavor to your beer makes a rather simple beer more complex. I became intrigued.
To my computer I ran. I did a little searching for barrels and found that it takes a sizable investment to grab a wine or whiskey barrel. Online merchants often charge upwards of $200-$300.00 for wine barrels. Used whiskey barrels often come cheaper, but must be purchased in large volume. There are options to get newly crafted white oak barrels at reasonable prices, but you would have to condition the barrel yourself.
A solution: tap into Washington’s booze producing neighborhood. Take a look for instance at Seattle’s backyard wine country – Woodinville.
Woodinville is about 20 minutes from Seattle and houses more than 50 different wineries. From massive Chateau Ste. Michelle to tiny Mark Ryan (our favorite, by the way), there is something for everyone. Remember, you can even grab a beer (or many) during a quick tour of RedHook.
But, it was the distilling that got me giddy. Imagine, no trip to Bourbon County is required! I have whiskey in my backyard.
Distillers starting popping up in 2007, when laws made it possible. By 2010, regulations had been loosened to allow distillers to finally sell their own product, making tasting rooms a possibility. Now, we finally have a craft distilling industry.
While I don’t expect any distillers to be willing to hand off a barrel to me (most whiskey requires several years of aging – and these guys are young), I do hope to start seeing more of this amazing addition to the wonderful Washington craft booze industry.
We are starting to see a few pop up on the streets of Seattle (Sound Spirits is really good!) But, Woodinville already has a collective worth discussing.
Here are 5 distilleries that grace the streets of Woodinville. Check them out, next time you have a holiday weekend (oh wait, thats this weekend!):
Soft Tail Spirits
Soft Tail has been making grappa for some time. Now, they are producing vodka – and doing a damn good job. Soft Tail recently won a medal at the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.
12280 NE Woodinville Dr. Suite C. Woodinville WA, 98072 Tasting Room Hours: Mon. – Sun. 12-5pm
Woodinville Whiskey Co.
Yes, Yes & Yes. Woodinville Whiskey Co. – thank you.
I have dreamed of consuming Washington sourced whiskey for quite some time. Oregon has been producing barley whiskey for some time – now we have one of our own.
NW whiskey is starting to carve its own niche. Typically, un-aged and un-oaked, the clear version of whiskey served by WWC is the base for a wood-aged bourbon that will sit in barrels for 4 years. They are also producing a vodka made from Washington wheat. This place is first on my visit list.
16110 Woodinville Redmond Rd. NE, Ste. 3
Woodinville, WA, 98072
Tours at 4pm or by appointment
Would I joke about Washington made absinthe? Hell no. Its true. Just visit Pacific.
One night we were drinking bourbon at Zig Zag Cafe when legendary bartender, Murray Stenson, told me about Pacific. He poured me a whole drink of straight Pacific Absinthe and told me – its the best I can get. It was.
Pacific is also making a dry gin, which I am eager to get to try. Check them out, but make sure to e-mail first (no regular hours).
18808 142nd Ave. NE #4B
Woodinville, WA 98072
Project V Distillery & Sausage Company
Sausage. Thats about all I needed to know.
There is only one other booze and sausage place that I know of – and I’m in love with it. If you have ever been to Dick’s Brewing’s NW Sausage & Deli, you know what I am talking about. Smoked meats and craft booze is just plan good.
These guys are making vodka from Washington wheat. Check out their website (its a facebook page) for more information on when they are open. For now, it appears that they do not have hours.
19495 44th Avenue NE Ste A130 Woodinville, WA 98072 206-947-3667
JP Trodden Distilling
These guys are just off to the races, but about to do something amazing. JP Trodden will be making bourbon-style whiskey. Of course, they can’t call it bourbon since its not made in Bourbon County, Kentucky. But they are going to try and replicate the style.
They are still a few years away from pouring their first batch in 2012. I’ll be waiting.
18646 142nd Ave Woodinville, WA, 98072 206-399-6231
If anyone makes the trip to enjoy these fines beverages – please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com or by commenting below!