Distillers to hold festival in Loveland to promote craft
Loveland’s Dancing Pines Distillery will host tribute to ‘liquid arts’

Dancing Pines Distillery employee Jacob McGee explains how the still works as he takes visitors on a tour Thursday in downtown Loveland. The distillery will host the first annual Liquid Arts Festival to showcase locally made spirits on Dec. 9.

Dancing Pines Distillery employee Jacob McGee explains how the still works as he takes visitors on a tour Thursday in downtown Loveland. The distillery will host the first annual Liquid Arts Festival to showcase locally made spirits on Dec. 9. / Dawn Madura/For Loveland Connection

Written by David Young

LOVELAND — Colorado craft distillers are coming together next month for the first annual Liquid Arts Festival in downtown Loveland to showcase spirits made locally.

Loveland-based Dancing Pines Distillery is hosting the inaugural event Dec. 9 in the Bonnell Building, 129 E. Fourth St., to raise awareness of the growing craft spirits market in Colorado.

There are 10 Colorado distillers expected to attend the event, including Boulder, Denver, Greeley, Loveland and Palisade distillers. Attendees can taste beverages ranging from gin to absinthe and buy a full bottle of those spirits available for tasting.

Kimberly Naslund, founder of Dancing Pines Distillery, said that Stranahans Colorado Whiskey, a Denver distillery that will not attend the event, helped raise awareness of micro-distilling and pave the way for other local distillers such as Dancing Pines.

“I think that Stranahans opened people’s eyes to the fact that spirits can be made here,” Naslund said. “The idea is to get people aware of all the good spirits made in Colorado.”

One of those spirits is Greeley-based Syntax Spirits, which considered Fort Collins before opening in Greeley less than a year ago.

Syntax owner Heather Bean said Naslund invited them to join the first Liquid Arts Festival and saw it as a great opportunity to get her vodka out there.

“I see craft distilling going like craft brewing was 20 years ago. I can still get in on the ground level without millions of dollars. It is growing quickly, and Northern Colorado is a great place to be and people seem to like craft beer and wine,” Bean said.

Other distillers expected to attend include Downslope Distilling, Breckenridge Dis-tillery and Peach Street Distillers.

Naslund said the proliferation of local distillers is, in part, due to Coloradans buying local and the good local market for craft beers.

Feasting Fort Collins

Dancing Pines Distillery

Written on December 6, 2011 by in Dancing Pines Distillery, five stars, Spirits

Winter has slowly stretched its long icy fingers across the frozen landscape, enveloping the Rocky Mountains in a cold, icy embrace. The earth is covered in a crisp blanket of snow that is spotted with speckles of graceful Canadian geese. The air is bitter cold, quickly biting bare skin and leaving it pink with sting. There are moments of quiet isolation that hang in this season, when animals are hibernating and you feel like the only warm soul in an arctic terrain.

This is the time of year that influenced the title “Dancing Pines” for the Loveland distillery. It was a blustery blizzard of a night in a halfway renovated mountain cabin that, for a brief surreal moment, unveiled the serenity of  pine trees rhythmically swaying in the wind. They seemed to dance in time with the music playing within the cabin. It was a magical winter moment that inspired the creation of a song from wife to husband, and then the name of one of Northern Colorado’s first micro-distilleries.

Dancing Pines Distillery began in August of 2010, when husband and wife duo, Kristian and Kimberly Naslund, and Kristian’s father, Christopher McNay, followed their dreams of creating craft spirits. Kristian began trying his hand at home brewing, and then ventured into home distillery. We love our craft beer here in Colorado, and we’re beginning to see that our craft distilleries are just as loveable. After only being open for 6 months, Dancing Pines had to expand their tasting room, and now a year and a few months into it, another expansion is in the hopper – possibly even a move to a larger building.

It’s really no surprise that this family-run distillery is experiencing such rapid growth and rabid popularity. They take great care in creating their craft spirits, bottling and labeling by hand, and making small batches using quality raw ingredients – many of them locally sourced.  They never use extracts, and when that first sip runs over your lips, you can tell. The flavors are exceptional. They won a Double Gold Medal at the 2011 San Fransisco World Spirits Competition for their Chai Liqueur, and their Brûlée Liqueur received a Silver Medal at the 2011 New York World Spirits Competition.

Jessica and I made a trip to the distillery this weekend for a tour, a tasting flight, and a cocktail. We pulled up into an industrial warehouse business-park area. It seemed like an unusual place for distilling. The minute we opened the door, we were warmed over by the intense aroma of caramel. They had just spent the morning burning sugar for their Brûlée Liqueur, and the scent was heavenly.

We learned a great deal about the distilling process and got an intimate behind-the-scenes look at how Dancing Pines operates. It was amazing to see what this family produces. We gazed upon their hand-hammered Spanish copper still, and had a taste of “white dog” (moonshine). After finishing up with information on the medium-charred oak barrels, we were set free for flights in the tasting room.

Jessica and I each had a flight, and between our two, we were able to taste almost every single spirit they had available.

We started with the White Rum, made with fermented sugar cane molasses. It had such a sweet delicious smoothness to it, with very clear molasses aromas. Next we sipped the Cask Rum, which had deeper molasses flavors from it being aged in charred oak barrels. Then we finished the rum line with a sip of Spice Rum – infused with whole nutmeg, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks. It was incredible! This had to be one of the best rums I’ve had in a very long time.

We then tried a bit of Bourbon – made with corn, rye, and malted barley, double distilled, and aged in white oak casks. I’m not much of a Bourbon and Whiskey drinker, mainly because I haven’t found a brand that loaded me up with flavor more than alcohol. But this Bourbon was fantastic. Drinking sips neat from our sample cups was a pleasant and rewarding experience.

The next samples were their Liqueurs – a large line of creative flavors. First up was Chai – their most popular liqueur. Sipping this was confirmation that the quality of ingredients truly makes any food or beverage outstanding. I’m neutral about chai in general – I could take it or leave it. It just doesn’t move me – but this certainly did. The flavors were distinct and clean, making this a great artisan concoction.

The Espresso Liqueur is made with beans roasted from Fort Collins roaster, Cafe Richesse. This is a bottle I actually have in my own cabinet at home, and it has made for some delicious libations. It’s rich with deep smoky flavors, and it mixes very well with chocolate!

The Brûlée liqueur was my favorite in this line. It had such a memorable candy sweetness that was to die for. I’ve never sipped anything like it, and I loved it.

The Cherry Liqueur is made with tart pie cherries, and really does taste similar to cherry pie. Again, because of the quality of ingredients, it had a lovely fruity freshness to it that is unlike other spirit brands .

Finally, our last taste was of their new Black Walnut Bourbon Liqueur – a deep nutty, sweet sip that was reminiscent of a dessert drink, similar to pie. It was wonderful.

Before the tasting flights and tour, we stopped into the distillery a bit early to sip on some handcrafted cocktails. Jessica had a Cranberry Spice – Chai Liqueur, cranberry juice, and a splash of orange bitters. It was a refreshing drink with whole cranberries and a cinnamon stick added to float for an extra kick of flavor.

I ordered the Caribbean Don – Spice Rum, basil and orange infused vodka, club soda, lemon and bitters. It was more of a savory drink than sweet, but still a winner of a cocktail. It was top notch with a hand-chipped ice chunk.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Dancing Pines Distillery, and I was blown away by how fabulous every spirit tasted. In Northern Colorado, we’ve been major players and supporters in the craft beer industry. I can see the same happening with our micro-distilleries that are beginning to grow. We certainly have the talent to make it happen.

As the dark nights grow colder, and the glistening ice cycles grow longer, we nestle up in our homes to keep toasty next to roaring fireplaces with Hot Toddies and Egg Nog. It’s a season that inspires deep, rich roasty flavors to keep us warm from the core. The artisan spirits at Dancing Pines are sure to make those isolated frost bitten evenings a little warmer and exceptionally flavorful.

Bourbon Blog‘s Tom Fischer tastes Dancing Pines Distillery Bourbon from Loveland, Colorado.

We interview distiller Kristian Naslund who tells us about the natural, local, high quality ingredients are used to create their top shelf spirits.

Dancing Pines makes a Double pot distilled Bourbon bottled at 88 proof; several rums including a spiced, cask barrel aged and white rum; and enticing liqueurs including Chai, Espresso, Cherry Tart and Brulee.

We’ll bring you full reviews of spirits from Dancing Pines Distillery here on


THE COLORADOAN  Written by Carl McCutchen

The fifth anniversary of SummerFest in the Rockies is shaping up to be a milestone.

The event, created and hosted by Engaging Loveland, will ascend on Civic Center Park for three days next week, July 8-10. The event will bring varieties of food, music and fun to an expected 10,000 residents and visitors.

“It really is a great overall event for downtown Loveland,” said Kristine Koschke, executive director of Engaging Loveland.

This year’s SummerFest will kick off Friday night with “Spirits at Sunset after Midnight,” a ticketed event that replaces the traditional wine tasting that used to mark SummerFest’s beginning. Cost of the event is $35 for one person and $50 for a couple and will feature food and drinks from many local venues, including beer from Grimm Brothers Brewhouse and spirits from Dancing Pines Distillery and Sweetheart City Wines.

“Everything is very local,” Koschke said. “We’re taking the beer and the spirits and infusing it into the food and the cupcakes that we’re having.”

On Saturday, the festival will be in full swing as live entertainment, food and vendors will be offered from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. around the park and near the Foote Lagoon.

Live music will grace the stage, with a new band nearly every hour, and a mini-carnival with rides and contests will be open for the city’s youths. The event also will feature an ice sculpture to promote one of Engaging Loveland’s other events, the balloon rally.

“We’re doing an ice sculpture in 100-degree weather,” Koschke said. “It’s in the shape of a balloon, so kids can climb into it and have their picture taken.”

A classic car show and a fly fishing demonstration highlight Saturday’s schedule, with a fireworks show wrapping up the day at 9:15 p.m.

“It’s just a great day full of sun, and there’s a beer and wine garden,” Koschke said.

Sunday will be as jam-packed as Saturday, with events ongoing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., including a contemporary worship service in the morning and a sidewalk chalk contest in the afternoon.

“It’s a community event for family,” Kosckhe said, adding that over the three-day span, there’s really something for everyone.

“Very rarely can you just go to a free event, sit in the sun and have live entertainment every hour that changes up from a blues band to a Cajun band to rock ‘n’ roll and to country western,” she said. “I know a lot of the people who come for the music. We’re changing it up a little bit this year with adding spirits and beer, and I see that just becoming a great event.”

Koschke pointed out that if for some reason the festival isn’t quite enough, there are plenty of other things happening near the event that families could go to.

“It is the same weekend as Loveland Loves BBQ and there’s a big magician’s show at the Rialto,” she said. “We’re not four separate events trying to get people to come; we’re all about ‘Come down, ride some rides at SummerFest, listen to music, go eat some BBQ, do some shopping on Fourth Street, go to a magician’s show and come back to SummerFest, go through the vendor booths, get some ice cream and watch the fireworks.’ ”

April Newsletter

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How to serve a better cocktail. What’s in the proof. Tropical Blizzard cocktail. Latest news from the distillery.

Colorado Cocktail Project
The Colorado Cocktail Project has moved into the voting phase. What does this mean for us?  The Colorado Distillers Guild has teamed up with the Colorado Bartenders Guild to have bartenders from across the state compete with local
spirits for the perfect “Colorado Cocktail”!  Elijah at Henry’s entered and we want him to win.  10 contestants will be invited to the contest finale based on your votes, so stop by Henry’s pub in Loveland and have Elijah mix you up a
Chai Manhattan. If you think it is worthy of being the Colorado Cocktail vote for it at
1st Saturdays Live Music
We had a nice crowd on the first Saturday in April for the Pete Stein Concert. If you missed it be sure to join us the 1st Saturday in May for Band of Randoms.  May 21st we will be hosting local musician Wendy Woo! Great music and
great cocktails pair nicely. So we will keep it up the 1st Saturday of each month through September and possibly other days too.
Summer Events
We are adding a few summer drinks to our cocktail line up including Mint Julep’s for the month of May and Caparainha’s. Look for Dancing Pines at local events coming this Summer, including Loveland’s SummerFest at the Foot Lagoon, Chapungu Concerts at Centerra and more.
Product Releases
We had some delays in releasing new products. The good news is the Bourbon has label approval and we will begin bottling soon. The Brulee and Cherry Tart have label approval as well and we will begin production shortly. We will keep all of you posted through this newsletter and facebook as soon as they are available for purchase.  Diamond Distributors has placed us in a few more Colorado locations, check out for a full list.
Cranberry Spice
This refreshing cocktail is easy to make and a delight to drink.

   In an 8 oz. glass :
    *2 oz. Dancing Pines Chai Liqueur
     * Ice
     * Cranberry Juice
     * Dash of Orange bitters
     * Garnish with orange peel
Mixology Tip
What are bitters? Bitters are to cocktails what salt is to cooking. They enhance the flavors of each ingredient and bring them together. Bitters are usually heavily concentrated spirits of botanicals. Try adding a dash or two to your next cocktail.
Spirits 101
Apertif’s are the perfect start to any large meal or feast. An apertif has several purposes. As the name suggests it is primarily meant to enhance your appetite. But as anyone who has ever hosted a dinner party can attest it is also a wonderful way to greet you guests and create a relaxed enjoyable atmosphere. Just what is the science behind an apertif though? Many apertif contain bitters. Recent research in mice confirms that bitter flavors actually increase the hunger hormone ghrelin. Other studies have shown an increase in appetite after and apertif. Whatever the science behind it, a light refreshing cocktail is a great way to start any dinner party or backyard BBQ this summer.

March Newsletter

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Win Tickets to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Live Music in the tasting room. Cherry Tart Liqueur. Grog & Scurvy.

Upcoming Events & Giveaways

Pete Stein will be playing live at the distillery on Saturday, April 2nd. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Pete plays an eclectic mix of alternative country and soulful bluegrass. Starting with April we’ll be having live concerts the first Saturday of every month through the summer.

Time is almost up to enter the Pirates Giveaway…  stop by the tasting room (before April 1st) and enter to win:

     * 2 tickets to “The Real Pirates” Exhibit

     * Your choice of a bottle of Rum

     * Dinner at 8 Rivers Caribbean Restaurant

After the Pirates give away stay tuned for tickets to the next “Movie & a Martini” event. In other events we’re excited to be a part of this year’s Taste of Loveland at Embassy Suites! This delicious event is on Thursday April 8th. Tickets are $35 and available at Thompson Valley Liquors or online at The March “Stir” social mixer is being held at the distillery. This is great opportunity for Loveland’s 40 and under professionals to network while enjoying some delicious appetizers and Dancing Pines signature cocktails. Tickets are available through the Loveland Chamber of Commerce.

Upcoming Releases

The wait continues for the Bourbon Release & Brulee Caramel Liqueur, but    samples are available for you in the tasting room. While you’re there don’t forget to try our newest creation: Cherry Tart Liqueur. This isn’t available for purchase yet but one taste will have your mouth watering with anticipation for its release.

Chai Latte Martini

This is an absolute delight for all of you Chai lovers.

     * 2 oz. Dancing Pines Chai Liqueur

     * 4 oz. Milk of Half n half

     * Shake over ice

Serve in a martini glass, garnish with a light sprinkle of cinnamon.

Mixology Tip

Soda, Seltzer, Tonic, What’s the difference?

Soda & Seltzer both carbonated water. Soda has higher sodium content. Some say it has a milder flavor.

Tonic is carbonated water with added quinine and sugar. Quinine was added to ward off malaria and the effects of malaria. Sugar was added to sweeten and make the tonic more palatable.

Spirits 101

 Grog & Scurvy
Just what was pirate’s grog? During the 17th century both pirates and sailors were given a daily ration of both water and beer, wine or Rum. The water often was stale. Wine or spirits was mixed with the water to make it more palatable. Eventually sugar and lime or lemon was also added to the mixture. The vitamin C from the citrus prevented scurvy, a dreadful condition that resulted in the loss of teeth and hair eventually proved fatal. This pirate grog was most likely the precursor to many modern Caribbean cocktails like the Mojito & Caiprihana.

February Newsletter

New Caramel Liqueur, Mini Barrels, Win Tickets to Martini and a Movie. What is the Angels Share?

New Products   1 Liter barrels of Dancing Pines Bourbon or Rum are now available. These american oak barrels make a great addition to any home bar. You can pour directly from the barrel tap. The barrels come filled with your choice of spirit for $85. Please call us ahead of time so that we can have your barrel ready. If a 1 liter barrel isn’t big enough you can now sign up for used 15 gallon barrels waiting list on our website.

  Brûlée Caramel Liqueur will be available for purchase in March. We have received Federal formulation approval and are awaiting labels. As with all of our products Brulee is made with real ingredients no flavorings or extracts. If you haven’t gotten to taste this treat yet stop by the tasting room and have a sip.

Expansion & Events

   The tasting room and tour have both been expanded. You can sign up for tours on our website. The tasting room is available for private group use Monday – Thursday. A 15 drink Minimum applies, please email info@dpdistillery for more information.

  We have partered with The Wildlife Experience to bring you Movie & a   Martini. Featured films include Some Like It Hot & Ferris Buellers Day Off, among others. Each film is paired with Dancing Pines cocktails and appetizers. Follow us on facebook for an opportunity to win tickets.

Dark & Stormy

This spicy cocktail is the latest hit in the tasting room.
     *2 oz. Dancing Pines Spice Rum
     *4 oz. Rocky Mtn. Soda Co. Ginger Beer

Mixology Tip

  How long should you shake that martini? Generally until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker. This is a good indication that the cocktail has been adequately chilled. Concoctions that you would like to froth up a bit you may want to shake more vigorously.

Spirits 101

  “Angels’ Share” is the term used to describe the portion of the spirit that is lost to evaporation during the aging process. In our dry Colorado climate we tend to use a bit more to the “Angels’Share” but this also results in a more refined spirit. Some of the sharper alcohol compounds and water evaporate through the barrel wall and the remaining spirit is influenced by the oaks character giving it well balanced flavor. In our semi-aridclimate we see more water evaporation. So a spirit placed in a barrel at 100 proof may finish maturation at 106 proof. The opposite is also true in more humid climates and the proof may lower during maturation.

January Newsletter

How to serve a better cocktail. What’s in the proof. Tropical Blizzard cocktail. Latest news from the distillery.        

Were Expanding….

   We’ve listened and the tasting room is now open expanded hours. We’ll be doing tours and spirits tastings on Wednesdays & Thursdays 12-7pm. On Fridays and Saturdays you can join us for a cocktail also from 12- 8pm.

   We are over flowing the space we have been in for the last year. So we are excited to be doubling our square footage as we expand into the space next door. This will mean expanded production as well as a more spacious tasting room.

   Thanks to all of you, demand for our spirits is increasing so we are pleased to announce that we’ve signed an agreement with Diamond Distribution. Soon our spirits will be available statewide.

Island Blizzard
   Beat the winter blues with this tropical cocktail.
   1 oz. Dancing Pines Chai Liqueur
   1 oz. Dancing Pines White Rum
   2 oz. Coconut Milk
   1/2 fresh orange juiced
   Blend with ice.
   Garnish with fresh pineapple.

Mixology Tip
   Always match the temperature of the glass to the drink. You don’t have to plan ahead. The next time you’re shaking up a martini, add a few ice cubes and  splash of water to the glass to chill it while you mix up the cocktail.
   Then discard just before pouring. This will keep your drink at the ideal temperature longer even while it’s in your hot little hand.

Spirits 101
   Have you ever wondered where “proof” came from? It originated with a method of verifying wether a product was truly alcohol. The method was to try to ignite gunpowder soaked in the liquid. This was possible only at 50% or higher alcohol. Thus 50% alcohol is 100 proof.  Listing the “proof” on the label remains a federal requirement today.

Copyright © 2011 Dancing Pines Distillery, LLC., All rights reserved.