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Hooch Life – 5 Craft Distillers in Colorado You Should Know

 

5 Craft Distillers in Colorado You Should Know

IN WHAT TO DRINK | by  | September 5, 2012

 

One of the leading regions for craft beer, Colorado is once again on the forefront of a movement — this time, it’s craft spirits. In this state of thirsty locavores and laws favorable to beverage makers, distillers of hand-crafted spirits are able to thrive.

Back in 2004, a volunteer firefighter, Jess Graber, and the owner of Flying Dog Brewery, George Stranahan, opened Colorado’s first micro-distillery: Stranahan’s. Their whiskey was immediately popular, and the company grew to the point that it was sold to liquor conglomerate Proximo Spirits in 2010. The success of Stranahan’s paved the way for others to set up shop in Colorado. You can now find some of America’s best whiskey, gin, absinthe and liqueurs in the mountainous Centennial State.

Along with the growing number of craft distilleries, a thriving cocktail bar culture is also on the rise in Colorado’s cities. Leading bartenders like Evan FaberKevin BurkeMichelle BaldwinSean Kenyon, and others constantly use local spirits in their new cocktail creations. The Colorado community of craft distillers, bartenders and enthusiastic consumers is evident and growing.

DANCING PINES DISTILLERY

 

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Located in Loveland, Colorado, right in the heart of ski country, Dancing Pines makes a spiced rum that will knock your socks off. Imagine yourself in a snug mountain cabin, sitting in front of a fire while snow silently falls outside. This is the perfect scenario for enjoying Dancing Pines’ spirits. From their award-winning Brûlée Liqueur and Chai Liqueur to their aged and spiced rums, Dancing Pines will warm you inside and out. Read more »

LEOPOLD BROS. DISTILLERY

 

Todd Leopold, Small Batch Whiskey

 

Todd Leopold might be one of the nicest guys in distilling, but his spirits speak for themselves. Todd and his whole family (brother, mom, dad) work at the distillery, where they make delicious fruit liqueurs (in flavors like Michigan Tart Cherry and Rocky Mountain Blackberry), along with their herbaceous and award-winning Absinthe Verte. And don’t forget Leopold Bros. Small Batch Gin, which was chosen by the Wall Street Journal as their favorite American gin. Read more »

PEACH STREET DISTILLERS

 

Bars That Serve Great Barrel-Aged Cocktails

 

Located on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Peach Street Distillers is surrounded by farms that produce some of Colorado’s best produce. It’s no coincidence either. Distiller Rory Donovan chose this location for the fruit. “The lion’s share of our peaches never see the inside of the cooler,” he says. Their bourbon is made with local Olathe corn, their gin from hand-picked juniper berries, and their brandies from fruit grown just down the road. Read more »

PEAK SPIRITS

 

Peak-Spirits-profile

 

At his Jack Rabbit Hill Biodynamic Farm in Hotchkiss, Colorado, owner Lance Hanson was inspired by Europe’s “farm distillery model” to make spirits. “We look at ourselves first and foremost as a farming venture,” Hanson tells us. All of Peak Spirits’ products are certified organic. Their CapRock Organic Vodka is made from grapes grown on the Jack Rabbit farm. The Caprock organic gin is made with apples grown a mere five miles down the road. Read more »

ROUNDHOUSE SPIRITS

 

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Roundhouse Spirits is known for their gin, in particular their Imperial Barrel-Aged Gin. “Most people have never heard of such an animal. I like to describe it as ‘Ginskey,'” laughs owner and distiller Ted Palmer. After aging, this gin still tastes like gin, but the barrel gives it a rich, mellow hint of cinnamon and really brings out the citrus flavors. We can expect more out-of-the-box thinking from Roundhouse in the future. Read more »

About the Author

 

 

Denver International Spirits Competition

We are proud to announce that we have been honored to receive several medals for our spirits at the inaugural Denver International Spirits Competition!

SEE RESULTS HERE

Dancing Pines Gin Gold/Double Gold

Dancing Pines Black Walnut Bourbon Liqueur Bronze

Dancing Pines Espresso Liqueur Bronze

Dancing Pines Rum Bronze

 

5280 blog – Amanda Faison

READ BLOG HERE

By: Amanda M. Faison

Category: Table Talk

Posted: February 24, 2012 10:30 AM

Sips: Dancing Pines Distillery

Like Colorado’s craft beer industry, there’s an ever-growing population of microdistilleries. One of the newer ones is the year-old Dancing Pines Distillery in Loveland. Here, owners Kimberly and Kristian Naslund create small-batch spirits that range from an anise-forward gin to a smoky black-walnut bourbon.

To showcase their work—and to drum up excitement—the Naslunds staged a President’s Day cocktail competition that brought out impressive talent. Seven bartenders (culled from 20 applicants) hailed from spots such as Salt Bistro in Boulder to the soon-to-open Adrift on Broadway. The challenge: Mix four Dancing Pine cocktails in eight minutes and have them judged on appearance, aroma, and taste. The winner would find himself or herself pouring that drink at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, the largest cocktail festival and trade show in the world.

The judges—Mark Stoddard (formerly of the Bitter Bar and recently crowned brand ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin), Kimberly, and myself—were tasked with sniffing, swilling, and ultimately deciding the winner. The competition was so fierce that two champions emerged: The Bitter Bar’s Justin Lavenue created the sophisticated Silent Winter Night (bottom left) with Dancing Pines’ bourbon and chai liqueur, Dolin Blanc, verjus, and a float of 16-year-old Scotch. Eryn Latterman from Linger impressed us with her Tree Line Punch (middle back in the punch glass), a very drinkable, grapefruit-and-orange cocktail featuring Dancing Pines’ spice rum and black-walnut bourbon.

That’s the beauty of mixology: In the hands of two sound bartenders, Dancing Pines’ quality spirits were transformed into two entirely different but equally inspired cocktails. And both Lavenue and Latterman will pour their cocktails and represent the distillery at Tales.

1527 Taurus Court, #110, Loveland, 970-635-3426