Man, I’ve been meaning to write this one for a long time, just look at that pic, the grass was green when I took it for this review! Well today seems like an appropriate to drink and write about Stranhan’s given that it’s produced in Denver and the Broncos are playing in the Super Bowl later today.
Anywho, Kate and I took a trip out to Colorado last October and in additions to the dozens of breweries we visited, we stopped off at a few distilleries (Laws, Feisty, and Stranahan’s). Stranahan’s is by far the largest of the 3 and in some ways, the most interesting.
The current Stranahan’s distillery used to house Flying Dog brewery, also owned by George Stranahan himself. When Flying Dog moved its production to Maryland in 2008, the building was converted to the distillery it is today. The thing that stands out most about this is that much of the brewery equipment is used in the distillery, meaning that the whisky is fermented in conical beer fermenters instead of open oak/stainless fermenters that are the standard. The mash tun, whirlpool and other pieces are still hanging around being used for malt whiskey production. Crazy. Let’s see how it tastes.
Company: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Distillery: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Mash bill: 100% malted barley
Age: NAS (blend of 2, 3 and 5 year)
ABV: 47% (94 proof)
Nose: The aroma is super bright. Fresh cut grass, oak, vanilla, and lemon combine with the sweet maltiness that results in a nice, balanced situation. There is also a hint in there of fresh roasted coffee. Not like what you smell when you open a can of Folgers (does anyone still do that?) but more like when you are in a coffee shop that has the roaster fired up and is cookin’ some good beans.
Taste: Everything from the nose translates to the taste along with a great creamy texture. Barley earthiness, bright citrus, oak, vanilla, and that roasty coffee flavor are in good balance.
Finish: The richness is quick to fade, resulting in a somewhat astringent finish with ethanol, smoke, and green apple.
Overall: While at the distillery we got to try a couple of different batches of Stranahan’s and it became obvious how batch-dependent the expression really is. Batch 169 was the best of the few we sampled, so it’s what we came home with (plus that “Don’t leave me here” note on the label made me giggle). If not for that finish this would be something I go back to much more often, but to be honest this bottle has recently found its true calling with Kate and I as the base for a freaking killer Rob Roy.