You can’t call yourself an adventure traveler or foodie without taking an excursion through the Golden State alongside the pine-forested Pacific Northwest at least once. Along the route, not only will you see miles upon miles of verdant vineyards, but you’ll additionally encounter some very remarkable Spirits from the very core of the Old West. The craft distilling movement has taken on a life of its own, giving rise to innovative distilleries in the Pacific Northwest known for their daring spirit blends and unconventional techniques. Here are our top five recommendations for fine liquors on the West Coast.
West Coast distilleries provide a greater variety of artisan Spirits than those in Kentucky, home to the world-famous Bourbon Trail. If you’re planning a vacation along the coast, below are the drinking spots you shouldn’t miss (while tasting sober, of course).
Northern California’s Greenbar Distillery
Greenbar Distillery, located in Downtown Los Angeles’s trendy Arts District, is a great place to kick off your Southern California adventure. When it opened in 2004, it was the first distillery in Los Angeles after Prohibition and was part of the first generation of American craft Spirits. Couple distillers Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew are responsible for filling your glass with organic, small-batch spirits in the City of Angels.
They celebrate both the unique culture and environment of California in their line of verified natural liquor. Their organic spirits range from vodka and gin to tequila and whisky, and they even make amaro and bitters. Schedule a visit and sampling on their official site to discover everything concerning their eco-friendly practices. Wow, they’re so cute that they plant trees.
Distillery in Oregon
They make award-winning whisky from grain grown in the area and pure Cascadian water, and they have one of the largest inventories of whisky barrels in Oregon. In their Bend, Oregon distillery, they produce Straight American Bourbon Whisky and let it age for four years. This is one of their top-shelf liquors, and it’s been aged in new American white oak barrels to achieve a proof of 94 and a spicy cinnamon taste.
Northern California: St. George Spirits
St. George Spirits may be found in Alameda, near the bridge from the San Francisco area. In 1982, visionary distiller Jörg Rupf laid one of the foundational stones of the American craft Spirits movement by blending his passion and love for the excellence of Californian fruit.
Here among the abandoned hangars of a former Naval Air Station, you’ll discover a community of like-minded producers of locally sourced Beer, Wine, and artisanal Spirits. Visit St. George for a tasting or schedule a tour of their distillery to enjoy the full experience of sampling their distinguished selection of handcrafted Spirits, such as the rare and highly sought-after Pear Brandy, the gin with a terroir all its own (Terroir Gin), the single malt whisky with a Japanese twist (Baller Single Malt Whisky), the absinthe verte, and many more. Today, the Spirits are the work of Master Distiller Lance Winters and Head Distiller Dave Smith, while coffee expert Brad Joyce uses Lil Ugly, their early 1950s Probat 12kg roaster, to create a delicious NOLA Coffee Liqueur.
Bendistillery, additionally referred to as Crater Lake Spirits, remains open since 1996 and serves traditional spirits with spirited infusions. The founders took their appreciation for the outdoors and applied it to the distilling business, resulting in a few of the industry’s finest products. If you’re seeking handcrafted spirits, look no further than a few of Oregon’s earliest and finest distilleries. Spirits from this award-winning distillery are among the most sought-after in the Pacific Northwest, and they are made with time-tested techniques.
Clear Creek Distillery in Oregon
If you venture into the Pacific Northwest’s immense wilderness, you might find yourself following the path of the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge. In Hood River, you can visit Clear Creek Distillery and sample arguably the richest water of life worldwide, all made from fruit harvested in the Pacific Northwest, while channeling your inner explorer Lewis and Clark, or the even more kickass Sacagawea.
Established in 1985, they were an early leader in the artisan Spirits movement by emphasizing “orchard to glass” Spirits made with Old World method, regional fruit and water resources, and copper pot stills.
Stop by their tasting facility for some of their renowned brandies, such as the Raspberry, Cherry, Blue Plum, Mirabelle Plum, and Douglas Fir Brandy, which gets its distinctively green hue from pure, unrefined chlorophyll extracted from the pine. Remember to try their ‘Pear in the Bottle’ Brandy, in addition to their prestigious Pear Brandy.
The Woodinville Whiskey Distillery
For the second year in a row, the American Distilling Institute has recognized Woodinville Whisky Company, which was founded by two friends, with the “Craft Whisky of the Year” and “Craft Rye Whisky of the Year” awards. Woodinville utilizes the finest, naturally produced grains, together with the most superior barrels and coopers in the world, to create its bourbon in the craft tradition. The original goal of creating the best artisan whisky in the world is still being pursued by the company.
Spirit of the Wild Roots
Wild Roots Spirits’ founders grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so they have an inherent advantage when it comes to incorporating the distinctive fruit flavors of Oregon’s Willamette Valley into their liqueurs and vodkas. The fruit’s harmony and flavor are hallmarks of the Pacific Northwest, thanks to the region’s fertile land, clean water, and abundant climate. This distiller is a hotspot for those seeking out the exceptional flavor and original recipes of their 6-times-filtered vodka made from maize.
This Portland company is dedicated to creating flawless spirits. Their whisky, which they make from the ground up, has won multiple honors for being the best-ranked American Single Malt whisky because of their innovative manufacturing methods and unwavering dedication to quality. Westward’s delicious Ale is transformed into a strong whisky by a slow and careful process of distillation in two unique low-reflux pot stills created in-house. Westward Whisky is delicious whether you sip it straight, on the rocks, or in a traditional cocktail.
Westland Distillery in Washington, DC
The trip would not be complete without a toast of the greatest whisky the United States has to offer. Clear your afternoon whilst you’re in Seattle reconnecting with civilization to try some American Single Malts from Westland Distillery; they’ve won more awards than the spare underwear in your enormous rucksack.
Westland’s American Oak, Peated, and Sherry Wood Whiskies, each of them manufactured with 100% malt barley and 100% delicious sh*t, have won the world over. Schedule a tour of the distillery, and then head to The Cantilever Room, where you may sample a variety of new releases, drink specials, and a delectable assortment of small bites. When plotting your route along America’s Best Coast, definitely include these hidden jewels for a truly artisanal experience.