Bourbon? Yes please? Now that’s a flip flop for me, having been weaned on Piels Light and Miller Light. Over the past five years, however, with the explosion of the craft beer movement, coupled with fusions associated with beer and barrel-aging, the taste of bourbon has become more familiar. So if I can enjoy bourbon barrel-aged beer, why not try bourbon?
The opportunity to do so evidenced itself recently. Facebook strikes again! I recently subscribed to a fantastic website I Love Free Concerts (http://ilovefreeconcerts.com/), and received a notice about a Bourbon & Whiskey 2nd Year Anniversary Party at Widow Jane DIstillery (http://widowjane.com/), located at 218 Conover Street, in the Red Hook Section of Brooklyn, New York. We RSVP’ed immediately, and calendared the event for Friday night, October 17, 2014.
Hats off to the folks at Cacao Prieto Distillery (http://www.cacaoprieto.com/) for stepping into the whiskey and bourbon arena. Their Widow Jane Distillery adds an interesting dimension to their chocolate and liqueurs offerings, with the added focus on 100% GMO free and organic.
There is no question that the future is bright for the founder, Daniel Preston, as he and his team forge ahead in the Widow Jane venture. It is obvious from the quality of construction at their Brooklyn site, to the quality of the equipment and commitment of the staff, coupled with the impressive awards already earned, that we will see a lot more from this distillery. (I cannot help but note, however, that an event as crowded as this, could benefit greatly from the addition of rest rooms (or port-a-potties), as the line for the single toilet was nearly as long as the waiting line to enter the event and a lot more fidgety.)
The event featured tastings of bourbon – we tried the Widow Jane 8 Year Bourbon (Cask Strength), which, although it was over-proof, it was smooth and had a warm finish, and enjoyed Keegan Ales beers (http://www.keeganales.com/the-beers/beers/), which included Mother’s Milk, Mother’s Milk aged on Widow Jane Bourbon Barrels, Super Kitty, and Super Kitty aged on Widow Jane Bourbon Barrels.
As an avowed beer nerd, perhaps relating with others of similar persuasion, I avoided hard liquor, and only occasionally drank wine. Sipping the straight bourbon last night was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, and although it is unlikely that I would order bourbon neat, on the rocks or with a twist, I am more open to the idea now than ever before. Some of our all-time favorite beers are bourbon barrel-aged, including Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout (http://foundersbrewing.com/our-beer/kbs/) and Firestone Walker’s Parabola (http://www.firestonebeer.com/beers/products/parabola). This trend of barrel aging and the resultant character of the beer has slammed opened the door for those beer drinkers that have not enjoyed whiskey and bourbon. Why not cross the rubicon into a new dimension? On that basis, I challenged myself to expand my spiritual horizon and found an added appreciation for the art of distillation. Not only did I survive, I feel enlightened.
With live bluegrass music, Hometown BBQ (http://www.hometownbarbque.com/) provided whole roasted pigs, and Mother Nature provided a temperate night, we enjoyed the ambiance with a large and appreciative crowd. Thank you, Daniel Preston, for allowing us to share the Second Year Anniversary of Widow Jane Distillery.