3 local bourbons to enjoy now
Just off Ridge Road in Elverson sits an eyecatching, red-andwhite, renovated barn. Downstairs houses a distillery, bistro and tasting room. Upstairs, colorfully painted wooden posts offer a glimpse into the building’s past.
“It actually is known locally as ‘The Hippie Barn.’ That’s where the hippies squatted,” recalled coowner Scott Avellino.
He and his brother, Don, preserved the psychedelic art when they launched Brandywine Branch Distillers, makers of Resurgent Bourbon — as in a resurgence of Pennsylvania craft distilling.
“We’re reviving what has been forgotten and returning to our roots,” said Avellino, who offers two types of bourbon. Young American features “fruity peach, apricot and honey flavor and notes,” while Custom Cask “is our sipping bourbon” with “really soft and beautiful fruit balance.”
“We call it Custom Cask bourbon because we hand-select the barrels,” he added. Deeply charred, high-quality wood “produced a much more mature-tasting bourbon than what it is.”
Raise a glass! September’s National Bourbon Heritage Month. As the saying goes: ‘All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.’ By law, bourbon must be at least 51 percent corn and aged in new, charred oak barrels.
“Bourbon is one of the sweetest whiskeys,” explained Jared Adkins of Bluebird Distilling in Phoenixville. “Traditionally, bourbons are made with three grains: corn, rye and barley or corn, wheat and barley.”
His award-winning Four Grain Bourbon combines them all “to get the best characteristics,” he said. “It’s sweet and spicy, which we really love.”
Like the Avellinos, Adkins and his father breathed new life into their building, transforming it into a distillery and craft cocktail bar.
“I got started, believe it or not, from reading a newspaper article about eight years ago,” he described. “I was a high-speed bottle engineer.”
The Avellinos also switched careers, selling the family tire and auto business, creating (and later selling) an automotive-focused tech company and then founding the distillery.
“We always wanted to design a new business that people came to because they wanted to and left happy,” Scott Avellino said.
Brandywine Branch Distillers installed two of these hand-hammered copper stills.
Pieces of “The Hippie Barn’s” past remain.
Bluebird Distilling soon will have three locations, including its Phoenixville distillery. PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUEBIRD DISTILLING
Resurgent Bourbon Young American is “104 proof, but very soft, very approachable,” says Scott Avellino.
Resurgent Bourbon stars in these bourbon balls