Grain toGlass

3 lo­cal bour­bons to en­joy now

The Phoenix - - FOOD - By Emily Ryan

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.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Brandy­wine Branch Dis­tillers in­stalled two of these hand-ham­mered cop­per stills.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Pieces of “The Hip­pie Barn’s” past re­main.

Blue­bird Dis­till­ing soon will have three lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing its Phoenixville dis­tillery. PHOTO COUR­TESY OF BLUE­BIRD DIS­TILL­ING

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Resur­gent Bour­bon Young Amer­i­can is “104 proof, but very soft, very ap­proach­able,” says Scott Avel­lino.

PHOTO BY EMILY RYAN

Resur­gent Bour­bon stars in these bour­bon balls

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