I’m a whiskey girl. And I’m ashamed to admit this, but this week was my first visit to Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Shame on me because there is some fine whiskey being made right in the Denver city limits. Stanahan’s has been around since 2004 and was Colorado’s first distillery since prohibition. I love living in Colorado, we represent all things booze!
When I pulled up to Stranahan’s for my big day, a truck was delivering barley. If ever you had a question that they weren’t brewing, distilling, and barrel aging all of their whiskey in house then show up on delivery day and take it up with Ernie. The most charming barley delivery gentleman you’ll ever meet.
Stranahan’s did an all day whiskey workshop intensive that will be opening up to the public this year. They already offer tours Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Tours are free, and last 30-45 minutes. You get to taste their precious product after the tour so reserve your spot today because tour space is limited to only 30 thirsty people. I highly recommend it to get your Friday night started, or for when a friend is in town visiting and you want to impress them with what Colorado has to offer. You can also get on a bottling crew! Which entails you bottling whiskey for four hours while jamming out to some cool tunes with fellow whiskey lovers. Your payment? A bottle of Stranahan’s Whiskey of course! By the way, you better join the wait- list for the bottling crew now, because there are already 9,500 people ahead of you. Your patience will pay you in whiskey.
Watch their website for the Whiskey Workshops that will be coming soon. The workshop is equally great for novices and whiskey experts alike. The only thing I knew about whiskey before the workshop was, that I liked it. And I walked away with a new understanding and appreciation for this special spirit. I had no idea that whiskey has a very similar aroma wheel to that of wine! It was so much fun to smell all of the different aromas such as coconut, black currant, and bread crust. Stranahan’s Whiskey is so complex! It showed me a whole new side. Stranahan’s uses 100% two- row barley in their recipe and they use three different kinds of malt to get their intended flavors and color profile. Only Rocky Mountain water is used in their whiskey and all of the whiskey is aged in American White Oak barrels for a minimum of two years. How interesting!
The staff at Stranahan’s is passionate and almost feverish about making high quality whiskey. Rob Dietrich is the head distiller and he spent his entire day with the workshop group humbly showing us the ropes. He is someone you would want to share a bottle of that whiskey with. He has a passion for whiskey that I have never seen before, and I never want to disrespect him by adding a mixer to Stranahan’s!
Sample Itinerary for a Whiskey Workshop at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. (This more than likely will change, but I wanted to show a template for how things may go! If you sign up for a whiskey workshop, check the itinerary closely.)
- School in session! Learn the history of Stranahan’s and how to make whiskey, from grain to barrel.
- Try your hand at bottling.
- Lunch break, you deserve it!
- Hand’s on time – we’ll break into groups and do some mashing, fermenting, distilling and maturation.
- Sensory analysis.
- Tasting of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey and Snowflake.
As if a day full of whiskey workshopping wasn’t enough. I got to experience an 8 course whiskey dinner at The Rendezvous Cafe that is located in the History Colorado Center.
Chef Kurt Boucher showed us what he could do with whiskey. He excited everyone with his creative usage of Stranahan’s whiskey in almost everything that he presented… the butter on the table even had whiskey in it. Sound enticing? A few standout courses of my meal was the Mini Stranahan’s Pecan Pie with Seared Foie Gras, whiskey ice cream, and salted caramel. It was a sweet/smoky/savory surprise for the third course. My favorite course was the Smoked Short Rib with Parsnip Puree, Rosemary Brussels Sprouts, and Whiskey Demi. The food was exciting, and gorgeously displayed. The service was classic and elegant. The Rendezvous Cafe is open during the day with a more traditional cafe menu, by night, the space is available for private events and special occasions.
What a day filled with delicious whiskey, and amazing food. Keep a lookout for the Whiskey Workshop at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey because it is a day that you will not soon forget. Experiencing this workshop filled me with Colorado pride. Stranahan’s recommends their whiskey neat, or on the rocks. This whiskey is too special to mix. You want to experience the flavors and taste Colorado in every sip.
I have always been a fan of dark spirits, but there is something special about Stranahan’s. There is love going into these barrels. Love tastes good.
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, 200 South Kalamath St, Denver, CO 80223,www.stranahans.com.
History Colorado Center, HistoryColoradoCenter.org.
Photos courtesy of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.