6 Hudson Valley Distilleries That Shine for ‘Craft Spirits Week’
This may or may not surprise you, there is an entire week in the month of June that is dedicated to craft spirits! Hello. Let's try to make this every week of the year. The United States has been making and distilling items into alcohol or spirits for hundreds of years, let's appreciate it by trying or sampling a few.
The history of the State of New York and the legalization of the production of liquor and alcohol has a storied journey as well. While there have been people producing alcohol from stills, there was a little question about its legality until the early days of a man starting a bourbon distillery in the Hudson Valley town of Gardiner, New York.
So, how can you start to learn more about what really is going on here in the Hudson Valley, craft sprit-wise? Try things. Go see the places, learn their story, taste their products, and ask questions.
Which distilleries are great to check out during your Craft Spirits Discovery?
Beacon is a great town to check out in general, but tucked on a little side street is Dennings Point Distillery. They have a few standards, like the Beacon Bourbon, but they usually have a special project that they are working on and are only too eager to share. They have a small tasting room and tour, but a great opportunity to talk with the people who craft the vision of this brand, sample their cocktails and bring home one of their bottles.
This distillery is located off of Route 9W in West Park, about 4 or 5 miles north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, and is located at a former monastery. Their tasting room is only open on the weekends, they have just a few hand-crafted spirits, along with a handful of wines to sample.
Tuthilltown Distillery, the Home of Hudson Whiskey, Gardiner, NY
There has been a tremendous amount of growth with Tuthiltown. What started as just a few people and one still has grown into a company being distributed in the last I heard, 60 countries? I'll double-check that. It all started with their Baby Bourbon. Why did they call it Baby Bourbon? It was because they were using these little baby barrels to age their whiskey. Yes, there's been a rebranding and a new owner, but there are still some great products to try and sample. Bonus that they have electric car chargers as well.
This is another example of a distillery that started small, and now it is the place that you want to go and hang out at all weekend. Live music, fire pits, corn hole, and great things to try? Yes, please. They also have unaged spirits as well, try their shines, vodka, and gin. Plus, make sure to grab a bottle of their pre-mixed on-tap cocktails. (I so hope that never stops).
Hillrock Estate Distillery, Ancram, NY
Hillrock Estate Distillery is yet another completely different type of tour and tasting. The grounds are beautiful, the distillery is tucked away in farm country, and you get to see a malting room! Plus, taste the whiskey. This is another place that is always working on a different finishing process. They will age them as bourbon or rye would normally, in new charred oak barrels, but then they will spend time in a port or sauterne barrel, or maybe even a pinot noir barrel. Ask them what they are working on and don't be surprised if you see Scott Ian from the band Anthrax working on another bourbon selection with the team there.
Black Dirt Distilling, Warwick, NY
If you enjoy rye's, (they make other things there too!) But I have to say (and no, I have not tried every single one made in the State of New York) that their rye is probably my favorite to have in a Manhattan. Their regular Rye. It is full of flavor and holds its own against my sweet vermouth and orange bitters.
Enjoy, what is your favorite New York State craft distillery? Let me know what your go-to craft spirit is too, I will put it on my radar to try it.
Still needing to wet your whistle? Here are a few more Hudson Valley made craft spirits to try:
5 Great Whiskeys Made in the Hudson Valley
Here is a closer look at Beacon, NY's Dennings Point Distillery