Thursday, September 19, 2019

#BevFluenceExperience Denver: Golden Moon Distillery

One of the first tours of BevFluence's Denver Experience was to Golden Colorado and the Golden Moon Distillery. For good reason. The Distillery had just been awarded the American Distilling Institute’s 2019 Distillery of the Year Award and the ten+-year-old distillery offers a rather rare and remarkable range of spirits. In fact, founders Stephen Gould and Karen Knight opened the distillery in order to recreate lost recipes -- particularly those from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. Gould's research library of ancient distilling methods dates back to the 1500s, but in order to be as authentic as possible, Gould scours the globe for antique stills. Presently they use four in the distilling process -- all dating from the early to mid-1900s. Although in order to scale up production, they contracted for larger and more modern stills but manufactured specifically to replicate the design of these antiques.

A dozen spirits and a smiling tasting room manager (Kayla) greeted us on arrival and we immediately dove into samples.  Two facts became immediately clear; first that Golden Moon produces high-quality spirits and second, there is a nice cross-pollination between Colorado craft beverage industries. The latter is evident by the Golden Moon Apple Jack ($56) and Golden Moon Grappa ($56). The Apple Jack starts with Colorado-grown apples that Denver's Stem Ciders crushes and during fermentation, the cider is transferred to the distillery where it is soon distilled, then lightly oak-aged and bottled.  This is a voluminous cider - full of apple funky apple flavor and a smooth - slight burn.

Even more intriguing and adding to the cross-pollination is their line of grappas produced from grape must from BookCliff Vineyard Each year brings not only a new vintage but also a different grape variety and in this case, we sampled three versions: a Riesling, Viognier, and a Chardonnay.  The final version was the clear preference. It provided a fuller profile both in body and fruit flavors with a more wine sensation. I'm sipping a glass as I type.

The other spirit I purchased was the Golden Moon Kümmel ($32)  - a spirit initially developed by assistant distiller Robbie Cunningham based on a Scottish recipe. The base alcohol is flavored with caraway and fennel and on its own is an interesting spirit. But Kayla, who is also the bar manager at the Golden Moon Speakeasy, recommended this as an alternative to vodka in a Bloody Mary. As fate intervenes, two of our party had already ventured to The Real Dill, Denver's source for pickles and bloody mary mix. Kayla was correct. We started with the Real Dill Bloody Mary mix and rimming spice, then the Golden Moon Kümmel, a dash of Celery Horseradish or Smoked Salt and Pepper bitters from Monarch Bitters and topped with a Real Dill Habanero Pickle. Great success.

In addition to the Kümmel, Golden Moon produces several other unique spirits and liqueurs. One is an aperitif resurrected in stature, the REDUX Absinthe ($86) where just water, and not sugar, brings out the milky and cloudy character. A sure sign of quality. The Golden Moon Crème de Violette ($32), Golden Moon Dry Curacao ($32), and Golden Moon Ex Gratia ($56) are liqueurs worth sampling neat and mixologists can envision imaginative cocktails. However, be aware of sampling the Golden Moon Amer dit Picon ($56) neat. It is based on the original recipes and ingredients used by "legendary distiller Gaetan Picon to create his amer (bitters) in the 1830’s". And it is bitter, very bitter. Get the Picon Punch ready for this one.

Follow #BevFluenceExperience on social media to read future posts on the Golden Moon Gin ($46), Port Cask Reserve Gin ($86), Golden Moon Colorado Single Malt Whiskey ($110), Gun Fighter American Rye - Double Cask Whiskey ($34), and Gun Fighter American Bourbon - Double Cask Whiskey ($34). Cheers.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

wow, those are some amazing photos Todd! ;)

Did we come up with names for all the stills they had? Maybe just the test one that sat on the counter? He looked like a Frankenstein (hobbled together a bit). :D