Bar Talk: Peach Street Distillers
A little getaway is good for the soul, and it turns out, the taste buds.
I recently enjoyed a Saturday afternoon in Palisade after spending a morning at the pumpkin patch in Grand Junction.
Much like Paonia – another favorite and easy day trip or weekend getaway from Aspen – Palisade is often visited for its orchards, specifically peach orchards, and wineries.
But beyond the wineries, there is a local distillery called Peach Street Distillers.
Established in 2005, the distillery is no stranger to the Roaring Fork Valley, as you can find their offerings scattered among the bar shelves around the area.
However, to find the best selection, of course, you should go to the source.
At Peach Street, you can do a tasting room tour, or you can enjoy a tasting flight of five, half-ounce pours for $12, which is what me and my friends opted for.
Since we were also each sipping on a cocktail from the bar’s considerable menu (Tip: If you enjoy margaritas, they make an excellent one here with both their Silver and Extra D’Agave spirits), we shared the tasting flight, and each took a sip of one of the five pours and discussed our thoughts.
First up was a pour of the D’Agave Extra, made from the aged D’Agave Gold with added agave nectar. Out of the extensive spirit range distilled by Peach Street, the D’Agave lineup is the only one made from “raw goods,” as they call it, not grown in Colorado.
This agave spirit was a favorite out of the five tasting pours. Due to the added agave, this variation is definitely on the sweeter side, making it ideal for a well-made margarita without the need for much or any added simple syrup. Others in my group noted how it would also be best enjoyed with just soda and lime.
It is very smooth from scent to taste with vanilla undertones, perhaps inherited from the oak barrels first used for bourbon that the liquor was aged in.
Next, we each had a small sip of the Jackalope & Jenny Barreled Gin with Pear Spirits. Also aged in barrels that previously held bourbon, this gin is made from Peach Street’s original Jackelope Gin, which is infused with Colorado juniper berries, with the addition of the distillers’ Pear Eau de Vie.
An Eau de Vie – French for “water of life” – is a style of fruit brandy that is unaged and light.
A first taste elicited an “Oh, that is nice” from one member of the group and an “that is so good” from another.
The Pear Eau de Vie gives the gin a more robust pear flavor over the traditional taste of juniper. It’s not bitter but instead, smooth on the palate and gives lingering notes of peach gummy rings.
The third pour in our flight was Peach Street Distillers’ Apricot Brandy; the mature version of the Eau de Vie spirits.
This brandy had some lovers and some haters in the group, but I think that is just the nature of brandy.
One sip and it coats the mouth, making your brain think you just bit into an extra ripe apricot. It has a decisively more alcoholic bite than the agave spirit or gin and starts a bit smokey but ends sweet.
The most unique taste of the five that we chose was the Ska Modus Hoperandi Hop Flavored Whiskey.
Using Durango-based Ska Brewing’s Modus Hoperandai IPA, the distillers age it in re-used bourbon barrels to create this spirit.
It has the aroma of an IPA, tricking your brain into believing you are about to have a sip of beer, but it finishes like a traditional whiskey.
The final spirit in our tasting flight was the 6-year Bonded Bourbon, chosen by our kind server because she said it was her favorite bourbon on the current menu.
A word used to describe this bourbon by my group of drinking companions was “scary” because it is bottled at 100 proof, like all bonded bourbons, but it just seems to evaporate in your mouth, making it easy to drink.
“It has no business being that tasty and easy to drink,” one friend said after her sip.
One sip quickly spreads across the tongue, the taste of alcohol prominent as it reaches the back of the throat, and then as quick as it was there, it disappears. With light notes of caramel, like many of the other spirits we tasted from Peach Street, it was smooth and easy to drink. And like many other bourbons, it slowly warms the body as it slips down the throat.
Missing from our flight of five that are a part of Peach Street Distillery’s extensive arsenal of alcohol were the grappa, amaro, and vodka.
Simply judging from the multiple containers of house-infused vodka sitting behind the bar, I am sure there will be more variations and limited and new releases to try the next time I take the 2-hour road trip down I-70 to Palisade.
What: Peach Street Distillers
Where: 144 South Kluge Avenue, Building #2, Palisade, Colorado
More Info: peachstreetdistillers.com