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Friday, May 23, 2014

Distillery Tour...


So yesterday, Pillion and I enjoyed a tour and tasting at the Top of the Hill Distillery in Chapel Hill, NC.  The tour was given to us by my eldest daughter as a birthday gift to me.
Top of the Hill, which also operates a brewery at its restaurant site, now manages a distillery offsite, creating award winning Vodka, Gin, Whiskey and Moonshine using only Organic wheat for their mash. Here are a few pics from the tour and tasting:



An explanation of the why's and wherefores of deciding to distill wheat, as opposed to expanding their beer distribution.
Its all about the cost of canning and distributing beer, which was more complex and expensive than distilled products.

Some of the tanks and machinery in creating and processing the mash from Organic wheat.

Vodka sets up in these White Oak barrels, whereas Whiskey gets aged in  charred barrels

You have to taste a lot of product, just to make sure its coming out right....

One of the first distilling steps, as alcohol is released from the mash here...

Kettle for distilling the Whiskey...

Very tall condenser for 3rd distilling of the Vodka - about 20ft tall

Part of the Whiskey, Gin production

The Vodka, Gin, Whiskey and 'Shine all come from this same organic wheat

Charred barrel for Whiskey aging.

Smaller barrels allow for more surface area contact, and faster aging of the Vodka.

Beginning of the taste testing. The jar at center contains the mix used to create the Gin, primarily juniper berries.
We both found the Gin and Vodka surprisingly drinkable straight up, very different from the major brands.



In addition to tasting their Vodka, Gin, Whiskey and Shine, we all got complimentary shot glasses too.

We really enjoyed the tour, which was very educational as we knew nothing of distilled production, and I highly recommend making time to take the tour if you're in the area (I believe its by appointment only, but you can make one at http://www.topodistillery.com)

Lastly, out tour guide made a group photo of our little tour group and put it up on their Facebook page - nice touch!


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