Saturday, June 4, 2011

wormwood and hot sisters

Per my friend Greg's impulse event planning, we took the trip up to Alameda last Sunday to do a tour and tasting of St. George Spirits.

entrance sign

St. George Spirits is a distillery housed in an old naval airplane hangar overlooking the San Francisco Bay. They make a variety of spirits, including probably their most popular item: Hangar One vodka.

tasting room selection

Our tour guide, Pauly, took a giant group of us around for the distillery tour. While super knowledgeable and clearly comfortable around crowds, there was something of a "substitute teacher who is cool because he swears and agrees that algebra is dumb" vibe to his presentation. He was also pretty critical about a lot of things (competitors, people's taste in alcohol, distribution processes, etc.), which could either be awesome or offensive, depending on your mood. However, it is clear that he is passionate about what the distillery produces.

inside the distillery

Our tasting guide was awesome. Because it was so busy (and because the tour ended late), she was initially a little brusque, but warmed to our group on the third item and really took the time to educate us a bit about the things we were tasting.

inside the tasting room

Our tasting menu (for $15):
  • Aqua Perfecta Pear Eau de Vie
  • Hangar One Straight*
  • Hangar One Buddha's Hand*
  • Hangar One Mandarin Blossom
  • Hangar One Kaffir Lime*
  • Hangar One Chipotle
  • St. George Single Malt Whiskey (Lot 10)
  • Firelit Coffee Liqueur*
  • Aqua Perfecta Pear Liqueur*
  • Aqua Perfecta Framboise Liqueur
  • St. George Absinthe Verte
  • The Root of All Evil (absinthe and root beer)

Nearly everything was superb. I really, really wish I liked absinthe (especially theirs; St. George was the first American distillery to distribute absinthe after the U.S. ban was lifted in 2007), but the one-two punch of fennel and anise just proved to be too much. Almost everyone picked up a bottle of the coffee liqueur. Whit and I also got the Buddha's Hand citron vodka.

More photos:
inside the distillery
inside the distillery
view of tasting room
inside the tasting room
inside the tasting room
inside the tasting room
inside the tasting room

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