By Stephanie Wright – Wheeling Young Preservationists
I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t originally intended to use my first submission to Brews on Tues to debunk the whole “West Virginia moonshine” stereotype. Oh yes, we have champion breweries and wineries scattered throughout our hillsides and I can’t wait to tell you about them, but if I were to be honest, truly honest… there is nothing I can think of that better represents the proud heritage of Appalachian libations or long lineage of traditions passed down through generations of hard-working, independent people than the hand crafted spirits created from the grains of our rich earth and mountain springs.
Today I will share three West Virginia distilleries that are crafting artisan spirits the old fashioned way, the way we’ve been doing it in Appalachia since before the Revolutionary war!
Pinchgut Hollow Distillery is a family-owned and operated Americana craft distillery located in Fairmont, WV. The dedicated folks at Pinchgut Hollow have painstakingly restored recipes that have been handed down through generations for over 200 years to create an earthy, honest and authentic whiskey. They also offer an extensive line of novelty and moonshine-style whiskeys in a wide variety of flavors all made from local ingredients, including rhubarb, ramps and are the only buckwheat whiskey producer in the country. They have something for all taste palettes, guaranteed to give you an authentic taste of Appalachia.
Bloomery SweetShine Plantation Distillery sits on a 12-acre parcel in Charles Town, WV, with an restored 1840s log cabin steeped in history.
This charming mini-distillery produces artisan cordials by hand from
the farm’s own lemons and raspberries. Yes, lemons in WV! These guys make a limoncello that hands-down rivals any Italian limoncello. In fact, they have over 20 international awards under their belt. But they’re not just about limoncello.
Bloomery Plantation Distillery is the first commercial growers of lemons in the Mid-Atlantic. Along with 40 Italian Santa Theresa Lemon Trees, the Distillery harvests 300 pounds of Hawaiian Ginger and has 2000 Caroline Raspberry plants. Pumpkins, black walnuts and peaches are also purchased from small family farms to create award-winning liqueurs.
At Smooth Ambler, everything is done the old-fashioned way, from grinding their own carefully selected regional grains to labeling and signing each bottle.
This grain-to-glass craft distillery is bringing spirits alive by pulling the best ingredients from the region with real mountain water and hand selected grain. If you’re ever passing through Greenbrier County, I recommend stopping for a tour and tasting of their hight-quality bourbon, gin and vodka. Every ounce of alcohol that leaves this distillery is hand-crafted and certain to be of the highest quality available.
That wraps up this week’s Brews on Tues! Next time you hear from this Wheeling Young Preservationists it will be to tell you all about whats on tap in Wheeling’s very own micro brewpub (we’re a small town y’all, this is a BIG deal) and some of the awesome local collaborations that are taking place there. For a sneak peek at what I’ll be talking about check out the Wheeling Brewing Company -Cheers!