2012 Colorado Distillers Fest Recap

I’d like to start off by first talking about how much liquid cheese I consumed. This substance, especially if there is beer added to it, is probably the most delicious thing on the planet. I suppose that could be debated, but its hot, molten, salty goodness drew me in, and there was probably a healthy amount of it that crusted over in my beard. Ultra-Sexy, I know, but really you can’t count on me to be responsible when there is a tub of that shit handy.

That said, I think I did remain somewhat responsible with a room full of booze from a dozen and a half distilleries, and the same is true for everyone who attended (except that one dude, possibly). This tells me one very important thing; that the 2012 Colorado Distillers Fest was a huge success, not only due to the great producers we have here, but the audience as well. Colorado folks are truly in to craft spirits, and you can tell the difference by how many people did not get completely hammed, considering.

The event was similar in size to last year’s inaugural tipple, but a contrasting, larger, swollen nipple was present. A few new producers, and some updated portfolios paved the way for some exploring in addition to custom cocktails at each booth. I walked in to be greeted with a traditional pour of Trinity Absinthe Superieure (Overland Distillery), which was quite lovely, and wandered over to chat with the guys at Downslope Distilling about their wine barrel aged rum and grab a Martinez. Apparently, this rum aged in Cabernet barrels is the only one out there- like on the planet. If that doesn’t speak volumes as to why Colorado is rapidly becoming a leader in craft distilleries, I don’t know what does. I suppose the story I heard of a dude driving from Missouri to grab a single bottle of the latest Snowflake by Stranahan’s would hint at that idea as well.

After grabbing a pour of the Peated Irish Whiskey, I gave a nod to Downslope’s best and headed to the Beer Cocktail seminar led by Star Bar’s Justin Lloyd. Big Flavors! The tone of the session was very much focused on keeping the circle moving by supporting local, and he kept the attention of the crowd by pouring some delicious cocktails. Flavor profiles having babies, mixing stuff that makes sense from your own perspective is really what makes any cocktail interesting – but add beer and you have something even more unique, plus some effervescence to cleanse your pie hole with each sip.

I missed the other two sessions, but I am sure they were great. Sideswiped by a few friends with evil grins and a taster glass of Dancing Pines spiced rum, which turned out to be really fucking good, I spent some time at each booth to really get a sense of what was out there this year. One of my favorites, Rob Masters held down the spot at Spring 44 and we got to sample a bit of his masterpiece, immediately followed by a gin that has been commissioned as the official gin of Wales by the fresh Prince himself. Sorry, England- Rob wins.

Just a taste of the event, but you can imagine how amazing of an afternoon it was to be in the same room with all of those guys and gals. Now, off to the dry cleaners to get those cheese stains out.

Props to Josh Mishell on the photos. Apparently I suck at using a camera.

About Jim Halligan


Jim is a modern day conquistador. When not teaching his three parrots to speak Italian, he spends time poking flags in things and calling them his own.