Mom and I just happened to show up the day after the release, looking around for some local whiskey. Woodenville is in Washington wine country, but those who follow the whiskey scene knew where to come for the amber goods. The cozy tasting room was packed with fans curious to try some of the new whiskey.
One man shrugged after not being able to choose. "I'll take one of each."
Another asked bartender Sherri which one she likes best.
"On which day?" she quipped.
She said the American whiskey would be "nice for tailgating."
"It would be nice for 18 holes of golf," someone answered.
Through a door is a big room with a small distillery. Grain is stacked in huge bags on the shelves, and barrels stack up to the ceiling, branded "bourbon," "rye," and "experimental."
Matt, our tour guide, is a research scientist in biotechnology by day and a distiller on the weekend. He pointed to one-ton bags of grain from Washington and Rye from Montana. Then to the barrels, explaining that oak is used because it is the best wood to hold the liquid, but also for the flavor, such as vanilla, that it adds to the whiskey. Bourbon requires new charred oak barrels, so once they are used, local Washington brewers like to buy them for beer.