Yesterday was a trip.
It’s tough to explain.
I hopped into a van with my buddies Cheeto, Scotty Physics, and the Laser Boys.
Rain was falling like crazy.
An hour later, we ended up at our destination…
But where the heck were we?
Established in 1982, St. George Spirits is the oldest craft distillery in the United States. It’s located at the World War Two Navy Base at Alameda Point in Alameda, California (right next to Oakland). The tasting room/distillery is found inside of a renovated hangar that was once home to VA-304, the attack squadron known as the Firebirds.
This place is bad ass!
Let’s get into the spirits…
Aqua Perfecta is the name of St. George’s Eau de Vie line. Eau de Vie (water of life) is a traditional style of unaged fruit brandy that is very popular in Europe. St. George is the first Eau de Vie distiller in the United States.
This pear brandy is high in alcohol, but smells fantastic. The Eau de Vie is traditionally used as a digestif.
Let’s say you’ve been on a martini kick. And let’s say that you’ve just run out of gin, and were looking to restock your liquor cabinet (like this guy). This Botanivore (Botanical Eater) is the gin for you.
Crisp. Herbaceous. Complex.
Pick it up!
I love the concept of this gin. If you’re into wine, you have to love a gin that’s rocking terroir in its name.
This gin definitely represents the qualities of Mt. Tamalpais. Douglas Fir. Bay Laurel. Coastal Sage.
This gin tastes and smells like a Christmas Tree.
Odds are that even if you’ve never heard of St. George, you’ve probably heard of Hangar One Vodka. The vodka was given its name based on the Navy Base where it’s distilled.
This vodka is made of a combination of distilled wheat and Viognier (you gotta be stoked on wine making an appearance here). Hangar One is distilled only once to make sure that you do get a lot of that delicious flavor… And boy, is it delicious.
There is also a nice variety of infused vodkas under the Hangar One name. This one brought a neat aroma and taste of pears and bananas.
Although St. George does distill their own single malts, this bourbon is the only product here that they do not distill themselves.
The name “Breaking & Entering” comes from the fact that they commissioned a bunch of barrels from various distilleries in Kentucky. St. George then blended these barrels (each 5-7 years old) to make their own unique bourbon.
The B&E brings some nice caramel and vanilla spice.
Here’s what you get when you blend roasted coffee beans with Chardonnay brandy…
A rich and creamy delight that has 30% alcohol content and a massive amount of caffeine.
Hell to the yeah, foo!
Orange peel for days, with a nice white tea minerality. At 40% alcohol, this stuff is scary delicious.
They love pears at St. George. They love them.
Their pear fruit liqueur was a bit too fruity for me.
Capri Sun like.
Let’s move on…
Here’s the thing about Absinthe…
Absinthe is a delicious, high alcohol (120 proof) liqueur made from wormwood, star anise, and fennel.
Absinthe was illegal in the united states for almost 100 years.
By the time Absinthe was legalized for sale in the United States in 2007, St. George had already perfected and produced their version.
St. George was the first U.S. made Absinthe to be sold in the country.
Most people who talk about Absinthe have no clue what they are speaking about.
Lance Winters, the distiller at St. George does.
Peep this video to get the real deal…
Our Absinthe taste was served with an ice cube to release some of the botanicals, creating a delicious milky white louche…
This Absinthe was super complex, with a big licorice characteristic.
You should be warned that Absinthe does numb your tongue a little bit (one reason why it’s served last), so don’t freak out if it happens to you.
Some people think Absinthe will make you hallucinate.
Those people are idiots!
After our tasting, we took a little tour of the distillery…
At the end of the tour, we were hella hungry…
As soon as I caught a whiff of that barbeque flavor, I got a flashback to when I was in high school.
Whenever my friends and I would drive up to punk shows at 924 Gilman St. in Berkeley, we would always walk around corner to get some Everett and Jones.
It’s been about 15 years since my last taste…
And since it was right down the street, we also hit up this place…
What a trip!