Stranahan’s is Colorado’s first legally-made whiskey, distilled right here at a Mile High. The first batch of this 94 proof whiskey was distilled in 2004 and bottled in 2006. They offer two guided distillery tours, both available year round, with whiskey tastings.
The strongest of friendships are usually born out of pleasant situations, like sharing stories over a bottle of whiskey – but the founders of Stranahan’s had taken an offbeat approach, as theirs was forged by a destructive fire.
It was in 2004, when a fire broke in a barn owned by George Stranahan, a local of Woody Creek. Jess Graber, a then volunteer firefighter, went out his way to help put out the fire. It was during this ruination that the two discovered that they share a common passion for the outdoors and a proper pour of fine whiskey.
Whiskey made in Denver
The two eventually became business partners, and founded Stranahan’s Single Malt Whiskey that same year. The two created a unique recipe for a peculiarly smooth and flavorful single malt whiskey. Stranahan’s first batch of whiskey was distilled in that same year, and then bottled in 2006.
It is said that the Stranahan’s jump-started the Colorado distilling industry, being the state’s first ever micro-distillery.
Stranahan’s takes full advantage of its Rocky Mountain surroundings, as they use its waters as one of their whiskey’s main ingredients. These whiskeys are hand-crafted in small batches only, to ensure every bottle represents the state’s spirit and ends up in the highest quality possible. The distillery manufactures only 3 whiskeys, one of which is available only a day of each year.
Process of Distilling Whiskey
Crafting whiskey shares a number of similarities with brewing beer, including mash made from grains, which are then fermented with yeast.
At Stranahan’s they begin with four exceptional barleys, all grown in the Rockies. They’re combined with Rocky Mountain water and proprietary yeast. This mash is then filtered and fermented in six days (yeast consumes the sugars and produces 8% whiskey wash).
Primary distillation begins in a combination pot (like scotch) and column (like bourbon). It’s distilled a second time in a smaller copper pot to purify to high standards. This double distilling reduces the fusil oils (undesirable alcohols) and other impurities for a smooth taste and less of a hang over.
The whiskey is then aged in charred American white oak barrels which creates flavors of caramel and vanilla, and a lovely tan color. After 2-5 years it’s cut with Eldorado Springs water to lower the alcohol to 94 proof.
Lastly, it’s bottled and enjoyed, which you can sign up for to be part of the bottling crew – it’s a lottery.
Distillery Tour in Denver
Stranahan’s also offers two distillery tours. Their General Public Tour lasts for about 1 hour with a maximum of 30 guests per booking. The guided tour takes you through the whole distillery, ending at the tasting room where you receive a complimentary sample. Sampling of their Diamond Peak & Original Single Malt Whiskies is also included in the fee.
Free tours are generally offered throughout the week at 11am, 1pm, 3pm & 5pm, except Tuesdays. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. You can reserve a tour online up 2 weeks in advance; must be 21+.
Meanwhile, their VIP Tour lasts for about 2 hours with maximum of 25 guests per booking. This Top Shelf Tour grants special access to additional tastings such as the grains, un-aged whiskey and the limited release series. Additional tastings of grains, unaged whiskey, and limited release Snowflake series are included. Moreover, each VIP guest gets a Stranahan’s gift bag.
Stranahan’s Award-winning Whiskeys – Popular Products
The first Colorado whiskey has quickly gained a reputation for top notch quality.
Original, The First Rocky Mountain Single Malt – Notes include caramel, vanilla, dark chocolate and fresh-sawn oak.
Diamond Peak, Selected From The Most Distinct Casks – Notes include dried stone fruits, caramel, freshly sawed wood, espresso, spicy chocolate, and seasoned oak.
Snowflake, A Winter’s Bounty – Notes include dried stone fruits, caramel, freshly sawed wood, espresso, spicy chocolate, and seasoned oak; made available only one day of December each year, whiskeys are aged in new oak barrels prior to transferring them into used wine, sherry, cognac, rum & tequila barrels to absorb its flavors. Various finishes are then combined to create a whiskey that is not like any other, and is exceptionally delicious.
Buying A Bottle
Stranahan’s whiskeys can be purchased from various liquor shops across the United States. Their website offers a search function that shows up a list of available shops within a particular state.
Alternatively, their whiskeys can also be purchased only via ReserveBar.com. The website ships to various states as well, and offers fancy gift options such as custom engravings, and luxury drawstring & handmade leather bottle holders.
Address: 200 S Kalamath St, Denver, CO