This past weekend, the PiC and I took a tour of Downtown LA’s Greenbar Distillery. Prior to the visit, I had known that they existed, but didn’t know how old they were (I thought it was just a couple of years, but actually they started in 2004), and also that they were responsible for a number of different brands of spirits which I had seen, but not tasted.
The tour was about an hour long, and our guides took us through the history of the company, the equipment they used (including the pictured super fancy still which had an even fancier name that I don’t remember now), and their general outlook on life. We also got to try tiny samples of what amounted to nine different spirits, plus five types of bitters. As I wasn’t taking notes, this will be mostly a visual post.
These are the two types of stills. The one on the right is a traditional copper pot still, and the one on the left is the newfangled one I don’t remember the name of. There are only two distilleries in the country with one now, but it allows for stricter control of the products and flavors.
Heere are some big ol’ whiskey barrels. 1k gallons and 2k gallons.
And here’s all the alcohol!
Now to the taste tests:
FRUITLAB Organic Orange Liqueur
This was very sweet and I didn’t really love it, but I was impressed.
GRAND POPPY Organic Aperitive
This was rather bitter, intentionally. I enjoyed it, and would like it in moderation. I’ve actually had this in a cocktail before.
SLOW HAND Six Woods Malt Whiskey
This was a nice whiskey, aged with six different kinds of woods. I didn’t identify a huge amount of different flavor from those woods but I definitely liked it.
TRU Organic Vanilla Vodka
This is getting discontinued, so we won’t ever have it again. It was not sweet at all, which was good, and had a nice vanilla flavor and nose.
TRU Organic Garden Vodka
This would be perfect for a Bloody Mary. It mostly tasted like celery, but had some dill and other flavors in it as well. (All of their infused spirits are organic and mostly done by hand, which is impressive.)
IXÁ Reposado Tequila
A nice tequila, though not quite a sipping one. It was a little tough to get through the sample, even. Would be good mixed.
SLOW HAND White Whiskey
This is also getting discontinued. It was incredibly smooth, which was impressive, but almost vegetal in flavor and it was a bit too much like a gin for my liking.
CRUSOE Organic Rum
This was a tasty rum. No other comments.
FRUITLAB Organic Ginger Liqueur
This was the best thing we tasted, in my opinion. Sharp and hot from the ginger, and actually not too alcoholic either (40 proof) so could easily be mixed in to a lot of things. Yum!
BAR KEEP Bitters – Saffron, Fennel, Chinese, Apple, Lavender
These were very well flavored, with the perfect essence of their flavors. I was most interested by the Saffron one, as I’ve never seen that before. Apparently chefs buy it because it’s cheaper than buying saffron…
Overall this was a great trip. There were a number of spirits we didn’t get to try, and we’d be interested in doing so in the future. It seems like they’ve got their perspective and approach down pat, so check out one of their bottles if you see it!
Tours are $12 per person, and include six samples – 3 standard ones (orange, poppy, whiskey) and 3 that are up to you.