Spring Break.

2010 March 13
by admin

Well, last week’s spring break did not kick off to an auspicious start. I may have been the bowling, or the run up vail mountain, but I managed to strain my Soleus muscle. This little nugget of flesh underlies my calf muscle, and therefore underlies my entire self worth. The plans Maureen and I had for a long hike and bike ride rendered null and void. Bummer. So, we decided to make a week of it anyway, and ended up touring south of Shenandoah National Park. We stopped by the Copper Fox Distillery – producers of a notorious Virginia produced American Single Malt Whiskey. Driving down a series of winding dirt roads, we approached a nondescript warehouse and immediately precieved the sweet, rich smell of freshly malted barley. As it turns out, Wassmund’s harvests barley locally, and malts it on site. Here, you can see raw barley soaking in water:

Barley CloseupBarleyVat

A lot of the breweries I’ve been to have really strict hygiene standards.  But, in a distillery, the yeast generates a huge volume of alcohol and heat immediately, and when it’s distilled there isn’t a germ around that has a chance.  The fermentation vat is open, and the distiller gave it a stir right in front of us:

Mash Warrior

Next, we checked out the barrel room, where barrels of whiskey are laid down to age and mellow.  The entire room smelt of whiskey and warm wood – positively reeking of vanilla, oak and maple syrup.  The incredible thing was amazing resembelence the ambient aroma of the room had the aroma of the Wassmund’s Whiskey I’ve had in the past.  Seriously – the smell was immediately recognizable.

Sleeping Barrels

Alcohol tourism as an acceptable substitute to athletic adventure?  I’ll reserve judgment until after my headache fades….

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