Up until prohibition, Pennsylvania was at the heart of American Rye whiskey production. Pennsylvania grew the grains, distilled the spirits and distributed whiskey to the entire nation. Today, there is an American whiskey renaissance happening, and once again, Pennsylvania is taking center stage.
On March 25th, Philadelphia is hosting the country’s most exciting distilleries as they highlight their best bourbons and American whiskeys. Organized by the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation, the American Whiskey Convention will draw distillers from all over the country to showcase their bourbons and American whiskeys. Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, in Philadelphia PA is the backdrop for this celebration of American whiskey. Working together with farmers and other local non-profits, the Foundation hopes to bring attention to the vital role of small farming in their respectiver communities. (Purchase tickets here.)
The event is more than a grand tasting. On hand will be local farmers and malt houses to talk about the role they play in the production of whiskey. Artisans will demonstrate their whiskey-related creations. Master distillers Herman Mihalich, of Dad’s Hat and Dave Pickerell, the man behind Whistle Pig and many others, will host discussion classes for whiskey connoisseurs. Sarah Milne, of Heaven Hill, will hosts a Whiskey 101 tasting for those who are new to whiskey. Mixologists from TwistedTail will be teaching attendees how to make great whiskey cocktails. The on-site Victory Special Order Lounge will highlight whiskeys not found on PA liquor store shelves.
Herman Mihalich is both founder and distiller of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey. Originally from Monessen, Pennsylvania, Miihalich’s ’s family roots led him to establish Mountain Laurel Spirits in Bristol back in 2011. He has led the way in reviving Pennsylvania’s rich rye whiskey heritage with straight rye whiskeys that have recreated a true Pennsylvania style that had disappeared for over two decades. All of their grain is locally sourced and he has been instrumental in supporting rye farming and grain development in Pennsylvania.
Dave Pickerell nicknamed as the “Johnny Appleseed” of the American craft whiskey movement. After 14 years as master distiller with Makers Mark, Pickerell has become a consultant for many small craft distilleries. He has had a hand in establishing award winning American whiskey brands such as Whistle Pig, Hillrock Estates, Corsair, and even George Washington’s Rye Whiskey, which was recreated using 18th century techniques at the newly restored Mt. Vernon distillery. He is a chemist, an engineer, an educator and a fountain of knowledge for the American whiskey industry.
“We’ve been fortunate to work with so many great partners – the distillers themselves, the Phillies, Sugarhouse Casino, Victory Motorcycles, PLCB and so many more. It has been a collaborative effort to create this spectacular event that puts Pennsylvania and Philadelphia back at the center of the American Whiskey map,” Fields continues.
This is a class designed for the whiskey newcomer. Its a great starting point for anyone interested in whiskeys and bourbons. Learn the differences between different types of whiskey. Learn how its made, how to smell and how to taste it. This class is a great introduction for anyone who wants to learn more about whiskey but didn’t now where to start. Continue reading