Wednesday, July 12, 2017
TasteCamp Maryland: McClintock Distilling Co.
Craft distilling is booming all across the country, and a significant number of these new, small producers are creating some delicious and interesting spirits, from whiskey to rum, gin to brandy. TasteCamp originated as a weekend-long immersion into lesser known wine regions, having visited areas including Long Island, the Finger Lakes, Quebec, Virginia, Niagara and Vermont. Over time, the concept of TasteCamp has evolved, so that not only do we explore wine, but we now also explore local beer, ciders, spirits, and food.
About 30 or so writers and wine industry people recently attended TasteCamp 2017, which was held in Maryland. Once again, we visited wineries, breweries and distilleries, sampling much of what Maryland has to offer, and I found much to enjoy. In downtown Frederick, one of our visits was to the McClintock Distilling Company, which only opened in December 2016. Despite its youth, I was impressed with their concept, objectives, and existing products. This is certainly a distillery with a bright future ahead of it.
On the site of an old mechanic's garage, they chose to open McClintock Distilling Company, which includes a distillery and tasting room. The distillery was named after McClintock Young, a famous inventor in the 19th century, who had over 100 patented inventions. With a passion for innovation, he also owned one of the first foundries in Frederick. And it is that passion for innovation which has inspired Tyler and Braeden.
I was fascinated to learn that McClintock grinds all of their own grains, using a stone burr mill which once was used by an old bakery. They might be one of only two distilleries in the U.S. to use a stone burr mill. Also known as grist mills, they are able to grind grains into a fine flour which doesn't cause the grains to heat up, and also helps the flour maintain the flavor. This makes their distillery more unique, and could lead to a more flavorful end product. It also helps them keep quality control of every aspect of the process.
Kothe Distilling, a renowned German company, and were made with lots of copper, which benefits distillation. On the left side, you can see their 1000 liter pot-column still.
They currently have three products for sale, a Vodka, Gin and White Whiskey, and have been aging some of their spirits in 30 gallon barrels. They believe they will age their spirits for about 1-1.5 years before they are released for sale. For example, they have some used Hennessy Cognac barrels in which they are aging some of their gin. I had the chance to taste two barrel-samples, and they definitely show potential. I am very intrigued to see how they taste once the aging is complete.
McClintock Distilling is on the right path, with passionate owners, who are trying to be sustainable, organic and produce quality spirits. Their initial products were impressive and I see great potential here, including with their aged spirits. I also feel they would be an excellent model for other craft distillers. If you ever get to Maryland, seek out their spirits. And if you have an interest in craft spirits, you should pay attention to what McClintock Distilling is doing.