Anyone living in Oregon or Washington who likes to drink knows about McMenamins. This brewpub chain is most famous for taking out of sorts properties, such as poor farms or old schools, and turning them into adult beverage Disneylands. At its Edgefield flagship location near Portland, Oregon sits a distillery producing some fine whiskey that's set to release a new bottling later this month.
The Edgefield distillery, which is one of two McMenamins owns, to date has made available to the public a year round whiskey called Hogshead as well as a cult release that is only available on St. Patrick's Day. The new offering hitting McMenamins retail locations July 18th we've been told here at Examiner.com is Aval Pota, an apple flavored whiskey made from a base of white whiskey, freshly-pressed Hood River apples, organic brown sugar and cinnamon that were aged briefly together to help marry the flavors.
The Aval Pota story
Pricing for around $26 per 750 ml bottle, Aval Pota is bottled at over 66 proof. The name for it has a rather interesting back story. According to McMenamins "renegade Irish distillers made Poitin, a colorless whiskey, by the light of the moon as early as the 17th century by distilling barley in small pot stills, or 'pota' in Old Irish. In Arthurian legend, King Arthur recovered after the battle of Camlann on the Isle of Avalon, a land bountiful with apples, or 'aval' in Middle Welsh. Inspired by this heritage, we created a spirit as rich as apple pie."
The public will get a chance to try out Aval Pota before it hits retail when Edgefield pours samples of it July 12th during the onsite Oregon Distillers Festival. This event will highlight the spirits of the greater Oregon Distillers Guild, where 20+ distilleries will be offering up tastes of over 100 libations ranging across most popular spirits types.
At this festival, in addition to Aval Pota, two other planned McMenamins whiskies will be available to try, both of which will more formally launch this fall. Billy Whiskey, which is made at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse distillery, comes from a wheat wash that's been double distilled in an old still from France's Cognac region and aged for two and a half years in lightly-charred American oak barrels. The other is Philbert Hazel Liqueur, made from a wheat whiskey base that's infused with Oregon grown hazelnuts.