5 Great Illinois Whiskey Distilleries That Aren’t In Chicago
The Whiskey Revolution is upon us and there are plenty of small batch producing distilleries right here in Illinois to check out.
Craft beer was all the rage about 20 years ago. A lot of people learned a lot about beer during this period. No one knew what an IPA was in 1997, now everyone knows they're disgusting.
Craft beer is still going strong but the new game in town are small, local distilleries. Gin, vodka, and rum are popular products, but nothing can touch the interest level in local whiskeys.
There are currently 38 operational distilleries in Illinois. Some are better than others. Here are 5 to try sometime that aren't located all the way in Chicago.
1. Blaum Bros. Straight Bourbon - Galena, IL
Blaum Bros. haven't been around for long but they're the hottest small batch distillery going in Illinois right now. They're very irreverent, and proven by their website description of their bourbon whiskey:
Instead of inserting a tacky and fabricated story here, we will instead declare that we are a couple of scrupulous and unfeigned brothers whose sipping' whiskeys have come unstowed. Scare up a glass and enjoy.
A fun company that makes great booze. Check them out.
2. Oppidan Smoke + Sea Bourbon - Waukegan, IL
Major props to whoever designed Oppidan's website, that's an impressive landing page. Full disclosure, I'm not familiar with Oppidan but it comes highly recommended. Their Smoke + Sea variety especially.
Oppidan Smoke + Sea is a combination of our 4 Grain Straight Bourbon and Solera Aged Bourbon mash bills, finished in French oak and peated Islay scotch barrels. The French oak adds structure and dark fruit notes while the Islay casks add a layer of smoke, earth, and sea to our already malty and chocolaty bourbon.
3. Whiskey Acres Bottled In Bond Bourbon - Dekalb, IL
Whiskey Acres has been around since the 1800s and boasts that everything they use to make their whiskey is harvested on site. The rye, barley, malt (whatever that is), and even the water is taken from a natural reservoir below the farm. The highlight is their Bottled in Bond Bourbon.
Our new flagship is aged at least 5 years, comes from 53 gallon barrels and is 100 proof. Binny’s Beverage Depot describes it as “vanilla drizzled caramel corn that greets the nose with a background of cinnamon and nutty oak. A thick and coating palate highlights the sweet caramel corn and moves towards ripe apples and lightly toasted coconut.
4. Rush Creek American Gold Whiskey - Harvard, IL
Opened by 4 friends in Harvard, Illinois, Rush Creek is a newer distillery in Illinois and is definitely a destination. Not only to they make great whiskey and other spirits, Rush Creek features a full restaurant to make sure you don't get too sloppy sampling the product. Their top seller is their American Gold label of whiskey.
This is the essence of the harvest in a glass. A rare, genuine American whiskey, hand-bottled by us and expertly crafted to yield a rich, smooth taste. Belongs on the top shelf.
5. Copper Fiddle Bourbon Whiskey - Lake Zurich, IL
Copper Fiddle has been around for about 10 years and has made quite the name for themselves in Lake Zurich and the surrounding area. Their whole menu of spirits are great but make sure you try their straight bourbon whiskey.
A random sampling of tasting notes from recent competitions in which we have entered include: “very smooth”, “deep caramel”, “vanilla undertones”, “dark chocolate”, “hints of butterscotch”, “toasty oak flavors” and “lingering finish”. Our Bourbon Whiskey is one-pass distilled in an “old style” American made copper pot still from Arkansas, capturing the hearts of each distillation.
If you're taking a tour of all 5 of these distilleries remember the get a designated driver.
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