Jul 15, 2021
The overlaps between beer and whiskey are plentiful. Both rely
on craftsmanship and quality ingredients, and share certain
production methods in common. Modern makers in either category have
the luxury of looking at tradition while pushing the boundaries of
innovation for the future. But it’s the differences between the two
that keep things interesting.
Single malt whiskey producer Stranahan’s in Denver, Colorado is one such modern maker, one that’s helping to define the budding American single malt whiskey category against Scotch and other international players. A visit in 2018 led writer Gabby Pharms to dive into their process, history, and position as Colorado’s first new legal whiskey distillery since Prohibition for her latest piece in Good Beer Hunting titled “Whiskey and the Mile High City — The Distillery Making Single Malt in the Rocky Mountains,” which was published on June 16, 2021.
In our conversation about her piece—which was written for our Beer and a Shot series, made in partnership with Miller High Life—Gabby reveals what led her to spotlight a producer who she feels is at the forefront of an American spirits revolution. Not only does their early entry into the category position Stranahan’s at the vanguard, but their literal mile high location also serves to shape their products in a unique way. In our conversation, Gabby discusses how she prefers her single malt whiskey (neat, or perhaps with one cube) and which beverages she tends to pair with barbecue (it’s not Light Lager, as I incorrectly presupposed). She also muses on what the future holds for American whiskey makers, finds some silver linings in the wake of COVID, and believes there’s truly a whiskey for everyone. If American single malt whiskey has a cheerleader, it’s Gabby Pharms.