Chicagoist: CH Distillery And Ale Syndicate Team Up To Distill Beer
When we think of spirits, ghosts and ghouls tend to come to mind. For drinkers, we think of whiskey, vodka or gin. But distilled beer? Distilled beer never enters our thoughts because it's seldom done. That didn't stop CH Distillery and Ale Syndicate from trying it out. Together, the two cooked up "Spirit of du Sable," a spirit derived from Ale Syndicate's "du Sable Hoppy Saison."
Celebrating it's extremely limited release, CH Distillery threw an event Tuesday night in their tight West Loop space. The young and business casual came, providing conversation and good vibes as music ranging from Ratatat, Radiohead and Biz Markie played over at the right volume—the one where you can hear the music and yourself. Local bluegrass trio Big Sadie performed playing a set that matched the event's mellow feel.
While live music and having free access to the distillery were incentives to attend, the obvious centerpiece of the event was "Spirit of du Sable." Not a gin and not a whiskey, it goes down in the books as a spirit distilled from grains and hops. It's not a sexy label but a technical one and that's just fine.
Twice distilled, its process is remarkably similar to making any grain-based spirit. A wort, or pre-alcoholic liquid, is crafted from water, grains and yeast, which later ferments to an alcoholic stew. This stew is then distilled and eventually leads to the distillers' final product. For CH, they could skip the wort process because they were given a fermented liquid (the beer) from Ale Syndicate. All they had to do were two distillations, the first to remove the water from the beer, the second to focus on what flavors to keep and concentrate on.
The flavors that follow "Spirit" include maltiness along with a light hop presence that survived the distillation process. A sweetness is in the after taste, which comes from the CH Rum barrel that it was aged in for 4-5 months. At 80 proof, there's a nice burn that accompanies sipping on it straight.
A cocktail, named "In Good Company" was made specifically for the event. Made with "Spirit" it also contains honey syrup, walnut bitters, orange and Angostura bitters. Citrusy and a little sweet, the cocktail didn't bury the spirit, instead letting it stay in front with the other flavorings.
Ale Syndicate's "du Sable Hoppy Saison" was available to try as well, so people could see where "Spirit" comes from. Light bodied and nicely hopped, the beer complimented the spirit it helped create. Together CH and Syndicate put together a nice beverage and event. Unfortunately they couldn't yield a large batch. With that said, don't expect "Spirit of du Sable" to be around next week. If you like strange spirits get to CH today, because it's entirely possible this drink will be gone by Friday, if not sooner.
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