Distilled in Portland, and perfected by years of maturation in the company’s rack house in Clackamas, it is the culmination of Master Distiller Christian Krogstad’s quest to produce a whiskey that embodies the spirit of the Pacific Northwest, while drawing inspiration from Portland’s deeply-rooted craft brewing culture.
House Spirits began distilling single malt whiskey more than a decade ago, and in 2015 the company became the largest independent distiller of American single malt whiskey when it opened its new, much-expanded Portland city center distillery. The move increased the company’s distilling capacity six-fold and solidified its place as the largest distilling operation in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. On a typical day, House Spirits Distillery brews 3,000 gallons of wash, and distills 3,000 gallons of beer and 600 gallons of low wines to produce 5-6 barrels of Westward American Single Malt whiskey (more than 1,500 750 mL bottles).
“As a longtime brewer who later fell in love with distilling, creating a single malt whiskey that embodies the spirit of the Pacific Northwest’s brewing tradition has been a lifelong pursuit, one that motivated me to create House Spirits Distillery in 2004,” says Christian Krogstad, founder & distiller, House Spirits Distillery. “It is decades in the making, and my vision has finally come to fruition. Today, we proudly release our Westward American Single Malt whiskey, which draws inspiration from our rich brewing culture here in Portland through our use of locally malted barley and ale yeast in the fermentation of our washes.”
New American oak barrels, Krogstad says, help the distillery pay homage to the country’s proud whiskey-making tradition.
“The national release of Westward American Single Malt whiskey comes at an exciting time as American single malt, a category that we helped to pioneer because it expresses the craft brewing culture of our hometown, has become a favorite for whiskey connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike,” adds Thomas Mooney, CEO and co-Owner, House Spirits Distillery. “Since moving into our new distillery in November, 2015, we have distilled more whiskey than any other producer in the Pacific Northwest. Our Westward American Single Malt whiskey program – in progress for more than a decade now – has been our company’s greatest financial commitment, and the national growth of Westward American Single Malt whiskey is our primary focus. We are thrilled to finally share this pioneering spirit with whiskey lovers across the country, and beyond.”
Westward American Single Malt whiskey is made from a wash of 100 percent Northwest two-row pale malted barley. Early on, House Spirits brewed Westward whiskey washes in collaboration with iconic Portland breweries including Breakside, Alameda and Rogue, and since Nov. 2015, House Spirits has brewed each and every wash at its state-of-the-art brewhouse and distillery in Portland’s Central Eastside District. Westward’s team of gifted brewers and distillers embraces the American craft beer philosophy, fermenting at low temperatures for extended periods of time using ale yeast to produce spicy, bright and fruity notes.
Westward American Single Malt whiskey is double pot-distilled, starting with a 3,000 gallon pot still that is one of the largest in the country and was handcrafted by Vendome Copper & Brassworks in Louisville, KY, and finishing in a 700 gallon custom pot still designed by House Spirits and built by a Canby, Ore. metalworks. The short, open heads ensure that both pot stills produce a distillate that is elegant, robust, and rich in congeners.
Westward American Single Malt whiskey is aged to taste in full-size, new charred American oak barrels, allowing Oregon’s dry, warm summers and wet, cool winters to perfect its rich, smooth flavor. Westward American Single Malt whiskey is a mingle of a handful of single barrels (typically 5 or 6), each of which contributes a particular note, be it spicy, earthy, floral, herbal, fruity, or sweet.
Westward American Single Malt whiskey awards a robust and fruity aroma, with creamy vanilla and brown sugar notes. Entry to the palate shows baking spice, lush fruit, and sweet malt. The finish begins with tobacco, dark chocolate, and leather with a lingering oak sweetness that gives way to stone fruit. Westward American Single Malt whiskey is bottled at 90 proof (45% ABV) and priced from $79.99 to $89.95 for 750ml.
In addition to Westward American Single Malt whiskey, House Spirits Distillery will continue to offer unique Westward single barrels expressions on occasion in the future.