WORKHORSE RYE

Whiskeys & bitters made and aged entirely in California since 2011

Workhorse Rye since 2011

Workhorse Rye - Friends & Family Bottle Reservations

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Workhorse Rye - Friends & Family Bottle Reservations

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2016 is a great year for distillers in California. We are one step closer to having the same rights as wineries and breweries. A new law passed allowing us to sell directly to you (with the occasional odd stipulation)!  This is a very exciting time for us, and our products’ availability in California and beyond. 

This is our very first direct sale offering; we spread it by word-of-mouth and email, so we could first serve the OGs, who have wanted to have a bottle as early as 2011. 

Some of these bottles will be exclusive to our direct supporters. We will be releasing new offerings to you as they approach their sweet fruition. Happy hunting!

Current offerings:

Palehorse Batch One - Solera of years 2011 - 2014 - 55% ABV
Palehorse Batch Four - Sutherland Rye barrels - 55% ABV
Palehorse Batch Six - Sutherland Rum barrels - 55% ABV
Redhorse Batch Two - Broc Cellars Counoise French Oak casks - 55% ABV
Redhorse Batch Three - Broc Cellars Pinot Noir French Oak casks - 55% ABV
Virgin Cask Batch One - Kelvin Cooperage new heavy toast American oak barrels - 50% ABV

Please note:

  • Bay Area pickup, as legally we cannot ship anywhere in CA, just direct distillery pickup. We are in Livermore, CA an hour east of San Francisco.
  • We ship to Arizona & New York ONLY - nowhere else currently. 
  • There is a $5 pickup fee. This is part of the stipulations of being allowed to take reservations. There has to be a transaction upon pick up.
  • CA legislation grants us the ability to sell 2.25 liters of spirit per person, per day. That is three 750 mL bottles or twenty two 100 mL flasks per day, or any combination of the two.
  • Currently pickups/shipments range from July 2016 to February 2017
  • Bottles will ship as they come, separately if necessary.
  • Sometimes a batch is a blend of barrels and sometimes it is a single cask.
  • The below availabilities are subject to a three month give/take in either direction.

PALEHORSE

70% West Coast Rye       20% Barley Malt       10% Wheat Malt

Our flagship recipe of all organic grains milled, fermented, and distilled in house, aged in used American Oak casks of various sources & sorts. American influenced recipe (mostly rye) and International (Scotch/Tequila/Japanese Whisky) style used/seasoned barrel aging.

Before aging Palehorse, these barrels housed Breckenridge Bourbon in Colorado for many years.

Before aging Palehorse, these barrels housed Breckenridge Bourbon in Colorado for many years.

Palehorse Batch One - Solera of years 2011 - 2014

Cooperage: used Breckenridge Bourbon American Oak barrel

ABV: 55%

Pickup date  (Livermore, CA) or Ship (AZ/NY only): August 2016

Distiller's Note: This is the coup de grâce of the past five years of my work, hand in hand with the first batch of Redhorse that came and went over a year ago. I couldn’t be more proud of the depth of this spirit. Part of this blend was from the first batch of whiskey I made under the name Workhorse Rye back in 2011.

After reserving some of this blend to age with future solera releases, we will yield about 40 cases, making this highly limited.

This first Solera of Palehorse starts with a floral oolong and spicy apple cider aroma. Caramel doughnut, black pepper oatmeal, and vanilla cream follows and lingers once drank. Finishes with vanilla, clove, and almond. You could say it smells like a Calvados but drinks like a rye mixed with a weighty, fruit-forward, and smoke-free Speyside Scotch.

It is slightly devastating to let go of this juice and bottle her up. As much as I would love to hoard this forever, my ethos is that I don’t make spirits for myself to drink (albeit I make them for my palate), I make them for people who want something next level with which to relax and contemplate. Maybe I’ve watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi too many times but I seriously think that every day: these spirits are for the world, not for me!


Palehorse Batch Four - Sutherland Rye barrels

Cooperage: freshly used Sutherland Distilling "Devil's Eye Rye" American Oak barrels

ABV: 55%

Pickup  (Livermore, CA) or Ship (AZ/NY only): December 2016

This batch will not be in bars or shops, this is only for tasting room and online shipment sale.

Distiller's Note: This turned out to be quite a nice idea, rye barrels that come as local as the next barrel over. We make and age our whiskeys at Sutherland Distillery in Livermore, CA. They make great quality whiskey themselves, too (a very different style, they only use NEW barrels) and we are thrilled to have them season our casks for us! Rye on rye to the Nth degree. If you like spicy and bright whiskeys like we do then you are in luck!


Palehorse Batch Six - Sutherland Rum barrels

Cooperage: aged exclusively in a freshly used California rum American Oak barrel. 

ABV: 55%

Pickup (Livermore, CA) or Ship (AZ/NY only) date: February 2017

Distiller's Note: This is one of the fatter and sweeter whiskeys we've come up with, for obvious reason. Sutherland Distillery is not just where we make our products; they make their own spirits of intensely high caliber as well. Their rum is made from organic heirloom Mexican cane (no molasses) and distilled like it was cut with a diamond. They age their rum in new charred American Oak barrels (like every American whiskey, but not as common for rum) for less than a year, which leaves quite a bit of the potential extract intact. Valuable barrels that we will be reusing and cherishing for many years.

REDHORSE

70% West Coast Rye       20% Barley Malt       10% Wheat Malt

Our flagship recipe of all organic grains milled, fermented, and distilled in house, aged in used French Oak red wine casks of various top notch producers around the Bay Area. 

Broc Cellars' Pinot Noir cask living a second life as a Redhorse cask. 

Broc Cellars' Pinot Noir cask living a second life as a Redhorse cask. 

Redhorse Batch Two - Broc Cellars Counoise

Cooperage: French Oak cask previously used to age Broc Cellars (natural winemaker in Berkeley). Counoise grown organically by Eagle Point Ranch in Mendocino, CA.

ABV: 55%

Pickup date (Livermore, CA) or Ship (AZ/NY only): August 2016

Testimony: 

“This is the best goddamn whiskey I drank this year.” - Jeremy Smith, co-owner of menswear shop Standard & Strange in Oakland and consummate whiskey collector

Distiller’s note: This opportunity was distinct; to put our precious rye into such a quality handmade barrel that aged such a unicorn of a varietal that is really only known, if known at all, as being a legal constituent of wine made in the region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Love this wine and love this barrel. So proud that Chris at Broc let us acquire this barrel, quite an honor and the juice it made parties hard! Bright tart cherries, silky lemon custard, and just a brawler on the nose. Add a good dash of water and you will hear/smell angels, I swear. Disclaimer: they might be angels from below, not above. I don’t know yet but I’m still listening.

Click here for more info on this wine. 


Redhorse Batch Three - Broc Cellars Pinot Noir

Cooperage: French Oak cask previously used to age Broc Cellars (natural winemaker in Berkeley) Pinot Noir grown by Sumida Sisters Vineyard in Santa Lucia, CA.

ABV: 55%

Pickup (Livermore, CA) or Ship (AZ/NY only) date:  August 2016

Testimony:

"Red rice sake, cinnamon, and chile!" - Tyler Vogel, head of bar at Camino in Oakland, CA

Distiller’s Note: Each wine barrel we've ever filled with our whiskey has created very different flavors from one another, and this barrel is no exception. Since Broc Cellars are a natural winery (native yeast fermentation and meniscual amount of sulfites) there is always the potential for a barrel to conjure some funky yeast strains, like Brettanomyces (AKA BRETT on the street). I knew there was some brett in this barrel but went for it anyway, which I understand seems like quite a risk. The rye picked up some funk notes, but mostly it's a sweet and dreamy dram with a tinge of savory French Oak. I love it.

Click here for more info on this wine.

VIRGIN CASK

70% West Coast Rye       20% Barley Malt       10% Wheat Malt

Our flagship recipe of all organic grains milled, fermented, and distilled in house aged in rare, handmade new heavily toasted American Oak barrels that are made with intense skill by the family run company Kelvin Cooperage in Kentucky.


Virgin Cask Batch One - Kelvin Cooperage barrels

Barrels: new heavy toast American Oak

ABV: 50%

Pickup date (Livermore, CA) or Ship (AZ/NY only): July 2016

Distiller’s Note: Never thought we’d release whiskey on its own from a new barrel (up until now the first-fill has been employed to accentuate other blends of used-cask predominance). It's against the religion I so firmly perpetuated, but the juice tastes too good.

Kelvin Cooperage makes some of, if not THE, best casks in the US. They are of European quality, which is typically A LOT higher quality than US casks. (I.E.: built with extreme care, air-dried for two years as opposed to kiln dried, lightly toasted with a real fire as opposed to torched with gas for a matter of seconds, and therefore exponentially more expensive but worth it)

Our articulate, clean spirit coalesces with these new casks into a redemptive phoenix out of the ashes of our NO-NEW-OAK religion. Humbled before the altar of NUANCE and her kin, we are pleasantly shocked to bring you a delicate dram that might actually be more than the best of both worlds. It is a delicious contradiction in our world, but somehow it is real. All hail nuance.

To work with us, to reserve whiskey, and/or request line sheets for wholesale bar or shop purchases, please reach out to us via...

RESERVATIONS@WORKHORSERYE.COM