During Portland Cocktail Week 2019, Joe O‘Sullivan, Head Distiller, led participants in a tour of Clear Creek’s Distillery. For over 30 years, this distillery has produced fruit brandy made using European brandy-making techniques. All of their products except for cranberries and pleated barley are grown by small farms located within 50 miles of the distillery which is situated in Hood River, Oregon.
During the distillery tour, participants had the opportunity to sample a number of Clear Creek’s offerings. First up was their latest product — Old Delicious Double Bourbon Apple Brandy. This recipe takes Pacific Northwest apples which crushed, fermented and distilled using old world methods. Then the apple brandy is twice rested in Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey barrels for a total of two years. This brandy is now available at their Hood River tasting room and select outlets.
Among the other projects sampled as part of thee tour included their Clear Creek Vodka made with 14 apple varietals with 30 pounds of apples in each bottle. Also, their pear-in-the-bottle brandy is made by slipping bottles over the little pears on the pear trees. Then these pears grow in the bottles until they are harvested in the late summer. Then the bottles are filled with clear pear brandy. Other products sampled included their Cassis liqueur made using Oregon blackcurrants, Slivovitz made with Willamette Valley blue Italian plums, and Douglas Fir Brandy (also called eau de vie brandy) that captures the essence of this iconic Pacific Northwest tree.
The highlight of the tour was a chance to sample their McCarthy‘s Oregon Single Malt. As reported in Beverage Master, Steve McCarthy had the distinction of being the first distiller to bring an American single malt whiskey to market. His whiskey, distilled in 1993 using 100% peated barley from Scotland, was released in 1996, and has gone on to win multiple awards.
Clear Creek Distillery is part of the Hood River Distillers family. Founded in 1934 in Hood River, Oregon, they are the Northwest’s largest and oldest importer, distiller, producer, bottler, and marketer of distilled spirits.