10.16.13Birthday Distillery Trip

As I mentioned a couple week’s ago, Rob turned 26 on September 29! We had a fun-filled weekend celebrating his birthday, complete with a fiesta at our place with friends, pumpkin picking at Carter Mountain, dinner at a fantastic restaurant here in town, and a day-trip to a Virginian distillery and sunset drive in Shenandoah National Park!

The distillery was something I had been planning and researching for a while. Rob especially likes Makers Mark and Bulleit Bourbon, so I thought it would be fun to not hit up a winery or a brewery, but a distillery! We thought about the following distilleries in Virginia and their locations relative to Charlottesville:

Belmont Farm Distillery

  • Distillery tours available on Saturdays but not Sundays (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
  • No tastings mentioned on website
  • Located in Culpeper, VA (a little under an hour away)

Copper Fox Distillery

  • “Fulfills the wildest romantic ideas of American whiskey-making” -Washington Post
  • Tours available/store open on Saturdays
  • Store closed on Sundays
  • Tastings not available
  • Located in Sperryville, VA (just over an hour away)

Catoctin Creek Distillery

  • Installed a large solar panel array covering the roof of its new facility on Main Street in Purcellville, VA (off-setting nearly 85% of the distillery’s energy usage)
  • Tours available on Saturdays (12-7pm) and Sundays (12-5pm) lasting a half hour ($5/person)
  • Tastings available following the tour for another half hour ($5/person for standard line-up)
  • Located in Purcellville, VA (about 2 hours, 15 minutes away), northwest of DC

A. Smith Bowman Distillery

  • Distillery tours available on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (complimentary, lasting an hour)
  • No tastings mentioned on website
  • Located in Fredericksburg, VA (about 1 hour, 35 minutes away)

After some consideration, we decided on our winner: Catoctin Creek Distillery because Rob very much wanted to do both a tour and a tasting. Can you blame him?! Plus, the solar panels on the roof really intrigued Rob.

In the cute, small downtown of Purcellville, we made our way to the distillery. The half-hour tour was fantastic and informative. For the tasting, you can do a liquor flight or a mini-cocktail flight, so we got one of each and shared (how we usually attack restaurants where we want to try more than one thing). Catoctin Creek distills three liquors: legal moonshine (not aged whiskey), aged whiskey, and gin. I really liked the Pumpkin Fizz cocktail made with their gin. Rob liked it all :).

On the way home, we hopped on Skyline Drive near Front Royal to head southbound toward home. Although the whole day had been cloudy and kinda blah weather-wise, we were greeted with the most surprisingly beautiful sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains. The sunlight literally swept across a valley that we watched from our overlook along the parkway. It was truly jaw-dropping.

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