Review: Seven Stills of San Francisco Blueberry Dogpatch Whiskey and Saison Dolores Whiskey

Recently we got our hands on two new releases from microdistillery Seven Stills of San Francisco. Both of these are collaborations with Almanac Brewing, a San Francisco contract brewery.

Seven Stills of San Francisco Blueberry Dogpatch Sour Whiskey – The blueberry part is in the fine print: This is the second release of Dogpatch Sour and the first done with Almanac Brewing. For this batch the distillery distilled 500 gallons of Almanac’s sour beer, aged the whiskey for six months in New American Oak and then removed the finished whiskey and aged it in an Almanac Blueberry Dogpatch Sour barrel for an additional four months. It is bottled at cask strength. Utterly scorching on the nose, it’s hard to get too far into this one without a splash of water. That helps to reveal a lot more charm, though the blueberry is understated on the nose, taking a back seat to notes of cereal, mushroom, and barrel char. On the palate, you needn’t look far for the missing fruit: It’s here, in droves, with a strong berry thread running through it, a moderately sour grip on the back of the throat, and a smattering of green herbs. Ample sweetness helps to dull some of the brash wood influence (a common thread in Seven Stills releases), and adds some complexity. But the blueberry alone gives this whiskey staying power. It’s fun stuff. 119 proof. A- / $49 (375ml)

Seven Stills of San Francisco Saison Dolores Whiskey – The first of Seven Stills’ whiskeys in its Experimental Series. Distilled from Almanac’s base Saison Dolores, it is aged in new American oak for eight months. It is not part of the regular rotation, so snap it if it sounds up your alley. There’s tons of fruit and some hops on the nose here, a complex aroma of spicy citrus, bitter cedar wood, and apple pie spice. There’s a touch of smoke on the palate, which quickly dives into a strong, racy apple cider note. The base beer character comes through more clearly as the palate develops, with ginger, baking spice, and more of that boozy apple character hitting even harder here. The finish offers significant heat and a maltiness that again belies its brewery origins before settling into a chocolate caramel note, and while a drop of water wouldn’t be out of place, it drinks fine without it. 94 proof. B+ / $36 (375ml)

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