What does one do with leftover beer that’s otherwise destined for the drain? Why, distill it of course.
San Diego-based ReBru isn’t the first company to turn beer into hard liquor, but it’s one of the few that only makes it out of “high-quality, out-of-code, and overstock craft beer.”
At present, the company is producing three different products, a vodka, a gin, and a peppermint-infused whiskey. We sampled the trio. Thoughts on the full lineup follow.
ReBru Vodka – Boldly grainy on the nose, with an undercurrent of hemp and a barnyard note, this noses closer to a white whiskey than a vodka. The palate’s much more agreeable, offering a bracing medicinal note and a moderate sweetness. It still hints at cereal, but notes of almonds and some brown butter lift the finish. This isn’t an iconic “clean” vodka — or a super-sweet New World spirit — but rather something that’s both in between and a bit off on its own. 80 proof. B+ / $19 (375ml)
ReBru Gin – “Foundational flavor of a London dry meets the new American style of citrus forward flavor with latent coriander & juniper finish.” Again, there’s a grainy funk on the nose that kicks things off in unusual fashion, though here the character turns more to mushroom as it develops in glass. The bright juniper along with lots of angelica and coriander notes pick up on the palate, but the nose becomes increasingly pungent, overwhelming the comparably delicate palate. Overtly peppery and quite green on the finish, it ultimately becomes overwhelming at a time when delicacy would be preferred. 94 proof. B- / $26 (375ml)
ReBru Sweetcane Peppermint Whiskey – High-proof white whiskey, flavored with peppermint and colored pink. If there’s one way to mask the inherent funk of ReBru, it’s by dousing it in peppermint oil. So, mission accomplished here. This is a sweet and minty operator that could be peppermint anything. There’s no sense of whiskey here, but the overwhelming punch of peppermint — touched just so with lemon oil — gives the impression of high-test schnapps. Notes of vanilla and chocolate complete the wintry theme on the finish — which never gives the impression of being overly boozy. Mint will do that to you. 110 proof. A- / $25 (375ml)