Deschutes Brewery and Bendistillery release second Black Butte Whiskey

Black Butte Whiskey

Bend’s Deschutes Brewery and Bendistillery teamed up once again for the second release of Black Butte Whiskey, their American whiskey made with a wash of Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter. (A “wash” is basically the fermented, unhopped wort that gets distilled.) Bottles will be released next week and available exclusively at the Bendistillery tasting room in downtown Bend, and you’ll be able to order it by the glass at the Deschutes pubs.

Here’s the full press release issued today by Deschutes:

Deschutes Brewery and Bendistillery are pleased to announce the second release of their acclaimed Black Butte Whiskey. The 2017 batch will go on sale Wednesday, December 6th at 4pm at Bendistillery’s Crater Lake Spirits Downtown Tasting Room located at 1024 NW Bond Street, Bend, Oregon. Black Butte Whiskey is an ongoing collaboration between Deschutes and Bendistillery. It is an American malt whiskey distilled from the wash of Deschutes Brewery’s famed Black Butte Porter beer. Bottles of the 2017 batch will be for sale only at Bendistillery’s Downtown Tasting Room and, like the 2016 release, are expected to sell out on the first day. Deschutes will be selling the 2017 edition by the glass at their Bend and Portland pubs over the course of the coming year while supplies last. It will also be available at the brewery’s new PDX Airport pub when it opens next year.

Black Butte Whiskey is double distilled and aged in new #4 char new American oak barrels. The resulting spirit is a complex whiskey that retains the malty, chocolatey notes of Black Butte Porter and finishes with the soft, nearly sweet character that has become the hallmark of spirits made with the water from the Cascade Mountains of Central Oregon. The idea for the whiskey began nearly 20 years ago as an ongoing conversation over beers between Jim Bendis, founder of Bendistillery and Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewery.

“It all started when I distilled and barreled a small batch of Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter beer as an experiment,” said Bendis. “We all had forgotten about the project until we ran across that original single barrel when we moved the distillery. Tasting that spirit is what really inspired us to collaborate with Deschutes. It brings happy tears to my eyes to see how this 20-year-old dream is now a product so well received and highly anticipated.”

“This whiskey is more about an opportunity to innovate at a new level by elevating the beer and creating a very different product altogether,” said Fish. “This is what can happen when you’re having fun and not bound by convention!”

As noted in the press release, the first release of BBW sold out on the first day. Price on those bottles was about $75 apiece, so I would expect a similar price on this year’s.

One of the fun side-projects that spun out of this collaboration was the release of Black Butte³ (cubed) several years ago: Deschutes brewed a double-strength version of Black Butte Porter, and aged it in Black Butte Whiskey barrels, subsequently released as a Pub Reserve series beer. It was excellent (and I have a bottle spirited away in my stash), and I hope they do something similar again.

If you want to score a bottle of BBW, be in Bend on next Wednesday the 6th!

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