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Stoll and Wolfe Distillery

Distilling Rosen Rye at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery

This was a crisp fall Sunday morning. You could barely see the fog of your breath after sipping the hotel cup of coffee. A few of the collaborators had mustered for breakfast. Grabbing bagels, pieces of fruit and whatever else would travel quick and light. Fueling up for the long days journey that lie ahead. Some had barely gotten more than 4 hours sleep from the previous days activities. The sun began illuminating the golden leaves that still clung to their branches. There was an electricity that filled the atmosphere. Anticipation consumed the one mile trek up the winding hill to where the old mill and the distillery stand. It was difficult to adhere to the posted speed limit. Speedily pulling into the parking lot. Hurrying to get out of the car. Gear in hand. We have been here before. But, this time the beast began to come to life.

The walk was familiar. The same familiar pathway. Familiar faces greeted us as we entered the dimly lit distillery. George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery still runs on natural light. Sunlight beamed through every window to reveal the magic that was taking place. Sounds of buckets being filled. Wood being stacked neatly next to the stills. Five in all. Named after queens. There was a hive of well orchestrated activity. Mash tons being emptied into buckets. Stills being filled being filled with fermented Keystone Rosen Rye and heirloom corn. Fires being lit. Steam rising from the tubs. Fresh water being diverted from the mill to be used to cool the hot distillate. More wood being carted in. An empty mash tun being turned onto its side and rolled out the door to be cleaned and prepared for the next ferment. The crackle of the fire and the smoke from the wood was a distinct education of how whiskey was made back in the 1700’s. Everyone there was playing a role and focused intently on making history and history come alive.

Steve Bashore drove a big box truck up to Imler, PA. Robert and Sherri McDonald of Dancing Star Farm had 11,000 pounds of grain waiting to be picked up and milled for distilling. The catalyst for this historic event took place between a conversation with Steve and Laura Fields of The Delaware Valley Fields Foundation. Laura loves whiskey, history and promoting heirloom grains and the farmers that grow them. She asked if GWMV would want to run Rosen Rye. Of course Steve was more than happy to make that happen.

Steve got to work planning, organizing and assembling an all-star team to put it all together, people of like mind who love history and distilling. They all came together to create whiskey and retell the story and produce a new one. The sense of camaraderie came through. Of course, having a game plan was helpful. Everyone worked together with a sense of pride. Thomas and Kim Bard came all of the way from Graham, KY, leaving The Bard Distillery for a few days to assist in distilling. Erik and Jim Wolfe, who are no strangers to Rosen, brought their experience and expertise. Stoll and Wolfe Distillery distilled Rosen just 2 years earlier. Lisa Roper Wicker, of Widow Jane, focused on the process as the stills began to offer their sweet and fruity distillate. Lisa has been a familiar face at GWMV since the very beginning. Aleasha Monroe is the head distiller at West Overton. They just released a Monongahela Style Rye and she brought her knowledge and skill. The Mount Vernon team brought it all together.

The Rosen is being distilled with Orange Creole and Bloody Butcher Corn. Time will tell if the juice will be bottled separately or together. It will rest in barrels from Kelvin Cooperage, Speyside Cooperage in Virgina, and a very special barrel made from a 240 year oak tree that fell at Mount Vernon 3 years ago. There is great anticipation for some bottles of the white spirit to be offered. This will provide a prelude of things to come. Whiskey and history lovers alike have so much to look forward to. George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery is moving into the future while retaining the roots of the past.

Listen to our interviews as we reflect on this historic event.

Part 1:

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Episode 76 – West Overton Distilling – Aleasha Monroe and Sam Komlenic

This episode features Aleasha Monroe and Sam Komlenic of West Overton Distilling.

Some familiar and many not so familiar faces filled the large room at West Overton Museum.  The sold out crowd of over 100 people showed up to talk, drink and learn about rye whiskey.  More specifically Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey was the focus and topic of conversation.  The distinguished panel included: David Wondrich who is widely hailed as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the history of the cocktail and one of the founders of the modern craft cocktail movement.   Lew Bryson who is currently a Senior Drinks Writer for The Daily Beast, and is also a columnist for Craft Spirits magazine. He is the author of Tasting Whiskey.  Steve Bashore who is the Director of Historic Trades and head distiller at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.  Sam Komlenic who has been the copy editor for Whisky Advocate magazine for 15 years, led and navigated the evening’s discussion.  Old Overholt Bonded Straight Rye Whiskey welcomed all in attendance.  Aleasha Monroe, head distiller, was introduced to the crowd.  As dinner was served talk began of the history of whiskey and more particularly rye whiskey in Pennsylvania.  For almost an hour an a half thoughts and facts were exchanged.  Breaks were taken to toast the featured rye whiskeys from throughout the state.  First Liberty Pole Rye Whiskey, followed by Stoll and Wolfe Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey and then Dad’s Hat Monogahela Rye Whiskey.  For the first time West Overton Distilling Monogahela Rye Whiskey was tasted.  The discussion got the most heated on the topic of what defines the Monoghahela style or brand.  Listen to this episode as Aleasha and Sam deconstruct the festivities.  We discuss some of the highlights and taste the 3 expressions that are now on sale only at West Overton Distilling.  

Brewscuits is the sponsor of the podcast.  Be sure to check them out at www.brewscuits.com.  Type in Fermented Adventure at checkout to get 15% off your first order.

109 W. Overton Road, Scottdale, PA 15683 (907) 229-7942 www.westovertonvillage.org Facebook

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Highlights from our discussion:

Distilled Spirits Council

Lisa Roper Wicker – Widow Jane Distillery

Vendome Copper and Brass Works

Leopold Brothers

Episode 30 – Ethan Smith – Michter’s Pennsylvania

Ethan Smith

🎙Check out the latest episode featuring Ethan Smith. Ethan has a passion and curiosity for the old Bomberger’s Distillery which was more recently Michter’s in Pennsylvania. The seed for Ethan’s hunger to discover Michter’s was planted in him when he was a kid. Originating in a brochure rack. It reappeared in an antiques store and since that fateful day he has been consumed with the Michter’s legacy. Even turning his home into a makeshift Michter’s museum to preserve the famous history. Michter’s closed on Valentine’s Day 1990 but, Ethan helps to keep the story alive.
bluecapriethan@gmail.com The Ethan Smith Blog

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Highlights from our discussion:

Bomberger’s Distillery

Michter’s Distillery

Dick Stoll

Stoll & Wolfe Distillery

Schaefferstown, PA

Susquehanna River Valley

WGAL

Evan Williams

Jack Daniels

Rosen Rye

American Whiskey Convention

Tom’s Foolery Distillery

Continental Distilling Corporation

Michter’s Decanters List

Episode #17- Booze Dancing.com with G-Lo and Mike

On the Set of Fermented Adventure The Show

This episode features Booze Dancing. G-Lo and Mike bring you onto their back yard deck with lively banter and an incredible knowledge of all things booze related. We learn how it all got started, from their humble beginnings in 2010, and sample some whiskey in the booze dancing style. Great conversation… Hanging out… Having a good time.

Check out their website: It’s Just Booze Dancing Facebook ~ Instagram ~ YouTube

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Highlights from our discussion:

Wedding Crashers

Heaven’s Door

Stoll and Wolfe Distillery

Jamison Irish Whiskey

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Glendronach Distillery

Single Malt Whisky

Single Barrel

American Whiskey Convention

Kiddushfest

Single Cask Nation

Ari White -The Wandering Que

History In The Distilling

Distilling Rosen Rye

An anxious crowd gathered around Laura Fields, of the Seed Spark Project, as she introduced the star of the day. Since 2015, Rosen rye seeds have been cultivated and re-planted on agricultural test plots in State College, PA to produce enough usable grain to distill into whiskey. Rosen rye had been in the fermenter since September 3rd and was ready to be distilled at Stoll and Wolfe Distillery in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Dick Stoll was the last man to distill Rosen rye into whiskey at Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pa. Liquid began to flow into the still and Dick looked on with a very watchful eye. It was an emotional moment for Erik Wolfe as he explained the process of what was about to take place in the distillation. Finally, all of the hard work and preparation would become a reality.

It was all hands on deck as things heated up. Jim Wolfe and Avianna Wolfe took their places to make sure that the pressure and temperatures remained stable as the column still began to produce the first evidence of juice. The whole team at Stoll and Wolfe was amazing. For the next 3 hours there was joy, laughter and camaraderie as guests shared stories, asked questions and got their first taste of the “White Dog”. Oh, how sweet it is!

The journey continues as some of the Rosen rye which has now been given over to the barrel gods. The remaining un-aged portion will be available to taste and sample.

It was an incredible experience to be able to watch the whole process come together. Fermented Adventure has had the pleasure of visiting many distilleries. However, it is rare to witness the production of craft distilled spirits. The day culminated with enjoying one last taste. Fermented Adventure the Podcast sat down with Dick Stoll and learned more about his story. Look for the interview on your favorite Podcast Platform.

It all started with a seed. It was a perfect day in a perfect place. It may sound cliche, but, on September 7, 2019 a lot of peoples hard work, visions and dreams came true. That’s what is at the heart of the craft distillery industry.

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