Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lew Bryson's ADI conference coverage.

My reasons for attending the American Distilling Institute's annual conference (April 1 - 4, 2012) included the gathering's close proximity to home, a visit by a friend, a desire to take a few days off work, and a measure of simple curiosity about craft distilling. I found it fascinating, although in truth, much of what intrigued me was less about pure distilling theory and practice than those areas of distillation that overlap with beer and brewing.

Most obviously, before alcohol can be concentrated by distillation, it must be fermented from a mash, and this is the point of considerable convergence.

Consequently, a high point for me was a panel discussion featuring three brewers who also distill, and without going into great detail, each of them offered thoughts on certain "traditional" distilling practices (mashing, fermentation) from the perspective of the contemporary generation of craft brewers, and how old-timey distillers could learn from New Age brewers. I'm sure these thoughts would constitute heresy in some quarters, and as such, I was thrilled to hear them. Throughout human history, heresy has been the most useful precondition for revolution. I might become a spirits drinker yet.

As previously noted here, writer Lew Bryson was in town for the conference, and spirits are his game as much as beer. For far better ADI confab coverage than I can muster, following are links to Lew's thoughts at John Hansell's Whisky Advocate Blog.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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