Distilled, My Heart❤️: The La Crosse Distilling Co.
The best part of a flight is that you can drench, dunk, dip, dive, splashin paddle, to make your own mix of sauces (wings + hot sauce flight).
Whenever I go to the distillery, I fall in love with it. I love that it comes across as an orderly apothecary; where ales are made for your ails or joys. I am first going to take you through some limited release things that I would probably go check out before they run dry. Then I will tell you about more things that if you have not had, I highly recommend doing so.
They have been upping their beer game and now have a goddamn genius at the mixing stage. The brewer’s name is Graham Kaczmarek. Hailing from Odell Brewing Company and Forager Brewery he obviously knows his steeping from sparging. I believe the distillery is now allowing him the creative freedom to explore his desires. What he has done thus far I would put in the upper holy land of good beer. They will be aiming for four limited beer runs about every two months.
Howsagoin Irish Cream
Is the title flirting with us? Yes, and for good reason. With any good intro, a good sniff is to be had. Dogs and Beers know what’s up. So when I smelt the head of this dark drink I got whiffs of a caramel that’s smooth and seemed to be the wingman to the flavor. You smell good, of course I’m going to take a drink. I was met with a sweet and roasty cream mouthfeel, and a wee bit of bitterness to tell you it’s a strong independent drink.
Overall the pickup line of a name fits its flavor profile and I hope we can go study.
This is where the apothecary aspect comes into play, a copper and glass cacophony of grace, herbs, spirits, and class. People behind the bar that are behind you and your ambitions for a drink where every ingredient is sourced locally. Where there are two steps: the sniff and the sip. A lot of their drinks include sprigs of fresh herbs. To get a complete picture of the art in your cup I recommend using as many senses as possible. Immerse oneself in the story they are telling. This is how I interpreted:
I’m Not Good at Pick-Up Limes (Cocktail)
First note the smell of a tart sharp rosemary, then the taste first note of the sweet pineapple, and the second of the tart of the lime, and cran-mary syrup. As soon as it baptized my mouth, I knew that that groundhog is full of it and warmer weather is on the way.
Beneath the Bark
This one is a Coconut Chocolate Imperial Stout that came with a Meringue Bakery chocolate truffle, a collaboration that includes their own Downtown Toodeloo Rock & Rye Whiskey within it. I highly recommend asking for the same. This one was my favorite and I think it’s because it surprised me that it was there. Imperials are my dark side, there is so much flavor power, I love it but I can’t control myself with it. Its deep and mysterious flavors hide the high percent it wields with grace (something after about two of these drinks I lack in).
Graham has been composing this drink for the last 6 months and it shows. After an initial flavor of calm chocolateness, the second movement is on a playground and it teeters between bitter and sweet, if allowed to get to room temps this is where the magic happens and you get some fruity tones intermixed with the chocolate. If you bite a truffle at any time through this experience you are going to a sweet spot that would content the snobbiest of us. I would happily play in that place for a dangerous amount of time.
If you came for the drinks, thanks for stopping by. I am going to talk about food now.
I ordered a couple of things I haven’t had yet and again was blown away.
Seeing how I got music on my mind I am going to say this plate was jazz. Driftless organics red beets had a mild smooth earthy flavor. On a bed of Greek yogurt with a drizzle and dusting of honey-walnut vinaigrette, hazelnut, and za’atar. With these combined flavors the yogurt had a zing of trumpets, and the nuts a crunch of a cymbal.
Fried Brussels Sprouts
I loved this, it was savory and caramelized gochujang (a savory mild spice of a Korean sauce) with a crunchy exterior and a soft forgivable hearty heart. Peanuts and scallion to elevate the umami. I will get these until they’re not on the menu anymore.
Wings with a Flight of Hot Sauce
These wings got a crisp smokey exterior with a bit of pepper. The smoke flavor permeates the meat and just gives you the reassurance that it will be there for you while you eat it all up. The cilantro cuts the hotness of the spicy barrel-aged sauce. The best part of a flight is that you can drench, dunk, dip, dive, splashin paddle, to make your own mix of sauces. Also, I believe the ratio of paddle to drummy is 1:1 as it should be. The sauces might be different for your experience but the freedom to mess about is nice.
The lighting makes even our chaos look good. Every time I leave, I feel full physically and emotionally.
About La Crosse Local
La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.
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