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Cool Place But Had to Ask Twice for a Tour

Toward the end of a visit to Napa Valley, my mind turned from wine to whiskey, so on our way home... read more

Reviewed December 18, 2018
BigTime247
,
Winston Salem, North Carolina
I'm a beer drinker, but....

So we stopped here while in town so my husband and cousin could check it out. The owner was super... read more

Reviewed May 31, 2018
Digigrrl
,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Reviewed December 18, 2018

Toward the end of a visit to Napa Valley, my mind turned from wine to whiskey, so on our way home we passed by Silver Oak and Jordan in the Alexander Valley and stopped at Alley 6 Craft Distillery in the Sonoma County city of Healdsburg.

The Story: A distillery amid hundreds of wineries is a unique niche. Krystle and Jason Jorgensen founded Alley 6 in 2012 after Jason worked a dozen plus years as a bartender. As he tells it, he wanted to find a way to drink cheaper. They are committed to being a true craft distiller, selling only “grain to glass” liquor made entirely on-site (milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, barreling, and bottling). They now have two 123 gallon Alembic Copper pot stills that they bought from the larger Sonoma Distilling Company down the road.

The Liquor: Five liquors are offered for the $10 tasting (1 of our 2 tasting fees was waived because we bought a bottle).

The Single Malt Whiskey was aged just over a year. The “heavy charred” American oak 10-15 gallon barrels help accelerate the aging process, but the spirit still had a young taste.

The Rye Whiskey was my favorite. Although aged less than 2 years, the 22% malted barley and sub-90 proof take some of the rough edges off this spirit.

If I had more space and money, I would have gotten a bottle of the Apple Brandy. Being in California, it reminds me of John Steinbeck’s drinking “California calvados.”

The Spiced Peach liqueur, we were told, was supposed to be a peach brandy but it got over-oaked and so was salvaged with sugar and spice. The result was pleasing as it is sweeter than a peach brandy but less sweet than many peach liqueurs.

Finally, the Harvest Gin is grape-based (an easy choice in wine country) and adds distinctive local laurel and wild fennel. If I wasn’t limited to one bottle, I would have gotten one of these, too.

The Visit: The distillery is located in a metal building in an unassuming industrial office park off the main road. You enter the cozy tasting room through the main door. The Poet’s Corner stained glass piece behind the tasting bar was salvaged from a bar in Colorado. Nice touch.

We asked if we could have a “tour” of the facility but were told initially that it was a mess because they were setting up for an event later. I said all working distilleries are messy, to no avail.

During our tasting, owner/distiller Jason Jorgensen came in and we asked if we could get a photo with him, and when he opened the door to the distilling area hit him up for a tour. He gladly welcomed us to see where the magic happens. I’ve seen a lot messier distilleries, so hopefully the host won’t be as reluctant to let future guests poke around. That’s half the fun, after all.

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank BigTime247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2018

So we stopped here while in town so my husband and cousin could check it out. The owner was super impressed we were sitting waiting for it to open (truth be told we were still on East Coast time). While I didn't partake in the tasting, they did, and really enjoyed it. The owner insisted I try the bitters and I can't remember the last time I had to lick the back of my hand for a drink (tequila?). It was tasty! The owner was informative and had great local recommendations. I couldn't help but fall in love with the decor (why are there no photos posted!?) You'd never find this joint if you weren't looking for it. But go find it. It's awesome!

Date of experience: May 2018
Thank Digigrrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2018

The brewery is quite small so, what you get out of this is the opportunity to taste something "new, up and coming". We were quite satisfied with the flavor of everything and left with more than one bottle of everything they sold. We had to ask for our glasses to be water washed to clear the previous taste but it is a small issue. I would recommend not allowing yourself to be rushed as the tasting should be enjoyed. We hope that they are able to experience success to the degree that they can get their liquor distributed elsewhere and we look forward to being able to purchase the apple brandy next time we are there - at which point we presume they will have it under their own label! Not much to the distillery itself but it was interesting as was the story of how it unfolded. I would have liked to have nuts or some other type of snack as I enjoyed the tasting but, again, a small issue.

Date of experience: May 2018
Thank Belzob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2017 via mobile

We stopped in here between wine tastings and we're glad we did. When you walk in you instantly know your in someplace special, the smell is amazing! The tasting included rye whiskey, gin, apple brandy, homemade bitters and an old fashioned made with the rye and bitters. After the tasting we were shown the distillery and barrel room. The liquor was superb and the tour was really cool. We bought a bottle of rye and bitters and proceded back to our house to make old fashioneds! I regret that we did not buy more. You just don't find truly handcrafted small batch liquor of that quality very often. We will stop again next time we're in Healdsburg.

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank D6462XXkevind
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2017

Stopped in to break up the wine tastings of the day and very glad we did. We enjoyed a tasting of their spirits. Being whisky fans we really enjoyed the rye whisky. After tasting we went on a little tour to learn more about the distillery and future plans. Very interesting and fun. And we even brought some back with us! Very friendly people and good tasting spirits. A stop you should make when in the area. Enjoy!

Date of experience: April 2017
Thank 2x2WineTasters
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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