“Go West, young man, and grow up with the country”  the newspaper editor Horace Greeley said in the mid-1800s. How far west was he talking? Manifest destiny was a widely held cultural belief in the 19th-century US that American settlers were destined to expand across North America. So why has it taken so many years for the whiskey culture to do the same? The Pacific Northwest is not known for its whiskey, but rather beer. The Cities of Portland and Seattle are riddled with breweries and brewpubs. So when I traveled to the Oregon Coast this past week I wanted to find a distillery that was expanding the whiskey culture, I thought it would be a challenge. It wasn’t! In this episode, Big Chief Goes West!

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To my surprise one of the most celebrated distilleries in Portland was Westward Whiskey. How fitting was that for the saying “Go West, young man”? The more research I did, the more I was fascinated. Westward Whiskey Distillery was founded by Christian Krogstad, who graduated from the Siebel Institute of Technology — America’s oldest brewing academy. Can you see where this is going, no not a brewery. He however did work in breweries and a vineyard before establishing what would become Westward in 2004 to bring his dream for an American Single Malt to life.

You might ask what’s so special about an American Single Malt, well it the American Pale Ale beer it starts its life using two row barely and brewers yeast . When touring the distillery with Christian he let my brother and I sample the beer as it went through its fermentation and double distillation that turns the amazing beer (I still can’t figure out why they aren’t also bottling the beer, it was that good) to a spectacular crafted whiskey. Taking no short cuts  Christian and his team then age the new spirit in new American Oak barrels with a #2 char. Kind of sounds like bourbon right? Sometimes its these side roads that Jim and I take where we discover something so special that it blows are minds. This is one of those roads.

So with that grab an American Single Malt and listen as I geek out on a new road and I take The Bourbon Road West. No I’m not a young man but am new to American Single Malt Whiskeys and in this case that was a good thing because I had my eyes wide open looking for something new and refreshing. Cheers.

Mike (Big Chief)