When Frey Ranch distillery, based mostly in Fallon, Nevada, launched their first four-grain straight bourbon in December 2019, we at Drinkhacker had been prompt followers. (We additionally reviewed their observe up rye and single barrel bourbon #22). The whiskeys stand on their very own benefit; and a latest go to to the idyllic working ranch and their first annual Whiskey Harvest solely highlighted and accentuated what we had been clued into from their first providing.
Frey Ranch began out of the gate producing nice whiskeys, using generations of intimate data of, and nice respect for, the very land and the crops they’ve been cultivating since 1954 (with expertise on different Nevada lands going a lot additional again). It’s evident in each element all through the ranch and it’s manufacturing facility.
The short historical past is that this: In 1864, Lawrence Frey was one of many first to be deeded property in Nevada. Subsequent generations of Freys have remained in Nevada, energetic in ranching, farming, and commerce, with the present location in Fallon having been acquired by Charles P. Frey, Sr. in 1954. Beneath the present helm of the distillery co-founders Ashley and Colby Frey, the ranch just lately made the pivot to an solely grain-to-glass spirits producer the place the grains are grown on property, and the whiskey is produced, distilled, and bottled on web site, in services which can be mere steps from one another.
Of the 1500 acres on the property, 500 acres at the moment are used to develop the grains for whiskey. The water supply for irrigation is snow soften from the Sierra Mountains which feed into the Fallon River. Colby commented that as a farmer, you solely get one shot a yr to see what labored and what didn’t. The ranch has generations of trial and error to information them by way of each new rising seasons. And the way necessary is the grain element to Frey within the general whiskey scheme? The label on their bottle is inscribed with the motto “be good to the land and the land will likely be good to you.” Their grasp distiller Russell Wedlake is firstly a licensed crop advisor with 25 years of agronomy expertise and deep understanding of grains and fermentation.
True to type, the meticulous Frey crew makes use of the standard single pot distillation course of, which takes about 8 hours and produces about 1000 gallons at a time, in lieu of the extra environment friendly and better capability steady distillation. New American oak barrels (that are legally required of bourbon) are charred utilizing a two-char technique — char 4 on the staves and char 3 on the barrel head.
The bottled bourbon and rye are 90 proof and 100 proof respectively. We had been handled to tastings of every straight out of the barrel at roughly 130 proof. These barrel pours provided intriguing perception into the traits the distillery has to work with earlier than bottling. The nostril on the bourbon options reduce grass, burnt sugar and minty natural be aware with a contact of thyme; the palate is a powerhouse of nuttiness, mint, leather-based, raisins, poached pear, blondies, cherry pop rocks, and cola. Actually, it has all of it. The end is meaty and savory. The nostril on the rye is equally punchy with grass and a sweet-tart kick of citrus akin to lemon meringue or key lime pie; the rye palate provides a wealthy mouthfeel with pecan pie and custard, creamy licorice, whereas the end lingers with musky Port notes.
There are already about 12 new whiskeys ageing right here and a few are releasing quickly, which embrace single grain choices (100% wheat, 100% oat, 100% corn, and 100% malted corn), a quad malt (four-grain bourbon with all grains malted), a number of smoked varietals (malt, oat, and rye), five-grain (which provides oat to their four-grain invoice), and different four-grains with completely different mashes of grains and triticale (a wheat-rye hybrid grain).
The tour led us by way of each nook of the property, from its primary manufacturing complicated, its huge rising fields of late season corn, the grounds of the primary home the place the Frey household lives, and numerous enjoyable nooks and crannies alongside the way in which that showcase things like a effectively stored assortment of John Deere tractors utilized by generations on Frey lands, plus Ashley’s private pumpkin patch.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t contact upon a number of highlights of the Whiskey Harvest, which significantly charmed this life-long metropolis dweller: taking pictures corn out of corn cannons, dust-raising wheelies on golf carts, the glow of Frey’s signature bottles repurposed as lanterns at each flip, and sipping on artisan cocktails served from an airstream bar tucked in a carved out nook of the cornfields with stay music. My favourite cocktail was the aptly named Ranch Hand, a tackle The Gold Rush: 1.5 oz Frey Ranch Bourbon, 0.75 oz recent lemon juice, 0.5 oz honey syrup (2 components honey, 1 half heat water), and a touch of fragrant bitters, shaken with ice then strained. Garnish with recent lemon peel.
Colby has been described by a few of his colleagues and enterprise associates as a perpetual and passionate tinkerer (as exemplified by numerous re-imaginings of tractor components, one notably was an ice cream machine, one other a see-saw). Ingenuity coupled with a sleeves-rolled-up/hands-in-the-dirt ethic is most actually a driving spirit behind Frey’s profitable entry into an already aggressive panorama of whiskeys, and bourbon particularly. There’s loads of purpose to cheer for its success as each an unbiased agriculture endeavor and a craft distillery, and it’s a transparent outfit to observe within the grain-to-glass class.
Frey Ranch hosts excursions each Saturday from midday till 4pm and usually host occasions and runs promotions within the tasting room. Distribution is at the moment solely accessible in California and Nevada, with the straight bourbon, rye, and single barrels accessible on their on-line retailer.