Las Vegas Distillery, CraftHaus Brewery Join Forces

A recent collaboration between a local distiller and local brewery has inspired a fine whiskey.

CraftHaus co-owner Dave Forrest and Las Vegas Distillery owner George Racz. Courtesy of CraftHaus

Beer and whiskey have long embraced a special kinship and share a core ingredient: barley. So what about merging the two beverages? A recent collaboration between a local distiller and local brewery did just that by teaming up to make a whiskey together.

Henderson’s Las Vegas Distillery (Nevada’s first legal distillery) and CraftHaus Brewery share not only their location in the same industrial complex on Eastgate Road (commonly known as The Booze District), but a friendship that is so close that both businesses refer to each other as family. Las Vegas Distillery owner/founder George Racz says, “We decided to do this [collaboration] together because we love each other and are very good friends.” CraftHaus co-owner Dave Forrest echoed Racz’s sentiments adding, “We’ve used George’s barrels in our beer before, but nothing to this extent. He’s one of the main reasons we located our brewery here [in this complex], and he’s not just a friend, he is like family.”

The process began on May 17 as the CraftHaus brewers Steph Cope and Steve Brockman loaded up their cooking vessel with two-row barley and steeped the grains used in the brewery’s flagship Resinate IPA recipe. Since by law a distiller cannot use alcohol made elsewhere, the brewery did not add yeast, so after transporting the unfermented (and therefore nonalcoholic) mash to the distillery, malt whiskey yeast was added to start the fermentation and the batch was double distilled for three days. The whiskey was then split in half, with one going directly into seven-gallon barrels and the other infused with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops used in the IPA recipe before being transferred to the barrels. Both versions are being aged for seven months, till being bottled and released in December.

The collaboration is called AngelHaus Whiskeys, combining the distillery’s copper vessels, which Racz has lovingly christened Copper Angels, and the CraftHaus moniker. The hopped version is called The Beer Barrel Roller and the unhopped is The Whiskey Barrel Roller.

While a few similar collaborations have been done previously in Northern Nevada, this is a first for Southern Nevada, though it will not be the last, as both companies plan to repeat this experiment quarterly using different beer recipes. A total of 200 bottles were produced in this inaugural batch, 100 of each variety, and are being sold for $50 per 375-milliliter bottle. Purchase includes complimentary admission to the bottling and release day party on December 9, which will include food, drink and entertainment in the form of a barrel-rolling competition, in which representatives from each business will push their respective barrels through an obstacle course.

For more info on the process of making the AngelHaus Whiskeys and to purchase a bottle, visit lasvegasdistillery.com/reserve-angelhaus.

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