Continuum Distilling in Waterbury, CT stands apart from other distilleries. They are the first in Connecticut to make craft spirits from craft beer. Intrigued? So were we.
That’s why we jumped at the chance to attend the Grand Opening and learn all about this interesting process of taking what’s essentially something that gets thrown out and turning it into something new.
Continuum Distilling is dedicated to producing unique and exceptional spirits utilizing patented green practices and ingredients to reuse and repurpose. Working with craft beer partners across New England, the company recoups “trimmings” from the beer brewing process that are typically disposed of. This includes high-quality sugars, fermented out beer with yeast in suspension, and flavorful solids. They repurpose these ingredients as the foundation for its spirits to create a high-quality product with unique flavor notes and textures.
The distillery continues its green practices by reclaiming and reusing totes and barrels that previously held olive oil, syrups, juices, spirits, or beer for the aging process, as well as repurposed steel drums for its stills and stainless kegs for transfer and transport. Storm damaged Connecticut-grown Oak trees are recovered for making charcoal and staves.
Continuum Distilling has launched three flagship products.
Charred, the company’s flagship “beer whiskey,” is made from brown ales, stouts, and porters, double distilled and aged on local wood staves to create a round, rich toasted flavor and a chestnut burgundy color. This unique, bold flavor offers an ABV of 48%, Charred is available in 375ml ($35) and 750ml ($55) bottles at the distillery, and limited local distribution at retail outlets, bars, and restaurants. At our visit, we tried a batch made with Black Hog’s Granola Brown Ale and Coffee Milk Stout. It had notes of vanilla and caramel, and the stout taste was certainly noticeable in a good way. We were able to also sample the “whiskey” in a Manhattan made with walnut bitters and a Luxardo cherry. This was delightful.
Drops, distilled from craft IPA’s, is double distilled to offer an unaged, bright, and hoppy flavor, offering hints of floral, citrus, and herbaceous flavors. With an ABV of 46%, Drops is available in 750ml ($35) bottles at the distillery, and limited local distribution at retail outlets, bars, and restaurants. As a big IPA fan, I really enjoyed Drops. It’s reminiscent of gin (without the juniper) and according to Renato, makes a nice martini. It was smooth enough to drink neat, and I think it would go nicely in a cocktail with elderflower liqueur to further enhance the citrus notes.
ContinuRum, crafted from 100% Blackstrap Molasses, is a unique white craft rum that’s currently in development at the Distillery. While not utilizing raw “beer trimmings” ingredients, the rum will be aged for one year in repurposed beer barrels to pull flavor characteristics. This product will be available in 750ml ($30) and only available at the distillery. I’m not much of a rum drinker. For me, this one was my least favorite. I found it a little harsh to drink straight up. My instinct is that it’s probably better as a mixer in a tropical cocktail for some sort. Once it’s aged for a longer period of time, I’d certainly try it again to see how the flavor or experience changes.
Visit Continuum Distilling Tasting Room
Continuum Distilling’s Tasting Room, located at its headquarters at 2066 Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury, CT, hosts tours and tastings for $10 a person. Coming this summer, the tasting room also will be offering flights and cocktails on tap for purchase. Rotating food trucks will be on-site during the weekend and holiday hours, and an outdoor seating area will be opening in Spring. The Tasting Room is open Fridays from 4 pm to 8 pm, Saturdays from 12noon to 8 pm, and Sundays from 12noon to 5 pm.
Have you tried beer-distilled spirits?
Photos by Renato Ghio