Booze Made From Beer?

Yes, indeed. Falls Church Distillers and Mad Fox Brewing are teaming up.

First, there was beer brewed in Falls Church. And things were good. Then, just last year, distilled spirits came to The Little City. Things got even better.

And now — because craft brewers and distillers tend to be collaborative sorts of folks — we may be only a few weeks away from sipping local spirits made from very local beer.

“Right now, it’s all kind of theoretical,” says Michael Paluzzi, one of the co-founders of Falls Church Distillers, but any day he expects to receive a batch of beer from Bill Madden, the owner of Mad Fox Brewing, which sits less than a mile down the road.

That’s when the fun begins. After running the beer through the still, “we might tinker with it,” perhaps by adding additional hops, Paluzzi says. “There’s a lot of experimenting ahead, and we’re excited about that.”

Whatever the end result, it will probably be something akin to a German bierschnaps, a high-proof spirit made from beer that’s clean and dry — far removed from the syrupy-sweet schnapps that Americans are used to. “It’s from the best traditions of European brewing and European distilling,” Madden says.

Unlike whiskey, schnapps requires no aging. So, optimistically, Paluzzi says, it could be in bottles before the winter is up.

Plus, that’s not the only new development in the works at the distillery. In addition to its lineup of two gins, two vodkas and a bourbon, Falls Church Distillers hopes to have its first bourbon-barrel-aged rum on the market by the spring.

Paluzzi says he’s also aging apple brandy — made from Falls Church Farmers Market apples — in Virginia red-wine barrels.  With luck, that belly-warmer will be bottled and ready to drink come fall.

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Categories: Food & Drink