Wood’s High Mountain Distillery: Searching For Signature Flavors

P.T. Wood and his brother Lee opened Wood’s High Mountain Distillery in 2012 with an 1880 German pot still named Ashley at the heart of their production. Today, Ashley is still cranking, though she’s mostly producing gin and an occasional limited release whiskey. Wood’s High Mountain is now working with a 1,500-liter stripping still and a 1,500-liter finish still producing Sawatch American malt, Tenderfoot American malt, Alpine rye, Dawn Patrol single malt, and limited releases.

The most traditional Wood’s whiskey is Dawn Patrol, but the rest are a bit “out there,” says P.T. “We try not to imitate anybody…let’s put our own signature on this.” They use mostly malted rye, but also chocolate malt and cherrywood-smoked malted barley—specialty malts that are more widely used by brewers than distillers. “But they bring amazing flavors you can’t really build through the aging and barrel extraction process,” P.T. maintains. 

Drink this: Wood’s 2 year old Alpine Rye (Batch 16)
91 points, 49% ABV, $55
Cinnamon, burnt espresso beans, alluring smoky bitterness, jalapeño, smoked chiles, and black pepper

Eat here: The Fritz
From small plates to comfort foods, The Fritz has you covered, with a selection of whiskies that spans all categories and great whisky cocktails. Try A Perfect Pearing: Rittenhouse rye, Poire Williams eau de vie, 477 Distilling coffee liqueur, and pear garnish.

Stay here: Manhattan Hotel
This boutique hotel, completely renovated in 2019, is located on the banks of the Arkansas River and within walking distance to the distillery and downtown. 

Take a side trip: Raft the Arkansas River
Explore the Arkansas River with locally owned and operated Salida River Adventures, which offers whitewater rafting trips from extreme to scenic. For a mellow float with incredible views, try the half-day Salida Town Run.

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