By Hannah Dellinger
It’ll be at least a year until the full glory of McClintock Distilling’s spirits collaboration with The UnCapped Podcast is ready to enjoy — but the base flavor components of the distilled product are already exceeding expectations.
McClintock set out to create a classic whiskey flavor with a “beer twist” for UnCapped’s first ever spirits collaboration. The product of that idea became a 100 percent malted barley single-malt whiskey vapor-infused with the perfect blend of U.K. goldings and meridian hops. The robust hops blend pairs nicely with the malted barley, which has a luxurious espresso chocolate flavor, simulating a rich golden ale or stout taste.
“We were thrilled,” said Braeden Bumpers, one of the owners and head distillers of McClintock. “It came out better than we even anticipated because the hop character translated through nicely but wasn’t overwhelming.”
The concoction was put in a first-use American white oak barrel, so the whiskey can absorb the wood sugars. It will rest in the barrel between 12 and 18 months. The distillers will taste it every month after a year and pull it once they feel it’s just right.
“What that’s going to do is mellow out harsher components to the spirit and give it a little bit of a nice, rounded wood-bodied flavor,” Bumpers said.
Chris Sands, host of the UnCapped podcast, said the process to see the final product of this collaboration will take much longer than the podcast’s two previous beer collaborations. But the excitement is still palpable.
“It’s still exciting because even in white-form, it’s ridiculously good,” he said, likening the initial taste to chocolate-covered bananas or papayas.
Sands said he supports McClintock’s focus on using quality organic products in their spirits. The company is the only certified organic distillery in Maryland.
“I think that’s cool because that’s another thing that makes them unique,” Sands said.
The podcast host began featuring distilleries on his beer-focused show around January 2017. It was a natural crossover for the show, he said, because craft beverage companies were already collaborating with one another.
McClintock offers beer and wine distillations as a side business, Bumpers said, and they just re-distilled a Rockwell Brewery beer that will be released sometime next year. The distiller said he worked with Monocacy Brewing Company’s Tom Flores to find the right hops blend for the UnCapped collaboration.
Sands admitted that before his show forayed into the world of distilleries, he never drank spirits. But that’s not the case anymore.
“The first couple [distilleries I had on the podcast], I would always give the disclaimer that if I made a face, it wasn’t an indication of the quality of what they made; it was because I just don’t drink spirits,” he said. “Now I don’t have to say that anymore because I genuinely enjoy them.”
The UnCapped whiskey still doesn’t have an official name, Bumpers said, but the creators have a year to figure it out. Once it’s ready, Bumpers said there will likely be a big release party open to the public.
“This is just a very unique spirit,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of hop-infused whiskeys out there. We thought it’d be a cool idea and we’re really happy with the way it turned out.”