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Pinckney Bend Distillery, New Haven, MO

Pinckney Bend Distillery, New Haven, MO
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  • Pinckney Bend Distillery, New Haven, MO

    Post #1 - March 15th, 2017, 7:06 pm
    Post #1 - March 15th, 2017, 7:06 pm Post #1 - March 15th, 2017, 7:06 pm
    Last year, a remarkably enthusiastic review of my book, Midwest Maize, brought me into contact with Ralph Haynes. Haynes and his two partners operate Pinckney Bend Distillery, a boutique, small-batch distillery that specializes in whiskey made from heirloom corn, with the goal of reproducing whiskeys like those produced in the 1800s. It was corn history that made the connection for us.

    The correspondence led to an invitation to visit, if I were ever in the area. A couple of conventions in the last few weeks were going to bring me into reasonable proximity, so I arranged to visit for a couple of days.

    The distillery is in a historic spot along the Lewis and Clark Trail, just a few yards from the banks of the Missouri River, in a town so small that no one I met elsewhere in Missouri had heard of it (it’s just west of Washington, Mo, if you need to find it on a map).

    Haynes spent a fair bit of time sharing the history of the area and the distillery, but he was particularly excited about sharing the various whiskeys, most of which are identified by the corn used to make them. He poured whiskeys made from Wapsie Valley corn (my favorite), Hickory Cane corn, and Pipestone corn. All very obviously whiskey, but still each corn variety produced a different flavor profile. I also enjoyed the rested whiskey (he can’t call it bourbon), and, stepping momentarily away from whiskey, really loved the gin they produce. During a tour of their facility, I got to see a few other varieties of corn that are destined for future batches, including Missouri Blue and Bloody Butcher (bright red). Really beautiful stuff. Haynes said that sometimes, after he grinds the corn, he’ll take a bit home and make polenta or cornbread—to see how the flavor profile differs there, as well.

    If you’re interested in the history of the location, you can read it here:
    http://pinckneybend.com/the-pinckney-bend-story/

    If you want to try their whiskeys, here are their distributors. http://pinckneybend.com/where-to-buy/

    Of course, if you ever get down to Missouri and want to visit, that’s the best option—at least from the standpoint of sampling the whiskeys (and gin) side by side.

    And if you need a place to stay, I found the Haynes's guest house—Aunt’s Mays—to be a great option: http://www.auntmays.com/

    Haynes’s wife manages the local library district, so she set up a speaking engagement for me while I was there, so I could talk about corn history and then Haynes could pour a little “processed” corn for those who attended. Nifty arrangement. Too bad I can’t have him there every time I talk about corn.

    Oh – and if you do get to that area, and you need something to eat, my top recommendation would be the Farm to You Market in Washington, a little market specializing in locally raised or produced foods that has a small café where you can get outstanding food, including hog-jowl bacon made by the store’s owner, from his heritage pigs. So no culinary wasteland here.

    1101 Miller St
    New Haven, MO 63068
    (573) 237-5559
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #2 - March 15th, 2017, 7:54 pm
    Post #2 - March 15th, 2017, 7:54 pm Post #2 - March 15th, 2017, 7:54 pm
    I should probably also mention that, if you're in this area, about half an hour west of New Haven, you reach Hermann, a historic German village dating to 1842, situated in the middle of Missouri wine country. http://visithermann.com/

    Aside from simply enjoying the wonderful, old town, there were a couple of notable culinary items. The Wurst Haus is the home of award-winning German-style sausages and bacon. And among the wineries, Stonehill is among the oldest in the country and has won many awards. The thing that I particularly appreciated was that I had shortly before visiting been in a conversation about the Norton grape, an American grape that produced what was once considered one of the best red wines in the world, but which seemed to have vanished. The grape was the subject of the book The Wild Vine, which they had on hand at the winery. But of greater interest still is that the winery has 1/4 acre of Norton grapes that were planted at the time of the Civil War, and that are still surviving. The vines don't offer enough grapes to make wine every year, but every few years, they do. And I got to taste this legendary red wine. Always hard to know how much a new vintage might compare to the one that garnered gold medals in the 1800s, but it did seem mighty smooth and pleasant. http://stonehillwinery.com/

    None of this is necessarily a reason to plan a vacation to this area -- but it might justify a detour, if you're passing near St. Louis.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #3 - March 21st, 2017, 4:15 pm
    Post #3 - March 21st, 2017, 4:15 pm Post #3 - March 21st, 2017, 4:15 pm
    Hi Cynthia,

    Nice report--wish I still lived out that way, I'd for sure go visit the distillery.

    BTW, as long as one is visiting that part of Missouri Wine Country, you should also schedule a visit to Augusta MO, which is America's first officially recognized wine district, and is a great little town to visit, with its many wineries and restaurants.

    http://www.augusta-chamber.org/

    The Norton grape, and its wine, are becoming ever more popular. The largest plantation of Norton in the world is my pal Jennie's McCloud's Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg VA. She's got a really nice website with some features on Norton.

    http://www.chrysaliswine.com/

    And if you're interested in how Missouri and Norton saved the French vineyards from the phylloxera disaster of the 1870s, follow the link to my book, below.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #4 - March 21st, 2017, 6:04 pm
    Post #4 - March 21st, 2017, 6:04 pm Post #4 - March 21st, 2017, 6:04 pm
    Thanks for more potential destinations and possible reading material. I did know that the U.S. had helped France recover from the phylloxera epidemic, but hadn't realized the epidemic was so widespread -- and certainly didn't know that you had written the authoritative book on the topic. Wonderful.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #5 - March 27th, 2017, 8:35 am
    Post #5 - March 27th, 2017, 8:35 am Post #5 - March 27th, 2017, 8:35 am
    Interesting post, Cynthia. I am not much of a spirits fan, but Pinkney's gin is popular around here - for the quality as well as for the reasonable price.

    Geo wrote:
    And if you're interested in how Missouri and Norton saved the French vineyards from the phylloxera disaster of the 1870s, follow the link to my book, below.

    Geo


    I don't see the link to your book, Geo. Would you provide it, please?
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #6 - March 27th, 2017, 10:09 am
    Post #6 - March 27th, 2017, 10:09 am Post #6 - March 27th, 2017, 10:09 am
    Hi Josephine--

    Glad to provide the link:

    http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520265486

    Tnx for asking!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #7 - March 27th, 2017, 5:30 pm
    Post #7 - March 27th, 2017, 5:30 pm Post #7 - March 27th, 2017, 5:30 pm
    Thank you, Geo!
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.

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