This time around we're giving whiskey a go for Wine Wednesday. We figure if it has any alcohol content, it's game. Which brings us to Belmont Farm Distillery in Culpeper, Va.
One of the first things we noticed about a visit to Chuck "Moonshine Chuck" Miller's Belmont Farm Distillery (13490 Cedar Run Road) was the vat of 150-proof Kopper Kettle whiskey sitting in a milk tank usually used for, well, milk.
The smell, strong enough to burn the eyes, makes you take a step back.
Miller lifts up a bag of oak chips wrapped in cheesecloth floating in the liquid. "We don't add whiskey to oak; we add the oak to the whiskey," he said. The whiskey sits in the milk tank to pre-soak before entering an oak barrel, where it will sit for another three to five years.
This Kopper Kettle whiskey made at the farm also happens to be distilled in America's oldest working copper potstill. The 2,000-gallon, 90-year-old potstill was given to the family about 30 years ago from the federal government. (We're wondering if they have any more potstills they are giving away -- we'd like one, too!)
The reason Miller still uses a copper potstill? Simple: It's tradition -- Belmont is the only distillery in the U.S. that grows their own grain, and that it adds a distinct freshness to the whiskey.
The farm's 195 acres also grow corn, wheat and barley to produce the whiskey.
And if you like the Kopper Kettle whiskey, then you might just want to "drink some apple pie," as Miller puts it. His new whiskey flavors, apple and cherry, come bottled in mason jars with the whole fruit inside the jar ready for consumption.
Enjoy free samples of the whiskey at the upcoming Culpeper Harvest Days Farm Tour Saturday, Oct. 5; you'll also find live bluegrass music and lunch.
Hours for the distillery are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. The distillery is located about two and half hours from downtown D.C.
Kopper Kettle whiskey is also available at most Virginia ABC stores.