MUSICEYES & EDGE

NEW DEAL DISTILLERY

MUSICEYES & EDGE
NEW DEAL DISTILLERY

“Look, there’s that guy again. The cute one with the awesome tattoos over there.” Any others have that same thought after dropping by numerous events in Portland? We obviously did and came to find out that dapper gentleman was Evan Kinkel, from New Deal Distillery, Portland’s hot distillery on the scene. Not only do they have the Evan Almighty who mixes and pours the goods at events all over town, but they happen to have some of the best-tasting spirits we have ever sipped on. It all started in 2004, when founder Tom Burkleaux was working in the tech industry, saw the recession coming and refused to drink beer. So he made vodka. We're glad he did.To get the downlow on these craft-distilled spirits, we visited the huge warehouse that acts as both distillery and tasting room in the Lower Eastside Industrial District of Portland – now also referred to as Distillery Row. Standing behind the tasting bar pouring samples, Evan explained how it all works and the emphasis New Deal puts on sourcing locally with natural and organic products whenever possible.First he poured the Portland 88 Vodka. It. Was. Delicious. Crisp and perfect. The Portland 88 goes above and beyond your usual 80 proof vodkas to 88 proof (name starting to make sense?) From there he moved to Gin. The Gin 3 is what Evan is most excited about, so you know it has to be good. For this drink, they focus on the juniper berry, which gives it a pine-like flavor, or as Evan sees it, “like a walk through the forest.” He explained, “The thing about juniper berry is, depending on the process of distilling, it’s a lot like a coffee bean in terms of the way it is roasted – you can draw a lot of different flavors.”“More gin? We should try another gin,” Evan offered. Yeah, you don’t have to ask us twice. He then poured the Gin 1, which is put through a vapor extraction, making it taste totally different than Gin 3 due to the oils and tannins it picks up. “It’s a lot more savory and curvaceous. It’s like the whiskey of gin. A lot more depth. It’ll will warm you up a lot more in the winter, unlike the usual gins that are popular in the summer months.”Is there a Gin 2?No, Tom doesn’t like even numbers.Next we tried the Chocolate Vodka, and to be sure, this ain’t your everyday disgustingly sweet, artificially flavored vodka. Before you even taste it, you pick up the exact scent you would get from a bitter dark yummy chocolate bar. It goes down smooth and brings your day up. It’s the best of both worlds – good chocolate and great booze. If everyone had their hands on a bottle of this, there would never be a sad single sipper again. This stuff begs to be shared.We finished off the tasting with the Ginger Liqueur and their new rum that isn’t even on the market yet. The Ginger Liqueur is nothing short of necessary, truly sensational, and the rum is by far the best we ever had.New Deal Distillery is busy these next couple months with their move to a bigger space across the street, new labels, new spirits and getting ready for the EYES + EDGE big launch party on August 10th! Come join the fun and you too can meet Evan! And taste the New Deal delights! (Details coming soon)Portland has again impressed the outside world with yet another craft that we do damn well. Craft beers have had such a big boom in Portland, and the same is happening with craft distilleries. Where else can you take a spirit tasting tour at multiple distilleries all in the same two-mile radius?New Deal Distillery1311 SE 9th Avenue503-234-2513HoursSaturday & Sunday: Noon – 5:00pmMon–Fri: Retail available most daysToursGroup tours available by appointment Photo courtesy: Erik Trine + Evan Kinkel