Thursday, December 27, 2012

Food Farmer Earth: Distilling the Essence of Fruit

In this interview for Food Farmer Earth, I spoke with distiller Sebastian Degens of Stone Barn Brandyworks to find out how he makes his amazing brandies, whiskeys and fruit liqueurs.

“Yeast never sleeps,” said Sebastian Degens. Which is a good thing, since Degens and his wife, Erika, depend on it to ferment the fruit and grain mashes they distill at their Stone Barn Brandyworks in Portland, Oregon.

As a child, Degens grew up in Germany with distilled spirits like eau de vie and schnapps in the house. He eventually moved to the United States, getting interested in trying to make his own spirits when a Swiss friend, who’d grown up with similar European spirits, mentioned a desire to learn how they were made.

Their research led Degens to attend a three-day intensive workshop in Chicago at Kothe Distilling Technologies, a manufacturer of stills. On returning home, he and Erika started bicycling around various neighborhoods, looking for a small, affordable place that had enough room for the equipment they’d need to start their business.

Read the rest of the article.

Watch the second part of my interview with Degens, "The World of Distilled Spirits." Get tips from Raven and Rose master bartender Dave Shenaut on "How to Make an Irish Coffee." To get regular updates on local producers featured on Food Farmer Earth, consider a free subscription.

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