A Whisky Story from Colorful (Lyons) Colorado

In the frenzied early morning hours of the flood, we got word that someone was trapped over at the distillery. As we debated putting kayaks into the swirling waters of the St. Vrain–then as wide as Highway 36–someone suggested that if anyone was stuck over there, he had plenty to drink and would probably fare just fine.  As luck would have it, Spirit Hound’s head distiller Craig Engelhorn was sleeping soundly in the office above his stills after working late and awoke to the bumping and thumping of furniture downstairs; the six barrels he had just distilled were snuggled safely on barrel racks above the rising waters.

On Saturday, August 22, Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons will celebrate the release of their first barrel aged straight American whisky–the same stuff that weathered that historic storm two autumns ago. In typical Lyons fashion, they’re making a festival out of it, with parking and camping available at nearby Bohn Park.  There will be food trucks, live tunes, and the world’s largest whisky slap (more on that later).

Spirit Hound opened in December of 2012, funded in part by friends and family who invested in the barrels that contain this week’s debut whisky. Much like with the community supported agriculture (CSA) program in the local food movement, the guys at Spirit Hound found a way to make everyone happy: they raised some of the money to start up their micro-distillery by selling 50 barrels, and patrons were promised the fruits of the labor (in 2+ years, the minimum time required for whisky to age).  On Saturday, you’re bound to meet someone who “owned” the whisky you’ll be sipping–be sure to shake their hand, or just go ahead and slap them.

If whisky’s not your drink of choice, Spirit Hound also offers a stellar selection of vodka, gin, rum, and moonshine. It’s also the proud home of Lyons local Rick England’s Richardo’s decaf coffee liqueur (a must in any liquor cabinet).  Each of the spirits that are born in Spirit Hound’s handmade stills reflect loving craftsmanship and a commitment to using fresh ingredients. Spirit Hound even puts a call out to Lyons’ residents each year to bring in juniper berries for gin production–how’s that for keeping it local?

If Hallmark were to design a card for the festivities at Spirit Hound on Saturday, they’d have to make more than one:  a ‘happy birthday’; to the bottles born of those original barrels; a ‘thank you’ to the friends and family who kept the distillery afloat during tough times; and, a big ‘congratulations’ to the five guys who have–with time, patience, and perseverance–aged Spirit Hound Distillers to perfection.

Spirit Hound Distiller’s Whisky Release Party 

August 22, 2015

11:00 am – 11:00 pm

Day of parking @ Bohn Park in Lyons. Free shuttles between the park and the distillery all day!

Lyons’ Root Cellar & Praha Restaurant will have food available for purchase.

Live Music with The Groupers @ 12pm; Whisky Autumn @ 3pm; Cadillac Grip @ 5pm; Interstate Stash Express @ 8pm

Whisky Slap @ 4pm. – $25 per person