Grain Henge Single Malt – Elevator Row

When a brand new distillery releases their first whisky and it’s as well received as GrainHenge’s Meeting Creek, there is always a danger that the follow up release will be a bit of a letdown. Meeting Creek was the biggest and best surprise of 2021 for me: I believe I described it as pure chocolate malty goodness. The latest release, Elevator Row, had some big shoes to fill. I am very happy to say that the people at GrainHenge have done it again!

Elevator Row uses Troubled Monk’s Pesky Pig pale ale as the inspiration for its mashbill. The combination of 2-row and specialty dark Munich malt is aged for 43 months in both #3 and #4 charred American oak barrels. It was released at full cask strength (58.2%), and produced a limited run of only 440 bottles. 

In the glass: Golden amber in colour. Similar to the original release, Elevator Row appears to have a relatively low viscosity and moves freely in the glass. It coats the sides nicely though, and clings there for a long time. 

Nose: Lots of sweet malted barley. The sweetness is mostly reminiscent of caramels, but there is also some dried candied fruit. Touch of nutmeg. 

Palate: It opens with dried candied fruit and Christmas cake. Caramel and roasted almonds and baking spices mid palate. Slightly creamy mouthfeel too. 

Finish: Lingering sweetness, with some nice oak spice that sticks around for a long time. 

This time, I’m not surprised. The relative youth of both the whisky and the distillery have no relation to the fantastic product GrainHenge is releasing. Garret Haynes has done it again, turning a well-loved brewery staple into a delightful, flavourful whisky. Elevator Row is a slice of spicy caramel Christmas cake. It’s a must have in my opinion, and I hope everyone gets the opportunity to at least try this fantastic dram. 

Dave Woodley

Insta: whiskey_dr

Grain Henge – Meeting Creek Single Malt Whisky

Grain Henge is the brand name of the new whisky distillery from Troubled Monk, a brewery located in Red Deer, Alberta. This award winning team has been making craft beer using local ingredients since 2015. The name pays homage to the many functioning and abandoned structures littered throughout the Alberta prairie landscape that appear in photographs all over the world, helping to define our culture and identity. 

Following in the tradition of a craft beer maker, Grain Henge will be released in small batches with very limited availability. It is common practice for a craft brewery/distillery combination to share equipment in their processes, and whisky production is often planned around the brewing schedule. This means that each batch of whisky is a unique creation unto itself, and often produces exciting results. 

Meeting Creek is the first release from Grain Henge. Master distiller Garret Haynes used the mash bill from Troubled Monk’s Open Road American Brown Ale as inspiration for his first whisky release. The whisky is made with a similar combination of 2-row, amber, crystal, brown, and chocolate malts, but Haynes increased the quantity of specialty grains to accentuate the flavours he was hoping to bring forward in the spirit. The whisky was aged for 40 months in #2 and #4 charred New American Oak barrels, and bottled at 56.7%. 

In the glass: Deep amber. Appears thin, but actually coats the glass very nicely. 

Nose: Very inviting. Vanilla, with a hint of dark chocolate. Something tropical in there too. Even at 56.7%, you can bury your nose in the glass. 

Palate: The oak comes through first with a pleasant hint of almond. Caramel and vanilla too, with a touch of honey sweetness. 

Finish: Light spice from the barrel char remain. Sweet notes of honey cereal malt and chocolate linger for a long time. 

This whisky was one of the biggest surprises of 2021 for me. At 40 months old and a high abv, I was expecting something abrasive and unfinished. Maybe a good starting place for a new distillery, but nowhere near a finished product. Meeting Creek has is the opposite of all those things. It has a shocking depth of flavour and refinement, and drinks very easily without water. Pure chocolate malty deliciousness. I will be searching for another bottle of Meeting Creek (they sold out in days), and I’m very excited to see what Grain Henge produces in the future. Absolutely backup bottle worthy. I’m already on the mailing list for the next release!

Dave

Instagram – @woodley_dr